The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Friday 15 January 2016

Your time.

Being the beginning of the year I wanted to talk about our time. This is an extra post so I can get it in while we are still maybe planning our year and what we want to achieve, what our priorities are etc. There are so many demands on us and there are only twenty four hours in a day. And we need to sleep!

Here we are with a year in front of us and plans and dreams for it. I have a whole lot of goals. Some are small and some are big like painting the house.

But if we are not careful things chip away at our time and we wonder what ever happened to it!

There are always so many things to distract us and people who have suggestions for how we should spend our precious time. There are people who would love you to give all your spare time to them as well. Yep, there are always many helpful suggestions on what to do with your time and energy.

Whether you work full time, part time or at home it still amounts to time management and there are limits to what we can actually do.

I was very lucky that once I had children I knew what my mission was. That helped me enormously and I attribute that to my upbringing, Laines Letters, a ladies fellowship I attended and scripture. I had no doubt raising my children was my number one job. Also I was a single Mum. I couldn't muck around I had to get it right or try to.
But even knowing all that I remember how much pressure there was to do all kinds of things I couldn't really manage.
I ran a routine and that's how I got everything done. (most of the time!) I seriously wondered how to fit much more in?! I even wondered why I was expected to?

I am pretty sure there was writing on my forehead that said "ask me to help out I have nothing to do!"
When Chloe started Kindy (pre school?) I noticed a big leap in requests for time on committees, charities, working bees, fund raisers and so on. It interested me that many were at night. To go out at night I would have to hire a baby sitter. It seemed counter productive to me to pay for a baby sitter while out fund raising or attending meetings.  And I didn't. I said yes to some things but many no's.

If we say yes to everything and everyone we end up not living our life at all. We can't get our own work done, we have no hope of completing our own mission. Dad used to say to me that the best thing I could do for society was bring up the girls well. That took a lot of pressure off.

This isn't to say there are not times we need to drop everything and help someone. That's not what I mean. I mean all the unimportant things (in the greater scheme of things) that we can end up doing and basically wondering why!

I have worked out that there is a season for everything and we can't do everything in one season!
Living in the season we are in and knowing our mission really helps to prioritise.  Knowing this it helps to easily decide what to say yes to and what to say no to.

As well as demands on your time you get many demands on you money. Oh, yes people love telling you what to do with your money!
Just the same... if you do not know what your mission is there is plenty of ways to part with your money!   This includes charity. We need to think about what to support and how and not be coerced into signing up for some automatic debit scheme that basically pays a commission to the person who signed you up and a Limo to the CEO. Many of them are cons and not a charity at all. We have a right to choose! I say this as I keep seeing very aggressive tactics.

To avoid all these pressures we need  really good and clear set missions and goals.
Then you kind of see some of what is coming at you as sabotage. It is really easy to be derailed from your good plan and intentions or persuaded away from them.
In the army this is called deserting your post. They used to shoot you for that!

I have made millions of mistakes but at least basically I felt determined about my role and I am actually quite stubborn. lol  I became a single Mum before Lucy was born. After she was came along I had a 22 month old and a new born. My Dad helped me get a little cottage in a country town near the sea. This was a dream come true for me. This was a life changer.
I was sworn off men at that point! I decided I would 100% focus on bringing up the girls and doing a good job and that I would not date until they were grown up. I was quite sure about it.
Plenty of people had a lot to say about that! It's not that I went around declaring it but if someone asked why I didn't go out I would tell them.
I was told I was wasting my life.
I would regret it and be lonely.
And a hundred other dire regrettable consequences.
But anyway I stuck to it for sixteen years.
(I am not saying anyone else should do this. It is just what I decided to do.)

On top of that I was constantly told I needed a career as I was wasting my life.
I should start a shop (this one was constant)
etc etc.

I was very lucky that I could stay home as that was what I wanted to do and it fit my mission. I also cooked for a cafe,  sold sewing and vintage things I found in my op shopping. Other than that I gardened, cooked from scratch and all the things I do now.
But still I was "wasting my life" according to critics.
Lucky I knew what my mission was!

You know what? I loved every minute. The girls now talk about their fairy tale childhood. That is what they say about it. At Lucy's wedding Dad spoke of me as like a Mother Hen protecting my children. I was so proud he said that!

This is Lucy dressed in one of her best outfits. Fairy wings I made her and an old nightie. Sparky shoes and for some reason a shower cap. Also her dog Rachel. Oh, and glittery shoes!
The photos are all the girls when they were little.

I didn't miss out on anything! And love waited for me in those years and found me after ward!

While I made many mistakes knowing my mission really helped me. I knew without a man in the house that God was the man of the house and that my Dad was the girls role model. And they adored him now as they did as children.

If you decide your mission it will be so much easier to see distractions, sabotage, cons, tricks and time wasters. They come in many forms! The devil comes a calling!

You might have a friend who tires to de rail you from your savings. Or take time away from your family and work. Or a salesman might pressure you to sign up for this or that. Or you might be pressured to take on a committee when you know it is going to be really hard and at night when you are busy helping children with homework or cooking dinner...
When you know your mission it is easier to say no. You need to know which is more important.

I have heard young Mums say they are looking for their mission. I think that is like the acres of diamonds story where all along they were standing on riches they didn't recognise.  We need to accept the mission we have been given first rather than pick out another one we think we might like better.

Saying all this I STILL had trouble saying no even when I knew I needed to. One thing helped me very much, what ever  I was asked to do (I still do this now) I said "thank you for asking me,  I need to look in my diary and see if I can manage it"  and I will reply shortly.  This one thing stopped me from saying a yes that I then had to figure out how to get out of or regretted terribly!
The follow up then would be to decline in a nice way (usually decline anyway) and say what I am able to do to help.  One I can think of is I declined running a stall at the school but I donated a box of jams and produce.

In some instances we do need to be able to say a flat out no. In our shopping centre I notice high pressure sales people and some people are cornered by them. They are trying to get them to sign up automatic debit donations. We need to be able to say no. If someone threatening comes to the door and asks to be let in you cannot be so polite that you just open the door! You have to say no. We need to be able to. It doesn't have to be rude. If you need to practise then do. No can save your life.

Some things can be avoided. The salesman on the phone at dinner time... you know the ones with a script? If you ask a  question they keep reading the script... they know the longer you listen the higher the chance they will be successful. I just never answer a phone number I don't know! Problem solved! A lot of time saved too. We need to protect our dinner time and family time.

Every year,  at every age and in every season of life we need to figure out what does and what doesn't help us and deserve our time and resources. I find a re think now and then is a good thing. Weigh things up. Don't be tricked out of your mission or your gaols and dreams.

My guiding motto is that our role as homemakers and Mothers is priceless above rubies. So being told I was wasting my life did not derail me. I saw it as a lie and not to fall for it.

If you are working in or out of the home it makes no difference. The reason we are doing what we are doing is for our family, to pay the bills, to feed everyone... to achieve our goals. Set your mission and don't let anyone take over your time and resources unless you want them to. Bringing in an income, running the home, looking after everyone is hard work and a long day.

There are worthy things to do for sure but in the main our time is sucked away so easily that we have to be quite protective of it. We need to be. We need to be on guard that we are not dragged away from what we need to be doing.

One of my favourite quotes from Mother Teresa is
"If you want to bring happiness to the whole world
Go home and love your family"

We have talked a lot about being watchful. Usually we are talking in the wider world. But we need to be watchful in our closer world that our goals are not sent into the ditch by those around us!  Good friends help us achieve our goals too. Having a savings buddy is a big help.

I hope this is a great year of building up our homes and families, saving money and achieving all kinds of things that will be helpful to us all.
Set your goals and lets work together. Don't listen if someone tries to put you down or drag you off course. Be ever watchful and guard your time as it is such an important and limited resource. The season you are in is also really precious. It will not last as long as you think! So make the most of everything! xxx


  1. Wise words, Annabel. At one stage of my life I decided now was the time to start saying no and I did. Otherwise one can run around achieving nothing in the long term. If a person can learn this when they are young it will hold them in good stead.

  2. Beautiful post Annabel.

    Thank you for the reminder that I have and am still doing the right things. I have been there all the way with my children :)

    Much love,
    Tania xoxo

  3. Dear Annabel,

    Divinely inspired post - bless you! Time is something that can never be regained once lost.

    Love and hugs,

  4. Annabel, What a beautiful post. I have tears streaming down my face :) I love how you said 'I loved every minute. The girls now talk about their fairy tale childhood' I too feel that I haven't missed anything with my children because I have been home with them. And my husband always comments that our children have the best life. My youngest starts school in 2017 and already I am getting constant comments about going back to work. This is from people whose babies have been in full time daycare since they were 6 months old. I totally understand that some people have to work full time to pay the bills, but these people I know work so they can go on expensive holidays, have an expensive car, pay for childcare and buy stuff they don't need. i know some people who work just to pay childcare fees and have no money left after the childcare fees so they are working for nothing. It is madness! I just can't understand why you would be away from your kids to buy junk you don't need instead of being with them and only buying the necessities. I try to explain that any money I could make would probably just get used for before/after school care or convenience foods etc and I can save the same amount of money being home that I could earn working. This is what the Vicky challenge is all about! Thank you for your time producing this blog. I don't have many people around me that think the same way, so I love reading your blog for encouragement.
    Marge xoxo

    1. Dear Marge, Thank you! I agree with the madness you point out. Ive known many people who have worked at a great loss and missed being there as well. Lose lose. So sad.
      I am so glad if I encouraged you. Stick with it. I never found I was any less busy when Lucy started school it was just different hours and schedule.
      I thought it was a bit of a risk posting this but it is my life and I thought if I share it then maybe it will help someone who is being pressured. And yes the Vicky Challenge will give us the financial numbers to back up our argument! With thanks,

  5. Annabel,

    This is such a wonderful post full of wisdom. Your girls were so blessed by this. I agree so much in so many ways all you have said. I just read a letter of Laine's today that was similar to this (in its own way). Very perfect timing for me. Thanks.

  6. Annabel, this is just the best. Thank you! And also thanks for your lovely reply to my comment about feeling unproductive lately! I am right in the thick of the preschool and school volunteering years, and like to be able to contribute my time to both. One of the things that has helped me the most in making sure I don't stretch myself to far is realising that just because nobody else has volunteered for a job does not mean I have to. Maybe that thing, whatever it is, just doesn't get done. And that's ok. Also, if I am going to say no, that is enough of an explanation. I don't need to justify it. I think though, that I only came to these realisations by learning the hard way. I has in committee which operated quite negatively, some members were competitive about how much time and money they contributed. Thankfully the two committees I am now on are with lovely people working towards the same goals.

    I fully agree with the idea of me time, and it can be so simple. I went to the library by myself today, so was able to have a decent browse and get some nice craft books out. I love that! Last night I went for a walk with a couple of friends. Both things took only about an hour each, were free, and really enjoyable. I do love going to the movies or out for a meal, but they are not things I do regularly.

    I imagine there will be a lot of people who find this post really meaningful, it's very reassuring to feel so supported in the roles we have chosen. Although other people's opinions of our choices shouldn't matter, they can be difficult to ignore sometimes. Thanks Annabel, for the lovely insight into your time raising your girls :)

  7. Annabel I was working, teaching, from when my children were 6 weeks old. Sounds dreadful but circumstances meant this was what happened. My husband was the stay at home parent for the first few years of our children's lives. Opportunities came for advancement in my career but I knocked them back,as my time with my children was already limited and I did not want to squander this. I believed that the time I put into my children was an investment into the future and well worth it. I still strongly believe this. I now work part time and love every minute of it. I love having more time to invest in my home and into this time in our lives. Time management is just as important now as when I worked full time. I want to live a full life not just sit and let it happen. Life is good.

  8. I loved your post! Over the years, we have made many, many choices so that I can be home with the children....more children....more children:) (We have adopted 7 and are working on the final paperwork for #8 who unexpectedly joined us about 2-1/2 years ago--she is now 11 years old. The oldest will turn 36 this year and she was 5 when we got her--so 31 years now of continuous children)

    I have almost always worked a little for money in some small way--anything from farm work at a family farm, to piano lessons, to babysitting---to supplement my husband's income.

    Before the last little surprise, I had been building my piano business because the older children were getting, well, older, and would not need as much of my time. We were not told whether or not this child would be a permanent fixture in our home, or would be returning to her mom, so I have struggled through that for the last couple of years. I didn't want to drop all my newly acquired students when I had just got them! But I also wanted to give her the same attention and opportunities as the other ones got. Now that she's staying, I have been cutting back on work little by little because it takes a LOT of time and energy to raise children, and it is our first priority!

    That first summer she was here, I did have to pay a little daycare and it was hardly worth it to work--at that point I just didn't want to lose the students I had so recently acquired. Now, she's older and is usually in school when I'm working anyway so it's not an issue. When the older children were younger, I only took jobs during times when I would not have to hire a babysitter for that very reason.

    Balance is the key, and it is very hard to find!

    1. It is so lovely that these children have had you, what a wonderful family to be a part of. Love, Bridge

  9. No truer words have been said.

    Annabel it is so easy to fall into saying yes to one thing then end up being assigned other things that 'need doing' - I am speaking from experience when ours were in primary school and kindergarten. Lots of families would just roll up to an event and enjoy themselves without lifting a finger while those of us who had been guilted into helping, once again, missed out on spending time with our own families.

    Now that I have been away from Guides I can see that while I enjoyed the experience (not in the last 3 years though) the requests for joining this that and the other have started to come in (they actually started as I was walking away from Guides)and I have decided to be selfish and not volunteer for anything that is going to take so much away from us.

    I have put my hand up to go on the local emergency disaster committee but that is still to get up and going and will only be required at certain times rather than every week right through out the year.

    We can handle that.

    We have had the discussion, on numerous occassions, about me going back to work - to be honest we come up with the same answer each time. I save more money/make more money by staying home and looking after the household even though there is just the 2 of us.

    I have 2 groups that I have joined as a social outlet, neither one expects me to do anything other than turn up so I am quite happy to leave my husband working here at home (he works from home)and head out to enjoy some female company for a couple of hours. I need this and so does my husband.

    We are together 24/7 7 days a week unless we have something that needs doing away from home.

    There was a cartoon a number of years ago that had the husband arrive home from work and his wife was still in her night atire, dishes were not done, house wasn't cleaned etc etc and he asked what had happened - his wife said I thought I would let you see what happens when I don't do things here.

    There have also been studies done about the cost of replacing the wife in the house - so the breakdown put things under a 'professional' heading and then a cost - it soon became evident that no one could afford to pay for everything that the wife does.

    Now these were just basic skills no sewing, mending or things like painting a room (as some of us do)- you can imagine just how much it would cost to replace us as we increase our skills.


  10. Dearest Annabel, what a sweet and stoic post this is. As you know, you and I have had similar trials, and both found our true loves later in life. I played career girl for a long time as I thought having lots of money was the best way to show my sons a good childhood. The Universe had other ideas though, and instead, I found myself attracting men who saw me as Mother and Banker. It was only when I finally saw that my role was to be at home with my sons, that things changed for me. You are so right that we just have to see raising our children and keeping a happy home as the important task it has always been, and honour that tradition. My sons also see their life by the beach as fairy tale-like, and often say that I instilled their ambition, zest for life, and love of home and hearth, in them, and don't know how I managed to do that, and manage the ongoing influx of friends that streamed through our home back in those days. Many of those boys just wanted a place to call home too. Never ever underestimate what Mums can achieve. Mimi xxx

  11. Thank you for all the lovely replies. I can't reply individually as I am painting the laundry! But this was a bit of my heart and I hope it is encouraging as we can get bossed around and lose what we really feel we should be doing. We feel we need to conform. Don't do it! Lol Some of the things the world tells us is an outright lie! We are working on bigger things, eternal things. Remember

  12. Annabel I too could have done with hearing this a few decades ago lol.Ive felt exactly the same as you but like others mentioned I did not have much support around as mum passed away when my first two were preschoolers,youngest was 8 months when she got sick suddenly.We were close too so I really like to hear about your family generations of support . DH appreciates now that I stayed at home but I dont think he or his mum did when our kids were young. But like you Im pretty determined when I feel it's right for me and mine.
    I thought of you today when I mended my granddaughter's fairy dress, as she calls it.Pink fluffy tulle ,with tears in it oh dear as she's a climber and determined to wear a dress everyday preferably pink. It felt very therapeutic hand sewing ,memories back to when I was yougn and would sit with nan of an evening when she was teaching me to embroider cloths.But that is a very long time ago and Ive forgotten. I might just be inspired to google some instructions.Thankyou for posting this.Love Maria xxx
    Waving to Lynette above :-)

  13. This is a post I need to print and laminate and stick to my fridge. Mother Teresa's quote is INCREDIBLE. It is like I was mean to read this post. As soon as I gave birth it's how I have felt. There is nothing more joyful to me than spending time with my family. I am determined to do anything I can to spend time with them. It does mean sacrifices on both our parts, so to my husband, I am very grateful. For example, we may just have to live in our two bedroom unit for a while longer, forgo takeaways etc. We love getting out, but do it differently now. Your (delicious) homemade scones by the lake with our baby brings such joy. I now suggest beach bbqs to friends and meet ups at the park. I love it! I love the pictures of when your girls are little. My favourite is the last one when they are holding the flowers. You can see the joy and love written all over their faces. It is like they are literally jumping for joy, it is too sweet. That sums up a beautiful childhood. It is so kind of you to encourage us. There really aren't many people that do. Love and thanks, Bridge

  14. Thank you Annabel for your wise words of advise. Bless you

  15. Of all the years I was 'at home' and the years I spent working, the ones at home were the most creative, interesting and overall rewarding. I was home with my first two until they were 8 and 4, worked for about 5 years, had a short stint at home, went back to work for 3 or so more years and finally was home again when my youngest was 5. I made it permanent the last time by pointing out how much childcare and out of county tuition would cost us. I'd have been LOSING money each school year and the costs would have been even deeper in summers. I convinced my husband I could save more than I'd earn by being home and promptly did so by 'earning' us $200 a month extra just by changing insurance (having had time to research) and cutting other expenses before I'd even been at this 'job' more than a week! Now my husband tells every one we meet that the two most important things we've ever done was to tithe on our income and put me at home where my savings powers brought in more than work ever had done. We are now nearing retirement age and people have finally stopped suggesting I 'go back to work'...I think they think I'm too old, but I can easily put in a 12 hour day here and still not touch on all the many ways I might add still more to the days! Being at home is not for the faint of heart!!

  16. Hello Annabel, I have only just come back here to check the comments plus I wasn't expecting a lovely extra post, what a beautiful surprise it was. I get questions about what I do all day because I don't work but what people don't understand is I would love to work in paid work but Just because I am unable to it doesn't mean I am not productive at home. I love the mother Theresa quote, it is so true Annabel. Thank you for a touching and timely post. Love Barb

    1. Dear Barb,
      Yes this what do you do all day thing drives me crazy! It seems a common idea that our worth comes from our career. There are so many ways to contribute but I know for a fact you contribute enormously by encouraging others. You are wonderful the way you do that!
      With love

  17. Amen, Annabel, amen!

  18. Annabel, what a lovely post. When my girls were young DH and i worked shift work(nurses), and shifts were organised so that there was usually someone home to look after them. If that wasn't possible they went to my parents home, there they learned about different life stages. The oldest DD now has 4 children and considers it is her role in life to make them responsible people, and she appears to be succeeding even though they are still young.

  19. Your post is lovely and inspiring to me, but I cried when I read it because I have really missed the mark as a mother. The problem I have is that my 3 children are under the age of 9, and I am so drained. They are with me 24 hrs a day, because the Lord is having us homeschool them. I have no help from my family, because I can't allow them to be around my children (they are very negative, and spiritually unhealthy). I was raised by a self-centered mother who wasn't nurturing or protecting, so I didn't learn how to be that way. So when you said in your post: "You know what? I loved every minute. The girls now talk about their fairy tale childhood. That is what they say about it. At Lucy's wedding Dad spoke of me as like a Mother Hen protecting my children. I was so proud he said that!"-I cried.
    You see, this is my dream. This is what I want. I want mothering to come naturally to me, but instead I feel I am barely surviving. I don't know how to be a good mom, and I fail all the time. I am so sorry to say that I am not even enjoying this time, because I feel fearful and guilty most of the time. I am so scared that this time is passing me by, because my dream was to enjoy it!

    1. I am going to take time to reply to you as I really feel to.
      Firstly I will tell you the things that helped me most. Once was a good routine and good bed times. Everyone was in bed by 7 30 and I had free evenings then. Routine and also everyone has jobs to do. A nine year old can be setting the table, making their bed and using the washing machine even. So organisation and routine was a vital thing.
      Read Laines Letters. Daily encouragement is so important. Especially when you don't have family support. You will notice you feel better with that.
      Do consider how you feel... like are you over tired and overwhelmed or could you be a bit depressed even? If you are not sure talk to your doctor. I have been a bit depressed at times then EVERYTHING seems blah and hard.
      Other things that helped me was I had two teenage girls who loved kids and they would call in and they were lovely girls. This would give me a couple of hours to do things as my girls would play with them and have a lovely time. It was break of sorts while still being home.
      I totally respect you homeschooling. If you know other homeschoolers can you all help each other a little? I hope you have some support there. Brandy on A Prudent Homemaker mentions a lot of wonderful free homeschooling resources.
      Also I think you are probably doing a really good job. Things don't have to be perfect. As long as the children know they are loved. Everyday show them that and it is fine. Don't be too hard on yourself.
      Make little changes that you think will help. It is a journey and you have not lost your chance you are still in the thick of it! Ditch anything you think isn't working and keep things simple as you can.
      Pray, read one Laines Letter a day (the link is in my Laines section) keep a gratitude journal. Each day write down ten things you feel grateful for. That helps think of the good things and truly helps you feel happy and blessed. Also I find looking over what I achieved in the week helps rather just on the list of things to still do... that is why I do Feather your Nest Friday. I feel much better when I consider my progress rather than what I didn't get done!
      Let me know how you go. You have an opportunity to make happy times and beautiful memories for you all, including yourself. Its a new year and I love that as it is like writing a new chapter or new book about your life with so many opportunities to review things, change things, do things differently. We all need to do it as life can wander away in a way and we can wonder how we got here!
      I hope at least something might help as I am sure you are a wonderful Mum. With love

    2. I am sorry but I just wanted to say- I am only new to motherhood, but I bet you are doing a wonderful job. I completely underestimated mother's guilt before having my son, dismissing it as a silly phrase. Boy it's true. I love Annabel's blog because it is so positive and encouraging. I have never felt so affirmed and it is teaching me to celebrate every day. So try and celebrate everything you do. Even making your children's lunches just the way they like it- well done! Plus homeschooling is a massive job on its own. So you have two full time jobs there. I bet you do so much, you just don't even count it anymore. Make sure you do count it. Plus we all need some down time. Sorry to intrude. I just know how emotional motherhood can be. Sending you love. Love, Bridge

    3. Annabel, I hope you don't mind me responding too. Firstly, I wholeheartedly admire your decision to homeschool. My only concern there is that it sounds like maybe you and the children are then quite socially isolated. I might be wrong, and if so, I apologise. But do not underestimate the importance of contact with other children of similar ages, and for you, contact with other Mums who are homeschooling. Do you have a network of homeschooling families to tap in to by any chance? Even a once a week catchup might help for all of you. You sound so overwhelmed you poor darling. Three children under 9 would be a handful for anyone, but most of us send our children to school, allowing us time to get things done, that then free us to have special 'Mum' time, both with and without the children. Maybe think about what you can do to give yourself that time. A special 15 minutes with each child early in the morning or before bed, and 15 minutes for you in a lovely bath, or reading before sleep, might help you create those memories that are so precious, giving you time to reflect on the day too. The other thing is, I think we all feel we fail our children from time to time. I still think I failed my boys. But at 36 and 37, they are happy to set me straight, and tell me over and over how lucky they felt. And the things that they remember, are not the ones I expected. Kids are funny like that. I bet your children will surprise you with their memories twenty years from now too. Keep up the good work. Mothering is tough sometimes. For all of us. But the rewards are there in their sweet faces. Love, Mimi xxx

    4. I can never thank you both enough for taking the time to reply to me. I really needed this affirmation and love. I feel like I am breathing today and my hope is restored. I will read the Laines Letters and keep recording the things I am grateful for. I think you both are right, because I used to focus on the things I DO accomplish, but lately have been focusing on all the tasks I haven't accomplished. I think I am being too hard on myself and trying to be perfect. But your right, all I need to do is love them, in the little things. Thanks for all who prayed for me, because it has really helped :) God bless you!

    5. Yes I just wanted to say words to also encourage you. Motherhood is not easy. It is much easier to send them off to school each day and wave them goodbye! Home schooling is a huge undertaking. As Mums we are doing the best we can at that time, and the best that we can muster. Some times we all fall short......
      But try and grab some time for you to recharge your batteries. Early bed times are good,and let your kids know your limits, when you have had enough. Don't compare your self to others.Being a Mum doesn't come naturally to everyone, but we all try to do the best we can.

  20. Dear Annabel, Such a lovely post!! So wonderful to see pictures of your girls growing up and peak into your lovely family!!! I know this post will help lots of young moms as well as those women in various "seasons" of their life!!

    Thank you and have a nice weekend! Love, Teri

  21. Very wise words Annabel, very, very, wise words.

  22. This is a post I need to print and laminate and stick to my fridge. Mother Teresa's quote is INCREDIBLE. It is like I was mean to read this post. As soon as I gave birth it's how I have felt. There is nothing more joyful to me than spending time with my family. I am determined to do anything I can to spend time with them. It does mean sacrifices on both our parts, so to my husband, I am very grateful. For example, we may just have to live in our two bedroom unit for a while longer, forgo takeaways etc. We love getting out, but do it differently now. Your (delicious) homemade scones by the lake with our baby brings such joy. I now suggest beach bbqs to friends and meet ups at the park. I love it! I love the pictures of when your girls are little. My favourite is the last one when they are holding the flowers. You can see the joy and love written all over their faces. It is like they are literally jumping for joy, it is too sweet. That sums up a beautiful childhood.

    1. Dear Bridge, thank you for your kind words for me and also another Mother. I have so many photos! Many of them are quite funny like Lucy here in her show cap with hardly any teeth feeling beautiful with her fairy wings! They are really precious.
      I know you appreciate everything and Im so glad. And I love your outings. Picnics are great, dinner on the beach and such simple things are really lovely. And these fit with having a child too as its relaxed and casual.
      thanks Bridge, with love

  23. Annabel, beautiful post and lovely photos of the girls. My parents both said to me that the best thing I could do was bring up two boys that would be good wholesome contributors to society and I know I did that. Your life echoes mine so much. It was a very emotional post and I'm sure will help many people. I found the anonymous home schooling ladies' post very distressing, I'm sure she is doing a good job, she just sounds overwhelmed and exhausted. Let's hope she takes on your words. Great post, and a nice treat to find on Sunday. I was browsing around and thought I'd read your comments this morning as someone else mentioned, and there was a new post. Nice treat!.
    Fi xx

  24. Dear Annabel, Thank you for this post and for sharing your heart. I can see from the comments that many of the ladies relate to this. God has not chosen to bless us yet with children, so I tend to get asked a lot for volunteering, joining clubs, and especially full time childcare. I say no, and I do feel guilty at times. But I still have a husband and a home and I'm just not willing to sacrifice my time on things that take too much away from that. (I would in a heartbeat for my OWN children but not other people's kids.) I don't want to sound selfish (there's that guilt) because I do help people, but I do it in my own way like you said, things like donating, making a meal for a family, etc. I'm with you-I hate the "what do you do all day" question. And then I stumble around for an answer because it's hard to list all the things our job entails and it ends up sounding like nothing. I just think, "Follow me around for a day and you'll see." It really is a lot of work, especially if you have kids. Stand firm mothers and homemakers, your home and family need you more than anyone else does. Love, Kelsey

  25. I want to echo what Annabel has so graciously shared. I am a homeschooling mother of 8. My children range in ages 17 to nearly 3. I have never had any help from family and our income has always been sporadic as my husband is self-employed. God has sent women my way to encourage me always. Sometimes it wasn't through friendship but the right words spoken by a godly woman on the radio or in print. I was blessed to have a wise husband who refused to let me volunteer much. Believe me, I was pressured immensely. Both my mother and m-in-law felt my husband wasn't "treating me right." But I knew he was guarding me and our family. My children are all happy, healthy and un-jaded. My only regret is that I didn't see how wise my husband's guidance was sooner (it took me a few years).
    Praying for each one of you as you take a stand against the devil's schemes.

  26. Thank you for sharing all the lovely pictures of your girls!

  27. I am past retirement agenda still people wonder what I do all day at home!! People tell me they could not imagine being home and not working. They think they would be bored. I suppose if you worked all your life and never developed hobbies or friendships outside of your work you could feel a bit overwhelmed with the slower pace once home. I have even been told by women who just had a baby that they actually asked to come back to work sooner than they could because they would rather be at work then home with the baby! They did not know what to do with their time. At work they had a schedule and a boss who told them what had to be done each week Friends at work to be with etc. They knew no other life. I thought that was kind of sad. Like a child who is never left alone to learn to keep themselves occupied. To use their own imaginations and such. How are people to be quiet and hear from God in such a busy loud world I wonder. Well that is a discussion for another time but one thing for sure being home with my family was a true blessing. Now the kids are gone and even the grandchildren are getting older but there is still plenty to do and if I want to and plenty of opportunities to volunteer in our extended families lives or the communities. A young mother I know just this week quit her job to stay home full time with her 2 year old. The cycle continues. Some mothers have no choice no matter how much they work on pinching pennies and planning towards staying home they cannot. We need to support them when we can. Try IF you have time and energy to give them some help. We all only have so much energy in life so we have to guard it to be used wisely. But perhaps even helping with handle down children's clothes or a casserole for her freezer once in a while would not take up much of your time,..but show you are thinking of her.?? Better go. :) Sarah

    1. Love your last three lines
      Quite often it is the small everyday helps that count the most.
      Beautiful post Annabel

  28. So glad you put the link to this in your latest post Annabel. ๐Ÿ‘


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