Happy To Be Stuck With You? Or Stuck for the sake of the kids?

  Is staying in a loveless marriage the selfless act of a responsible parent, or a miserable way to spend the only life you get? Those faced with this heart wrenching dilemma may ask themselves if the stress of their marriage is affecting their parenting, and would the kids be better off if they split? A plethora of contradictory statistics on the matter are available online, along with plenty of opinions and judgements on what is ‘best’ for kids long-term. Friends and family also tend to offer their advice, yet…

Camping with kids: would you rather poke sticks in your eyes?

Go Camping, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.  So, with a blank calendar both weekend days, and for no particular reason than to get unplugged for a while, us city folk hitched on the camper-trailer and headed for cowpad country. One could question the sense of a one-night trip; all that packing and driving and unpacking for less than 24hrs? (And yes, on our return I did wash four heads of hair twice each to exorcise that smoky campfire smell). But the beauty of knowing it’s just one night…

Digital Cocaine

Whether your kids still delight in Peppa Pig, have moved on to Minecraft, or graduated to Fortnite, chances are they spend a lot more time watching pixels dance on a screen than playing in the park. Since the iPad was released eight years ago, hammering the final nail in the coffin of a traditional chasing-the-dog-round-the-clothesline childhood, screentime has been blamed for everything from an increase in mental illness to school shootings. But they’re just games, aren’t they? We all grew up watching cartoons. Are screens really that bad? I’ll admit,…

Keep It Real on Mother’s Day.

Feeds will be full of flowers this Sunday – smiling selfies, beaming mums surrounded by pyjama clad children. Shops are full of pink and pearls, raising our expectations. So how will you be celebrating Mother’s Day this year? Frolicking in a grassy field with your angelic children, skipping between sunbeams in their crisply ironed clothes, offering a freshly picked flower and a hug? Or is it more like a piece of burnt toast and a squashed chocolate heart, before situation-normal-what’s-for-dinner-mum?   For others, the fuss this time of year only…

Be yourself – everyone else is taken.

The Power of Imperfection The Odd Bunch, it says on the pack. But what they are, in fact, (along with clever marketing) is the anomalies of the carrot industry, bagged up and sold cheap: the equal opportunity of the vegetable world – ensuring even the bumpiest, lumpiest, stumpiest tap roots can still dream of becoming someone’s soup. And, while exploring the bag of rogue orange freaks (laughing out loud at some of the amazing variations) I realise how interesting non-normal is.  Why would anyone want to be a boring, even-featured…

Working From Home – With Children?

  I make things up for a living – in Ugg boots. It sounds perfect, doesn’t it?  Living the writer’s dream – to be your own boss, float from book tour to launch party with the flexibility to schedule work around family commitments… And that’s where things come unstuck: the ‘work-around’ and ‘family’ bit. Like the time I did a live radio interview while holding a cold-pack to my three-year-old’s blood nose as his siblings spear-tackled on the couch.  (It provided laughs, at least). In a conventional workplace, it’s rare…

Diagnosis: Spirited

I have what they politely call ‘spirited’ children. You know the ones: the type checkout operators suddenly open extra lanes for, that you hear coming before they arrive. Children that, while others sip babycinos on their mother’s laps, are hell-bent trying to pull apart the fire-extinguisher. While my boys are generally well mannered, kind natured kids, their tenacity makes them question every request, push every boundary, test every rule.  They’re energetic, curious beasts with determination in spades and wills of steel. It can be hard to reign in all that…