Motherhood

Why Raising A Daughter Scares The Hell Out Of Me

When I found out that I was going to be having a little girl, my first reaction was sudden relief.

October 20, 2017

Why Motherhood Shouldn’t Become Your Identity Once You’re A Parent

Motherhood didn’t become my identity– it helped me find it.

October 6, 2016

The Depressing Thing The Bullying Of Jennifer Aniston Says About Us

The world needs to get the message our bodies aren’t up for public commentary.

July 15, 2016

The Things I Missed Out On Because I Got Married Too Young

I had to be a grown-up, whether I was ready or not.

May 20, 2016

19 Questionable Things Every Mother Has Done

We’re mothers, not saints…

January 8, 2016

How Mothers’ Guilt Has Become An Ugly Status Symbol

It’s cool to feel crummy about yourself.

December 16, 2015

How Becoming A Mother Changes You

I’m not the same person I was.

December 8, 2015

How Instagram Sanctimommies Are Distorting Motherhood

Parehthood doesn’t come with a valencia filter.

November 26, 2015

Spending Two Years Away From My Kids Made Me A Better Mom

Leaving my boys with their father was the hardest thing I’d ever do in my life.

November 24, 2015

The Motherhood Lie: Why No One Tells You It’s Messy & Hard

Welcome to motherhood, the real-life version.

November 12, 2015

Why I Can’t Be Your Friend Anymore Now You’re A Mother

Parenthood tests relationships quite like nothing else can.

November 3, 2015

My Son’s Traumatic Birth Saved My Life

“Despite having survived what I can only describe as torture, I did want another child.”

October 27, 2015

Dear Dog Owners: My Kids’ Safety Overrides Your Rights

I adore dogs, particularly large breeds – my family has always had German shepherds – but what I don’t love is irresponsible dog owners.

RELATED: Why Unsolicited Opinions Are The Worst Kind Of Arseholes

When a small dog recently attacked my three-year-old daughter in public, as she innocently walked past it on the beach, within arm’s length of my husband and I, we found ourselves engrossed in a very public and embarrassing spectacle. For instead of being contrite, the owner of the offending mutt strongly objected to my use of force to extract said attacking dog off my poor, little lass.

We couldn’t believe it!? As proud dog owners ourselves up until only very recently –when our beloved labrador X ridgeback cross developed cancer in her old age and had to be put down – we would never have behaved that way ourselves and did not expect such heinousness from a middle-aged woman. How could she feel nothing for our scared, upset child and be so blatantly unapologetic for her dog’s completely unprovoked attack?

As a dog owner, it’s her responsibility to control her dog and ensure its behaviour is appropriate and safe in public at all times – off-leash dog beach or not. A child’s safety is paramount: it’s a sad state of affairs if kids can’t play freely at the beach without fear of a dog attack!

animals, pets, kids' safety, dog attacks

At the time, this dog owner then hurled abuse at us for my having kicked her small dog off my child, mid-attack. All I could see was my child in pain; her screaming her heart out in fear. Such is the absolute fierceness of mother love; I make no apology for turning lioness and using whatever force necessary to protect my child from harm and I wouldn’t hestitate to do the same again. Since when does the rights of dogs overrule those of a child? If you know your dog is prone to attack – or has behavioural problems – don’t take it out in public without a muzzle! Everyone knows, surely, of the deadly potential for dogs to attack kids?!

Luckily, my daughter escaped the incident with only a few minor cuts and scratches, but her emotional cost has been high: she’s now quite fearful of small dogs, something which we have been at great pains to try to quell and soothe.

I’ve also noticed a growing trend among dog owners for them to irresponsibly and selfishly let their animals roam freely across kids’ playgrounds without a leash, despite the signs instructing them to do the complete opposite. Again, this pet owner behaviour is both outrageous and dangerous. Kids and dogs can coexist happily, in the right environment, but don’t you dare let your dog terrorise my innocent children while they’re trying to play!? And if dog owners can’t or won’t behave responsibly, they don’t deserve to have pets – for their animals’ sakes too. Keep your dog on a goddam leash and stay away from kids!

animals, pets, kids' safety, dog attacks

What do you think? Tell us your thoughts on the child Vs dog debate.

Images via swek.wa.gov.au, 1st4signs.net, littlerocksoiree.com, store.thinksai.com

July 28, 2015

Young Mums: The Journey Of Motherhood In Your 20s

I’m in my 20s, I’m not a mum, and I’m fine with that. Kids are great, but I’ve never felt any longing for motherhood. However, as I edge closer to the big 3-0, more and more of my 20-something-year-old friends are having babies…

Uuuugghhh!

To me, raising children at my age seems impossible, but my ever increasing friendship contingent of young mums continues to counter that assumption. Previous generations of mothers did not work when they had children. However, the current generation of yummy mummies is almost expected to forge a career; 9 to 5 at the office, then 6 to God knows when at home. How do these women function?! What sacrifices do they make for the tiny people they have created, and are they happy to make them? Is it as rewarding as those dishwashing detergent ads with babies in dressing gowns keep insinuating? I decided to ask my friend and spectacular Super-Mum, Lisa*, her opinion.

RELATED: Is There A Perfect Time To Start A Family?

Lisa was married at 23, and had her first child when she was 24. He is now 5, and her other little boy is three. On top of that, she is an extremely successful teacher, AND somehow manages to make time for hobbies such as community theatre (she’s a fabulous singer). Her journey is a fascinating one.

Did you encounter opposition from friends/family about your decision to have children in your 20s?

I absolutely encountered opposition…many friends discouraged the idea as they believed that I should engage in more travel, socialising and getting my career on track before having children. Whilst my husband’s family were supportive (most of them were married young and were young mothers), my family were disappointed that I did not have the opportunity to ‘explore the world’.

You are balancing a career and raising two children. Do you ever feel like one is taking up more energy than the other? How do you juggle this?

This question is the absolute crux of my existence. The juggle between my career as a teacher and raising my children is a juggle that I never feel I am able to balance. Teaching is a profession that not only requires countless hours of work outside of ‘office hours’, it is also a career that consumes your mind. Not only do I spend my time thinking about my own children; my mind is consumed by the 30 children that have their education in my hands. Some days, I feel as though I don’t handle the juggle at all…I wish I was able to provide an exact answer.

Do you find that having hobbies keeps you level-headed, or is it an added pressure?

Singing, and community theatre, is the one thing that allows me to take a breath, unwind and escape from reality. It gives me time to socialise, have an outlet for my creativity, and it is something I thoroughly enjoy. But, with every positive, there is always a downside. And the downside to participating in something like community theatre is the commitment and time that it requires…it can add to the stress levels that I already experience and physically, can be quite draining as it can mean I am sometimes required to get through 18 hour days. And it means less time spent with my children.

Would you recommend having children in your 20s? Do you think it depends on the person?

I do think it depends on the person, their life experiences, and also what their future goals are. But, if I could give my 20-year-old old self advice? I would ABSOLUTELY say that it is better to wait. Your 20’s should be a time to explore, have fun, find out who you are and what you want to do with your life. Find what makes you happy. Fall in love. I thought I knew so much about life when I was in my early 20’s. I couldn’t wait to be a mother. I couldn’t wait to nurture and care for a child. But, nobody could ever prepare you for how mentally and physically exhausting it can be. And how much your life changes.

Your life and the decisions you make have to always take into consideration the little humans that you have brought into the world. And I think that if you spend your 20’s finding out who you are and what you want and your place in the world, then you can enter motherhood when you’re that little bit older, and wiser. Motherhood is a tough gig, no matter what age you are. Whilst it is a beautiful gift, and brings so much joy and so many wonderful moments… it is also a terribly stressful, frantic, emotional and LIFELONG journey that you are led on.

Do you sometimes want a break from work? Why or why not?

This is a tricky question. I really think my answer could change depending on the day that I have had! I have had days that I have cried and prayed to just leave work and spend quality time with my children. They aren’t children forever. But, give me a few days at home, and I will beg to get back into work! I think working full time is very hard. In a perfect world, I would love to have a day or two off so I could feel more balanced. But would I leave work completely? No.

I was raised by an extremely educated and career driven woman. My mother was a single mother, who worked full time, raised two children and became a well-respected principal for many years. She instilled in me the passion to always seek knowledge, to always work to my absolute best and to get a career that was fulfilling and rewarding. I have never wanted to be a ‘stay at home’ mum. Whilst I see nothing wrong with it, and at times envy those who choose to do so, that kind of motherhood is not for me.

*Name has been changed.

Image via Localgiving.com

July 20, 2015

Broody Blues: When Is It Time To Stop Having Babies?

The strong, primal urge to have children can strike you when you least expect it; it’s a deep, emotional pull that can be completely illogical, irrational, inconvenient and indeed bordering on insanity, as in my case.

RELATED: Why Having Babies Later In Life Is Good For You

I’ve just turned 41; I have three-year-old and two-year-old daughters; I work part-time and our household is so chaotic and noisy I’m often half expecting to hear the sounds of glass shattering – none of these conditions are ideal in which to bring another life into this world.

And yet, I feel an intense, inexplicable desire to breed – it’s like my fertility clock has started tick, tick, ticking again as my body approaches the end of its peak reproductive capabilities. I’m yearning for a baby to the point that when I see a newborn in the street, I have to quell a strong desire to sniff that cute, little bundle of joy’s head; nothing would smell sweeter to me right now. This is far from ideal and fairly offensive, anti-social behaviour: “Er, excuse me? Can I please sniff your baby’s sweet head?” Ugh.

fertility, fertility clock, conception, parenting

And did I mention I already have both a preschooler and a toddler, born very close together? What am I thinking?! My head is overruling my heart on this one: my having another baby can’t and won’t happen – life is only just starting to get manageable as it is; my husband and I are finally starting to get seven-to-eight hours sleep nightly again and we have a happy, if hectic family life. Why would I want to ruin all that with another baby?!

Then there’s my fertility to think of: having a baby in your 40s can be very fraught. It is of course, thanks to the miracles of modern science, by no means impossible. But my husband and I have already endured the agony of two miscarriages and a down syndrome scare in our quest to have children later in life. It’d be way too much mental and emotional anguish to lose another child and/or suffer more pregnancy complications.

And then there are the long, sleepless nights to consider – my 45-year-old husband would happily go for another baby, but I’m not sure we’d survive it, to be honest – I think it would be very ageing and stressful. I’m sure, if it was to happen, I’d wake up one day, pregnant with our third child, with a giant patch of grey hair (no greys yet, touch wood).

And yet, despite all this, I am still longing for another baby; not even my boisterous and demanding two littlies can deter these irrepressible maternal urges. For having a baby is an experience like no other – one of life’s greatest gifts – a rollercoaster of emotions: giddy highs and the lowest of lows.

Interestingly, I never even felt this strong desire to have children until about six months before my wedding at age 36. I was extremely career-driven and rarely, if ever, got clucky. But now, perhaps because my husband and I have been blessed with two healthy and adorable children – so I know just how wondrous parenthood can be – it’s a heart pull that is starting to plague me.

fertility, fertility clock, conception, parenting, conceiving in your 40s

However, here is a fun fertility fact which, for me, is yet another reason to stop having kids: from your mid-40s, if you conceive naturally, you have a one in two chance of having twins. Can you believe it? Women’s bodies are amazing; this twin lottery is due to the fact that as we approach menopause, our hormones work harder to release an egg from our ovaries. And so the result is often two eggs being released during ovulation which can be fertilised and implanted in our uterus, resulting in non-identical twins. Eek.

Every baby is a blessing, but I’m way too tired to have another and, I like to think, wise enough to know when it’s time to stop. Now, if I can just overrule these utterly ridiculous broody blues…

What do you think? Have you experienced the broody blues? How did you know it was time to stop having babies?

July 4, 2015

Weekend Wit: The Interstate Move From Hell

Our interstate move was planned about six months ago. It should have been pretty simple really: Organise housing, utilities and a truck to move all of our stuff. Of course nothing ever goes according to plan, however.

RELATED Weekend Wit – Online Shopping Debacle

I should have know it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing three weeks prior to the move when a very close friend passed away. While there’s nothing funny about death, I’m certain he timed it just to add as much stress as possible – he was exceptionally well known to do that – God bless him!

So, off we flew for a day trip to his funeral knowing full well in three short weeks we’d also need to find the money to move back there permanently. Mind you, we had lent the cash to said friend with the promise he’d pay it back. Now, that obviously wasn’t going to happen. Financially we were pretty much screwed; and emotionally, well let’s just say our family was totally crushed. In hindsight, we probably should have put off the move; but despite our financial woes and tremendous grief, we soldiered on.

We packed up our belongings and were set to take our furniture from an uncles shed. In the meantime, we’d been lucky to rent an amazing holiday house on the beach and hadn’t needed it. The only thing was that the truck was full before we left the house. How did we manage collect so much crap? Hmm… Quite the conundrum.

So, instead of offloading to make room from furniture, we set off with the beds, our electrical stuff, a fridge (minus the shelves, oops!), a washing machine, two motor bikes and a convoy of beloved belongings, all of which managed to load up an entire four tone truck, a Tarago and a Mazda 626.

Mind you, we had no actual home to go to. All 50 plus rental applications I’d submitted online were never opened. Apparently most agents accept this nifty facility, but unless you correspond directly with them the application is 100 percent useless. Of course in my haste to secure a place to live, deal with our friends death and our increasing financial strain, I didn’t take any notice of this until 2 days before the move.

Luckily a dear friend offered us a place to live for three weeks until her lease expired. The place had no heating, 2 bedrooms and was ready for a wrecking ball, but she’d already moved out so it was vacant. Or at least we’d thought. In the days prior to our move her daughter required a temporary roof for her friends. The empty place soon became home to 7 tenants, all aged sporadically between 16 and 45, all of who shared only two precious house keys. Not exactly the touch down I’d envisaged for our long awaited interstate move.

Obviously things were looking fairly bleak, so off I trotted to every open inspection in search of a suitable home. Our list of wants quickly became a list of needs, and the race to find a home began. Despite fabulous references and being a former home owner myself, it wasn’t enough. Weeks passed before I finally spoke to a sympathetic agent and who directed me to an empty property.

From the outside I could see potential, but the tired old abode needed serious TLC – and that was just the exterior. I was determined to make this a home, so despite obvious flaws I booked an inspection. The chatty agent told me she had no other interested parties and she managed to capture my attention for the entire five minute of viewing. Out of desperation to find a place I sped through our list of needs; three bedrooms – check; shed – check; ducted air-con – yep. Where do I sign?

Within two days we got the keys; and soon after the power was connected so we finally left the halfway inn. Hurrah! Upon collecting a fist full of keys to our new home, only one set gave us access through the front door. Perhaps they’d had a bit of bother and had to change the locks a few times, I thought? The house on closer inspection was grottier than any place I’d ever lived. What the hell had I done? The agent had said there had been trouble with previous tenants but it was cleaned “beautifully.”

Beautifully? Really? Every surface in and out of the house needed wiping or scrubbing, plus the curtains all needed re-hanging and a damn good wash. We even used the high pressure hose to clean the bathroom before we used it because it was so damn filthy! Perhaps her definition of “beautifully” was skewed.

Not long after I discovered particular lights didn’t work, the electric roller door was now manually operated, the manuals instructing how to operate the ducting (which we’d signed for to say we received) were all missing, and the list of broken or damaged items grew with every space I inspected. I even managed to eliminate a baby snake in the backyard because it was so overgrown. No wonder no-one else wanted the place!

Now, I get that certain obstacles are put on our path to test us. But this, this was an exam and I hadn’t studied! Obviously this is just the quick version of our interstate move from hell – don’t even get me started on the longer version. But to give you a glimpse of how well it’s been going, we consistently have people looking for former tenants at 1am, and have even incurred a visit from the police in search of them. Oh, the joys!

By day three in the new place after having cleaned, sourced and collected furniture, looked after the family and squeezed in minimal hours of sleep, I did what any sane person would do: I lost my shit! I effectively announced my arrival to the neighborhood and let’s just say, they probably think some nutter has just moved in – a very loud one with multiple grievances!

The upside to all this? Well, sometimes you need to search hard for the upside. BUT, the house is looking more and more like a home and it’s happened in less than a week. After a good clean and having plans in place to neaten it up, it’s not actually all that bad. We’ve had some awesome friends who’ve helped us out along the way and found some very kind strangers who’ve donated furniture. The kids are really happy and despite rising tensions, my partner is back to the loving man I adore.

Image tapeciarnia.pl

May 9, 2015

Working Mum Survival Tips: Why Perfection Doesn’t Exist

“For a very long time now I’ve been saying to young women: ‘You can have it all, but not all at the same time.’ How important it is to take very good care of yourself, of your mental and physical and spiritual wellbeing; it’s hard to do. It’s easier to be a workaholic than to have a truly balanced life.”Former Governor-General of Australia, Dame Quentin Bryce.

RELATED: Toddler Taming: Does The Naughty Step Work?

Can women really have it all, or are we just setting ourselves up for failure in striving to do so? Is a work/life balance merely a fantasy, rather than something that actually exists? And, raise your hand, if – like me – you are exhausting yourself trying to be the perfect mother, wife and employee?

As Australia’s first female Governor-General, now retired from duty, Dame Quentin Bryce (pictured) was a great advocate – still is – for women and children’s rights. I have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for her and I think her comments on women struggling to “have it all” here are very wise and valid – especially for working mothers.

parenting, relationships, raising kids

And Quentin should know – the amazing overachiever is reportedly a mother of five and grandmother of 11! Then there’s the fact that she’s enjoyed a long, rich and distinguished career as an academic, lawyer, community and human rights advocate and former vice-regal representative of Queensland and Australia.

If I had to give myself a grade for motherhood right now – I’d give myself a solid “B”. Some areas definitely need improvement, but overall my two-year-old and three-year-old toddlers know they’re loved and cherished and are very happy, smart and thriving children.

But when it comes to the endless juggling act of motherhood, work and relationships, I’d grade myself a “C–“. I’m struggling to keep all the balls in the air at once and oh, how I long for more time for myself! And I know I’m far from alone in feeling all this.

Women are charged with doing more than ever before; we still largely bear the brunt of both unpaid domestic labour and child rearing and many of us also have to juggle paid employment out of sheer economic necessity and our need/desire to enjoy fulfilling careers. So, how do we working mums be kinder to ourselves, and others – in the face of failure – in trying so hard to have it all?

Dr Karen Phillip (pictured), who’s one of Australia’s leading family therapists and parenting experts, and author of best-selling parenting book – Who Runs Your House – The Kids Or You, says for starters, her advice to young mums is that the “perfect parent” doesn’t exist and women should stop aspiring for this unattainable ideal. And as a mum to six children, which saw her raise three kids aged under four, Dr Phillip knows a thing or two about the giddy highs and lows of motherhood.

parenting, relationships, raising kids

“The most important thing, when young mums who are struggling come in to see me, is that I simply remind them that there is no such thing as a perfect person, or a perfect parent. And if they try to be either one or both of those then they’ll feel a little let down because they don’t exist,” she says.

“Parenting is a balance; it’s a balance within our life and sometimes we become so involved in and focused on being that perfect parent and doing the best thing for our children, we actually start to neglect other important areas of our lives and our relationships.

“We neglect our foundations and our foundations is our coupleness, our relationship – even our relationships with our extended family and friends. They’re all part of our family community, but what we seem to do is we seem to negate those and step off our foundations and just go in to being a mum or a dad and things wobble under us and that’s when things fall down.

“And this is often when I see couples; their relationship, their ‘coupleness’ has fallen down because of the children. So, I reinvent their coupleness. We set a schedule of their time alone together, two days a week, it could be – and this is only after we’ve sat down and had a family meeting and the children are involved and made aware of it.

“Date nights are very important! If you’re partnered, go out on date nights. If you’re not partnered, go out on a divergent date night – go meet people. And for so many couples, they become mum and dad, and they forget they’re man and women, husband and wife.”

good-old-fashioned-date-night-ideas

Feeling like you might lose your mind if you don’t get some time to yourself? Self-care is also vital, as a busy parent/mother/wife/lover/worker, Dr Phillip says. We all must simply stop and take some time out. “We can’t always get a day a week, it may just be one or two hours, but go to the beach, go for a jog, go to the gym; anything like that – even just sit at the hairdressers or go have a facial,” she says.

And when it comes to those hideous days we all have as a busy working mum, when you’re not performing at your best, Dr Phillip says chillax, sister. “It’s not failure; I really don’t believe in failure as a parent, unless of course you’re putting cigarette butts in their lunch,” she quips.

“If you’ve had a really bad day and there’s been stress or an argument with your partner and you’ve dismissed the child or whatever, as soon as you are able to pull yourself back in, and you’re able to recognise the behaviour you’re not happy with, you sit with the children and give them a cuddle, and you say to them: ‘You know what darling? I’m really sorry I didn’t spend time with you’, for example.

“You admit your error and you suck it up, so to speak. You tell them, so in other words: ‘I’m showing you that even your God-like parents [in their eyes] can make mistakes, admit to it, and make amends.’

“You make it up to them, and do better next time, and you tell your kids: ‘You know what? I’m doing the best I can and sometimes I might fall down on my knees, but I’m going to pull it together, stand back up again and keep walking forward’.”

As a busy working mum, you can also become so bogged down with the sheer enormity of the task of child-rearing, you can forget to enjoy your time with the amazingly unique, little people you’ve created. And so while it’s true that the first years of a child’s life are crucial in building their foundations and how they communicate, in our quest to be great parents, we mustn’t lose sight of the simple joy of playing with our kids, Dr Phillip says.

“In becoming parents, we’re so focused on doing it correctly, we often forget to play with our kids. And I don’t mean being friends with them, because that doesn’t really work, but it’s important to play with them, laugh with them and have fun,” she says. “If they do go and splash in their good shoes and socks in a puddle, rather than getting angry, go splash with them!

“Play with them, jump on the trampoline with them, run with them, chase them in the park! And that’s what I think – in our busy life, we’re missing enjoying our children and our family!”

parenting, relationships, raising kids

Finally, a word of warning, fellow working mums – be very careful about seeking your answers to parenthood quandaries, questions and concerns via social media.

“A lot of this pressure on parents unfortunately comes from social media – it has escalated women’s concerns about attaining perfection,” Dr Phillip says, “there are so many blog sites out there, often written by women who’ve become a parent, who’ve gone: “Gee, I’m great at this, I’m going to tell everyone how terrific I am and how to do everything’.

“And I’ve read a lot of them and some of these blogs are downright wrong and dangerous. People mistakenly think: ‘Because it’s on the internet, it must be true.’

“It’s one thing to share a story, but it’s a different thing giving advice to people. We’ve gone away from sharing with our immediate loved ones and turned to the internet and most people are fairly judgemental. If you must stick to social media, only look at the more informative, more professional sites.”

April 9, 2015

Why Daughters Rock: Fighting Societal Sexism

Having a healthy baby is surely up there on the scale of life’s most momentous, amazing and precious experiences; it’s a gift unlike no other. And so you would think that a child’s sex is irrelevant – who cares, right? At least, that was the case for my husband and I both times we were blessed with a bouncing, healthy baby – two gorgeous, much-wanted daughters, as in our case.

RELATED: Throwback Thursday: 20 Best Celebrity Mums

Both times, I was certain I was having a boy, but secretly chuffed, actually, to be having girls. I’d always wanted a sister growing up and I love that our girls will (hopefully) always have that special sisterly, best-friend bond; they’ll never be alone, no matter what happens to us.

And yet, both times, before I’d even left the maternity hospital, some no-doubt well-meaning family member, friend or midwife had asked either myself or my husband if we would try for a third baby given we hadn’t yet achieved the miracle of a boy child.

Quelle horreur!? We couldn’t actually – gasp – just be happy with our two girls and be done with it?! No, I/we had failed in the breeding stakes and now we must surely get on to the all-important task of making a boy ASAP!

sexism, baby gender, parenthood, daughters

Excuse me, but f*** that. I’m so done. In fact, we’re both done. A vasectomy is our next pressing task – not more breeding. And we’ve both been a tad shocked and then saddened each time my husband or I have been, quite rudely, asked: “Do you feel like you’re missing out, not having a son?”

Our family is complete and we’re very happy with our lot in life, thank you very much. Besides, what is not to love about having girls? It’s hard to believe that in 2015 there’s still a pervading sense of familial and societal disappointment when a woman/couple doesn’t produce a son. You’d think society had progressed since the time of infamous Henry VIII of England in the Tudor dynasty, who allegedly killed off several of his six wives for not producing a son and heir, but apparently not.

Unfortunately for Hazza’s poor, blameless victims, this was well before science discovered it was actually a man’s genes which determine a baby’s sex. Our bright, curious, loving, affectionate, endlessly fun and wilful daughters aged one and three are wonderful and – long may it last – absolutely adore each other.

I love dressing them up; taking them out  shopping/for babyccinos and reading endless books to them, at their request. They’re boisterous, friendly wrestling is a sight to behold and both can kick a soccer ball in manner of young Ronaldos.

Long live the sisterhood and girl power: I can’t wait to teach them everything I know – feminism included.

Every child is a precious gift – girls included. So, don’t feel sorry for us, thanks very much. Daughters rock!

sexism, baby gender, parenthood, daughters

What do you think? Did you feel pressure to try for a son?

Images via www.pixabay.com

January 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 20 Best Celebrity Mums

July 2, 2009

We asked you to choose which celebrity Mums you looked up to and boy did we get some surprises. Check out the list below:

Gwen Stefani because she often has her hubby and children with her all looking happy and fantastic!

Goldie Hawn has done such a wonderful job raising a great family in the limelight and I respect her so much for keeping them grounded.

I think Brooke Shields is an excellent celebrity mum. Like a lot of “normal” mums, she basically gave up her career to raise her kids.

Jenny McCarthy because she’s constantly raising Autism awareness and look after her autistic son! I have Autistic teenagers and appreciate what she’s doing!

Angelina Jolie. She is using her wealth to take care of children who would otherwise go without (and doesn’t make a big deal of it like Madonna!)

Jessica Rowe because she was open and honest regarding her feelings during her post natal depression. She made it real.

Julia Roberts is someone who could have continued to work and earn enormous amounts of money, but who has chosen her children over her ego.

Cate Blanchett because she’s elegant and refined but real. She has a conscience and can see she genuinely loves motherhood!

Funnily enough, Nicole Ritchie looks really down to earth and has embraced motherhood and cleaned up her act. I respect her for that.

I look up to Michelle Williams. Going through everything that she’s had to in the public eye whilst raising her daughter is a job well done.

Reese Witherspoon. She is so in love with her children and the fact that the most she will ever be away from her kids is two nights is really admirable.

I think Terri Irwin is doing a fantastic job as a single Mother raising two young children and managing Australia Zoo. What an exceptional and inspirational Australian!

Heidi Klum because of her incredible bungee stomach. After every child it just snaps back!

Does Rebecca Gibney’s character on ‘Packed to the Rafters’ count? Only a super mum would let all those kids back in the house!

Sarah Murdoch is a mum and a business woman and she remains grounded and gorgeous!

Kris Kardashian. The way she handles all those daughters of hers (and Rob) definitely creates good entertainment! She deserves a big pat on the back!

Michelle Obama. She’s always so stylish and is such an amazing role model for the world. I love how she is so grounded and family orientated.

I look up to Johanna Griggs. She demonstrates strength and humour in a down to earth, easy to like package.

Olivia Newton-John. She had so much to overcome with cancer and her daughter suffering from an eating disorder, but she still keeps smiling.

Sharon Osborne because she’s survived her famous faulty family AND survived cancer as well, that deserves recognition.

So do you agree? Let us know what you think now.

December 11, 2014

Good Health In Birthing And Beyond

During pregnancy, your body undergoes tremendous change to accommodate the growing fetus. Apart from the obvious physical changes like expansion of the abdominal region, hormonal releases can affect the function of your body’s internal systems. As your pregnancy progresses, the extra weight creates a shift in your body’s centre of gravity. Your supporting ligaments also soften. These factors can add stress to your body, causing problems like back pain, sciatica, insomnia, shortness of breath, swelling, high blood pressure and fatigue.

RELATED: Preparing Your Body For Pregnancy

One of the possible options for dealing with those issues would be osteopathy. It is a safe form of manual healthcare that treats the whole person. Osteopathy is proven to be a safe, gentle and effective therapy for mothers and babies. Osteopaths carefully select the most appropriate treatment techniques to maximise the safety and comfort of you and your growing baby. They can offer advice about managing these symptoms and demonstrate self-help techniques which you and your partner can use during pregnancy and labour. Their aim is to assist the natural process of pregnancy and birth – maximising your body’s ability to change and support you and your baby with a minimum of pain and discomfort.

A range of problems may interfere with the normal musculoskeletal development of a child. Trauma during the birth process, childhood accidents and falls can create or contribute to problems associated with bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. Other issues faced by children include posture problems, inflammatory conditions and sporting injuries. In all these cases an osteopath can help. In birth, the descent of the baby through the pelvis is influenced by a range of factors. If the mother’s pelvis is twisted or stiff, it can interfere with the baby’s passage through the birth canal. Osteopathic care may restore and maintain normal pelvic alignment and mobility, helping to reduce musculoskeletal stresses during birth. After the birth, your osteopath may advise you to make return visits with your newborn to help prevent or manage problems like pelvic and low back strain, pelvic floor weakness, mastitis, incontinence, interrupted sleep and fatigue. An osteopath can make referrals to other health professionals if needed. This will help you meet your baby’s needs, whilst caring for your own.

Your osteopath can also assist in the management of feeding and digestion issues including reflux, constipation, difficulty feeding, unsettled or poor sleeping. Clinical research that included the osteopathic module found that the treatment might reduce the hours of crying per day and improve sleeping time in babies who have been described as having ‘colic’.

Osteopathic care is a safe, gentle and effective hands on healthcare approach. It can assist the young body to adapt to growth-related changes which can prevent other health problems. It can help your baby grow into a healthy child and, ultimately, a healthy young adult.

December 9, 2014

I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore

Are you a secret snorer? Live in shame no more, sister – for I have it on good authority that many, many women (and men) actually snore. In fact, a huge number of people from both sexes suffer from sleep apnoea and don’t even know it, according to my GP.

RELATED: How To Cope With New-Parent Sleep Deprivation

Sleep apnoea is a sleep disorder whereby the walls of the throat come together or collapse during sleep, blocking off the upper part of the airway. Sufferers experience poor quality sleep and fatigue and there are varying degrees of its severity.

Confession time: I’m a mild snorer. Hot, I know, sob.

In fact – gasp – I come from a long line of snorers, and even my children and bloody pets are prone to snoring like truck drivers at times. Have I cursed my family with the snoring gene? Is it hereditary?!

I pride myself on being a feminine, girly girl – so my snoring isn’t exactly ideal for me, or my husband (although he snores too, perfect!). When said husband has been so bold as to chide me for snoring, I like to tell him that it’s not snoring, it’s just me sleeping loudly, hmph.

snoring, women's health, sleep apnoea

My snoring has never been a problem until post-pregnancy, when it seems to have worsened. And while it’s not so much an issue for my husband (especially as I happily endure his snoring, too) it’s starting to worry me that I’m now waking myself up several times a night and am extra tired the next day. Although how much of this is just due to having two toddlers aged three and one, I’m not sure, and is yet to be determined.

So, off I trotted to kindly GP last week, who was quick to reassure me that both snoring and sleep apnoea are very common in both men and women. And, get this, fellow super-exhausted mums of small children, the more tired you are, the more the likelihood you are to snore. The vast and infinite horror!? No wonder I’m bloody snoring, I’m exhausted and sleep-deprived!

My GP patted me on the arm, said to chillax, and referred me to a sleep specialist whom I don’t contact, but who contacts me, after she receives my details via fax. It’s all a bit clandestine, isn’t it? Have I joined a secret, underground snorers’ movement? Is there a club? Do I now have to proclaim: “Hi, my name is Nicole and I’m a snorer”?!

Stay tuned for more. I’m still impatiently awaiting the sleep specialist’s phone call. Here’s hoping she makes contact soon… Zzz.

snoring, women's health, sleep apnoea
Main image via blog.khoobsurati.com; cartoon via www.rottenecards.com and final image via www.studiobdental.ca.

November 20, 2014

Attack Of The Mummy Guilt: Is Daycare Really Bad For Kids?

Breaking news: yet another study says daycare is bad for kids and working mothers all over our great nation get a serious attack of the guilts, again. This time, the recent study is from the University of Adelaide’s School of Population Health, but the message is a recurring one: if you put your child in daycare, you are a bad, bad mummy.

Related: Should Daycare Centres Have Zero Tolerance To Violent Kids

I’m being highly sarcastic of course – many, many women (and men) have to work out of sheer economic necessity, so daycare isn’t a choice, it’s an essential. And even if you don’t work, but are juggling other small kids or – gasp – just want some kid-free time to yourself, you selfish heathen, you – daycare performs a vitally important role in our society.

In addition, if you’re lucky enough to a) find a good daycare centre you can afford and b) a good daycare centre that has vacancies to begin with – this in itself feels like a major miracle and something to be grateful and happy about.

But no – along comes another set of uni researchers who seem hell bent on making parents, particularly working mums, feel bad about their choices. Well, I’m calling bullshit on this study!

It claims a link between children in daycare centres and behavioural problems. The study revealed that in a study of 3200 children in all types of childcare, by the time the kids were four, the children were more likely to be hyperactive, disruptive and aggressive.

As to why this is, PhD student Angela Gialamas – who contributed to the study – has said it’s due to a lack of consistency of care as daycare kids are moved around from room-to-room as they get older.

This study received much press, so good work, University of Adelaide! Round of applause. And my fave quote goes to the aforementioned Angela Gialamas who said: “The last thing we want to do is make parents feel guilty about childcare”. Too bloody late, Angela?!

daycare, working mums, uni study

You see, what a lot of news outlets didn’t focus on was that the same study showed that when daycare kiddies eventually head off to school they were found to be happier, less clingy and less likely to be depressed. Win, win, win!

What’s more – child psychologists say the No.1 predictor of how a child turns out is parents. Not daycare, but parents – providing a safe, loving and nurturing environment for your child which allows him/her to thrive.

In addition, daycare unquestionably teaches kids good social skills and resilience, and how to adapt to structure and routines. From personal experience, our three-year-old daughter’s language skills and socialisation has improved greatly since she started attending daycare twice weekly from the age of two. And, even better, like a great, big soothing balm for my working mummy guilt, she bloody loves going to daycare and has made many firm friends there.

So, enough of these stupid, unhelpful studies – if university researchers really want to help kids, start with their stressed mothers! Why aren’t there more university studies hitting the headlines about how we as a society can better support new mothers? Or, what about one on why bringing up a baby always, always becomes a woman’s job? Or, better still, let’s get uni research boffins really scratching their heads over how best to support women returning to the workforce – gasp – after having had children?!

What do you think?

Main image via www.telegraph.co.uk and secondary image via absolutemommy.blogspot.com.

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November 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Beverly Hills Babies

Being a mum as well as running a business revolving around mothers, I find there is never lack of great gossip at www.motherinc.com.au (known as the mothership) on parenting and even more on parenting celebrity-style.

RELATED: Throwback Thursday: Golden Globes 2004

Is the celebrity mother pregnant for the same amount of time as non-celebrities, OR does she order her C-section a tad early, prior to total tummy expansion and possible stretch marks? How do the majority of the Hollywood-version of celebrity mums regain their figure in what seems a matter of a few weeks. Denise Richards (Charlie Sheen’s possible ex) just voted Yummy Mummy of the Year in LA, sets an amazing example of body-shrinkage, post birth, and looks positively spectacular in a mini-skirt and tight-top over her breast-feeding boobs.

Is the Hollywood-style Celebrity Mum a super-breed of mother? How does she do it?

During a recent visit to the City of Angels, I checked into Babyland, Beverly Hills-style. After interviewing local baby-retailers and the medical fraternity I discovered more about the mini-empire which supports this unique breed of new mums, many whom employ at least three staff to help with their new-born.

Many Beverly Hills mums have night nurses for the new-borns, to ensure a good night sleep (pre-facial and manicure the following day). Yet – post natal depression is just as much a risk, even if it is brought on by a combination of hormones and stress from juggling an entourage of baby-staff?

The Beverley Hills mum will have no less than two of the following staff members to manage on an average day: midwife; nurse; nanny; night nurse; doula (trained helper) to assist with all the dirty work/cleaning up associated with looking after a new baby and permanent pre-birth staff may also include a personal assistant, secretary, cook, cleaner, gardener and more.

However despite what appears to be an overwhelming amount of assistance to manage just one new-born baby, you?ll be pleased to know that these high-maintenance mums, like every other new mum still battle with breastfeeding, stress, ?mother-guilt?, exhaustion as well as the rise and fall of a myriad of other emotions which naturally accompany the arrival of a new baby in the home.

The more I thought about a new mum trying to recover from pregnancy and birth, while simultaneously keeping up with the peer-pressure of a high profile lifestyle, the more I actually felt sorry for them! For Beverly Hills mums, the extreme pressure to stay on the social circuit, get a perfect body back in nano-second, run a charity, do lunch, be seen at the right yoga or pilates class while promoting yours and your husband?s latest film project, business or book-to-be, is mandatory and leaves no choice but to rely on hired help?and lots of it!

But of course, if there?s a commercial opportunity to capitalise on any aspect of Babyland in Beverly Hills, retailers have found it. The ?shops? which serve both resident BH mums and visitors are quite simply – brilliant! Just a few include: ?Maba?, which stocks a colourful supply of both essential and fun products, but also provides a baby-minding while you have your hair or nails done; a sanctuary for mums needing to breastfeed or just enjoy a chat in a beautifully decorated and well-stocked private room (stocked with mineral water and snacks as well as, nappies, creams, a lounge chair and a box of tissues to dry any tears of exhaustion) and a lactation specialist on hand. Another store, ?Bonpoint? sells exclusively designed clothes for babies and toddlers, including top to toe outfits designed to the ?looks? of stars such as Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday! The Bonpoint range is so exclusive it?s not on any website – all clients receive a personal phone call to allow them to view the range at their leisure?

And finally my favourite- a full blown Day Spa with private lounge and Caf?, where your kids are whisked away on arrival to enjoy separate activities and games, led by a childcare specialist, for hours and hours and hours.

Being a new mum in Beverly Hills is actually a tough gig, according to the medical practitioners and retailers who cater to this rare breed of females. I?m still not convinced she?s not cloned.

By Claudia Keech, editor and CEO of the monthly online glossy for modern mums, www.motherinc.com.au, where you can find an entire library of articles on modern parenting, work/life balance (not) and other fun topics

October 23, 2014
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