Category Archives: Family

Miss Three is at war with her carers, and I’m on her side..


Here’s a confession, I haven’t had major sleep problems with Miss Three since she was four months old.

That’s not to say we’re not up a lot during the nights; there are often bad dreams, illness, heat or cold issues and sometimes a need for emergency cuddles, but we know that in the grand scheme of things, we’re pretty fortunate.

I’m the last person to claim the credit.  We had fantastic support from the sleep support centre provided by our local area health service when Miss Three was four months old.  As hapless parents who knew very little, this was a godsend.

Since then things have gone fairly well.  Miss Three gave up her daytime sleep about six months ago, it made the evening bedtime quicker and less stressful and we’re quite relaxed about that.

But every day she’s at daycare, her carers spend two hours trying to get her to sleep.  They pat, cajole and beg and she just doesn’t sleep. I get reports (from her) about how they will try and get her to ‘be good and have a sleep today’.

And I really don’t care.

I understand that those who work in daycare need a break during the day – this is absolutely not about that.  I also understand that some kids need a sleep, and others a little quiet time, but I do not understand telling a child that good behaviour is sleeping when they really have no physical need for one?

We spend the first few years of our children’s loves agonizing over their sleep patterns.  There’s a very good reason that Go the F*** to Sleep is a bestseller.  And it’s a serious issue for working mums, who are trying to commute, make decisions and function like regular human beings during the day, often on very little sleep.

I’d love to get an afternoon kip on the weekends, and it was lovely while it lasted, but if they don’t need it, there’s simply  not much you can do about it.

I try so hard to support our lovely carers and any rules or processes they implement.  I think consistency in expectations, especially on things like manners, eating patterns and treatment of other people, is really important.

But I’m sorry daycare, I just can’t back you up on this one.

Kirsten

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Dad and partner pay – will your family benefit?

Today the Australian Government announced applications are now open for Dad and Partner Pay.

Never heard of it?  Well, it’s an extension of the Paid Parental Leave scheme and means government support for dads and partners to get two weeks paid leave at the rate of the national minimum wage (currently about $606 per week before tax), if you have a baby or adopt after 1 January, 2013.

You could be eligible if you work full-time, part-time, casually, seasonally, on contract, or if you’re self-employed.

Here’s the fine print. You may be eligible if:

  • You are the biological dad, adopting parent or partner of the birth mother or adopting parent and;
  • You are an Australian resident who has worked for at least 10 of the 13 months before the date your Dad and Partner Pay period starts, and;
  • Your individual adjusted taxable income is $150 000 or less in the financial year either before the date of your claim.

Dads can be eligible for Dad and Partner Pay even if their partner is not receiving Paid Parental Leave and you can read all of the details here.

The Australian Government hopes this will support families in the first year of a chld’s life, and encourage more dads to take time off to spend with their kids.  Excellent stuff.

They say that the move is a particularly big win for self-employed people, contractors, casual workers and others who generally don’t have paternity leave entitlements from their employer.

You’re still likely to be better off with your employer’s parental leave scheme, if you’re lucky enough to be work for someone that has one.  But for everyone else, this is a good start.

I wonder how many dads will take it?  I suspect lots of dads would prefer to spend more time with their kids when they’re first born, but feel lots of pressure to continue providing for the family, especially when mum is recovering from childbirth. Hopefully this will make it a bit easier.

If you’re  already registered with the Department of  Human Services for online services, you can logon and apply from there, or you can register here.   You can apply in person at Centrelink or Medicare offices or call 136 150.

Kirsten

Medicare to abolish cash payments. Should we be concerned?

Medicare is about to abolish cash payments from next month.

Don’t panic.  This doesn’t mean payments won’t be immediate because refunds will be paid via credit EFTPOS – where a customer swipes their debit card and allows the funds to be transferred immediately.

I was in at our local Medicare office yesterday (collecting my form to receive Childcare Tax Rebate, more on why we should all do that here) and the staff there seemed to think the changes would make little difference to most people.

However, the changes also mean that each person listed on a Medicare card and over the age of 14 needs to sign a form giving consent for payments to go directly into the account of a parent.

This won’t affect me, as we have a few years to go before we  have a 14 year old in our family. (Thank goodness!)   I did wonder whether it would be difficult for some families, and there has been some concern about it in the media, which you can read about here.

Personally,  I love having the money go direct into my account, as I tend to collect a few receipts and process them all at once.  We’ve had lots of health complications in the last couple of years so lots of costs have made this more efficient for us.  I find the money is always there the next day which makes it pretty good in my view, and one of the most accessible government services I use.

But I appreciate that some families can’t afford to do that and need their claims processed asap.  Should we be concerned about this?  Or is direct into your account just as good as cash?

Kirsten

Is this the best Olympics ad for 2012?

Been watching the Olympics?

If you’re a working mum, you probably fold a load of washing during the ads.

But here’s one worth staying on the couch for, with thanks to blogger and brand strategist  Jamie Dunham at The Lipstick Economy for drawing our attention to it.

As Jamie says in her piece on Marketing to Moms:  An Olympic Task for Proud Sponsor of Moms

P&G has won a gold medal in Olympic advertising to Moms!

Not only has the spot tapped into a human emotion that we all share, but this year’s Olympics has highlighted the amazing stories of Moms like those of Gabby Douglas and Michael Phelps.  The drama and struggle of this year’s games have been lived out in the faces of Moms.  The inspirational stories are highlighted on the P&G YouTube channel which has been viewed a bizillion times.

The researcher asked viewers to rate the Olympics spots on eight criteria, including likeability, relevance, persuasion and watchability. “Hardest Job” rated one of the highest measured by Ace Metrix.

Advertisers often say that great ads work because they have ‘insight’ – an observation about our lives that rings true for the audience.

Do you like this ad?  I have to admit, it made getting up for swimming lessons a bit more appealing!

Kirsten

Good news. Healthy mums mean healthy kids.

A new study today has found that if mums are healthy, kids are too.

Not exactly rocket science but the key findings, reported here in the Daily Telegraph, are:

For each hour mum increases her physical activity, their child’s play time increases by 16 minutes a day.

But if mum adds an hour of screen time, their child’s sedentary viewing expands by eight minutes, the study found.

..Mum’s screen time was “the only factor significantly associated with their child’s screen time”.

So now we have no excuse for not getting out for that walk!

When I had to do a lot of physiotherapy after a second painful  knee operation last year, I learned that, despite being busy like all working mums, it actually was possible to find time for exercise.   I had additional motivation because I was facing a permanent limp unless I actually did my thirty minutes every single day, but it was a great lesson to learn.

I’ve slipped back a bit since then but I found new ways of exercising I hadn’t considered before.  The best one was to do lunges and push ups on playground equipment.  You need to manage it so you can see enough to race over and stop your kids from waving that stick around or jumping off something and breaking a leg, and it feels a little silly at first, but it does actually allow you to do two things at the same time.  I also try and catch up with friends for a walk and coffee at the end, rather than just a coffee, or to meet with children at the beach or playground with a ball so I can get a little incidental exercise.  Chasing a three year old on soft sand gets your heart rate up!

Does this study make sense to you?  Do you have time to exercise, and do you think it influences your children?

Kirsten

Aside

Did you see the news today that the child support scheme is so complex that only a handful of experts can understand the rules? If are you one of the 1.5 million divorced and separated parents who pay or receive child … Continue reading

This working mum co-sleeps. Do you agree?

You may have seen this piece last weekend on why the Victorian Coroner has recommended against parents co-sleeping with their children.  Yet millions of mums continue to do so.  Why?  Today, working mum Angela Humphries shares her story…

To us, co-sleeping is a natural choice. We just did what seemed right, and it is an easy solution for time-poor parents. Our three year old daughter has slept with us since she was born, in the early days on a built up pillow next to us and thesedays she has her own pillow and a well-worn groove in the mattress.

I adore sleeping with my child. She is physically next to me, hand in hand or she snoozes in the crook of my arm. Often in the middle of the night, I open my eyes to stare at her perfect chin or feel her warm breath on my face. Of course there are issues; which we can easily resolve with a warm hug, a reassuring pat on the back or some soothing words. Sometimes these are even for our daughter when she wakes mid sleep. We don’t have tear infested nightly rituals with her, it seems to be a treat for her to go to the ‘big bed’ and one that she enjoys so much that bedtime is a special time for her. Not a drama every night with cold threats or as one friend refers to as ‘her daily worst nightmare time’… really… maybe try changing something around? Who wants to cry and feel fearful every 24 hours? Isn’t life too short to have your bubba being upset as their final memory at the end of a long day?

It is also a simple maths equation. We are given our precious children for such a short time. I doubt she will still want to co-sleep with us when she is 14. So I want to use every minute we have, and to choose to separate from her for up to twelve hours every single day seems absurd. That’s 300 hours a month! Over 3500 hours per year! I want that time. I demand it. I will never get it back with her. It is the ultimate in multi-tasking for busy families, I am gaining over 141 extra days with her per year! All while sleeping. No activities, no pressure – just time for us to be together in comfort and doing something that needs to happen anyway. Bonus.

I don’t think I need to justify my parenting decisions, but if you complain to me about the lack of time you have with your child try using the ten hours when you lock them away from you in their cell…..every night.

Angela Humphries is a mum to Sydney, aged three.  You can follow her on Twitter here.