When it comes to co-sleeping, parents are being treated like idiots

Public health officials are underestimating our intelligence

Public health officials are underestimating our intelligence

When it comes to parenting, I think the public health message has failed - especially in regards to co-sleeping.

The overwhelming message that parents in Australia get about co-sleeping is that it’s dangerous.

We get that message from our public health providers- whether it’s lactation consultants, midwives or area health nurses. And yet, according to Red Nose, 90 percent of parents will have a baby in bed with them in the first six months.

You can read the full article at Kinderling Kids Radio

should parents stay together once the passion has gone?

You both love your children, but is it enough to stay together?

You both love your children, but is it enough to stay together?

Is lack of desire a legitimate reason to break up your family?

How important is an individual’s happiness over keeping the family together?

No one wants their kids to suffer. The thought of children trying to comprehend why their parents are splitting up is heartbreaking for everyone involved.

Read the full article at Kinderling Kids Radio

How to cherish every season of parenthood

Every season has it’s sunshine and rain

Every season has it’s sunshine and rain

My sister got married when I was about eight months pregnant with our first child. I remember clearly my father at the wedding, nursing my niece who was about 10 months old, and him saying, “Blink and this will be you.”

This statement seemed slightly incongruous, given my baby had not yet made her way into the world. I couldn’t imagine how she was going to get out of my uterus, let alone how she might one day walk down the aisle.

But fast forward six or so years, and I see he has a point.

Read the full article at Kinderling Kids Radio

It's ok to feel sad, so why does the emotion carry such a stigma?

We can't be happy all the time, but that's not always a bad thing

We can't be happy all the time, but that's not always a bad thing

Before I got married I realised something. I would never again feel the rush of a first kiss. That thrill of falling in love, with all its awkward anticipation and youthful excitement, would belong to a younger me. The married me was promising to only lock lips with my husband-to-be.

I know it's not the most romantic thought to have right before you're about to tie the knot. At the time I wondered if it was a sign that I was making the wrong decision. Wasn't the pinnacle of romantic love getting married? Surely it wasn't the time to mourn lost love affairs?

Read the full article at Daily Life

Now that I have kids I realise what a gift a clean house really is

Life with small children can be fun, but it sure is messy!

Life with small children can be fun, but it sure is messy!

There’s something I should disclose before I start this article.

I used to be an absolute slob. When I shared a flat with my best friend, I don’t recall ever cleaning the toilet. Or the shower. And we lived together for over a year.

It’s almost too much to remember.

I had other things on my mind: boys, parties, lying by the beach reading my book.

Now my house looks like a bomb hit it because I have two very bright, bubbly, messy small humans in my life. No endless socialising, no late night parties and all-day sleep-ins. If only I could go back to my 20-year-old self! I would explain to her what a gift it is to have a house where you can move with ease, without having to wade through clothes and the detritus of life.

Read the full article at Babyology

Why I'll never stop co-sleeping with my kids

Shevonne says she doesn't always get a lot of sleep, but it's worth it

Shevonne says she doesn't always get a lot of sleep, but it's worth it

I'm the youngest of three, and I didn’t stop getting into my parents’ bed until I was around 12.

People are shocked at how old I was, especially if they have children who come to visit at night now. Surely it can’t last that long?!

But I’ve had a revelation, following a night where both my children made it into my bed. My husband got a good night’s sleep in another room while these two bodies curled around me.

Even though there are times when those squiggling, wiggling little bodies drive me to distraction and rob me of my sleep, I won’t ever tell my kids to go back to their own bed.

Read the full article at RendezView

My mum friends literally save my sanity

Shevonne with her friends at a long ladies' lunch

Shevonne with her friends at a long ladies' lunch

Since becoming a mum, my friendships have become more important than ever.

I’ve had anxiety for many years now and I know what it takes to keep it in check. Exercise, medication, counselling, deep breathing.

But mental health isn’t just about managing symptoms. If I want to feel truly amazing in my own head; I need my friends. Especially since becoming a mother.

You can read the full article at Kidspot 

Are you raising kind kids? Here are six ways to start

Shevonne's children have moments of kindness to each other. Photo: Daniel Guerra

Shevonne's children have moments of kindness to each other. Photo: Daniel Guerra

I’m mortified when my kids are rude or mean to someone.

I feel bad for their victim, but I also feel responsible. How did I come to raise my very own Veruca Salt? The Oompa Loompas were very clear in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Veruca Salt was a brat because her parents spoiled her.

When my five-year-old yells at our little neighbor to get off the swing, or my son throws something in a rage, I feel like a chorus of bright orange-faced men are singing about my shortcomings as a parent. And let’s face it, if it’s not a gaggle of Oopma Loompas, there are plenty of adults lining up to judge you for your child’s terrible behaviour.  

Read the full article at Kidspot

Parents worry about kids' screen time, but what about their own?

Shevonne with her daughter in one of many "selfies"

Shevonne with her daughter in one of many "selfies"

"Spare time" is a phrase that has little meaning in my life. Every minute seems to have its purpose. I can cook toast while making porridge. I can clean teeth while plaiting hair. I can text my mum while the kids are dragging their feet to the car.

Since I've become a mum of two small humans multi-tasking has become as natural as breathing. I don't think I'm unusual, most women I know are absolute queens of the juggle: they manage everything from care arrangements (holiday care, after school care, day care) to birthday parties and family dinners.  And that's on top of everything they already do at home or work.

Read the full article at Daily Life

Discovering Mudgee, a multigenerational trip down memory lane

Shevonne's son at a park in Mudgee where she played as a child

Shevonne's son at a park in Mudgee where she played as a child

Mudgee is a town of roughly 11,000 people in the Central West of NSW, three and a half hours North West of Sydney where we live. These days it’s known as a hub for good food and wine, but when I was young it was better known as a farming town.

I have memories of hot summers, Pop snoring out the back during his afternoon kip and Nanna’s delicious fig jam with chunks of fruit. I remember the town had a sleepy stillness when we rode our bikes down to the park or explored the local shops.

You can read the full article at Out and About With Kids

the silent shame around caesareans

Caesarean birth can be just as challenging as "natural" births. Flickr_ CCbySalimFahley

Caesarean birth can be just as challenging as "natural" births. Flickr_CCbySalimFahley

There’s a strange silence around C-sections. Most women are happy to share their birth stories, gleeful even. There’s something uniquely satisfying about recounting the way we bring our children into the world. It’s like sharing battle stories, only with a happy ending.

But I have never heard a mother tell me the story of her caesarean. In fact, I often don’t know which of my friends has had a caesarean. I have always wondered why it was not part of the many conversations I’ve had about becoming a mother.

Read the full article at Kidspot

it's hard to make time for reflection, but we should stop thinking it as 'optional'

Finding peace with small kids around can be challenging. Photo: Daniel Guerra

Finding peace with small kids around can be challenging. Photo: Daniel Guerra

Life today is often spent running from one thing to the next, feeling like you're being chased by a burning fuse that's about to explode if you don't get to each thing on time.

I've heard people disdain the phrase "I'm busy" as a modern affectation. That is, people are saying "I'm busy, so I'm important, I'm going places".

I don't agree with that judgment. I think most people are busy.

Read the full article at Daily Life

new mothers need to know their mental health is not a luxury

Being a new mum can be tough. Flickr_ CCbyDavidD

Being a new mum can be tough. Flickr_CCbyDavidD

When I brought my baby daughter home from the hospital, I was completely unprepared for the year ahead.

On the surface, it looked like I was sorted. I'd washed all her teeny tiny clothes and had them waiting in the nursery, which I had painted a pretty lemon yellow. I'd bought a stack of nappies, wipes and barrier cream.

What I wasn't prepared for was the enormous change this sweet small thing would bring to my life, nor did I have any idea of how to handle that change.

Read the full article at Daily Life

five things you should know about my kids tantrums

No one enjoys tantrums, especially not kids. Flickr_ CCbyDavidD

No one enjoys tantrums, especially not kids. Flickr_CCbyDavidD

While my children are not adverse to the odd tanty, I’ve been lucky enough that most of them happen behind closed doors. “Lucky” is a funny word to choose. Tantrums are an awful experience to all involved, not just the child.

So when I’ve heard people talk about the disapproving looks of those around them when their child decides to literally spit their dummy, I’ve been slightly bemused. Surely people understand that tantrums are a natural part of a child’s development? Surely people know that parents — whether they are relaxed or strict — have no control once a tantrum starts? Surely this type of situation is met with sympathy before judgment?

Read the full article at RendezView

The best way to escape on Mother's Day

Culburra beach. Photo: Daniel Guerra

Culburra beach. Photo: Daniel Guerra

What is it you wanted most on Mother's Day? A sleep in? A massage? Perhaps all you wanted was to go to the toilet on your own. Mother's Day, in the end, is about thanking Mums for all they do, and perhaps giving them an “escape” for what can sometimes be a relentless and thankless job. Ok, so it’s a job that we love… but we could do with a break sometimes!

This Mother's Day, my escape involved heading down the South Coast of NSW for a festival, called Burradise in Culburra, Shoalhaven.

Read the full article at Out and About With Kids

what it's really like to pop "happy pills"

Anxiety can be a lonely illness. Photo: Daniel Guerra

Anxiety can be a lonely illness. Photo: Daniel Guerra

I've had anxiety since my mid 20s. I've lived with the constant fear of a panic attack, an invisible line of tension across my neck and shoulders. I couldn't relax, and I had a recurring terror that I was going to go mad.

Why is there such persistent stigma around medicating anxiety and depression? 

I'm 40 now, so that's 15 years of living with an irrational fear that I just couldn't kick.

The recurring nature of anxiety means I've gone through periods where it has been a dull hum, and others where it is like a swarm of bees hovering around my head.

Read the full article at Daily Life

the "Mummy Wars" are real and I've got the scars to prove it

We all parent differently, but not everyone's ok with that. Photo: Daniel Guerra

We all parent differently, but not everyone's ok with that. Photo: Daniel Guerra

Before I had children the “Mummy wars” were a fable I had heard about.

Something distant, improbable and also something I thought I would never experience, even if I became a mother.

Now that I’ve been a parent for five years, I know that the Mummy wars are real, and I have the battle scars to prove it.

Read the full article at RendezView

we want to teach our kids resilience, but what about us?

We all need to be able to get back up when we fall down

We all need to be able to get back up when we fall down

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. It's a mindset many parents are grappling with as they try to cultivate this in their children. It's definitely something I want my kids to have, and it's a fundamental life skill, but lately I've been thinking 'am I resilient?'.

It seems to me that parents have their own special set of challenges to face. We need to have the ability to get through the early months and years, the relentless march of dirty nappies, laundry, broken sleep, sultanas in car seats and tantrums.

But we need a more subtle resilience, too - one that allows us to be the adult in the relationship when our child comes home from school after being bullied, when they have their first broken heart, or yell that they hate us before slamming the door in our face.

Read the full article at Essential Kids

what does being a good mum really mean?

A standard ferry ride in Sydney

A standard ferry ride in Sydney

Are you a 'good' mum? I've never asked myself this question, though lately I've been thinking it's an important question to ask.

I'm pretty good at thinking about what I should be doing better. Like getting my daughter to eat a wider range of food other than pasta, white rice or udon noodles. Or worrying that I don't spend enough time with both children, that they eat too much sugar and watch too much TV.

But what does being a 'good' mum really mean?

Read the full article at Essential Kids

the way we talk to girls is different to the way we talk to boys

It surprised me when I realised I spoke differently to my son. Photo: Daniel Guerra

It surprised me when I realised I spoke differently to my son. Photo: Daniel Guerra

When I found out I was having a boy, after first having a girl, I was delighted.

I had a few insecurities about raising a boy, given I knew so little about them, but I was happy to have a gender balance in our house.

Fast forward to today when that little baby has become a very adorable, cheeky little boy and I'm learning a whole lot more about how difficult "gender balance" really is.

I'm not talking about buying gender-neutral toys and being cool when he wants to wear a princess dress.

Read the full article at Daily Life