Ethical dilemmas and my stint on radio

Screenshot 2014-07-31 10.39.26The scent of sausages sizzling on a hot barbeque is one of my favourite smells. Which is odd, given I am a vegetarian. It also makes trips to Bunnings a continual ethical dilemma. How can I be so drawn to the smell of something that I am repulsed by? In my latest piece for The Hoopla I explore the many dilemmas of trying to live an ethical life.

The article struck a chord with readers and was picked up by the morning show’s Studio Ten. You can read the article and view the footage of the discussion on TV here.

As if it wasn’t a big enough thrill having my work published on Wendy Harmer’s site The Hoopla AND having it discussed on National TV, later in the day this happened.

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Intrigued, I responded to Libbi Gorr and gave her my email address. It’s not everyday you get a tweet from an author, writer, radio broadcaster. I was excited and terrified when I received her email asking me to come into the ABC studio as her guest on her evening show. I responded quickly. “Yes, I’d be delighted to skip the bath, books, bed routine at home!”

My first experience on air in a studio was AWESOME! I totally loved the experience and enjoyed the live interactions with the listeners. Everyone had a different story to share about how they try to live and ethical life and by what standards they measure this. Some really funny callers too!

If you’re interested in listening to the audio, you can do so here (there are 2 parts).

 

 

Do you try to live ethically? Tell me your ethical dilemmas. I hope I am not the only one with inconsistencies!

21 things I love about newborns

IMG_3948Ten little fingers and ten little toes; there’s an irresistible magic about newborns. The arrival of a baby is an occasion of unparalleled joy and I’ve been blessed to experience this three times. My youngest ‘baby’ is now two, and although my husband thinks our family is complete, part of me yearns to experience the newborn phase all over again. Of course, newborn babies are not all smiles and rainbows, but they are undeniably cute and remarkable in so many ways. Here are 20 things I love about newborn babies:

1. My love of newborns begins with their many little creases and folds; the soles of their cute feet being my favourite part of a baby’s body.

2. I love the perfectly formed fingernails at the tips of their teeny tiny fingers.

3. I love the way their little fingers wrap around one of my fingers. The firmness of their grip is always surprising for such tiny things.

4. I love watching a newborn wake, peacefully, slowly and purposefully as their eyelids flutter and they frown and furrow their eyebrows in anticipation of what awaits.

5. I love the floppiness of their heads, the fragility of their necks but also the strength of those arms and legs, flailing wildly and making it virtually impossible to dress them.

6. I love it when their eyes lock with mine, intensely matching my gaze as I wonder, “what is she thinking?”

7. I love wrapping them like a burrito, perfectly tucking in the edges and enveloping them in love.

8. There’s nothing like the newborn smell, so fresh and pure and natural. I always take a sniff of any newborn’s head any opportunity I get!

9. I love watching the way my baby’s lips curl while feeding, simultaneously shutting their eyes, and the gentle rhythmic sucking that ensues.

10. I love the curiosity of a newborn; the way their eyes process small but significant details of the world around them.

11. I love seeing the recognition in their eyes, and the consequent smile that distinguishes itself from a ‘wind smile’. No smile catches quite as fast as that of a newborn.

12. Drunk with love. It doesn’t get much better than seeing your baby blissfully content with a tummy full of milk.

13. Chubby cheeks, plump, puffy eyelids and rosebud lips…aaahhh.

14. The oh-so-soft baby skin, so pure and unblemished. Patting them dry after a bath and massaging that beautiful skin with baby oil is a warm and wonderful experience.

15. The baby yawn. Usually about an hour after she’s been up she gives those big yawns, stretching and indicating that she is ready to sleep. Or not.

16. The dependency of a newborn and the way having a baby makes me feel like a lioness protecting her cub.

17. The special intimacy between mother and baby. The skin-to-skin contact, the rocking, the patting, the comforting, the gut wrenching love and awe so inextricably linked.

18. I love a sleeping baby. There’s something utterly mesmerising about watching their little chest rise and fall, rise and fall.

19. I love the stillness babies bring to your life. The way they bring you back to the present moment, and no further. Almost like a meditation.

20. I love how warm and snug they feel on your chest, the little head resting in the nook of your neck. Hearing their heart beat against your own, sometimes in sync, as they perfect the yoga diaphragm breathing technique so innately.

21.  Newborn nappies. Oh so cute! You realise how small they are when you move up to the toddler size and ponder how tiny their bottom once was….

I have created a short video, capturing these moments. Trigger warning: It may cause cluckiness!!  Follow Not another slippery Dip on Facebook

* First published on Essential Baby

School holidays and slow parenting

It’s the end of two weeks of school holidays here in Australia and we’ve enjoyed moving at a slower pace. Gosh it was nice having a break from all the kinder drop offs and pick ups and all the kids’ extra curricular activities. These pics paint a picture of our down time and the perfect recipe for slow parenting: family, friends, pyjama days, less rushing and more enjoying! (more…)

Postnatal complications and patient care

IMG_0569I have only been a patient in hospital a handful of times, mostly in the maternity ward.  I remember the first time I gave birth; wrapped up in post-natal euphoria, I said to the midwife, “You have the best job in the world.” And I meant it. To be on the front line of care; to see women in their most raw and vulnerable state, and to assist them through an often traumatic experience, is a great privilege.

But they also have a stressful job. In a delivery suite, midwives witnesses pain, heartache, joy and grief daily. They play such an important role in the birthing experience. During an eight-hour shift, they have the capacity to alleviate pain and discomfort, to connect emotionally with a patient and to impart compassion and significantly influence a patient’s experience. (more…)

Your new motherhood manifesto

IMG_2492There’s an ocean of literature about all manner of things relating to parenthood. There are pregnancy bibles, labour guidebooks and the ‘what to expect when expecting’ books aimed at providing antenatal support for the expectant mother. Then there’s an entire library of books on how to actually raise your child. There’s also an exploding market in books about what to feed your child. But there’s not a lot written about how to survive and thrive as a mother. You hear it’s tough, often tiring and sometimes tedious (sometimes?) but you can’t understand it until you’re living it. Here are my tips for surviving and thriving motherhood.

Find your own mothering rhythm

It doesn’t matter what “Ally’s mum says about formula, or your MIL’s “advice” about controlled crying, or what Jack’s organic mama says about sugar. Ignore it all. It’s futile comparing yourself to others, and even more so comparing yourself to other mums. Do what works for you. Do what works for your family. Do what works for your relationships. Block out the parenting “noise” and trust your own judgement. Learn to mother without expectations, without conditions, and most of all without guilt. You’ll be so much happier.

Pick your battles

When the going gets tough, cut some corners and cut yourself some slack. Decide what matters, and what doesn’t. So if your 2-year-old wants to wear a sleeveless dress when it’s 10 degrees outside, why fight it? Throw a cardigan at the bottom of the pram and save yourself the angst. Need to use some screen time to get through witching hour? An extra hour of TV won’t harm them. Similarly if you’ve had the day from hell and the thought of cooking dinner for toddlers that probably won’t eat it fills you with understandable dread, save it. Call in the backup meal: scrambled eggs, a bowl of weet-bix, who really cares? Get through the current day and think about vegetables the next.

Be gentle to yourself

With so much energy being poured into the family, the person who usually ends up depleted is mum. Much like in air travel, the ‘fit your oxygen mask before your children’ is true to motherhood. It’s simple really: if you don’t replenish your own needs and treat yourself with the same care and compassion, the entire family will suffer. Being gentle on yourself also means celebrating the small steps, the little victories, and the mothering milestones. It means patting yourself on the back and going easy on yourself when the times are tough. Learn to move on from the bad moments quickly. Don’t replay them in your head.

Phone a friend

There’s no benefit in pretense so don’t suffer in silence – speak up. If you’re having a bad day, bad week or bad month, tell someone. I have a couple of “go to” friends who I know I can call to say “I’m having the day from hell,” or “I want to run away from my kids,” and they know not to call child services. Instead they listen, agree and offer understanding. A little vent actually helps. And if it feels more serious than airing your motherhood frustrations, then visit your GP and lay it on the table. There’s no shame in not enjoying motherhood 24/7. None.

Adopt the 80/20 rule

This is my personal favourite. We know we are not supposed to shout at our kids; instead we are meant to speak to them calmly and rationally. But at the end of a day involving perpetual battles sometimes the rage escapes you. Of course, you feel terrible afterwards. We all do, but we’re also flawed human beings. Human error is simply that, human. Even surgeons make mistakes; no one is infallible.

So, feed your kids well 80% of the time and allow for some treats or just casual meals 20% of the time. No outdoor play today? Big deal. You did it yesterday. A reader got missed? Don’t sweat it. Bed time usually 7.00pm? Allow for some later nights once in a while. The 80/20 rule can be applied to all areas of life too, not just parenting. If you’re not already on board with the 80/20 method of parenting, get on board now.

Perfection is the enemy

Being a parent and a perfectionist don’t sit easily together. Trying to do it all and expecting it can all be done perfectly, is a recipe for disappointment. It’s simply not possible to achieve an idealistic standard at anything all the time. Instead aim for “good enough.” Just get the job done. I learned to lower my expectations and my standards a long time ago. I also learnt to get comfortable with mess. And collectively let’s not cultivate the myth of the supermum. Let’s remove that word, along with “perfect”, from our vernacular. Permanently.

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Which of these do you like the most? Is there anything else you would add? Please comment below.

* First published on Essential Baby.

Blueberry Muffins

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These blueberry muffins are light and delicious and simple to make. This is hands down the best muffin recipe I have ever tried and guaranteed to please the crowd. Get your kids in the kitchen to help out with this one. It is simple to make and only uses a few ingredients. The key to getting these babies light is all in the rubbing of the butter into the flour. I have adapted this recipe slightly.  Miss A declared these Blue-BERRY-licious! Go on, try them.  I like these babies big but you can make mini ones too. (more…)