Power of Moms Sydney Retreat : Day 2

Well yesterday I spent another wonderful day learning, reflecting, thinking and dreaming about what I want for my family. Taking time out of my normal routine to go to the retreat is one of the best things I’ve done as I really got to take some time to reflect on my own little family without all the crazy that is normally going on around me.
everyone in small groups
I thanked retro daddy about 20 times for minding the little ones, driving me there and back each day (50 minutes there, 50 minutes home and then he’d do it all over again to collect me). I really did appreciate having that opportunity and time away from the home to do it.
small group time
There was more lovely food, more new people to meet and chat to, a lovely warm atmosphere where you could really share personal things and not be afraid about that, I was on another panel and the lovely Sheridan took a few pictures (I said please no double chins and happy to report there weren’t!).
morning tea
On the panel I was talking about what I do when my children say they want the latest toy or something bought for them. I admitted that when it was just Keira I bought her so many things, then we had the twins and I felt bad for keira that I was so busy with the twins so I’d buy whatever she asked for and more, then we had elodie and the twins were wanting things and I realised I couldn’t afford to buy them whatever they wanted.
And I’m glad I reached that point. Now if the little ones want a toy they can drool over the catalogues picking out what they want, keira loves to make lovely lists with drawings, stickers and cut outs of what she wants and it always changes and they are told to wait for their birthday or Christmas to get it.
on a panel
20.5 kids between us – Naomi on the left has 7, me well I have 4.5 and Lisa has an impressive 9!

And do you know what? They are surviving! No one is deprived. No one goes on and on about the same thing for weeks and weeks, they move on to something else. Keira knows we get presents and toys at our birthday and Christmas. They still get little  treats, go to the movies in the holidays and what’s best is when I do bring something home for them as a surprise like colouring pencils, paper, or a dvd they get so excited about it. It’s tough love for some of you but do I want 5 primary schoolers making my life difficult whinging and whining for everything? No.

saren and april
And so what did I learn and am going to put into practice in the short term. Well just off the top of my head and I’ll share more later:

– I really do love my family and this was the perfect time in our family life for me to go to this retreat and start putting in place some systems and routines before baby 5 arrives.

– we already have some little family traditions and it’s important to start some new ones and be consistent with them.
– teaching my children about money and the importance of earning it and it’s never too early to start (OK, Elodie is too early to start but the twins are not)
– putting family rules on display in our house and not expecting my little ones to read my mind about what is right and wrong. Retro daddy said to me, but we have such intelligent children of course they can read your mind. But this was a huge one for me. It  has never occurred to me to put rules up in the house.
– be consistent with consequences when rules are broken such as a first warning then time out then less tv/computer time and so on. I really liked these ideas because you can adapt the time per age of child but consistency can be a hard thing when you are having a really bad day or are dealing with a few personalities.
– I must read the book Love Languages (it kept coming up in conversation)
– sort through my hotmail inbox into folders and deal with things. Over 13000 messages in my inbox and I am not kidding.
– review the week ahead every sunday night and check everyone’s schedule so that I start the week organised and with a clear idea of what is on. Even put in retro daddy’s AFL games that he likes to watch on tv and don’t ask him to mind the kids or do something for me when they are on. I’ve been really naughty at this when his big grand finals have been on in the past. 
– I loved Naomi’s tip of keeping a little book with each child’s name and when something comes up she writes it down and goes over it with her husband in a regular meeting and then he can go out with that little one and have a little chat/deal with it. So often we just blurt it all out to our hubby or deal with it ourselves but what a great way to get Dad involved.
And so my head is full of lots of great ideas and initiatives that I want to start at home. But we were warned about Post Retreat Let Down Sydrome. And yes I came home to a house that needed tidying and noisy little ones.
saying goodbye
And then to top it off I sat in the middle of church this morning on my own with all the kids this morning because childrens liturgy was supposed to be on. Big mistake. Picture it. Finn decided to jump up and down crying out for childrens liturgy, then he and tillie crash tackled each other onto the ground fighting while Elodie is arching her back and crying. So I calmly made everyone pack up everything into my bag and marched them out 10 minutes early. We get to the car and everyone starts crying that we had to leave early………driving home each of them had to say what they did wrong and say sorry. So a little bit of practice what I learnt on the weekend and everyone was very sorry when we got home. Definitely back to reality here!

A big big thank you to April and Saren as well as Alia and Ashton their ‘helpers’ who came all the way out from the states to run the weekend. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and really set me on the right track for the future. To Felicity and Naomi the aussie organisers who did an amazing job organising both the Gold Coast and Sydney retreats and also gave me the great giveaway opportunity, Carli who provided the gorgeous flowers (I didn’t realise she runs a florist with her hubby called Urban Flower) and was always in the kitchen and just a gorgeous person inside and out (we HAVE to get together again with all the kids and chat more!), all those gorgeous ladies in the kitchen who kept the delicious food coming (such healthy food! I loved that), Melinda one of my lovely blog readers who filled my giveaway spot at the last minute on the day and loved it, Sheridan for keeping me company and all of the gorgeous mums who I met over the weekend. I had such great conversations with mums who I had so much in common with. I’ve never been in a room with so many warm and friendly people before and I loved that! Everyone was just so friendly!

p.s someone noticed 2 Thermomix in the kitchen! True! I had to take a picture didn’t I!!!!!  


  1. Pleased to hear that your retreat was so wonderful and I’m sure that Retrodaddy didn’t mind driving the distances … so he could have the car :-) and the thermomix may have helped with such wonderful food for everyone :-)
    Happy stithcing, P

  2. Sounds like the retreat was fantastic!!! … Thankyou for the tips you’ve provided! I can see a few I think I need to start implementing around our house to help it run a bit smoother!!!
    I felt about the same this morning at church (though I did only had the one child to look after) … Seriously, if I hadn’t been running a Sunday school group this morning (first time too!) we would’ve been gone before the worship was finished, she was that disruptive!!! … Thankfully she behaved much better once SS began!!

  3. Corrie, I am so pleased you enjoyed the retreat. There are always things we can learn from others but I really believe that each family is different and each child/mummy relationship in the family is unique. Your own instincts can often provide you with the answers you need.
    Have confidence in the power of a loving family and your own obvious innate mothering skills.


  4. yay! Love it. Having systems makes things run so much more smoothly, I love it. So bummed that I was too sick to go along but really hope that I can get some of the resources from them anyway, given that I paid so much for it already. And don’t worry about the kids, they all have their moments! xx

  5. Oh Corrie. I’m so delighted to read how useful you found the retreat. Thanks for sharing those tips. I had Janette at My Sweet Prints make our customised ‘Family Rules’ for Planet Baby which are brilliant. She loves custom orders – you should ask her! J x

  6. Wow Corrie what a fabulous weekend of sharing and learning… all we do with our children now when they are young is for good and what gives them anchors in their life…it gives them stability that grows with them into adulthood when life gets a bit choppy.. to help cope with all the pressures of being grown up…and its good for them to hear NO cos when they leave home not everyone says YES… can’t wait to hear more of your weekend… and the DELETE button doesn’t hurt…I recently touched it so gently and deleted 7500 saved emails… and have only missed one in particular ..if it’s been read, delete it or save the info in a little book…I have and feel so much better… and my gmail is easier to open too…
    Sweet Hugs … your a great mum and an inspiration…go girl x x x x

  7. I love it that your children want to be in church and wanted children’s liturgy. That’s lovely.

  8. HI Corie, it was so nice to finally meet you and discuss family and blogs! It was a truly amazing experience and the best mum workshop I have been to. I look forward to future retreats and workshops. You should consider being a Power of Mums presenter, if you can squeeze it in. If not I’ll snag you to be a panelist if I ever run my own:)I’m sure our paths will cross again:)

  9. Good for you Corrie to open up and talk about the growth that happens in parenting. It is challenging and setting the tone now makes the kids into better people later. I have three really well behaved thoughtful children 16, 19 and 22 but I had my share of leaving places early, trying to hold my head up high and walk out of a grocery store minus a full cart. You are right – they are better off if you don’t give them everything now. We are able to pay for university (not everything but the tuition and board) because they did not get everything they wanted. It makes them think differently and their value system is great – Sarah went to Harvard dressed in second hand clothes – her choice, not mine.

    Don’t beat yourself up when it doesn’t go well. And make sure you build in sufficient breaks for yourself so you stay sane…. As my father said to me when #1 was born – look after yourself first – without you she has nothing. Nancy in NS Canada

  10. Sounds like an amazing weekend retreat! Thanks for sharing x I am a major list maker, and I do a weekly family schedule like a roster to make it clear who has what on when… school things, work things, visits etc… essential with two shift working parents with three little people! I’m a nurse and hubby is a copper, so shifts are all over the place, but we manage, just! Haha! xx

  11. So fun to read your beautiful write-ups from the Retreat! You did a fantastic job on the panel, and you had so many other great thoughts and ideas to add. I loved getting the chance to talk with you a bit on Friday night.

    Some of your readers seemed interested in clearing their counter piles. I have a Mind Organization for Moms giveaway that’s still going on at 5 Minutes for Mom at the bottom of my “Tickler File” guest post, if anyone would like some additional counter-clearing tips:


    (And I’d be happy to offer you and your readers a M.O.M. giveaway in the future, if you’d like.)

    Have a wonderful day!

  12. Sounds amazing & i’m thrilled to say i do so many of those things you mention – children learning the word no & surviving, kind of helped that we didn’t have the spare cash anyway, no was easy to say, well we didn’t say no, just guided them to other things & our love & time!!
    What a great weekend, gosh it makes me miss my husband SO much, i can’t imagine what an incredible family we’ll be when he’s home again, full time, only 2 more years, yikes, love Posie

  13. Oh this is so beautifully written and I’m so glad you got to go and have such a great time. I sure wish I could have been there and met you…maybe next time;)

    I’m sure Saren and April were so very grateful to have you there.

    Much love, Shawni


  1. […] went to Power of Moms Sydney retreat here and met so many gorgeous like minded mums. I can’t wait till the come back to Australia […]

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