• All About Fern
  • Bad Day; Good Day

    It should have been a bad day. I woke up with a headache, and a tense neck. The kids were being loud and messy (I’m talking exceptionally loud and messy), and my brain went, Let’s go shopping! But I couldn’t go shopping. All the shops were closed for Good Friday. Boo.

    But not really.

    For whatever reason I just got on with things. I scrubbed the kids’ bathroom from top to bottom, vacuumed the carpets, and made an enormous stack of banana, chocolate chip pancakes. The husband assembled bunk beds in the biggest kid’s bedroom. The children ran around outside. And all the doing prompted more doing. So in the afternoon I sat down and put together this video:

    PLAY NZ is a group I started in the middle of winter last year. I wanted to connect with other Kiwi women who are active on YouTube. Struggling to find them, I figured I’d let them come to me – and that is what I did. Where would we be without Facebook groups?

    A friend suggested I call the group Play, which I liked but didn’t love, until I realised I could turn it into the perfect acronym. PLAY. Parenting, Lifestyle and Appearance YouTubers. Oh shit yes.

    As with most things in life, I’m kind of all over the place when it comes to PLAY. Some days (or weeks, or months) I’m like, PLAY is the best thing ever and I’m going to pour all my energy into it! That’s when I do things like set up entire websites, write YouTubey blog posts, and organise collaborations. Other times I feel like it’s all a big fat waste of time. Which is dumb, because my heart tells me it’s not. In fact, my heart reckons that PLAY could (and should) really be something.

    This Easter I’ve banded 12 women together. We’ve each bought a collection of gifts and sent them off to be opened, on camera, by one of our fellow PLAY members. I have to admit, while it’s not easy pulling off a collaboration like this, I’m really happy that I can facilitate this sort of thing. A coming together of like-minded women, a celebration of life through gift-giving. It’s cool. It’s really cool. I’m proud of myself for making these collaborations happen.

    One thing I struggle with is the feeling that I’m not doing enough. I’m constantly looking out for jobs and opportunities I can apply for or to, just so I can prove to everyone that I’m here, and I’m capable, and I’m worthy of recognition. And though I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, the feeling that I’m wasting away at home definitely is. I’m not wasting away. I’m not doing nothing. Sure, I’m not getting paid. But I’m still working. I’m challenging myself and teaching myself and extending myself every day. I am capable of so many things.

    I’m looking forward to creating more trailers showcasing the work the women of PLAY and I have done. I’m excited to see where PLAY will take us in the future. And I’m proud to say that PLAY wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for me.

    Good Friday: It’s a good day to remind yourself of the good things you do.

    – Fern xxx

    The PLAY NZ Easter collaboration won’t go live until 8:30pm on Easter Monday.
    But I do have another Easter collab. up my sleeve for you:
    I got in touch with my American friend Sarah to see if she’d like to share her gifts and plans for Easter this year, and she said yes!
    This here’s my video – a link to Sarah’s will pop up at the end, so make sure you check that out too.

  • Arts & Crafts
  • Pinterest Mum? Not Me!

    It’s Saturday. The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday to be exact. Being a special occasion, I thought I’d better put my Pinterest Mum hat on and organise some sort of holiday-themed activity for the kids…

    I settled on egg painting. There were eight free-rangers sitting in the fridge just waiting to be used, and the gel food colouring was still close at hand thanks to the Big Boy’s birthday.
    I know, I thought. I can blog about this. I’ll take photos and write a post explaining how we did it and how much fun we all had. Genius!

    However, because I set out to blog about my life as a mum authentically, I will not be giving out step-by-step instructions. Nor will I be raving about what a wonderful experience it was, and how my kids had the time of their lives. I’m not one of those Pinterest-esque bloggers. I’m here to tell it like it is.

    The problem with craft activities for children is that prep takes at least 15 minutes, and the clean up takes even longer. This would be fine if the activity lasted more than five minutes, but how often does that happen? I spent a good half-hour boiling and then cooling eggs, sourcing paint brushes, and organising edible paints this morning. Compared to the ten seconds it took my kids to smear paint all over the table their clothes their hands their eggs and announce that their work was done, that’s practically a lifetime. And don’t even ask how long it took me to clear everything away again!

    It wasn’t just the duration of the activity that got to me either. I hate to admit it, but I found the whole thing incredibly stressful. I wanted the painted eggs to look good. I didn’t want anyone to make a mess. And I definitely didn’t want my expensive food colouring to be ruined. So when all three children failed to rinse their brushes properly between colours, I kinda, sorta lost my cool. Shame on me. The poor kids had no chance of actually enjoying themselves with Grumpy Mum standing over them.

    If I were to attempt egg painting with my kids again (and let’s face it, I’m dumb enough to have another go next Easter), I’d take a slightly different approach. For starters, I’d set everything up outside. The children would be dressed in already-stained clothes, and we’d have a ratio of one paintbrush to one colour pot. I’d stock up beforehand so there were enough eggs for everyone to decorate four or five each (two per person just wasn’t enough). And, most importantly, I’d go into the activity without any expectations. The kids want to mix all the colours and end up with a boiled egg that resembles a turd? Fine. They want to dab on a couple of colours and then go and find something else to do? No worries at all. They have so much fun painting their eggs that they want to paint themselves too? Perfect. Just remind me a year from now that kids’ crafts are about the process, not the end result, and we’ll be set.

    – Fern xxx