About Nicole

Woman... trying to figure out how to be

bad mother #23

You know you’re a bad mother when… you receive a backhanded compliment like this one:

“Mum you could be a teacher if you wanted to. You would just need to work on your mood and try not to be so cranky at the children”

The truth hurts…

a new chapter

I began this blog, as the name would suggest, after I became a mother. For those six years and two more before, I have worked for a single employer and been afforded the luxury of paid maternity leave (twice), flexible working hours and a decent salary.

When my first child was born, I wanted to do my best to be a committed and nurturing parent, but I soon realised that I had more sense of achievement and personal satisfaction from work. I was lucky enough to fall into a career that I enjoy and is creatively and professionally rewarding. I didn’t enjoy as some mothers do, being at home when my children were first born and was eager to get back to work. I often wonder about the psychology behind all this.

On the one hand, I feel guilty that I have focuses on myself to some extent instead of devoting myself more to my children. On the other hand, I want to show my children that my career is as important as their fathers and that the assumption shouldn’t always be that a woman should make all the sacrifices for family life.

Woman in the workplace are at an automatic disadvantage once they have children. Periods of leave while nurturing infant children, and then the entitlement to work part-time once they return (if lucky), means they miss out on opportunities. Many mothers I know work part-time. There is always a sense of needing to prove themselves. They overcompensate on the days they are there by fitting far more into their day than most.

A woman who returns to the workforce too soon or who devotes herself too much to work, is looked down on by society for being selfish. Instead of supporting each other and celebrating the freedom to make these choices, women often judge other women who make choices that are different to their own.


All this is going through my mind right now as I reach the end of a chapter in my life. After much deliberation and inner turmoil, I have decided to take up a new position where I will be working full-time. I have been through the pros and cons in my mind many times and have come to realise that the decision is made most difficult because of what it symbolises. I currently work four days a week, and have done so since I returned to work with both my children. Why then is it so hard to imagine working five days? Why has there been an assumption that I would (or should) request to work part-time at a new workplace?

Is it because it means that I am choosing to think of myself first above my children and family? Should I wait a few more years until my youngest is at school to see if another opportunity like this comes up?

I have made the decision to start a new chapter in my life because it is right for me and because I am important. My husband and children are also important, and decisions that impact on their future happiness and success will also be made with the same consideration.

little bother of a brother

This morning as I was trying to leave the house an argument erupted.

Scarlett was trying to tell me something, and her brother was complaining at me that I hadn’t put his cereal bowl in the right spot. I told Scarlett to wait a minute. At this point she burst into tears and ran down stairs screaming that Xavier always gets to talk first.

After losing my own temper, I put Xavier in his place (screaming) while I went to find Scarlett. When I found her I apologised for what had happened.

As I hugged her she said “I wish Xavier had a zipper in his mouth and only you could open it”.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

fibbing for fun

This evening after dinner, three and a half year old Xavier came to me to tell me something very important. He told me that our dog Biddy had urinated on the lounge room floor (as she often does being a 16 year old dog with kidney failure). His sister is often praised for raising our attention to this, and I thought how helpful it was of him to do the same.

When I went to inspect his find, I was puzzled as to why the dog would have gone behind a lamp in the corner of the room. I looked at the puddle and realised it looked more like spilled water than urine, so I questioned him about it.

He assured me that he was not fibbing several times, but after further questioning it came out. I was baffled as to why he would go out of his way to tell me a lie to avoid admitting to spilling some water – it was only a small amount after all.

I’ve asked him to tell the truth from now on. We’ll see how that goes…

oranges coming out of my ears

The week before last, I made an error in my grocery order. I do the bulk of my grocery shopping online and sometime I misread the specified quantity. This particular time, I accidentally ordered 2kg of oranges instead of 2 oranges!

We ate many, many oranges over the past week or so, but I soon realised we were not going to get through all of them before they started to go bad. I acted swiftly, and was able to find ample delicious cake recipes to use them up.

Hazelnut and orange olive oil cake

I love nutty cakes, and since I had some left-over hazelnut meal, I chose this as my first recipe. The original recipe called for orange flavoured liqueur, but I opted for orange juice instead. This also used up the rest of the orange used for the zest in this cake!

making hazelnut and orange olive oil cake

I decided to make cupcakes instead of a whole cake because I though it would be easier for distribution and sharing at playgroup and the office. Instead of cooking them for 45 minutes, I took them out after 20 minutes.

hazelnut and orange olive oil cupcakes

Orange pistachio cake

I stuck with the recipe for this one – it sounded so delicious with the pistachios, mint and orange flower water! While a little more fuss than I usually like, the boiled and pulped orange gives it such a lovely orangey flavour and is ever so moist. Also a gluten-free one!

making orange pistachio cupcakes

Again I went with cupcakes for these, and I cooked them for 35 minutes on a slightly lower temperature because they seemed to be browning a little too quickly.

pistachio orange cupcakes with orange flower water syrup

With the orange flower water syrup drizzled over them, they look so glossy and delicious – and they are.

Finally, I had a little bit of syrup left after all my cupcakes were soaked, so instead of eating it all off the spoon (which very nearly happened) I poured it into mini cupcake cases and popped them back into the oven for another 20 minutes of so and made some toffee. Yum!

orange flower water toffees made from left over syrup - very sticky but very delicious

boy stuff

Confronted with a bare bottom boy bounding down the stairs, wiggling and wobbling all around the place, I asked “why haven’t you got any pants on?”. He replied with the most logical explanation “it’s much cooler than way Mum”.

it's much cooler that way mum

baking and being

Today is my birthday. I’m thirty six and just realised just how quickly the last 6 years have gone! Six years ago I celebrated my birthday expecting my first child. I was blissfully unaware of the magnitude of the changes this child would enforce on me. And yet, I cannot imagine my life had these changes not occurred.

It’s been an extremely busy couple of weeks. Still getting into the swing of doing the whole school thing, I now feel a little more relaxed about it all and not so frightened of forgetting to pack lunch or return notes on time. Scarlett has settled in to OOSH a little better, and Xavier has stopped crying when I leave him at preschool, instead adopting an awkward little sad wave goodbye. Lots of cuddles resolve any ill feelings at night.

I have been insanely busy at work lately, which I have come to realise has made me a little on edge at home, but I am trying to be conscious of it and keep things in perspective. Even though at times I feel that I am not achieving anything much, I am lucky enough to have a boss who reassures me that I am, and appreciates my efforts.

After an extremely long week (having attending a music festival and two gigs), I am just grateful to stay home today (in my pyjamas) and do the things that make me happy. Presents in bed, breakfast made by someone else, lounging around and baking. Today I have made good use of some bananas that were going bad…

banana bread with coconut

And have also made some delicious Crunchy Lola Cookies

delightful crunchy Lola cookies

But what I am enjoying right now, is listening two my delightful children playing ‘schools’ downstairs. Scarlett, being so excited about learning new things at school, has decided to start her own letter lessons for toddlers such as her brother. I wonder if she will become a teacher one day?

excited to be writing her own words, each family member was asked what they like doings this evening