This morning before work/school drop off I had two conversations that really struck a chord with me. The first was with an amazing lady who has taught my children at the beautiful small school they attend here in sunny Brisbane, Australia. She’s a dynamo of a lady, fantastic teacher, and mother of a bunch […]
This morning before work/school drop off I had two conversations that really struck a chord with me. The first was with an amazing lady who has taught my children at the beautiful small school they attend here in sunny Brisbane, Australia. She’s a dynamo of a lady, fantastic teacher, and mother of a bunch of kids herself. She’s one of those people who is a ray of sunshine, and the kind of person that you feel kind of lucky to get to know let alone be the person to shape the minds of your kids.
I saw her whilst we were both grabbing a coffee at our local café before 7am. She had already dropped her kids to school and been to the gym and was off to school…at 7am.
We talked about teaching, how tricky it can be to squeeze in the curriculum, stay relevant, cater for individual needs, be innovative and also be inspiring for kids. She has years of experience under her belt, whilst my experience was limited to my ‘prac teaching’ experience a few years ago whilst studying a Graduate Diploma of Education.
I came away from our conversation thinking, wow, we are so lucky to have this wonderful lady as part of our school community and that I still think that teaching is a tough gig.
Once I arrived at school to drop my youngest daughter off at Before School Care, I had a brief but frustrating conversation with two other parents.
The conversation started with one of the parents commenting on seeing this wonderful teacher (who I had just spoken to) arriving at school in her gym gear, with a dress in her hand ready to get changed and prepare for the day.
The comment was something along the lines of ‘how nice it must be to have the time to exercise’ and how ‘easy it must be for this particular lady as she is a teacher and has teenagers’. I couldn’t help but feel a little incredulous and also defensive. I replied that I thought teaching was a tough gig, and that my brief stint highlighted to me how tough it can be, especially if you are also a parent. The response I got was underwhelming and came with a side-serve of eye roll, along with a comment about how nice it would be to have ‘all those holidays’.
I smiled, nodded and continued on my day, signing in my youngest daughter, dropping my sons to school and then heading to the hospital to spend the day juggling caring for my eldest daughter whilst also working remotely.
After giving the morning and those interactions some thought, here’s my take.
Working can be hard.
Working with children can be hard.
Working once you are a parent can be hard.
So it stands to reason surely, that working with children once you are a parent can also be hard.
It can be so easy to look across and form an opinion on how hard someone’s life/job/family/ situation is when you have not walked a mile in their shoes.
I will freely admit I am sometimes jealous of the amount of holidays teachers get each year. When you work full-time in most other professions, you only get four weeks annual leave a year. Once you have children this presents you with an impossible challenge – spread out your four weeks annual leave to care for your children during their 12-16 weeks of holidays. So unfair right?
Well, not quite when you look at the whole picture. My brief stint of teaching taught me this – teaching is hard, rewarding, gruelling (so much time on your feet! parents expectations! the assault on your senses!) and takes you away from your own kids…a lot.
I also came to the realisation that teachers need those holidays to plan, recover, relax and for some to spend time with their own children, connecting and having fun. How can I begrudge the great people who spend every day of the school term fostering the learning of my kids some time to recover, relax and plan for the next semester/year/subject/group of young minds they will be looking after?
On a related note, if you are there on the sidelines judging and thinking teaching is such a great deal…why not become a teacher? You know why a lot of people don’t? Most people don’t have the patience, resilience and passion to do that. Most people find out what teachers are paid, and think well that’s not enough for me. I know that I didn’t have the patience and right personality to become a teacher. Which makes me feel even more appreciative of the fantastic people who do.
It’s not just teachers, there are countless other professions who cop flak and yet these wonderful people still turn up day in and day out to work, helping others, contributing to society, supporting their families. They do this despite the criticism and judgment levelled at them.
I came away from my conversation with those parents thinking, I really hope that one day they can appreciate how hard teachers work and how life can be tricky for teachers too.
Until you’ve taught a class, worked a night shift, completed a swing as a FIFO (Fly-In-Fly-Out) worker, maybe save the judgement.
A little empathy can go a long way.
I was chatting to a good friend about what makes Byron such a special place. Is it the beach? The gorgeous places to eat and drink? Is it the super-friendly and relaxed people you meet and who run the amazing businesses there? For me, it’s a combination of all of the above and why I […]
Breakfast or Brunch? No matter what time you finally wake up, head to The FarmIf you are an early riser like me, Byron is a fab spot to get up early and head out for a walk along the beach. Love a sleep in? No worries, breakfast at most places seems to stretch out to become brunch. The Farm is a perfect spot to enjoy both. The Farm is a firm fave of mine. You can choose to takeaway delicious hot coffee and buttery pastries and head off for a stroll (let the kids run wild!) or dine in and enjoy the view. If you choose to dine in, super friendly staff are always buzzing around, which means you can relax while you order from the locavore menu. A lot of the fresh produce comes directly from the small lot farmers who share the space and I think you can taste the difference! The Farm
Time for a Sunday stroll – Bangalow & NewrybarAfter enjoying a sleep in, big breakfast and a strong coffee, if you feel the need to walk it off or just go for a wander – take the short drive to beautiful Bangalow and Newrybar. Nestled in the hinterland behind Byron, these two tiny villages are home to gorgeous homewares, more great cafes and some fab fashion. Some of my fave spots to visit/ eat in and around Bangalow and Newrybar are:
ShopBisque Hendrix & Harlow Island Luxe Driftlab For a beautiful collective of retailers head to Newrybar Merchants, home to Art Park, Shannon Fricke, The Book Room, Minimosh, Tigmi Trading, Beautiflora, Nikau, Fate & Fortune and firm fave The Society Inc.
EatOur Corner Kitchen The Italian Diner Harvest Federal DOMA Café
Time for a drink – fab spots for a drink or two, maybe just settle in for the afternoonAfter all of that eating, shopping and walking if you are feeling a little parched head back to Byron for a cold drink or two. For a laid-back afternoon under the trees, try starting with a Bloody Mary at The Treehouse. My friend and I both settled in for some quality people-watching, savouring ours. Order extra-hot if you're feeling game! Nestled next to the beach, and serving wood-fired pizzas, Treehouse is a perfect spot to relax for a couple of hours with a drink or two. Treehouse If a pub and a cold brew are more your scene, wander in to the Beach Hotel (fab views, live music, did I mention the view?), The Rails (The Railway Friendly Barl) or The Great Northern (for an old school pub, keep an eye out for the great bands playing here). The Beach Hotel The Rails (The Railway Friendly Bar) The Great Northern If you’re not a fan of pubs, Miss Margarita is a fab little spot near the beach serving a range of delicious drinks and Mexican food. Miss Margarita Whew! That is one hefty list, but there are just so many great places to eat/drink/shop and relax! Have you got any firm faves in Byron? Enjoy xx
Over a coffee with a lovely girlfriend this week, I started to think about the fab tips I have collected over 13 years of parenting. Each time I heard/saw/read a good tip over the years, I have trialled it and if it’s a winner I have added it to our morning routine. With four kids […]
- Bag drop stop - create a bag drop spot. Maybe it's near the front door, maybe it's a hat-rack, maybe it's a combo! Whatever you decide, make it the kids job to drop their bag off/pick it up from there. You can even add a lap-top charge station if you need to. Add a spot for hats and shoes and you are ready to roll. Here's some pics for ideas...
- Uniform shop - put all of the school uniforms in one spot. I wash then hang uniforms straight up on a coat hanger and onto a small cloths rack. We have a basket nearby for school socks. We also keep sports/dance/swim bags here too - packed and ready to go.
- Lunchbox production line - get the kids involved! Make it the kids job to place lunch boxes on the bench when they arrive home. In the morning, have snacks in one container, fruit in a bowl, and let the kids assemble their own lunch. This helps each child to take responsibility for what in their lunchbox and you can chat about healthy choices at the same time...winning! Here's some lunch-box inspiration.
- Ban technology/ TV - no tv/iPad/phone/internet/devices until everyone is dressed and ready to go. Stay firm on this one, let the kids know that technology is a no-go until there are dressed and ready. Lead by example - no Facebook/ phones for adults either until you are ready too!
- Breakfast all round. Make breakfast part of the morning routine, smoothies, toast, boiled eggs, cereal...whatever works with your crew! Just make it simple, quick and as healthy as you can. No breakfast equals grumpy kids (and grown-ups!).
It’s interesting how life can move along so quickly sometimes that we feel like everything is rushing by. You can find yourself wondering…when did that happen? I feel like this sense of life rushing by is magnified since I became a parent over a decade ago. Even writing the word ‘decade’ makes me wonder, where […]
One of the fabulous benefits of having children or spending time with kids is that you get a reminder of how much joy they get from the world.
Discovering new ideas. Exploring the world. Playing. Laughing at silly things. Living in the moment. Kids are masters are stopping to smell the roses. Slowing […]
One of the fabulous benefits of having children or spending time with kids is that you get a reminder of how much joy they get from the world.Discovering new ideas. Exploring the world. Playing. Laughing at silly things. Living in the moment. Kids are masters are stopping to smell the roses. Slowing down and moving at their own pace. Adults are always searching for ways to relax, meditate, calm down. Most kids have got that in the bag. Watch a small child playing with Lego, matchbox cars, playing a game of make-believe, and you can see they are fully immersed in the moment. My kids are staying at my family's farm this week. I know already that they will spending their time, exploring, digging in the sandpit, catching frogs and generally having a grand old time. There will be no structured plan, no to-do list. Just fun, sunshine and spending time together. Hope you are enjoying the sunshine, taking time to relax, and most importantly finding the time to have fun. Enjoy xx
As I said farewell to 2014, and welcomed the new year in, I reflected on all the big stuff we had been though here at This Grand Life. Here’s what my wrap-up of 2014 looks like… Our littlest poppet started at big school, and it was bitter sweet. She looked so tiny yet so grown […]
- Our littlest poppet started at big school, and it was bitter sweet. She looked so tiny yet so grown up all at the same time. I loved hearing all about sport, God Class (religion) and all the new things she was learning with her new friends. Then because of the next point, we get to do it all over again.
- We packed up and moved across the country to sunny Qld. Well, the kids and I did. My lovely kind husband then spent the last half of the year working in Perth while we were in Bris-Vegas. So many big changes to take on board! New school, back to day-care for the littlest poppet (very indignant that she was ready for 'big school'), new job for me... the list goes one and on. Amongst it all though we have thrived in the sunshine and being closer to our families.
- Saying goodbye to Charlie the Wonderdog. I had written a post, which maybe I will publish someday, though maybe I won't (I can't quite get the words right). My beautiful furry friend had been with me for 14 years from when it was just me, then as my family expanded to include my husband, a sweet Newfoundland (Ellie) and our four lovely kidlets. I still miss her sweet face each day.
- Finally, finally, finally being a family again as the lovely Big A moved from Perth to Brissy. Thank you to our lovely friends in Perth for lending him a room, inviting him over for dinner and generally making a tough time a whole lot easier.
- Being able to focus more time and energy on my creative business. The move to the sunshine state, coupled with setting up a little studio and finding a lovely creative community to be part of have all meant that I had the time and energy to design and create gorgeous frocks, boardies and super cute gear. All designed and hand-made by me. I was part of some brilliant artisan and hand-made markets, which were the creative highlight of my year. I really do get a buzz just from being around such talented creative folk.
- Continuing to write and think, and question what is going on around me. When I can, I find the time to publish here. I hope you have enjoyed reading it too!
The past few weeks have been frantically busy as we packed and moved across the country to sunny Queensland. Now that the dust has settled (well almost), I have found time to read again. I picked an unexpectedly good book at the airport (I can never resist a good airport novel) on my way to […]
Hello and happy Sunday! We kicked our day off with walking Charlie the Wonderdog and a family breakfast. The kids decided to take photos along the way (including the Mini-Fashionista who is starting her own blog these holidays – there is a LOT of planning going on right now!), which meant it was more of […]
Today I have been thinking about how fab it is to have brothers and sisters. My own combo is a big brother and two little sisters. Over the years, these cool folk have stuck by me and joined me for the ride through moving houses, building a house, bust ups, having babies, surviving B&S balls, heading off […]
Happy Friday Folks! I thought I’d take the time to think about what I am grateful for today (the fab print about is available here on Etsy via West Sheridan): Getting the chance to spend some Q-time with the little folk in my life (and also at the same time expanding my knowledge […]
- Getting the chance to spend some Q-time with the little folk in my life (and also at the same time expanding my knowledge of dinosaurs, Zelfs - more about those tomorrow, and Lego)
- Having a lovely supportive partner in life who a rock of encouragement and support this year while I pursue my somewhat lofty creative/ career dreams
- Being in good health and having a lovely family
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