It’s cool to be a bit crap

With a short (but welcome) burst of school and kinder again this week, I’ve found myself taking stock of my winning and non-so-winning moments these school holidays.

Let’s start with my great moments – the ones where I was patient, creative and engaged with the children.  I baked with them (to be honest, it was more for them than with them).   I painted and crafted with them (and then finished their projects when they got bored and drifted off).  I took them to the library, to live theatre and the movies.  I spent a whole day making over their bedroom until it was fit for the pages of a glossy coffee table magazine.  I even strapped my bewildered feet into ice skates for the first time ever, in a surprise mother-daughter bonding session.

Looks pretty impressive on paper, doesn’t it?

School holiday moments (the good ones)

My feel-good school holiday montage

But in the interests of transparency, I’ll also share some of my not-so-great moments. Such as the three days straight where it rained pretty much constantly, and the puppy crapped and pissed in the house a lot.  On those days, the children fought and sulked, I yelled (even though I realise it’s not cool), and frequently resorted to eating chocolate hiding behind the pantry door.  To be honest, I was a bit of a grumpy cow.

And what made my mood even more morose was that all of my friends seemed to be doing interesting, fun-looking stuff on Facebook and Instagram.  I wondered why I was stuck in a funk at home, while everyone else was (apparently) exploring Melbourne and revelling in their children’s company?

Social media can be a bugger like that at times.  Like when you’ve just stepped backwards into a puddle of urine (again) and thrown the dishcloth dramatically across the kitchen and bellowed WHY IS THE DOG INSIDE THE HOUSE AGAIN?  AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO EVER TAKES HER OUTSIDE FOR A WEE!!? At times like this, it can seem like everyone is a more creative, proactive and fun parent than you.

creative parenting

What’s wrong with me? Why didn’t I think to fashion superhero elements into the children’s clothing this morning? (image: Abbey Hendrickson)

But looking back on those grumpy cow moments, I’ve decided to cut myself a bit of slack, because the truth is that being in charge of little people doesn’t always make for a relaxing, uplifting experience.  At times it can be exhausting and (is it okay to say this?) pretty boring. I’m just not that into hide and seek. Or playing memory match, with the house a veritable pigsty around me.  Does that make me a crap parent?

What I suspect is that everyone has their crap parent moments.  We all lose the plot now and again, and say things we regret as soon as the words are out of our mouth (even the most excruciatingly patient, earth-mother types).  It’s just that we generally don’t broadcast them on social media.

And in the parenting stakes, I’m pretty sure it’s okay to be a bit crap now and then.  We’re human, after all.

So next time you read that blog post – from the amazing, inspiring tree change family who live in the idyllic farmhouse and gather organic vegetables, which they cook in their rustic kitchen and eat at their hand-crafted, reclaimed timber dining table every night … just imagine what doesn’t make it into the blog.

Like maybe sometimes the children refuse to wear the romantic gumboots and be photographed picking berries, and instead chuck an enormous tantrum and demand to play on their mother’s iphone, which she is constantly shoving in their face at every instagramable opportunity.

You’ve got to admit – it’s kind of fun to conjure up.

gumboots are so hot right now

Empty gumboots (image: Monica Hoinkis)




NEWS FLASH: Impossible Quiche Saves Day

I’m sitting on the couch, snatching a moment of peace with my coffee and computer. The weather’s grey and drizzly, the puppy’s sprawled in the plush bean bag by the heater (I’ve conceded defeat on that one), and the room is filled with the loud tick-tock of a metronome.  One of the kids was playing on the keyboard, but has since scuttled off elsewhere, leaving just the oppressive tick, tock, tick, tock.  And so goes my Thursday afternoon.

dog comaWe’re almost a week into the holidays, and my patience is waning.  I’m trying to embrace the mess, but really I’m not fooling anyone.  I’ve reverted to ‘take no crap’ mode.  In the car just now I presented them with the facts: If you don’t stop arguing I’m going to lose the plot!  Of course, what I really wanted to say was I’m dangerously close to LOSING MY SHIT.

…< big breath >….

The addition of our newest family member – the delightful Billie – has added an extra level of intensity these school holidays.   It’s been wonderful watching the kids rolling on the grass with her, lovingly making her dinner and cooing to her while she laps up her puppy milk. And against house rules, we’ve engaged in many indulgent, late-night couch snuggles.  She’s beautiful.

billie on bean bag

With the territory though, has come a few not-so-great moments.  There’s the early mornings which always start with paper towel, Pine-O-Clean and rubber gloves.  And there’s the constant stream of ‘Billie NO!’ ‘NO SHOES!’ and ‘No BITE!’ exclamations throughout the day.  Beautiful, and kind of exhausting.

Because of the puppy we’ve stayed close to home this week, and I’ve been donning the apron and getting my Nigella on a bit.  So while I’m inspired, here’s one thing I’ve been meaning to do for ages:  I want to share the magic of The Impossible Quiche.

Don’t worry – I haven’t gone all ‘easy, quick meals for mums’ on you.  I’m just really loving this quiche right now – it’s dead simple and bloody delicious.

The ‘impossible’ component is the lack of any pastry, yet the oddly pastry-like end product.  And the bit I’m amazed by is that it’s all light and fluffy, rather than all eggy and wet like your traditional frittata.  As long as you have the integral ingredients of eggs, milk, flour and cheese, you can make up the rest depending on the contents of your fridge.

I also tried this with gluten free flour, and it still worked beautifully.  The kids and my ‘eggs are not dinner’ husband all gave it their seal of approval.  And (be still my beating heart!) it even holds up well for lunch the following day.

Behold.. The Impossible Quiche (thanks Anna!)

The Impossible Quiche

Core ingredients:

4 eggs

1 cup grated cheese

1/2 cup self-raising flour

1 1/4 cups milk

Discretional ingredients:

Spring onion / onion / any vaguely onion-like vegetable in arms reach

Chorizo / ham / bacon / last night’s leftover sausages

Cherry tomatoes / capsicum / sun-dried tomatoes / spinach leaves / any old crap from the crisper

Basil / parsley / neither


  1. Preheat oven to 200 celsius and grease a large, round, quichey-looking dish (I use a non-stick fluted metal pie dish)
  2. Heat oil and cook spring onion lightly, then add tomato / ham / other crisper remnants and cook down for a few minutes
  3. Whisk eggs, milk and flour in a bowl, then stir in cheese and add vegetable mixture from the pan.  Season, add herbs.
  4. Pour mixture into quiche dish and bake for ~40 minutes, until golden on top and not wobbly in the centre.  Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
  5. Slice and serve with a green salad (the kids may baulk – but at least you tried)
  6. Pour yourself a glass of wine, sit back and bask in the glory of the impossible quiche.

Go you.


ps. It also helps to close your eyes and pretend you’re sitting in a wine bar
(Image: Judy Merrilll-Smith)

Re: Formal Complaint, School Holiday period ended 14 July, 2013


Dear School Holidays,

I regret to inform you that I am writing to make a formal complaint, which I plan to pursue through the appropriate channels, until I have a resolution.  My primary complaint is in regard to false advertising charges.

Firstly, you were sold to me on the promise of enabling quality time with my chilled out, engaging children, who would luxuriate in long sleep-ins and creative play opportunities.  There was no mention, in your brochure, of my children deciding to make an olympic sport of arguing, or of their plan to turn the house into a rubbish tip / war zone / obstacle course.  I certainly was not advised of the requisite five-fold increase in washing.

When I signed up, I did not realise that July school holidays came with mandatory waves of drawn out illnesses that would hit one child, then the next (just as the first one was coming good).  Frankly, I could have done without the bi-weekly doctors appointments, and surprise visits from feverish children in my bed at 3am.    I suppose you think that simultaneous croup and vomiting in the middle of Friday night Sex and The City repeats was amusing?  It was not.

On another matter, I would like to address the issue of art and craft activities.  Prior to all future school holidays, I would appreciate it if you would arrange delivery of a large shipping container of art and craft materials, along with a part time project coordinator (must have industrial cleaning experience), and a case of gin.  And on that note, I don’t know if you are acquainted with Mister Maker, but if you are, could you please ask him to tone it down?  His perky attitude and obsession with gloopy glue are getting up my nose, and placing unrealistic expectations on regular parents, who do not have ‘doodle draws’ or time lapse photography at their disposal.

I would also appreciate, in future, a list of appropriate suggestions to be used when my children complain of being bored, or being hungry, or having been wronged by their sibling.  I have completely over-used the suggested ‘you’re a smart girl/boy, I’m sure you can find something interesting to do’, the ‘you can chose a piece of fruit, or wait until the next meal time’, and the ‘please be kind to each other, and try to work through your differences’.  I have therefore been resorting to sarcasm, and ‘oh for F*$# SAKE!!’ under my breath a little too much, which I realise is not ideal.

Incidently, can you please suggest an appropriate consequence (I don’t think I’m supposed to call them punishments), for the following scenarios:

a)  Walking out of a store and wandering up Burke Rd alone, whilst I am engaged in the purchase of more frigging art and craft materials.

b)  Screaming and striking at each other in the bath over who’s turn it is to hold Kwazi Kat or the giant squid.

c)  Repeatedly sneaking dried apricots from the pantry when they have specifically been told not to (yes, I know it sounds petty, but it was the principle at sake)

My final issue is the absence of any actual ‘holiday’ component this school holidays.  Instead, I was regularly subjected to Facebook posts from families frolicking in Europe or the Pacific Islands, with their tanned, cherubic-looking children.  

Although I have found the whole experience decidedly harrowing, I would feel inclined to overlook the above issues, and withdraw my complaint, if you could see fit to arrange a suitable island escape (preferably Polynesian) for the coming holidays this September.  You may liaise with my husband on this issue, as I wash my hands of the whole affair, and would prefer not to be bothered with the details.


M. Nitschke