Motherhood didn’t become my identity– it helped me find it.
Catch-ups at play areas are okay. Baby photo spamming is not.
The staff made it clear my sexual orientation should be kept hidden.
Giving up my son was one of the worst decisions of my life.
“Grief was like a seizure that shook me like a storm” – author Patricia Cornwell.
One by one, my friends with kids have slowly slipped into the background of my life.
Are we really any better than those we call beasts?
Toys ‘R’ Us have decided to remove 23 play guns from their shelves.
There’s more to life than Spam in a can.
As if naming your child one name wasn’t hard enough, parents are now giving their offspring two first names!
According to recent research by the Sunday Telegraph, more than 1200 girls born in the UK were given double-barelled names last year, five times more than the amount that was registered in 2000. What’s interesting, however, is that while boys’ names have also seen a similar trend, only 328 baby boys were given two first names in 2014.
The trend, which is thought to be influenced by celebrity mums, is a bid to make them sound unique, reports the Daily Mail, because apparently adding a hyphen to a first name adds an air of originality. While this is certainly up for debate, Lily-Rose Depp (Johnny Depp’s daughter) and Lila-Grace Moss (Kate Moss’ child) are far better ‘unique’ celebrity baby names than North West or Apple Martin.
Among popular girl names found by the Telegraph included Lily-May and Amelia-Rose, with Rose found to be the most popular name to be used in conjunction with a hyphen. American inspired variations included Dakota-Rose and Destiny-Rose.
Now, before you go in search of two names to bestow upon your child, etiquette experts warn that there’s a danger of the kid coming across as less prestigious down the track. “I think it will start to be seen as a bit downmarket,” Siobhan Freegard of parenting network, Channel Mum, told the Daily Mail.
Regardless, a name is still no guarantee of how a child will turn out in the long term. So ladies, don’t sweat it – seriously!
Image via Shutterstock
The eHarmony Dating Index is forecasting some of the lowest levels of dating activity this year, with the least romantic day of the year predicted to fall on Wednesday, July 15.
The eHarmony Dating Index measured interest in dating from 2012-2014 using Google search data for relevant terms like ‘date venues’, social media mentions of phrases like ‘date tonight’, and traffic to eHarmony.com.au, to plot daily interest in dating on a scale of 0 to 100.
Over the past three years, the third Wednesday of July has averaged 35 points on the Index, 15 per cent below the average daily score of 41 and 56 per cent lower than Valentine’s Day – the most romantic day of the year which sees an average score of 80. More peaks are usually seen around Christmas and the summer season.
As for a typical week, the Index shows Saturday as the most romantic day, and Wednesday the least romantic.
With eastern Australia in the midst of a cold front, this July looks to be no exception to the typically unromantic period. Studies commissioned by eHarmony show that 46 per cent of local members and 61 per cent of Australians find it challenging to plan exciting dates during winter, and a further 1 in 4 Aussies say their dating frequency won’t rise until the mercury does.
eHarmony dating and relationship expert, Melanie Schilling, says: “While our energy levels are lower during the cold weather, winter is full of opportunities for romance with the intimacy that comes with cosy winter dates! We can’t beat Mother Nature but we can change our dating mindset to not let the weather be a barrier, otherwise we risk missing good opportunities to meet potential partners.”
Chances are that if you ask mum what she wants for Mother’s Day her reply will be along the lines of, “having all the family together under one roof”. She loves those special moments that create long-lasting memories and experiences that will leave her reminiscing over the dinner table. With travel one of the best stories to tell, Trafalgar has listed their top travel experiences Mum will love.
Food – Italy
A haven for some of the world’s best food and wines, mum will be in her element as she indulges her way through Italy’s Piedmont region on a Secrets of Italy Hidden Journey. Sharing stories with local families in their homes, your mum will feel spoiled as she stays in authentic accommodation at the Albergo Dell’Agenzia in Pollenzo. Aside from exploring Europe’s largest open air food market in Turin and the food markets of Astola, she’ll uncover a town synonymous with sparkling wine in Asti where she’ll meet a local family on their wine estate for a beautiful Be My Guest lunch. The Nicola family will invite her to explore their estate and cellars where she’ll sample the region’s famous Spumante and Barbera d’Asti wines before sitting down with the family for a homemade meal.
Luxury – Ireland
Gracing her beauty on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib, a luxurious stay at Red Carnation Hotel’s newly-refurbished Ashford Castle in Ireland will leave Mum feeling like the Queen. Dating back to 1228, the magnificent five-star property is one of Ireland’s most prestigious properties. Mum will dine like royalty in the George V Dining Room named after the Prince of Wales. The graceful setting is rich with twinkling Waterford Crystal chandeliers bestowing a grand sense of occasion. Relax and unwind to the soothing sounds of Ashford Castle’s resident pianist while indulging in exceptional dishes of acclaimed Chef Stefan Matz. This castle stay is available on the Iconic Ireland & Ashford Castle guided holiday.
Culture – Japan
Eclectic cities, traditional villages, snow-capped mountains and coastal beauty are combined on this culturally-infused holiday. Mum will explore Japan like a local with an array of insider experiences including a sushi making demonstration and cooking class in the famous Ginza district. On the Splendours of Japan guided holiday, she’ll learn washi paper making in Gokayama, sample Japanese sake in Takayama and practice gold leaf painting with a local artisan in Kanazawa. In a special Be My Guest dining experience, she’ll be welcomed inside a traditional ryokan nestled in the peace and quiet of Mt. Yoshida. Built in 1932, it is here she’ll taste kaiseki cuisine and learn local Japanese customs with her hosts inside their home.
Adventure – Hawaii
Hawaii is the perfect destination to leave your mum feeling refreshed, re-energised and re-invigorated with the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure. Home to some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, each island brings to life a new experience. Go beyond the surf and sand at Honolulu and discover the lush tropical paradise of Fern Grotto in Kauai on the Hawaii Four Island Adventure. Trek through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and see the sunrise from the summit of Mount Haleakala in Maui. Visit a local family on their working farm before being welcomed inside for a special Be My Guest experience using the farm’s fresh ingredients.
Music – America
Immerse mum into America’s Deep South to experience one of the biggest winter events at the annual Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday parade in New Orleans. On the 10-dayTastes and Sounds of the South guided holiday, she’ll gain a Cultural Insight into the life and music of Johnny Cash during a private performance and discussion with Johnny and June’s son, John Carter Cash. Indulge in southern hospitality at the period homes of Joe Stone who will play the piano for you as you sip cocktails, before Esther Carpenter, once listed as America’s top 20 female chefs, invites you inside for a special Be My Guest dining experience. She’ll also learn about the home of Rock ’n’ Roll with a passionate Local Specialist in the heart of Tennessee and join in on the festivities with New Orleans’s locals on Bourbon Street.
Congratulations! You’ve made it more than halfway through the holidays without giving the kids away for adoption. Some of you may have thought about it though, so you’ll be hunting for some budget ideas to keep them busy, now and in the future. These ideas can occupy kids of various ages, will keep them out of mischief, encourage their creative side and keep them away from technology. They are also excellent for cognitive or motor development. As they get a bit older, they can do these activities unsupervised and you won’t need to hear that never ending cry that they’re bored.
Sandpits don’t need to be works of art or inside tiny little shells. Especially to entertain older kids, just get a trailer load of sandpit sand and literally dump it anywhere! If you don’t have a trailer, you can get it delivered and it will still be great value for money.
Free sided sandpits are much safer, more fun and hygienic than the ones in neat little boxes. Your kids can pile the sand into a mound and jump in and out of it without injury and the sand dissipates into the grass or garden easily and just dispapears. Therefore, it won’t get old, moldy and germ ridden. It’s just like being at the beach, but it’s right in the backyard. When it gets low, just grab another trailer load and they will think it’s Christmas!
When my boys were younger, I set ours up so they were close enough to the house that I could hear them, but far enough away so by the time they reached the back door, most of the sand was still in the garden, not in the house. They could wander out there at will and I didn’t need to supervise every second of every day. They could use their imaginations and get precious time away from me to create and explore. I loved the sound of their voices out there knowing they were having fun, staying safe and being outside.
The busy box
I got the busy box idea from Playschool almost 20 years ago. It was a favorite with my kids during hot, cold or wet days. It grew in size from a small container and expanded as the kids got older and started sourcing their own materials. They would ask friends and relatives to save stuff for them and before long we were collecting enough to take extra stuff to their Playgroup and school for others to share.
We bought some things, like paints, textas, pencils, chalk, glitter, plain and colored paper. The rest was collected. They sourced old magazines, scraps of wrapping paper, bows and ribbons, cardboard rolls, discarded plastic containers or jars, pegs or pop sticks. It was only limited to their imagination, so we had a bit of everything. The hardest thing was keeping them out of the recycling bin!
We also collected stuff during outings for them to take home and make wall hangings or add to scrapbooks. Things like shells, small pebbles, flowers, leaves, gum-nuts, seeds, feathers, pamphlets of the attractions we visited, photos we took and even soil samples! These decorated their rooms, were given to friends and family, made into cards and wrapping paper, plus I always had something new and spectacular to hang on the fridge or frame and take to the office.
Image via blessingsmultiplied.com
Anyone who has ever visited or lived in Melbourne, knows it an amazing city. Going out as a family can be pricey though, plus there’s always that unpredictable weather. I’ve gathered some intel for the budget-minded family and found the two best outings, for rain and shine.
If you are looking for that one family outing that you can do when it’s pouring outside; you can’t beat The Scienceworks, for entertainment and affordability. Patrons are encouraged to touch, play and interact with the exhibits; spend hours exploring and learning new things. The facility houses several other attractions; including The Planetarium. (It’s defiantly a bucket list experience!) Trust me; even Dad will get into it!
As the name suggests, it’s all about science. There is a section for younger children upstairs and a large outdoor area, with a playground, for those who want to bring their lunch and make a complete day of it. There’s a gift shop and canteen, as well as having some of the most spectacular views of the city, from within its confines.
Car parking is available for a flat rate of $2. The only issue; be prepared for a crowd, because it really is one of Melbourne’s most affordable and entertaining, family outings. Even with a crowd, it’s a top day out.
Here’s the run-down of the most important info:
Address: 2 Booker Street Spotswood, Victoria, Australia
Hours: Open daily, 10am – 4:30pm (Closed Good Friday & Christmas Day)
General entry: Adult $12.00; Child (0 to 16 years) and Concession free
Optional extras (Planetarium show, Lightning Room show, Rescue exhibition): Adult $6.00; Child $4.50; Concession $5.00
Bookings and enquiries: 13 11 02
The Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens
For a sunny day outing, the best pick would have to be The Melbourne Zoo. It’s undergoing some extensive renovations to it’s predator enclosure; but don’t let that deter you. It’s excellent value and looks like it’s only going to get better!
There are animals from all over the world, as well as a selection of Australian native inhabitants. The monkeys, tigers and elephants are a real treat and just before closing, the elephants go out to feed. There’s even a baby elephant, who is sure to capture your heart.
There are various food options and plenty of room for everyone to spread out and pull up a piece of grass for a picnic, if you want to keep the cost down. There are gift shops scattered throughout and prices start low enough, to take home a small souvenir or two.
Getting there is relatively easy, either by car or train. Once again, car parking is a flat rate of $2 for 5 hours. For most families, 5 hours of wandering around the zoo is plenty, but it’s so big you’ll probably need to make a second trip. It’s stroller and wheelchair friendly (tip: call and pre-book, if you need one for Nana), but some of the pathways do get muddy in wet weather.
Here’s the most vital info:
Address: Elliott Avenue, Parkville 3052.
Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm every day of the year.
Cost: Adult (Ages 17+) $30.80; Adult concession $23.60; Child 4-15 years (weekends, Victorian public holidays and Victorian government school holidays) free; Child 4-15 years (Monday to Friday, outside holidays) $13.60; Child (0–3 years) free
Family package deals (Monday to Friday – except school holidays): 2 adults with 1 child $74.60; 2 adults with 2 children $74.60; 2 adults with 3 children $81.60; 2 adults with 4 children $88.40; 2 adults with 5 children $95.20
Tickets and bookings: 1300 966 784
Image via zoo.org.au
It’s 7pm, your newborn’s finally gone to bed and you catch sight of yourself in the mirror: you’ve got baby vomit on your shoulder, dirty hair and dark circles no amount of YSL/science can fix. You collapse in a heap on the bed, your poor, sleep-deprived mind and body aching for some sleep. Next, your equally delirious and sleep-deprived husband spots you lying on the bed and mistakes your prone form as an open invitation.
You’ve dozed off for a second, but wake with a start at his gentle caresses. “What are you doing?” you screech, all mad banshee. “I just need 10 minutes to myself!” Your rejected lover slinks into the kitchen, with only his beer to make love to. Sound familiar? You’re not alone – it can be extremely hard to locate your libido post-baby, when it’s often packed up along with your long-lost pre-baby abs and size 10 clothes.
And while your man’s deep, primal sexual desires may be largely unchanged post-baby, chances are, like most new mums, you’re suffering body image issues, an identity crisis and would much rather get some precious, much-needed sleep than swing naked from the chandeliers. So, how do couples rekindle the romance and rediscover their mojo, post-baby? Leading Australian sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein’s top three tips include:
Strike a balance
Reach out to family and friends for help whenever you can, whether it’s to find time to reconnect with your partner sans baby, even if it’s just for a quick meal, or some quality alone time. “You have to really, really work on intimacy post-baby and try to strike a balance between ‘me’, ‘sexy couple’ and ‘baby’ time,” Dr Goldstein says. “Get creative and plan ahead – women need to feel helped and supported to feel sexual. Try to find time to do something that makes you feel nice: a blow dry, manicure or a new outfit. Feeling nourished can switch a woman’s mood and make her feel more sexual – she may even initiate sex.”
Get real, girlfriend
It can be very hard to feel sexual and connected to your post-baby body, especially with armchair motherhood critics and Hollywood celebrities distorting our reality. “There’s incredible pressure on women to lose their baby weight and get sexual very quickly,” Dr Goldstein says. “Look at Kim Kardashian – she went into hiding post-baby so that people weren’t seeing the real Kim, with baby vomit down her front, greasy hair and with someone else looking after her child so she could exercise for hours every day. Post-natal depression is a very real and common problem – many women have a false sense of reality about what motherhood should be. So, get real and be gentle with yourself.”
Slow then fast, baby
Couples looking to set each other on fire between the sheets should start off slow post-baby, Dr Goldstein says. Try snuggling on the couch – reconnecting with your partner through non-penetrative intimacy. Then, once you’re both ready for more – turn up the heat and rediscover your sensuality via bedroom accessories, whether together or alone.
“All relationships should have Tengas: sexual aids,” Dr Goldstein says. “Male masturbation aids like Tengas can come in handy if women are sore post-baby. But sex toys for women are also an invaluable bedroom tool.” Pun very much intended.
By Nicole Carrington
Toilet training your child doesn’t have to be a painful experience for you, or for them. Toddlers are transitioning into a new period in their lives, and working through potty training with patience and optimism is the best way to make it work. Once you’ve commenced the process of toilet training, be aware that any progress may take a few weeks to show, until children begin to understand what is required of them. Sticking to a routine is the best way to give your child an easy transition from nappies to the potty.
When are they ready?
Children are usually toilet trained from the age of two, although some kids are ready earlier or later than this age. Generally the number one sign is when children become more independent with various tasks, and tell you in one way or another when their nappy is full and are ready to be changed. A number of factors are important when one considers toilet training their child. Most daycare facilities prefer if children are toilet trained, so make sure you have enough time to train your child before they head off to daycare.
The first step is picking out a potty for your child. Try to involve them as much as you can in the process, and let them pick out something with a design that they like. There are many different colours, patterns and cartoon characters which are fun for children to interact with. The more they grow accustomed to it, the less they will become afraid of it.
Sticking to a daily routine is the best way to get children to adjust to any new feature in their lives. Include the potty in conversation, and make it something which is accessible to children at any time of the day. Start with getting children on the potty when they wake up and go to sleep, and they will start to wander off and do it themselves in no time.
Remind them when it’s time to go
Children can get sidetracked extremely fast, and this could lead to accidents when they’re starting out. Gently remind or ask them if they need to go, and they will more than likely say yes. Pretty soon they will be able to identify when to go themselves, without being asked. If your child does have the occasional accident, don’t be angry or get them into trouble. They’re just starting out, so be sure to let them know next time to use the potty.
Create a chart and document the amount of times your child uses the potty in a day, week or month. Use fun stamps and stickers to show them how much they have achieved without a nappy. This positive reinforcement will not only make children feel good about themselves, but also excited about the reward they would receive for their wonderful behaviour.
Do you have any tips from potty training your toddler?
Image via PottyTraining.Co.Uk