Simplest solutions often work best

Laura and James Allan and their three children Otis (9 months), Juno (6) and Freddy (4).
Laura and James Allan and their three children Otis (9 months), Juno (6) and Freddy (4).
Each month Southern Rural Life talks to a local mum and finds out what it means to bring kids up the ‘‘southern way’’.

Today we meet Laura Allan, of Taumata, Clinton, who farms with her husband James and children Juno (6), Freddy (4) and Otis (9 months).

Q My most memorable moment when I first became a mum was ...

The realisation that all of a sudden I was responsible for another human being, and a very tiny, vulnerable human being at that. It's a mind-blowing experience giving birth and I don't think you can ever truly explain it to anyone.

Q Something we like to do together as a family is ...

Just potter around the farm doing jobs. Our kids are at the age where playing in the creek and turning fallen-down trees into pirate ships is amazing, so we will make the most of that while it lasts and before they start demanding to do things that cost real money. We are very lucky to have an 80ha playground on our doorstep!

Q Children do/say the darnedest things ...

Oh gosh, where do I begin? Freddy came home from daycare once and there was a new boy who had started there with a name that was obviously hard to pronounce. After a few tries he let out a sigh and said ''ah well, let's just call him Gary''.

Juno and Freddy keep themselves occupied while on the farm.
Juno and Freddy keep themselves occupied while on the farm.
Q Favourite meal in our house is ...

Nachos. Doesn't require much skill in the kitchen so it's right up my alley; potentially gets thrashed a bit too much.

Q A name I loved but did not use was ...

Maverick! I'm still annoyed that James put his foot down about that one. I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll just have to name our next pet dog/cat/rabbit Maverick instead.

Q My husband is a great dad because ...

His strong points are my weak points. He is really creative and clever and enjoys making things with the kids. His patience with Lego is to be greatly admired - it takes a special person to do Lego.

Q I find it hardest being a parent when ...

James is a topdressing pilot which means he works some long days. His job is also weather-dependent, so making plans and committing to things is near impossible. All other wives of farmers/contractors will totally know what I mean when I say it's bloody hard feeling like you're parenting on your own a lot of the time, especially during autumn and spring which are the busy times.

Q When I get time to myself I ...

Well for five minutes of the year I occasionally get to go to the toilet by myself? Actually, I play squash, netball and touch. Sport is definitely my outlet, but I also enjoy catching up with friends and love a good night out.

Q A great parenting tip I have learnt is ...

Buy a cheap laundry basket when your baby is little and you have an instant playpen. I chucked it in my farm truck and when I'm feeding calves, need 10 minutes to finish a job, etc, I could just put Otis in the basket with some toys. Disclaimer - it's only good until your baby starts climbing.

Q I used to say, when I have kids I will never ...

Push them into doing something they don't want to do. And yet here we are, Juno is starting to show a bit of interest in playing squash and I'm like ''nah, no money in squash, let's go for tennis or golf instead''.

Q My advice for a new mum is ...

Trust your instincts. It's so hard being a parent with social media; you get bombarded with so much information on the right/wrong way of doing things.

Don't get overwhelmed. Mums have been doing this successfully for millions of years, so just roll with it, try your best and your kid will love you, no matter what. And if all else fails ... chicken nuggets. They fix most things.

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