Monday 2 March 2015

Let's practice less Comparison and more Compassion

Parenting five children is relentlessly busy.
And I was under the impression that it was the busiest when they were little.
I missed the memo that as they went to high school it would get busier and busier.
It's not just a physical busyness- the getting them to all the things they love to do,  but it is the mental busyness.
My job is like being a corporate PA to five different executives. Without the payslip.

Dealing with the new & big things to do with parenting children as they enter the early adult years feels pretty darn big.
Negotiating friendships, first love, first heartbreak, an ever increasing schoolwork load. Negotiating the rules of social media & technology and learning ways to help that fit in with a family that prioritises time with each other while letting them engage with their friends online too.

When we were growing up we sat on our corded phones, the coiled cord pulled as far as possible stretched to it's limits in our efforts to have a private conversation.
Or maybe like my husband, there was no phone at all. All that was needed was your bike to skoot around to see your friend face to face & conduct that private conversation in real life.

We had lots of 'spare' time. Time where we did nothing, where we learnt how to do nothing at all and to be at peace.

Life now is fast & complicated & as parents we are in a generation where change is so rapid that we are having to learn to negotiate technology that we never had in our childhood. Setting rules about stuff we don't fully comprehend yet ourselves.

I am struggling with how fast it is.  And I am struggling with how fast my children are growing up.
Our eldest is doing VCE.
And yet we have children across the age ranges, so we have a little one in Grade one also.
A reminder of how fast it all happens. Right there before us a physical reminder. It is very real & very confronting.

I used to think that when mine were really little, when they were toddlers and in the early years of Primary school that it was the busiest of all and that when they got to high school it would be simpler & easier.
I miss them being so little and things being so much simpler.  Yet it is exciting to see my people turning into young adults.
But I feel so unsure of all of it. As a parent I have never second guessed myself so much.
Am I doing the right thing?
Am I being too strict?
Am I understanding the issue or missing it all together?
Am I too involved?
Am I helping?
I don't feel like I know the answers anymore, whereas once upon a time I just knew I was doing the right things.  I felt confident.

I now know less than I ever did. Ain't that the truth.

What I do know is that there is no such phase as the 'easy' part of parenting.
Whether you are parenting one child or many;
Whether you are dealing with 'normal' parenting situations or tricky complex parenting situations;
Whether your child is fully able or has special needs;
Whether you are a young parent or an older parent;
Whether your children are little or big;
Whether you are a working parent or a stay at home parent;
the list goes on............

It is all hard.
It is all consuming.
It is all rewarding.
It doesn't necessarily get easier but it changes.
It is sometimes overwhelmingly awesome.
It is sometimes just plain overwhelming.

What I would love is if we could all just stop for a bit and acknowledge all of this.  Stop & breathe it in.
It is enormous. Really enormous. The single most important thing of all. No wonder we find it takes us to the brink every now & then.

Maybe what we all need to practice a bit more is less comparison of one another and more compassion.

Everyone is fighting a battle you can not see.  And as we all muddle through parenting in the way we see best works for us on any given day, let's try & practice a little more kindness to all of the other parents who are doing the very same.

For we are all just trying to do and to be our very best.

ZUCCHINI KOFTA CURRY with Tomato coconut sauce:
I took inspiration from this recipe but I made several changes- (there were steps missing in this recipe & the first time I made it the koftas collapsed.)
Zucchini is abundant at this time of year and lots of people having them coming out of their ears!
This is a delicious way to use them.

The sauce doesn't need a long time to cook & I recommend serving the sauce over the top of the kofta rather than heating through together as it tends to collapse the kofta.
I recommend using a deep fryer to fry the kofta. If you do not have one you will need a thermometer to ensure your oil is at correct deep frying temp of  180C.

for the Kofta:

  • 2 large zucchini, grated
  • 2 medium size potatoes, steamed & mashed
  • 4 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup besan (chickpea) flour
  • 3 tablespoons Rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bi-carb
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 3 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander 
  • salt & pepper
  • rice bran oil for frying
For the Curry sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee (use oil if making it vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchur (available at Indian grocers)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 teaspoons coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 can coconut cream
  • juice of a lime.


Heat the oil to 180C. 
While the oil is pre-heating you can prepare the Kofta.
To prepare the kofta, simply add all ingredients listed together well & let sit for 10 minutes to help the flours bind.

Now take a small amount & shape it into a ping pong size ball.  Carefully drop into the heated oil.
Cook for about 3-4 minutes each and then remove & drain on paper towel. 
Repeat with up to 5 at a time.
Repeat until all mix is used. You can keep them warm in an oven heated to 100C while you cook the remaining Kofta mix.
In a large heavy based pan, heat ghee to medium high and add garlic & ginger.
Add all spices and fry gently till aromatic- about 2 minutes.
Now add tomatoes and reduce heat to low.
After about 15 minutes, when you can see the oil starting to separate, add the coconut cream & simmer for 10 minutes. Add lime juice just before serving.

Serve sauce over Kofta & enjoy with Lemon Pilau Rice 

This is the perfect song- lyrically & musically for todays post.....


  1. Beautiful Ruth so lovely and so true. We are all just figuring it out on the fly, aren't we/ I've been thinking a lot about this lately too. Have a lovely week ladycakes. x

  2. I am super teary today out of sheer parenting exhaustion. Three weekends on the trot of trying to fit it all in by myself as my husband has been away or working. Then I don't know if I made the right decision about one of them playing netball this year, the others are asking to do extra things and my head is exploding just trying to work out how it all fits in. The truth is, it doesn't fit in and once you accept that as a parent you just cannot do it all then things just work themselves out. But that guilt. Beautiful post x

  3. Yes, yes yes. I've never felt so unsure of myself or so unconfident in anything I've ever done, as I do now parenting 4 aged 14 to 20. I've never felt so isolated & lonely as I do now either, what happened to the wonderful supportive community I had when they were little? I have no idea. Compassion though, now that sounds wonderful compassion for myself & compassion for every other parent out there living it too.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. In a small way it helps to show me that community of caring others.
    Cheers Kate

  4. I could so understand and relate. I have a 12 year old boy who just started high school and eight year old boy and 2 little girls 2 and 6 months. i feel overwhelmed and exhausted at the moment.i did have one child up all night not well

  5. i'm super teary today too.
    and often.
    hugs. xx

  6. YES to the isolated part. I think as our children get older we ARE isolated.
    we kind of become the 'invisible' parents, as our young'uns aren't physically attached to us. It is a really really hard time.
    and absolutely a big YES to being compassionate to ourselves!
    Hugs to you Kate, and thank you for stopping by here.

  7. the year the first one starts high school is MASSIVE- no one ever prepares us for that year.
    I felt as if I was drowning.
    hugs & I hope wellness returns soon.

  8. Eloquently written and very concise!! My eldest is 21 this year and my youngest 8 (with a nearly 19 year old and almost 14 year old thrown in for good measure). Wouldn't change any of it for the world but 'man, it can be bloody hard work!!!' Thank you for putting into words what we all feel and would like to say..

  9. The Cinematic Orchestra is the perfect soundtrack to muse over your words to. Thanks for the reflection and the recipe. I'm doing a Whole30 challenge and with one or two minor tweaks, this may well be the falvour highlight of my week so far!! XX

  10. Tears sprang to my eyes reading this Ruth. I know I've said it before but so often I feel like the only parent getting it wrong & struggling with children who seem unruly. I know that's not true but as an outsider it does seem like everyone has their parenting shit together more than I do. More often than not despite knowing I'm trying my very very best I feel like I'm making mistake after mistake. I love you for writing this.

    I'll be pinning this recipe too. It sounds totally up my ally xx

  11. Reannon you are so not the only one. Truth be told I think we are all flying blind, holding on and hoping for the best. Like everything, this too shall pass. Some rides are just longer than others. hugs to you

  12. one of the very best things about reading blogs is knowing we are not alone.
    I am making mistake after mistake too and that is a-ok. I think that is what I am trying to say- us parents are in this mistake making gig together, a community of parents making mistakes. But what I think we need to do more of is hold hands and do it together, because the feeling alone bit makes it too too hard.
    I reckon we talk a LOT about parenting little kids, about how little sleep we have had etc but as our kids grow older we stop talking about it & the world of parenting teens becomes a quiet, lonely, isolated place.
    *reaches out for a squeezy hug*

  13. We are very early into our parenting journey but there is one thing I feel confident to say, your boys are so lucky to have you as their mama. Lovely post. Thank you x

  14. I'm the first one of my friends to hit the teenage years with kids so I try to talk about it a lot with them & I try to write about it too but it gets harder as they get older because their privacy becomes such a HUGE thing. I can honestly say I am having a much MUCH harder time parenting my boys now they are high schoolers compared to parenting my babies. Yes the sleep deprivation & tantrums drive you to tears but hormonal, moody, non- communicative teenagers are WAY harder for me. We are constantly rejigging rules & boundaries. & expectations. We are trying to keep on top of ALL the things & be fair but strict too. It is a battlefield for me, one that was COMPLETLY unexpected.
    Thanks for the squeezy hug. I needed it xx

  15. Thanks Kate. I ow it'll pass I just hope that when the teenage roller coaster finishes I have a decent relationship with my boys. Right now it feel so out of balance x

  16. yes I hear what you are saying about the future relationship,it's scary. I don't have any answers, just love and hugs from afar.

  17. can we make it a group hug?

  18. I'm not going to lie - I am SO EXCITED ABOUT HAVING A NEW ZUCCHINI RECIPE. They are indeed coming out of my ears. And I also bought a bag of besan flour lately that I've been needing to use so this is great. Thanks again GG

  19. Oh Ruth! It's been a little while since I have visited your blog and now that I have read this post it feels like a wonderful 'sister catchup'. Just letting it all out. Tears and all. Your honesty and the comments here are amazing and real and comforting and a relief. Thank you sooooo much for being ace! I don't feel like a completer loser anymore!! xxx


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