Parenting Articles

Alcohol and Breastfeeding – Safe Or Dangerous?

Australia is known for barbecues, beaches and beer. For better or worse there is a drinking culture in Australia. While binge drinking is definitely a bad thing, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good glass of wine at the end of the day.  But what does this mean for you if you’re currently breastfeeding? The Australian Breastfeeding Association says “If you want to, you absolutely CAN enjoy a glass of wine, a beer or whatever it is that takes your fancy…”

Should Nannies Do Housework?

As someone who worked in childcare, and as a nanny, for many years I have had some genuinely amazing employees. I’ve also had a couple of problematic experiences. I’ve also trawled through dozens upon dozens of nannying job ads that had incredibly unrealistic expectations. Some people are simply being unrealistic. They obviously haven’t thought it through. Others are obviously being intentionally exploitative.

A trip to the supermarket isn’t a holiday

I get the “joke” here. I totally understand the feeling of being so bound to your babies and role as their mother that any time out, even if it’s just a half hour trip to the supermarket can feel like a holiday. But I feel like I need to say it: A trip to the supermarket by yourself is not a holiday. A holiday is a holiday! Mums deserve better standards of what we should consider a decent break.

Parents with Prams Parking

So, I’m basically the worst kind of person. I’ve done a terrible thing. I parked in the PARENTS WITH PRAMS parking and then put my toddler in a shopping trolley. I didn’t even have a pram in the car that day! When I returned from grocery shopping I found this note on my car:

My Super Nanny : A Perfect Match

When it comes to finding the right nanny for your family it’s essential to find someone who is a good match for your families needs, values and expectations.

In my experience as a nanny that compatibility was the most important aspect of any job. It is an incredibly intimate working relationship ­ a nanny practically become part of the family.

Being A Stay At Home Mum

stay at home mum

Being a stay at home mum comes with both its blessings and its challenges. The things I did not realise before becoming one was that not all SAHM’s are like the ones we see on TV. All mothers make choices which cost them in different ways, this is my story and what I have sacrificed.

Reasons I cry

I never used to be a teary person. I might get a little lump in my throat watching a particularly touching movie, but I never used to cry much – unless something was really actually wrong – and definitely NOT ever “It’s so beautiful” crying. Nope. Not me.

Things I Suck At As A Parent

things I suck at as a parent

There’s lots of things I’m good at as a parent – there’s some things I’d even say I’m great at. I’m a pretty good mum. I’d like to think I can be a fun mum, I’m a patient mum, I’m an affectionate mum… but there’s still a lot that I suck at as a parent that I’d like to share with you today.

Oh, Shut Up and Let Me Use My Phone!

parents on their phones

We were driving through the beautiful countryside yesterday and my husband said, “Hey Kate, stop looking at your phone and look at the scenery.” I was in the worst mood ever (we were joking about it) and I said, “Oh would you shut up and let me look at my phone!” I’d seen the pretty scenery a million times before and it was the first time I’d had a chance to check my phone all day.

Taking My Own Advice

behaviour management

I am a behaviour management expert. Yes that’s right, I said an expert in my field! I have been working with challenging children for the good part of 14 years. I have been giving advice to desperate parents on how to meet the needs of their challenging children, providing them with strategies to use and encouraging them to be firm, but loving.

10 Ways To Relax When You’re a Parent

how to relax

It can be so hard to relax, and find any kind of inner – or outer – peace with out busy lives and with children around. It can feel almost impossible to get the time out we need to really recharge and revive ourselves. So I’ve come up with a list of ideas that might help, even if you don’t have the time for a proper break, most of these things can be done at home or with kids in tow.

Hide and Seek = Nap and Clean

When we’re all getting a little frazzled, when the kids are alternating between tearing apart the house and tearing apart each other. When the kids are bored, we’re drowning in mess, and I’m just too tired to deal with entertaining the kids while also somehow pulling my house together and all I want to do is lay down for 5 minutes of peace and quiet we play a little game I like to call “Nap and Clean.”

5 Things Mums Should Never Feel Guilty about. EVER.

5 Things Mums Should Never Feel Guilty about

As mums, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to guilt. We can feel guilty about how we feed our children, how we get them to to sleep, how much TV they watch and how much quality time we spend with them. I don’t think guilt is always such a bad thing. It has its place in reminding us about our own values, and if we’re staying true to them.

Dear Me. You Are Not A Craft Mum. LET IT GO.

There are a few things in parenthood that I hate doing. Because I’m no good at them. I just go along with what’s expected of me, dreading the whole thing. And of course, whatever it is turns out badly. Because of my bad attitude. So, I’m ready to call it – I’m no good at these things, do not like doing them, and would rather they happened elsewhere. I decided to write myself a letter:

My Dollar Value as a Stay At Home Parent

stay at home mum

This is in no way whatsoever a “stay at home parent vs working parent” thing. I’m also not going to talk about what I do all day and how important that is – if you’re a parent, or you’ve met parents, or you have a parent, you probably have a fair idea of what keeping children safe, fed and entertained all day involves.

Religious Education in Public Schools

Religious Education in Public Schools

I was raised as a Christian, at different stages of my life I attended church or Sunday school with my family and up until moving out of home I said grace every evening before we ate dinner. I did Christian Education in primary school, and for my childhood and most of my teen years I had a very fond relationship with the idea of a Christian God.

A Shot of Reason – Vaccination debate

vaccination debate

I’m noticing a lot of talk about vaccination lately. I’m pretty sure it’s due to it’s due to the measles outbreak in the USA that originated in the Disneyland theme park in California. I’ve seen other bloggers posting impassioned pleas for parents on “both sides of the debate” to be kinder to each other and to understand where we are all coming from- a desire to do the best we can for our children. I can certainly see a value in kindness- nobody will change their stance if you insult and offend them repeatedly.

The Working Mum’s Thesaurus

working mum

Average. Mediocre. Ordinary. All words to describe myself as a child. I always did ok at school, and at everything else I put my hand to, but I never really excelled at anything. I worked hard, I did what was required of me, but nothing in particular came naturally to me. Heck, I barely scraped into the university degree I desired…actually, scrap that…I didn’t even apply for the course I truly desired. Because, ordinary.

I think I’m Done Having Babies

I’m always jealous when someone says with absolute certainty that they are completely done having babies, that they know with all that they are that their family is complete and they have no deeply buried yearning to do it all over again, to be pregnant, to give birth, to hold another tiny newborn, to bring another completely whole brand new person into the world. I so wish that could be me. Certain. Clear. Complete.

30 Non Toy Gift Ideas

It’s easy to flip through a catalogue or stroll down the toy isle and find hundreds of toys to buy for kids for Christmas. But if your household is like mine, and you already often feel like you’re drowning in toys, perhaps leaning towards non-toy stocking fillers this Christmas might be in order. So I’ve compiled a list of 30 non toy gift ideas.

“I Support Formula Feeding If…”

support Formula feeding

Something has been on my mind for a while and it’s something that, as a woman, a mother and as a person who has a pair of breasts, is very important to me.

Saying “I support formula feeding IF” is just as bad as saying “I support breastfeeding BUT”.

I breastfeed my children because I CAN and because I CHOOSE to.

I’ve breastfed my son for 3 years and I’m currently breastfeeding my 2 year old.

R U OK?

r u ok

Today – and any day – is a good day to ask people that simple question; “R U OK” You might start a conversation that could change someone’s life.

According to Beyond Blue in Australia:

1 in 6 people will experience depression at some stage in their lives.

1 in 4 people will experience anxiety.

1 in 7 mothers will experience postnatal depression and 1 in 10 mothers will experience antenatal depression. Anxiety is likely to be as, if not more, common.

What Do I Do All Day?

what do I do all day

This moment on Futurama summarised how I feel about what I do all day – especially since being a “Stay at home Mum” for the last 3 years.

Most of the time what I do goes unnoticed, not because nobody cares but because it’s just what must be done. Nappies are changed, children are fed, hugs are given, games are played, we sing songs, read stories, I get drinks, apply band aids, check temperatures, flush toilets, I prepare meal after meal after meal – whether they decide to eat it or not – I do piles of dishes and mountains of laundry, I tidy up toys, I vacuum and mop and so on and so forth.

Resumes for Parents Returning to Work

parents returning to work

Returning to work can be both an exciting and daunting experience, especially writing resumes for parents returning to work. For many parents, ‘self-confidence’ is holding you back and keeping you from applying for those part-time positions. Well we’re here to help! It’s only natural to feel intimidated and nervous about applying for a new job, but this is the perfect opportunity to re-vamp your resume and put your best foot forward.

Proudly Raising Dependent Children

dependent children

I’m raising dependent children. No, that’s not a typo. I know that independent children is supposed to be the thing that parents want to achieve, but it’s really the last thing I want to do. Like, literally the last thing I do as a parent will be when my child becomes independent. That’s when they move out, get a job, rent their own place, start doing their own laundry and when that day comes this Mumma is going to celebrate with a bottle of champers! But really, that’s at least a decade and a half away! Right now, with a 2 and 5 year old, independence isn’t the lesson of the day.

Nurse and Mother

nurse and mother

April Abbott is a Registered Nurse with extensive experience in her field who has effectively been forced out of the hospital system in order to meet the needs of her family. Recently the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling compiled research showing that some mothers are earning as little as $3 – $4 an hour once childcare fees are taken out.

Locked Out

locked out

Panicking doesn’t solve anything Pretty obvious, right? But it’s easier said than done the moment the door clicked behind me when I realised I had left my hand bag inside. I gathered up the nappy bag, pram, buckled in my toddler and strolled out the door – off to collect …

Locked Out Read More »

The Most Bittersweet Day Of The Year

losing mum

Mother’s Day. For many, a day of sleep-ins, breakfast in bed, new slippers and handmade cards. For some, it also serves as a reminder of one of the most significant losses we can experience. For me, it is both of these things.

My mother passed away on May 28th, 2008, the day after her 54th birthday and a couple of weeks after Mother’s Day. I don’t want to relive her illness and passing here, as almost 6 years on it is too raw a wound to re-examine.

I guess what I am doing is talking about why it’s such a hard day, when your own mum isn’t here to celebrate.

Mother’s Day For Mum and Me

mother's day

Mothers day, it’s almost upon us again. The chance for shops to spruke things that mums ‘want’. Those fluffy dressing gowns, the heated slippers, the foot baths, fizzy bath bombs, smelly soaps and the latest romantic novels.

But to me, mothers day has always been about making my mum breakfast, serving her a cup of tea, maybe a nice big bunch of flowers and seeing whether she would like to go to a farmers market.

Overdue for a Pap Test

t’s been a few days since my last Pap test, so I’m feeling very proud of myself (my doctor even gave me a Jelly Bean, so pats on the back for me!) The one prior – and only other papsmear I’ve ever had – was 5 years ago. Whoops. Better late than never though!

I’m sure I’m not then only person who knows they should get it done, and then doesn’t go, and keeps on putting it off – for years. For me the biggest “fear” for me is the unknown.

Mother’s Day On A Budget

mother's day presents

Mother’s day is back! This day always sneaks up on me, as most years I consider myself the mother, and I forget about my own mother for Mother’s Day (sorry mum!) So with a few days to go, I’ve compiled a list of cheap and cheerful ways to say “Hey mum! I love you! And I’d totally buy you jewelry if I had the cash, but I don’t, so here’s what I got you instead!” (Don’t worry, my mum hasn’t been completely deprived, her birthday was a couple of months ago and I bought her jewelry then!)

Bad Day

bad day

Ever have one of those days where you want to run away from home, or hide in the bathroom with a never ending bar of chocolate?
I am having more and more days like that.

I tripped over my toddler last night while holding my dinner. A full bowl of my favorite soup, and it went all over my computer keyboard. Needless to say after a flurry of rushing back and forth, trying to keep my kids away while I cleaned it up. My keyboard no longer works.

Breastfeeding is not a Piece of Cake

breastfeeding is not a piece of cake

Breastfeeding is not a piece of cake, but there are similarities. The year my daughter turned two it took me three days to construct her birthday cake. It was a beautiful white chocolate mud cake with a fondant farm yard, inspired by something I saw by Martha Stewart. It didn’t occur to me that Martha has battalions of experts behind her, and I failed home economics. Modelling those little animals in the small hours of the night was a mission though to everybody else it might have seemed a little obsessive. Ok, perhaps more than a little. Baking and decorating my children’s birthday cakes is an act of love, and the planning and process of baking a gift in itself.

(Little) Guys and Dolls

boys and dolls

My friend phoned me and was understandably upset about a situation that had just happened to her and her son.

She’d taken her daughter to school, bringing her 2 year old boy along. He was playing with a Barbie doll when they left, so Barbie came along for the ride. At school, while standing in the playground waving his big sister off to class, the little guy clutching a Barbie doll was surrounded by a small group of older boys, maybe 8 years old by my friend’s estimate. They began to taunt and tease him about his doll, asking him if he was a boy or a girl.

My Challenging Toddler

challenging toddler

There’s so many polite euphemisms I’ve used to describe my daughter: “Challenging”, “Strong Willed” “Determined” and “Intense” (by which I mean “difficult” “combative” “stubborn” and “throws tantrums… a lot”) She’s always been like this, since she was a brand new baby, I’ve been shocked by how intense she can be.

There have been many times I’ve looked at my wonderful little girl in the middle of a massive meltdown and wondered “Where have I gone wrong?” But when I’m calm (and she’s calm) I look back and I do know that this is the right path for us.

It might be not be the right approach for all people or for all children, but it’s what works for us.

Wanting a Pet

wanting a pet

Today we visited Masters Homewares and they were having some celebration, out the front was a petting zoo and I won’t lie, I was more excited than the children were about the prospect of patting a bunch of sweet, fluffy animals!

I love animals, growing up I always had several pets, my dad often joked we were running a petting zoo. Not all at the same time, but over my childhood I had a few budgies, finches, a cockatiel, I hand raised some native honey eaters, as well as a rescue duckling, we had chickens, fish, yabbies, a blue tongue lizard, a few guinea pigs, a couple of rabbits, mice, rats, dogs and cats.

You Are Not The Voices In Your Head

you are not your thoughts

My kids were bouncing around on the bed tonight, singing ‘Ring Around the Rosie‘. I told Margo (the older one) to stop (for the eighteen millionth time) because the little one is still a toddler and clumsy on her feet. Margo didn’t really listen and I didn’t really have the energy to pull them apart soooo… a minute later, they were crumpled up in a heap on the bed, crying and clutching at their freshly sustained injuries. The little one had a bloody mouth and the big kid had been bashed on the head by some sharp flying body part, like an elbow or chin. Both were hurt and both were crying really hard.

Dealing With Croup

dealing with croup

My 2 boys (ages 2 and 4) have had croup more than 5 times between them and every single time it’s turned everything upside down. My last experience start last Sunday (16th March), and I thought I would share this story to help parents want to know when dealing with it.

Firstly, What is Croup?

Croup is a viral infection that causes an inflammation of the larynx and trachea, they swell and put pressure on the windpipe, which is what causes a very loud wheezing sound when your child breathes. It effects younger children more, because their windpipe is still small. It can last approximately 3-4 days, and the cough can last a few weeks after the inflammation has gone down. Most cases result in going to hospital for immediate assistance.

Late Shift

partner working late shift

I’m working the late shift this week and by that I mean, my partner is working late. I feel for him, I really do, most day’s he’s leaving early and he’s getting in late, he’s often getting home tired, hungry and frustrated. But as bad as I feel for him, I feel worse for me. I’m fumbling my way through this new minefield of challenges. I’ve had the odd evening on my own, he’s gone out at night, or stayed back at work before, but not night after night. It’s much easier to handle when it’s “just one night”, but this is a fortnight of consecutive nights and it’s taking it’s toll on me.

First Kiss Video

first kiss video

The first time I saw the “First Kiss” video, I did get caught up in this sweet and oddly familiar scene, despite it being a bizarre set up of 20 “strangers” asked to kiss for the camera, but I think we can all relate to that “first kiss” awkwardness, building – hopefully – into intimacy. But shortly after this video swept through social media, rumours that it was a “hoax” surfaced. Apparently it’s video for a Wren Studio where you can actually buy some of the items seen in the video.

What’s My Excuse

I really don’t know what to make of Maria Kang. On the one hand, I do like her overall message, I’ve spent some time over the last couple of days reading through her websites, looking at what she’s said in media responses and interviews, and she does appear to be promoting a positive message about mothers making themselves a priority and taking care of our bodies.

In A Hospital Hallway

To the man who sat next to me in a hospital hallway,

We didn’t talk, but we shared an hour of our lives. Not just any hour, but an hour that I’m sure felt like a lifetime for you as much as it did for me. We didn’t speak. We didn’t even make eye contact while we waited in the hallway. We sat in a row of 3 seats, with an empty seat between us. We both went through the same routine to pass the time. Checking our phones: lock – unlock – lock – unlock. Tapping our feet, or jiggling our knees. Then moving to rest our elbows on our knees, and foreheads in our hands, staring at the floor, overwhelmed by our own uselessness. Then straighten up, breathe deeply, and stare at the ceiling instead.

Reading to Children

I am the first to admit that I think reading is boring. Especially children’s books. Especially when my kids often want the same books read night after night. The only time that I read is when I want information, so I am interested about the topic and require an answer. I only read if I have to.

Why It’s All Worthwhile

I read this post “Why do parents make parenting sound so God-awful?” recently and then again on DailyLife under the title “Do parenting blogs put women off motherhood?” and I’ve heard childless friends express similar feelings, so I thought I’d throw a little glimmer of hope your way.

I’ll start by saying that I don’t think it’s all bad to vent away, online, or in real life, it can be liberating, entertaining, and it can still be brave. I know for myself, I was telling people that I was feeling great, how much I loved being a mum, how easy my son was as a newborn – that he was sleeping well – gosh It was a fairy tale that everyone said it would be!

Smart Phone in Motherhood

I’m going to say it. I don’t think having a smart phone hasn’t ruined my life, relationship or ability to feel joy.
I’ll admit I do get too distracted sometimes, too busy, too caught up in “hold everything, someone was wrong on the internet” but on the whole I find it a very valuable device. I love that I can share photos instantly with family and friends…. I can balance the budget, chat with friends, read and send some emails, browse Ebay, set reminders to go off on both mine and my partners phone, all while breastfeeding my daughter on the couch, is also pretty cool.

Kids in Traffic

You are a driver and you know how the whole thing works – a lot of responsibility, focus and seriousness. As a responsible driver and parent, you naturally want to teach your child how to behave in traffic and stay safe.

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