Monday, May 7, 2012

in {her} shoes...mel

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happy monday, my lovelies!  it's time for another in {her} shoes post.  today's guest poster is Mel from Raising Playful Tots.  mel is one of the few bloggers that i follow that does podcasts.  take a peek at her site when you're done her


Hi Crayon Freckles readers! I was excited and totally nervous writing a post like this but decided to go for it as I’ve really enjoyed the series. Thanks Andie for the invite.

We’re a family of six as our English Cocker Spaniel is family and my only girl ally. We have a lot of interesting things going on in our family like most families. My husband is in the Military and our travels have taken us from Europe to the States and back to Europe in the last 12 years of marriage.

We’ve lived in 9 homes, 3 countries and 2 different continents and counting. We’ve had three smiley happy boys along the way and a few miscarriages. We’re a mixed family in every sense of the word; mixed nationalities, mixed races and mixed country perspectives.

We say trash can and dustbin in the same conversation which often becomes trash bin or that thing over there!. We all have quite distinct accents which make us smile. That’s likely to change overtime but we celebrate it right now.

I’ve stayed at home with the children, a choice we decided way back at the beginning. We adjusted our lifestyle, made a plan and haven’t looked back. It’s not always been easy with deployments, distance from family, isolation, new countries, new systems and friends but we’ve made it work through with lots of smiles and a lot of tears.

There have been many times I’ve missed going out to work and using my training. But many more times, I’ve been happy that I wasn’t working. (That feeling still comes and goes)

I’m a trained primary school teacher and have a love of learning and teaching. We go to church. Who knows what the next 5-10 years will bring?

One of the most challenging parts of being this type of mum is finding your people. I like conversation and discussion. With the frequent movements it’s hard to maintain relationships and find people who are like you, your family or have or will keep up with what’s going on in your life. We all want different things.

My last pregnancy was a difficult one with lots of hospital visits. Today I have rare auto immune disease to manage that is similar to MS which has and will continue to have a major impact on our family life.

We love to play and spend time together as a family. We work very much like a team. I started Play Activities as a way of positively documenting ideas, comments and discussion around play. I happen to start when everyone was into a popular infant DVD set and I found my local friends were really into them and I just wasn’t convinced. It’s hard to be the loner with your first child and in another country. What did I know? You really find out who you are and grow. I also wanted to find a way to promote positive discussion about play as a counter to the strong influential electronic messages around. It’s since developed into a big Early Years passion; a blog, newsletter, Index and Podcast as I’ve become more comfortable in my role as a teacher, mum and spouse. I’ve developed my passions into something that’ll work for us all.


Our home is a lived-in, played-in home and you’re likely need to pick up a few books to find a place to set down your cup or yourself. We’re all a bit like that. I love to see the creativity in my boys.

The most rewarding part of being a mum is getting the cuddles that only boys can give; full, long and hard. We love how they are curious and full of energy. When you’ve had a long hard day of tantrums, shouting and no break. It’s lovely to hear from the playdate/friend/neighbour that the values, manners and family values DO translate even when we don’t {always} see them present. Those days make those other days- just one day.

I’m very thankful for my boys. Seeing them everyday and being active with them is something I don’t take for granted anymore.
We try to instill a few things like
  • faith in yourself and God.
  • We need each other and we’re better when we seek help.
  • Be open, curious and selective about what we find your hands, feet and minds to do.
I’m conscious as the only woman in the home that the boys learn to do most things I do and not see certain chores as what a woman does but what I can do or can’t.......yet. We value time together with our family nights and dinner time discussions. We also encourage and teach our children to be polite and respectful of adults. It’s hard work but totally worth it long term. Our latest value is Perseverance.... don’t give in too fast and know when to quit. This one is for me too.

I think my children would say that I’m persuasive- as they don’t want to do something but somehow manage to get it done. Playful or silly as we do lots of things together , like dance silly dances in the kitchen and have lots of things appear at home to try themselves. I know the eldest would say, I’m talkative. I love a good conversation and good company....and probably write too many long posts.

I’m in my boots a lot as they double for so many duties during the day. Sensible, smart and easily worn with a skirt.

We’re not a perfect family which I’m sure you can see. We have our struggles and I wonder everyday if I’m doing the right things. Both my husband and I have lots of other interests. While the boys are the light of our lives we have our hobbies and each other too.
We don’t give up though and keep striving and we know that no matter what we have each other.

Thanks for reading part of our story and stop by sometime for a chat.

Play Activities Network
Making the most of Early childhood playtime
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