24 July 2011

A couple more Normal Days

So full of little moments, projects, ideas, quiet times and lively, busy and restful... Jenna and Morgan carefully constructed a bird hide with some chairs and tarpaulin.
Rowan played pirates and castles at the same time. It involves saying, "ARRR" a lot, and making the wooden people talk to each other in her hilarious baby talk.
We spent some time in the garden, mostly watching the bright poisonous Cinnabar caterpillars, finding spiders in the compost, and hanging off the swing set. Jenna watched some gymnasts on youtube, and then freaked us out slightly for a few hours chalking her hands up with pink chalk dust before trying to swing all the way over the top bar.

The children made a lot of castles from bricks, which Rowan and Connor mostly knocked over. Morgan drew lots of her lovely little people on the chalk board.
Martin and I cleaned the living room top to bottom and used a hired carpet cleaner on the grubby carpets. They are blue again! And gosh, how much space we have, and how much of my crazy nesting list of jobs has been ticked off already. I'm very nearly done with tackling the dining area and computer desk too.

This is what happens when you have just spent all day cleaning, and two toddlers get the run of the toy shelves...
And I made playdough yesterday too. Surgical-appliance pink, unfortunately, but enjoyed nevertheless. Even by a Very Patient Jenna who kept having her neat little baked goods mushed up by the babies.


  1. Looks like a lovely time had by all! Busy for evryone. x x x

  2. Hi

    I have been reading your blog for some time. I think your girls are so lovely. However, something has been just plaguing me for awhile. You are a SAHM, your practice unschooling, and yet you are on benefits - thus enjoying the fruits of other women's work. I am one of these women - and I would love nothing more than to stay at home with my two precious boys. But I can't afford it - my finances dictate that I must work, so I do. Buy my taxes go to families like you. I would be interested in hearing how you justify enjoying the privilege of benefits (when you are so clearly ABLE to work) while other women don't have this luxury and are subsidising you.

  3. Hi Anonymous, there are a lot of interesting questions worth touching on in your comment and I doubt very much I will be able to do justice to any answers I have here - which makes me wonder slightly why you decided upon this forum to broach the subject! :)

    Firstly, your taxes are subsidising a Job Seeker's Allowance paid to (and for) my husband, who has just lost his job. He is the breadwinner in our household for many complicated reasons. The easiest to explain of these is that we are not finished having children in the baby stage and if I work I can barely cover childcare with that money AND this would limit the time I am available to breastfeed my infants at the same time.

    You are correct in that physically I could be looking for work now that my husband is unemployed - but I will leave it to you to guess how successful I would be as a heavily pregnant hyperemesis sufferer... So we have made the decision that he will continue seeking paid employment, and I will not until at the earliest six months after the baby is born. We are not choosing to claim state aid, but are victims of current circumstance. The lack of security of having a single earner is a risk we take.

    Personally, when we are paying taxes (ie usually) our main concern is that people who would otherwise be hungry and homeless are fed and housed - not that they justify what complicated personal situations put them in that position in the first place!

    I do not consider being here a privilege that only the rich should be able to achieve. By no means would I say that every mother *should* work primarily within the home, but neither do I believe that money is a sufficient reason *for myself* for me not to be here. We have chosen to live well below the poverty line because we consider that to be worth it.

    We chose to earn a low income. We chose to live within those means. Our lives have changed dramatically from our lifestyle when both of us were working. I sympathise with your financial dilemma, and was in a similar position myself a few years ago. We moved into a much much cheaper house, my husband changed jobs, my household budget halved, it's a long story - but here we are.

    We have chosen in the past not to claim help we are legally entitled to. We have paid into the system for many years more than we have taken out of it. Therefore much as it may upset you, I carry no guilt at doing what we need to survive the short periods when my husband has not been able to get work.

    The one last question I come to raise, is that of worth and its connection to earnings. The work that I do is not paid. The mothering I do is not paid - and the voluntary work I do is not paid - none of my social roles are ones which are paid. This gives me no sense of entitlement, but neither does it shame me. I believe our society needs individuals who are doing other valuable work without pay just as much as our society needs people who pay lots of tax. In fact, if we want to CHANGE our society, we probably need to radically rethink the value of motherhood and the priorities of a culture that sees consumerism as the only option.

    I highly recommend the book "The Politics of Breastfeeding" to you as a manifesto of how a society might liberate motherhood (and childhood) from the current financial dilemmas.

    I'm sorry if I have not answered your questions, because I would like to believe you ask from a place of interest. If you genuinely feel I have something to "justify", I don't feel I can help you any further. (I also want to add that whilst I value freedom of speech, this site is my home, where I am me and only me, and if any post becomes abusive it simply won't be published. I add this only on the tiny offchance that you aren't who you say you are and wish for a fight!)

    Best wishes,


Penny for your thoughts? :)