Let’s Be Pen Pals

Hello lovely friends,

 How are you all going? I’ve had a great week. While I didn’t get any blog baking done, I made two delicious loaves of refined sugar free banana bread. (Would anyone like me to post the recipe?). They will keep the troops happy for a few days, even the gluten free – dairy free – vegan – Keto – Paleo – Daniel fasting – veggo – anti sugar – flexitarian meatatarians who dwell amongst us. 

No seriously, it’s a terrific recipe and can be easily adapted to alternate diets. 

I was busy this week babysitting our two cherry pie grand babies. Our son and his wife are celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary and this was the first year that their kiddies were old enough to be left. Don’t you remember just how glorious it was to finally have babes off the boob long enough so you and hubby could go away for a whole night or two? You could almost see the heavens open up in glorious splendour as you drove away from Grandma’s house gleefully waving at the sweet little kiddoes. And for all of you precious mamas out there who are still deep in the trenches, I promise you the time will come. 

Our dear grand babies are four and one, and miraculously both sleep through the night with minimal drama, something I cannot relate to at all. I still remember sitting awkwardly on the floor leaning against an uncomfortable wooden cot with my arm unnaturally twisted through the bars patting a particular one year old daughter for two hours before she would finally submit and do what she’s darn well told and go to sleep. (Ten points for anyone who can guess if this child became my difficult  spirited teenager!)

Anyway, as I was tending to my wee grand babies this week, I was reminded of three things;

  1. How delightful babies and toddlers are.
  2. How easy it is to mother babies and toddlers.
  3. How difficult it is to mother babies and toddlers.

They are the absolute delight of my heart and as any grandmother knows, the adoration and delight is incomprehensible. It was such a joy to spend so much time with them and get to know the dear treasures even more. 

One particular night, as I was once again in that familiar unnatural twist by the cot of my unsettled grandson, I was reflecting on the long haul of motherhood. The many, many unseen hours, usually in the middle of the night, when we are patting sweet nappy clad bottoms, rubbing adorable bald heads, delirious with sleep deprivation and yet pushing through again and again and again, night after night, often for years.

Or the millionth glass of spilled milk on the floor, the upturned toddlers lunch, the endless (albeit cute) grubby faces that continually need wiping and the mountainous piles of dishes and laundry that never, ever end.

I remember years ago saying to adventurous friends who liked hiking and mountain climbing, that I climb a mountain every day. For decades my mountain was just as real, just as exhausting and often the view was less than glorious. Motherhood, especially with young children, can be very lonely as you continually give, give, give and give more, even when your tank is empty and there is literally nothing left. But keep giving we do, all because of the selfless furious Mama love that burns deep inside us for our children.

I recently watched a fascinating documentary called ‘Free Solo‘ about an incredibly talented, eccentric rock climber who wanted to climb the highest rock face in the world without a harness. He was a very experienced climber, both with a rope and also going ‘free solo’. One slip would mean certain death. His determination to climb was obsessive and he freely admitted that a girlfriend would never mean more to him than his passion for climbing. 

Anyway, in the small hours of the morning when I was rubbing my scrumptious grandson on the head, I was thinking of all the moments, just like this one, where a mother loves and serves over and over, day after day, year after year, pouring out her all for the sake of her children. Never quitting, never giving up, she keeps pressing on and on and on, climbing the mountain regardless of it’s height or the cost to herself. 

‘Man!’ I thought,  ‘this rock climber has nothing on the average mother!’ 

At one point, in his first attempt to free solo up El Capitan, a height of over 7500ft (!!) the climber only made it a small way up before realising he was struggling and unable to go any further, so he went back down. No such luxury for the mother! She can’t quit, no matter how desperately she might want to at times. She is hanging on for dear life and doesn’t have the option of turning back. 

Not only is she climbing the mountain of her life, but unlike the heroic climber who is able to devote all of his time to perfecting his craft, our precious mamas have to master the almighty juggle, and are expected to do it perfectly. One slip feels like certain death. Marriages, jobs, careers, multiple children, friendships, ministries, busy households, endless housework, schooling.. so many balls in the air, all demanding time and attention.

 There are no accolades for mama’s successes, no books written about her life, awards given or documentaries made about how amazing she is. Mamas quietly serve, quietly love, quietly clean up the same messes over and over, quietly change nappies, prepare food, run errands and keep the family chugging along. They expect nothing in return because love encompasses all they do. A fierce love that knows no boundaries or limits.

As 1am turned into 2am and I had been up another three times patting that cute little padded butt, I thought of all the mothers who were up that night doing exactly the same thing, choosing to lay down their own need for sleep for the life of another. That one act of sacrifice and love, that turns into years of commitment and devotion.

I have always joked that motherhood should be officially listed as an extreme sport. It is definitely not for the fainthearted. It turns ordinary women into warriors, enlarges the heart beyond imagination, puts a fire in your belly, trains up champions and creates heroes. Not just ordinary heroes, but super heroes. 

To all of the precious mamas, I honour you. I am cheering you on and on and on.

Every. single. thing you do is heroic. You climb up that mountain every day and night. You are full of strength and determination, fierce love and have a conquering heart. While our athletic rock climber may slip one day and then it would be all over for him, if you slip, you would get up, shake the dust off, cook dinner, wash the dishes and then start climbing up that mountain all over again.

You are and always will be  absolute legends. And don’t you forget it.

Until next week,

Love Anna xx


  • Cheryl Lee

    My Best Friend for many years now Heather Cole (Moody) tagged me in your post and I loved it. I have heard her Brother Paul Moody talk about going to see Bob. Heather had tagged me as I am very similar in nature to you, I love babies & children, I love baking (but would love to be able to decorate cakes like that ?), I love being there for others and can totally relate to your experiences. I had 4 beautiful babies, (sadly my beautiful Lilli I lost during labour) and I have 1 beautiful grandchild. Thank you for sharing this, it really struck a cord with me. Cheryl ?

    • A
      Anna Hogbin

      Thank you so much Cheryl. It is so lovely to hear from you. Thank you for sharing your story with me. I am so sorry to hear you lost a precious babe, your darling Lilli. I also lost my darling Noah at 11 days. I would love to meet you one day. I am so happy that you liked my post. Bless you for sharing. xx

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