It’s 3am. A tiny voice whispers in your ear, ‘Mummy, I’m going to throw up.’ You pry yourself from slumber and sit up. ‘What happened?’, you ask your wide-eyed toddler. But it’s too late- intestinal armageddon has already struck, and your bed is covered in vomit. Two hours later, you’re awake in bed feverishly Googling the symptoms of every vomit-inducing infant disease ever.
We live in an age where every piece of parenting information is literally at our fingertips. Sure, it’s empowering to know you’re always a click away from solving any problem. But do have the skills to filter out the garbage? Is the epidemic of cyber-parenting causing us more anxiety than it’s worth?
The madness doesn’t end with Dr Google. We’re also contending with the temptation to buy into Instagram happiness and Pinterest perfection. From humble-bragging to brazen oversharing, there are a million ways for parents to boast about their glamorous and exciting lives when social media is involved.
The effect is that parents reading these posts are left feeling inadequate, hopeless and depressed. Sure, it’s easy to fall into the habit of seeking inspiration from ‘perfect parents’ via social media- after all we all want the best for our kids. But the real problems arise when we begin to compare our own lives to a flawless ideal that resides only online.
So why do we buy into the hype? Surely we know better than to model our lives on contrived Instagram captions and carefully-composed happy snaps?
The truth of the matter is that we don’t need these things to become a better parent. Reading endless parenting forums and scrolling through celebrity Instagram posts may feel good for the short-term, but in the long-run, you’re feeding the anxiety monster with validation-seeking activities and unfair comparisons.
If it’s not doing you any good, it’s doing you bad. And it’s time to stop.
Clowns are out, fairies are passé and don’t even think about hiring a magician.
When it comes to children’s birthday parties, a unicorn theme is the celebrity trend du jour.
If you’re partial to the occasional Instagram stalk, you’ll have noticed a surge in unicorn-inspired festivities among famous mothers over recent weeks.
The likes of WAG queens Kyly Clarke and Terri Biviano have wasted no expense in throwing unicorn birthday parties for their cherished tots, all the while making sure to flaunt the merrymaking on social media.
Bakers-to-the-stars have also cashed in on the celebrity craze, with Rebecca Judd recruiting a couture desert chef to craft a unicorn cake for her precious three-year-old daughter Billie last year.
And while the price tags attached to these A-list affairs are undoubtedly exorbitant, mere mortals need not take out a home-loan to indulge in the trend.
C’mon, we reckon spending big bucks on unicorn-themed birthday parties is comparable to believing in unicorns in the first place: dumb.
One savvy mother who works in our office demonstrated the ridiculousness with her daughter’s recent unicorn birthday party, which set her back just $25. Yes, that’s a grand total of $25 bucks.
Instead of purchasing an expensive cake (and let’s be honest, most of it’s going to end up smeared on the kids’ faces anyway), our smartie Mum friend nabbed a stock-standard Woolies cake and decorated it with M&Ms – all for the tidy price of $5.00
As for gifts, she simply strolled down to Kmart to pick up three chalk bombs, a Creeper Keeper bug catcher, a make-your-own crystal set, a sausage dog night-light and a box of Kinetic Magic Sand – all for just $20.
In Mum’s words: ‘Kid as happy as a pig in poop and family love = priceless’.
Wah wah wah. Here we are whining about the back to school shopping without a single thought of how blessed we are to be able to buy our kids stationery.
Fact is, more than 1.1 Australian children and young people live in poverty and may struggle to afford the school supplies they need when they head back to school this week.
Keenly aware of these statistics is stationery brand Yoobi, who are calling on all social media users who love Aussie kids to #sharefive during this back to school period.
Running for the second year in a row and open to all Australians, the Yoobi #sharefive challenge simply asks that you share a photo of your open hand – signalling five – on your social media account, using the tags #sharefive and @yoobiaustralia.
In return, Yoobi will donate five essential school items to a child in need, during the 2018 back to school period. Yes, count em, FIVE!
This means Aussie kids in need can stock their backpacks with classroom essentials for the new school year. This year, the campaign aims to provide 10,000 stationery items to children across the country who need them most.
“It’s one thing to fall behind in school because you haven’t done your homework,” said Yoobi Ambassador, Osher Günsberg. “It’s another thing to fall behind because you don’t have a pencil to do your homework with. Yoobi’s mission is to make sure that every Australian child, regardless of their financial circumstance, has access to the school supplies they need to participate in school. At this very busy back to school time, we are urging as many people as possible to lend a helping hand to these kids, by either choosing Yoobi for their back to school supplies, or by simply posting a quick pic on Instagram. There are no catches – you buy or post, and Yoobi gives. It’s that simple!” he said.
Yoobi’s #sharefive challenge will run until February 5th, 2018. Posts must tag @yoobiaustralia and #sharefive to be counted. Yoobi products are available at Woolworths stores around the country.
For more information, visit yoobi.com.au
There’s nothing quite like a heart-warming Christmas story and we’ve just found a pearler.
With Christmas Day just around the corner, many are in the process of making arrangements to celebrate with friends, family or loved ones.
But what of those members of the community who don’t have any options or invitations to share in Christmas Day celebrations? Let’s face it, there is nothing worse than being alone on Christmas Day.
Enter www.OrphanChristmas.com – an international website that allows people to geo-target and open their hearts and homes to celebrate Christmas with others in their community, who may otherwise spend this time alone.
There are many who, for a multitude of reasons, don’t have a place to go yuletide – from expats, students and travelers to divorcees, the homeless and the elderly.
The Orphan Christmas platform was created as a means to meet and invite others to your own Christmas shindig, or to connect to others who may also be alone, to create your very own celebrations together.
How does it work?
Simply head to the website to register your existing Christmas Day event or invite, and interested people will contact you to make arrangements.
Alternatively, you can create your own group and event and connect to other orphans.
The top 5 reasons for an Orphan Christmas
- Disconnection from family, divorce or family members who just don’t get along
- Travelers, ex-pats or work commitments which keep them away from home
- Student who are away from home and can’t afford to travel
- Religious reasons
- Elderly people who cannot travel or afford to join other family members
Sharing is caring, so if you love Orphan Christmas, do post and share on your social media channels.
For most of us, mindfulness comes too late in life and often after times get tough. Yet with anxiety and depression sky-rocketing, it’s important to teach kids the tools early in life to deal with what life may throw at them.
That’s why we love the work Leah Chandler from Kids-Fit Australia is doing in helping both parents and kids to chill the hell out.
Without being a total hipster, kale drinking Bondi-dwelling wanker, put your Skinny Bitch down and get a big fat cup of zen into you and the kids with a few basic, starter tips from Leah below.
1. When you wake up – be on your own and for 2 minutes – lie or sit down and close your eyes and focus on breathing slowly in and out and from the bottom of your belly. Pay attention to how your body and mind are feeling today.
2. Each day, write a list of 5 things that you are grateful for and then close your eyes and imagine each one and why you are grateful for it.
3. Eat slowly and focus on taste, texture and savour your food. Try this at least once a day to practice mindful eating, which means you will be more aware of what you are eating and why!
4. Take 3 mindful breaths before doing homework, tests, participating in competitions or feeling stressed at school. Breathe in and out slowly and breath from the bottom of the belly. This will help your nerves and you will become more focused.
5. Have a few minutes to yourself each day, especially when you feel tired or overloaded. Go for a walk through a garden or park (always take a parent or big sibling with you so they can help you stay safe, even if they sit away from you). Or just hang out in your room or the backyard and relax and breathe. It is a great way to bring your mind and body back to calm state, especially after a big day at school.
If these help you then maybe you can teach a friend and their kids to be mindful too! Peace.
For more on Leah, check out her website here www.kidsfitaustralia.com
Social Media – #kidsfitaust
It’s no secret I can’t bear to organise a birthday party. A combo meal-deal of working full-time meeting a distinct lack of creative ideas means we usually end up a bowling alley or the park. Boring, I know, but one can’t fake a good party.
Jo Power from Melbourne greeting card company and party blog Things by Bean provides fab tips to ensure your next birthday isn’t a dump and run babysitting session – and the parents actually stick around for some fun too. And she has a few cracker ideas up her sleeve when it comes to inspiring your next party. No matter where it is.
Photo shoot fun – Everyone can let their hair down with a silly photo shoot. Pick a spot with good lighting (indoors or outdoors) and put together a backdrop of balloons or streamers. Near the backdrop, set up a small stable of props – feather boas, crazy sunglasses, masks, big fake flowers and hats are perfect. If you have an instant camera (Instax or Polaroid), encourage guests to take snaps with their phone and post them on Instagram with a hashtag just for your party (ie. #jamieturns8).
The mummy – It doesn’t matter how old you are – wrapping someone in toilet paper is fun! This is perfect for birthday parties because the bigger the group, the better it is. Break into groups of 4-6 people and give each group a roll of toilet paper. Each group nominates one person to be The Mummy and starting at the same time, each group has three minutes to wrap the toilet paper around The Mummy – and I mean the entire roll! Whichever team makes the most creative mummy wins. Make sure you document this one, you won’t stop laughing at photos of the finished Mummies!
Eat the donut – This deliciously fun game can be played by anyone who loves donuts! Which is just about everyone. For each person playing, thread a thick piece of string through the hole of a donut. Tie the ends of each string to a clothesline or tree so that the doughnut dangles in the air (keep the height of each player in mind). You can play this game with teams or individual players. For each round, a player from each team must eat the donut off the string without using their arms or hands and without the donut falling on the ground. Whoever finishes their donut first is the winner! But, really, everybody wins because everybody gets to eat donuts!
Pin the something on the something – With a little tweaking, this old-school game can be great fun for party guests of all ages. For the kids, do a classic Pin the Tail on the Donkey, positioning it lower on the wall so the little ones can reach it. For the adults, think of a pop culture icon of your generation that your guests will love and find a photo of it. Upload the photo to Rasterbator (a free online tool that enlarges and divides photos so you can print out big wall art at home) and tape it up on the wall at adult height. Next, create something funny to pin onto it! You could get guests to Pin the Scar on Harry Potter or Pin the Halo on Beyoncé.
Party bags are not just for the kids – Don’t send your guests home empty-handed! Goodie bags are a great way to send a bit of the party home. When you’re putting together goodie bags for your next kid’s birthday party, do a batch of goodie bags for kids and a batch for adults. The kid’s bags can be filled with the usual lollies and trinkets – they’re always a hit. For the adult goodie bags, turn it up with beautiful dark chocolates, rum balls or soy candles set in elegant glass jars.
Head to www.thingsbybean.com to stock up on Things by Bean’s bright and cheeky birthday cards and fuel party inspiration with creative DIY ideas and cake recipes. I can genuinely say they are better than mine. Which isn’t that hard in reality.