By EMMA CRAUFORD
It has occurred to me that when it comes to raising children, nothing can actually prepare you for each new season.
I don’t like this.
If at all possible, I would prefer 12 months notice on All Issues That Will Arise with each of my children. Then I could plan, research, study, hold focus groups and interrogate All Those Who Have Gone Before and demand their wisdom and insights. I could search for the people who have experienced the exact same thing that my kids will and ask them “What do I do?”
But alas no. Reality is more like at 9.45pm at night or as we are running out the door to school late, again, BAM, I’m blind-sided by New Issue that I am totally unprepared for.
I don’t think this feeling of being unprepared is specific to any one season. Whether it’s trying to feed a new baby, or help them learn to sleep, or navigate relationships and technology with teenagers, it’s almost impossible to prepare for how it will look for your kids and your family.
I don’t like this. As I previously mentioned.
So, as I often tell my kids, I am learning to embrace the things I Don’t Like and work out how to get through anyway.
It’s looking a lot more like thinking on your feet, getting it wrong, getting it right the next time, rolling with the punches, counting to 10, walking away, keeping my mouth shut, smiling in front of them and crying once they’re in bed, pretending I’m an expert in said issue while inwardly hoping they can’t see through me, telling them I don’t have all the answers, letting things that don’t matter go, going to sleep thankful a bad day is over and waking up thankful each new day starts with new grace and mercies for myself and for my kids.
Recently I did receive a beautiful text message from One Who Has Gone Before, who has/is raising boys older than mine. Not only is she surviving, but she seems to be doing it with bucket loads of grace and humor. I want to be just like her.
On a particularly discouraging day, as we had started to navigate the tween and teen years, she sent me this advice. Simple but Gold.
1. Keep a sense of humour.
2. Don’t take them too seriously, or take their “moods” personally.
3. Give them space and independence when you can.
4. Encourage good friendships.
5. Above all, keep loving them (NOT always easy)
6. Never stop praying.
I have considered getting it written on a canvas and placing it somewhere I can see it each morning.
And on the days when I seriously don’t know what to do, I try and focus on what I can do.
Love them and Feed them.
Sometimes that has to be enough.
Kate Bracks Bung-In Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups self raising flour
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- 150 grams butter, melted
- 1 1/4 cups icing sugar mixure
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 30 grams butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Grease a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper, on the base and sides.
- Place all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk with a hand balloon whisk to combine (this replaces having to sift all the ingredients)
- Make a well in the centre, and add the wet ingredients.
- Whisk gently until the mixture is smooth and combined.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Cool into the tin for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder together in a small bowl.
- Add the melted butter and vanilla and enough milk to get it to a smooth, spreadable consistency. Add more milk if it’s too thick.
- Spread the icing over the cooled cake.
- This cake will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container.