Alexandra Hughes

Coaching Mothers to a Place of

calm & joyful living

Receive 3 simple strategies to joyful calm

retro kitchen

Dinner Time, my old friend (NOT!)

“Ah, Dinner Time, my old friend.

Is it time for you to visit already?

Again? So soon?”


In truth Dinner Time is everything but a friend to me.

She shows up late afternoon every day

(Yes, every SINGLE day!)

Like an unwelcome guest

Arriving and making demands at the worst time of day.


A time when the children are needy.



A time when I want to run away.

When my brain is empty and my mind if fuzzy.

When my energy is low and patience is dwindling.


Dinner time!

Stop draining my brain!

Stop making me think?


I don’t know what to make of you.

Ingredients are mismatched

Or missing

Or unwanted by little mouths


You require so much.

Ingredients (!)

Nutritional consideration.

Toddler versus tween versus husbands’ dietary requirements

And tastes!


And, for the love of God(dess), dear Dinner Time, stop evoking urgency and panic.

Not now!

Not right now,

When all I want to do is sit down and de-fuzz my brain (somehow?! how?!)

No, NOT now.

Not SO immediately NOW.

You are that extra ball I need to juggle, when my hands are already full.


Mom, can you help me with this?

Mom, she hit me?!

Mo-om!!! Can we watch tv?





And there you are.

Waiting to be prepared.

The annoying presence that needs to be created and dealt with.




Yes, dear Dinner Time.

You have made me lose my appetite.

(If only I could say the same for the three hungry little beings that await your arrival, and the hungry beast who will gobble up whatever caca meal my zombied state morphs fridge residents into.)

What happened to the creative process that cooking used to be?

Motherhood, that’s what.

pot on head


When I was in the UK, friends used to call “Tea time” the Witching hour – it was the time when children go mad. It also happens to be a time when sugar levels drop, emotions controlled in school let loose, the body and mind feel tired and somehow (the fridge is empty). Appetites are insatiable at this hour; arguments and fist fights become the fashion between my kids.

And on top of all of this; yes, among this chaos, we are expected to create a meal, to cook.

Well, it doesn’t work for me. So I cook another time, when energy is present. Or, I ask another to cook.

And guess what I tell Dinner Time to do when she comes to visit? I ask her to get me that cup of tea or glass of wine and to go ahead and pop my prepared meal into the oven.

Sometimes it pays to be prepared. Keep a look out for my upcoming Dinner Time Tips post…


Mothers’ time

When mothers come to me for guidance or support, they all have one thing in common.
Above everything else,
they all want just one simple thing.

They want time.
More time.
Better quality time.

More quality time with those they share their lives with.
Those they love the most.

Lately life has been throwing a message out at me.
It is a reminder.

A reminder that time
(as you know it know)
with those you love
is finite.


As mothers we know this because every once in a while,
when life feels like it is standing still
we stop and notice how short our child’s trousers are on him
or how sophisticated her observation was articulated
or how small their bicycles have become.

I often try to look back and remember the babyhood moments.
(I have such an awful memory!)
And when I take the time to do this,
I am cruelly reminded that however clear that moment is in my imaginary
It is now gone
Never to return.

Because sadly,
time is finite.
It is the one thing we cannot make more of.
It is the one thing we cannot extend or further develop.

We will never be able to say to ourselves honestly:
“One day, I will get this time back.”

We can say (and I often do):
“One day, I will make up for this lost time.”

The moments I spent on the hamster wheel when my oldest and middle child were so wee…
I make up for them today by picking them up from school,
driving them around,
helping them with homework,
tucking them into bed
with presence.

(As best I can, anyway. We’re all human after all!)

But they are older now.
They are becoming serious.
Those giggly silly monster moments are slowly disappearing.
And while the cuddles are still there
Their bodies aren’t small enough to lift into my arms entirely.
And while the hand holding happens,
Their hands aren’t quite so little or their grasp so tender.

These moments of littleness are gone.

That is life.

Time is finite.
Change is constant.

Our children are born.
They grow.
They leave.

Our parents grow old.
They leave us too.

And there we are living.
Dreaming for time.
And missing the moment.

The moment that will become the memory.
The moment that will feed our souls.
The moment that is now.
That moment that is life.

As mothers on this day that celebrates all that we do for our children and families, I invite you to take a moment and identify what qualities you appreciate in time, and what experiences bring you these qualities.

Gift yourself some of this quality today.
Some memory-feed-your-soul-silly-monster time.

Create a memory.
Sing a song.
Dance a dance.
Relax into a nap.

Appreciate your gift.
Look deeply into your flowers.
Taste your chocolate.
Relish in a hug.

Take it all in.

The full and entire moment.

It’s yours for the taking:
the gift of pure quality time.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.



Savoring scruffy: letting imperfection become your perfect

When my three monkeys were younger, people used to ask me how I did it.

By this they meant raising three kids under 6, starting-up two businesses and leading the management of a house and family in between three house moves and one international move, with an often-travelling husband.

I remember looking back at these people through splotchy glasses, feeling confused.

I remember not knowing how to respond.

I remember finally swiping aside my unkept rather greasy hair and saying “not that well, really”.


“How do you do it?”

Read More


Evening thieves and sleep monsters

It’s 8 o’clock p.m. and he’s not only wide awake, he’s excited.

It’s 8:30 and not much has changed.

It’s 8:45. He’s still awake and mildly charged.

It’s 9. Oh my God! When will this end?!

It’s 9:30. It’s official. He is evil. (And yes, he is still wide awake).


I remember the evening after I confirmed that my 4 year old boy could officially be categorised as a “highly sensitive person”, an HSP.

“He certainly has many of the characteristics”, the expert told me. “It is normal that given the way he is wired, he will have a difficult time settling down”, he said.

“What do I do?” I asked in desperation.

Read More


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