Boarding School

Sport at boarding school

It has been a week since we have had our youngest son home from boarding school. He was home for school holidays. We get to hang out with him for two whole weeks. It is always nice to have him home as he likes everything I cook him and he enjoys doing things with us. I am sure this would be different for any other normal 15 year old boy who doesn’t go away to boarding school.

As they all did, while away at boarding school, when they come home they appreciated their family, their home cooked meals and their freedom on the farm. And from my experience over the years I am certain that when they get back to school they are happy to be there with their mates, doing things with them 24/7. Some holidays we go away and they love that but they also appreciate just being at home in their own bed.

We are lucky we are only three hours drive away from the city where they are schooled. We are also lucky to have the technology of mobile phones so we can keep in contact with our kids at any time we like. Unlike the old days when ‘handsome farmer husband,’ was away at school. Once a week, they had to line up to ring their parents from a big old black phone that was stuck on the wall and letters were the regular way of communication. If they were lucky they would see their parents through the school term, but more often than not it would be the end of term when their parents came to collect them that they finally saw them.

All of our children went to boarding school. It was something I thought was important, even though I never attended one myself. I had to argue my case strongly and would bring it up regularly when the kids were young. It was a much discussed subject while driving to the big city with my ‘handsome farmer husband’. Even though he went away for schooling himself, he wasnt sure about it being possible. Obviously cost was a big factor and we had to send four of them. We did have to make some sacrifices in the early days.

I know he knew well the benefits, because during his 4 years at boarding school he made long lasting friends from far and wide, his education improved along with his confidence and and back in those days he had lots of fun experiences. There are many stories he tells about his time there. Many will stay untold until all the children are actually finished school, just in case they want to follow his example.

With hindsight, my children are not exactly the same personalities as their father and so I should not have presumed they would all be fine like he was. I was so confident that it would be good for them all to learn some independence away from their mother, who by the way is a pushover and does way too much for them still.

It was a learning experience for all of us. Our eldest probably had it tougher, being the first cab off the rank, but the youngest was like a duck to water. Every child gained something important from their time away. They are all confident, independant people. We now have three who have finished their Year 12 successfully and since finishing boarding school none of them have looked back.

For two years we only had our youngest child at home. Three at boarding school and one at home. It was very peaceful and there were no arguments over who was doing what jobs around the house. We also had plenty of hot water and the grocery bill was very low.

Now we are back to three at home and one away and it is a very different story. With three big (sort of adult) children home it is interesting. We have a big house, but sometimes its not big enough. We have a big hot water service but sometimes, not big enough. We have a reasonable size fridge but not big enough and the list goes on.

Recently there have been many discussions about the length of peoples showers, why they are always in their rooms and who unpacked the dishwasher last, who cooked last, who fed the cats and the chooks, brought the wood over, who did or didn’t put the rubbish out, who didn’t flush the toilet or put the toilet seat down and the list goes on.

We are teaching them to cook so they can at least feed themselves once they leave the nest. It has been challenging but fun. Everyone cooks once a week. The meal gets a rating out of 10. It is rated on taste and appearance and we try some new recipes along the way. Cooking dinner also entails the clean up and tidy the kitchen and pack and put on the dishwasher as well. ‘Number one son’ is very clever as he tries to pick a Friday night to cook, this is very often the night he is out with his mates. Generally everyone has a go, without too much complaining.

I am grateful to have them home for as long as I can. It is lovely to see my boys walking back from the shed chatting to each other after a day at work or hearing my daughter laughing with her big brother while they are cleaning their teeth at night. Sometimes they even help each other cook. I will make the most of those little things, store them in my memory bank. Soon they will be out of our house, back out into the world, independant young adults. Then before we know it ‘number four’ will be home from boarding school. The countdown is on.

Investing in you

A cuppa and a good book or three…
*Photo credit to Sarah Shanahan*

Why is it as women; wifes, mothers and daughters, we find it hard to take the time to invest in ourselves. Our needs, whether it be; exercise, having a massage or a facial, quiet time (away from the family), lunch with our girlfriends or reading a book. Taking time for ourselves seems to be the last thing on the list.

Recently I have been having slightly annoying back pain. So during the ensuing treatments, physiotherapy etc, I have been chatting. It is a re-occurring theme. Before we do anything for ourselves and our physical or mental health we will; go to our paid job, clean the house, fold the washing, buy the groceries, cook dinner, do jobs for the kids, our husbands or partners and even our parents (if we are fortunate enough to still have them around). For some reason we are last and if you are anything like me there is always something else that has to be done around the house before I let myself go for a walk.

I love the idea of getting up early so I can have some time to myself. As my ‘handsome farmer husband’ is an early riser that means I need to be getting up at 5.30am. In winter it is cold and dark and did I say cold. Honestly, I am quite happy to lay in my nice, warm bed and watch the sun come up. Being up and dressed and doing Yoga and meditation at 5.30am rarely happens. Sorry, that is a complete lie, it never happens. The intention is there. So is my intention to walk 30 minutes every day, eat raw foods, drink more hot water and less coffee and not indulge in alcohol. All very good intentions I must say.

Currently my spare room in the house where I can do some yoga or exercise is full of clothes drying on a rack. (See previous blog). Therefore, no space to stretch. Unfortunately the washing needs to be folded and put away before I can get to my stretching and or yoga. Is that just an excuse? Yes, probably. Is it just my self-discipline or is it because it feels self indulgent to look after myself?

It seems that I am not alone. The women I have been talking to find the same thing. I wonder, is it because we have had children who have been reliant on us for 20 years, for some mums and grand-mums actually more. Is it generational, did we see our mothers doing everything for their husbands and family and nothing for themselves? Is it maternal instinct from thousands of years ago for the woman to support the hunter and food provider and to protect our offspring so that the human race can continue to survive.

I am sure all women are not the same but I have been seeing it everywhere, in all age groups. Only when all the ducks are in a row, then do we have time to do ‘our thing’. Why can’t we just leave the house to go for a walk before dinner is cooked? Why do we feel the need to get everyone off to work and school before we do our Yoga stretches. Why do we have to get up earlier than all the family to do Yoga? Why do we feel responsible for so much? What does it take for us to invest in ourselves without feeling guilty? It is very obvious to me that if I am not healthy and happy then the whole family unit is affected but I still tend to put myself last.

So my new intention is to do at least 10 minutes a day of something for my physical and mental health and well-being and if that is sitting down to have a cup of tea and a block of chocolate, then so be it. I will work my way up to 20 minutes of yoga, meditation and even a walk.

Have a lovely day and do something for yourself. I am now going to boil the kettle and hunt down some chocolate.