Babywearing Week Winner!!!

Last week we held a competition to win a Manduca Carrier for babywearing week.

Manduca

And the winner is….. (drum roll….)

Caroline Dale!!

Congratulations Caroline – we can not wait to fit you and your gorgeous little man into his new Manduca Carrier!

The Manduca is a fantastic carrier that comes with the newborn insert already attached, a sun shade, 5 adjustable points, straps that you can cross over your back (makes it so much more comfortable), padded shoulders and hip belt, back extension to be used as your child grows and can be worn in the front, hip or back carry.

Just a few of the reasons why we love the Manduca carrier here at flowerchild.

BABYWEARING WEEK winner

Drop in to flower child to try one on today

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Inspirational Monday – Franjo’s Kitchen – Fran, Jo and Kate

 

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Come and meet    Fran, Jo and Kate

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From     Franjo’s

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Can you tell us a little about your background before your children… 

Fran is a corporate lawyer working for a large fashion retailer. Jo is a naturopath and nutritionist and Kate is an art director.  Jo and Fran are mummies to Matilda (nearly 2) and Phoebe (21 months). They have continued juggling their careers pre-children with running Franjo’s and being mummies!

How did Franjo’s come about and why?

Fran struggled with supply issues when Phoebe was little and did what every mum does and turned to google. After discovering a few recipes for lactation bikkies Fran started making her own. Around the same time Fran met Jo whilst out walking, the two were neighbours and became fast friends. A few mums had been asking Fran to make lactation biscuits for them. At the time Jo was starting another little biscuit company and the two got talking and came up with Franjo’s Kitchen. Jo helped develop the recipe naturopathically and the rest is history!

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Can you tell our readers a little about Franjo’s and your amazing products.

The three of us are passionate about beautiful, wholesome and functional foods. We want to celebrate and support mums at every stage and provide them with delicious, and healthy snacks.

We currently have two products, our Tanker Topper lactation biscuits and our Belly Bump Biscuits.

Tanker Toppers

Both products are naturopath and nutritionist designed and contain real functional ingredients with mum’s health and well being in mind.

What are the benefits of Tanker Toppers and Belly Biscuits?

Our Tanker Toppers are full of natural galactagogues oats, brewers yeast and flaxseeds. They also contain superfoods chia seeds, coconut oil and buckwheat flour. We have two flavours, fig and almond and choc chip. Our Tankers are dairy, egg, wheat, refined sugar and preservative free. Nothing nasty!

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Our Belly Bump Biscuits contain fibre, omega 3, iron, calcium, b vitamins and zinc. They also contain ginger which has been used for centuries for nausea. Like our Tankers, our Bumpers are dairy, egg, wheat, refined sugar and preservative free.

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Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

We live in the information age and mums these days are bombarded with parenting advice and information. This places at lot of pressure on us. I think most mums analyse their parenting in ways that never used to happen.

On the flip side, we have so much more support, better maternity leave, gender equality in the family unit, washing machines and disposable nappies(!) and more dialogue about the challenges facing parents so in many ways we are much better off!

Can you describe to our readers your work place..

We all work from home, for Jo and Kate their office is in a bedroom and Fran’s office is tucked away off the dining room! The three of us get together once a week and drink bottomless cups of tea and plot to take over the world. The rest of the time we just send hundreds of e-mails and text messages to each other!

Have your own self expectations changed since having children?

Jo and I (Fran) often talk about this. We are both ambitious and drive people, but parenting forces you to slow down and not sweet the small stuff. As a result I think we are kinder on ourselves than before.

What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do?

Give in to everything! I hate tantrums and am a massive softie (Fran).

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

Every day is a juggle – working, friends, sending out orders, meetings, playgroup, cooking, washing, walking the dog, the endless to do list that goes on and on. But no day is the same.

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg book, person, website

Definitely other mum friends. We’re all on one crazy rollercoaster ride together.

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

Turn on the news. It’s a big bad world out there and we are all blessed to live in this beautiful part of the world.

Find out more about these amazing woman and their fantastic business..

http://franjoskitchen.com/

https://www.facebook.com/franjoskitchen

Inspirational Monday – Katherine and Sophie – Dinner Ladies

Meet    Katherine  and  Sophie

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(These woman are fantastic and I think the answer to a lot of  our prayers!!! Keep reading and I promise you will not be disappointed and you will google to find out more about their business – oh and it’s a funny read as well!)

From      The Dinner Ladies

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Can you tell us a little about your background before your children…

 In the distant past before we had kids (pre-1998), I started my working life as a journalist before working for a literary agency. Katherine worked in marketing for business television. So no professional food background for either of us but always a passionate, personal interest in cooking.

Dinner Ladies – love the name – how did it come about and why?

I’d just had my third child, Joe (now 7) and I was having a whinge to some dear old friends in the park about not having money to buy my husband a 40th birthday present. They were all mothers of young children who also worked part-time and one them, knowing that I was a mad keen cook said, “I’d pay you to cook me some dinners.” A little light bulb went off and I thought, “Aha. There might be something in this.” I got together with my friend Katherine who, with four children to wrangle, was a master of logistics (something I knew this fledgling business would need) and started cooking on a couple of camp stoves in the shed in her back yard. That first week, we sent out a chicken and celeriac pie and a lamb roghan josh, for free, to ten friends and family. The following week we emailed them a new menu (just two dishes a week in those days), leaving them free to order or not and to pass the email onto others or not. Seven years later our weekly email goes out to 6000 and we deliver five days a week across Sydney. And do you know what? I’m pretty sure those first customers are still ordering from us. 

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Can you tell our readers a little  bit more about Dinner Ladies and the amazing meals you have…

I think that probably what makes the Dinner Ladies special is how personal the service is. Almost all the dishes evolved out of dishes we’ve cooked for our families (and in my case, many of which my mother cooked for me and my four siblings in my own childhood) and even though we’re cooking on a larger scale, we still cook in exactly the same way, using the same ingredients, no rubbish or shortcuts and, most importantly, tasting everything all the time. Everyone who uses us for the first time is amazed that the food tastes genuinely home-made, and made with love. Our weekly email is a really important way to communicate with our customers – we tell them about the new week’s menu and about what’s going on at the Dinner Ladies.  They email back with comments, suggestions, praise (and the odd criticism!) so it’s a two-way relationship which allows us to be flexible and responsive to our customers, who are universally wonderful.

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(Check out one of the menus for a week – yummy!! Hardest decision is what to choose…)

http://www.dinnerladies.com.au/menu

What are some benefits you think would be for families to use your service and are they suitable for children to eat??

The vast majority of our customers are families and from what customers say to us, there are two main stages of family life when our help is really welcome. The first is parents of new babies and little children who are still adjusting to the complete disappearance of their personal life, identity and sleep. When they can snatch a little time together as a couple and sit down to a beautiful dinner (even eaten with one hand while jigging a crying baby up and down), it reminds them that yes, they have a relationship and a life and that one day things will return to normal. The second stage is when kids are older, possibly both parents are working but in any case the children’s school and extra-curricular demands eat up all their free time. With a stash of Dinner Ladies in the fridge or freezer, they can meet as a family around the dinner table even if only a few times a week, without the stress of fitting in shopping and cooking as well. Talking, sharing stories and laughing around good food is one of the best, most cementing, things a family can do – who actually did the cooking is pretty irrelevant.

Almost all of our food – with the odd exception of a really spicy curry – is family friendly. We do season our food with salt but we’re mindful not to overdo it,  although if I was feeding a baby, I’d probably blend most dinners with some bland, unseasoned potato, rice or pasta. I had a customer tell me yesterday her daughter’s first taste of solid food was one of our sticky date puddings! We have found there’s a big demand for good, properly made versions of kids’ favourites so we now always have free-range chicken nuggets, home-made barramundi fingers, burgers (I could make these twice a week for my teens without complaints) and individual margherita pizzas always available on the menu, as well as more sophisticated offerings for adults.

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How do you juggle working and a family?

Katherine and I are very fortunate because what we produce in our work makes our lives so much easier at home! We actually couldn’t survive without the Dinner Ladies (in more ways than one). It’s also been great having both of us with similar family demands so we know that sometimes you just have to leave early for a parent teacher meeting or to drive kids to sport. It’s been really important for us to create a family-friendly workplace for our staff too; it makes for a very happy environment for us all. In fact,  I’m writing this in the office now, with Katherine’s youngest child, Iggy,  watching TV in the staff room because he’s away from school with a cold.

Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

I was born in the late 60s and grew up in the benign neglect of the 70s, where kids ran rampant on the streets, climbing trees, skateboarding, making explosives, all that good stuff, and parents had no idea or, frankly, interest, as long as we were home by dinner time. We are more minutely interested in every aspect of our children’s lives and seem to think that parenting is something that we can perfect and that perfect parenting will create perfect children. When it doesn’t happen, we just can’t understand it. Fortunately as Katherine and I have become busier, we’ve become less hands on (read, more slack) as parents, so we’re probably reverting to the sort of parents our parents were. Hopefully, minus the explosives.

Can you describe to our readers where Dinner Ladies takes place..

About a year and a half ago, we bought a disused, incredibly run-down commercial kitchen on an industrial estate in Matraville, and brought it back up to scratch. Having started in the backyard shed, then shared a kitchen at a bowlo, before renting an old butcher’s shop (where Denise, who runs the office, had her desk amid the plumbing in the basement), we now can’t believe the luxury of having an actual office, a staff room and a big kitchen, complete with walk-in blast chillers, a giant freezer room and two cool rooms. We just love it and couldn’t be more proud.

Have your own self expectations changed since having children? How?

Definitely – but it’s funny, I have both higher and lower expectations of myself. I expect that I can (and do) do a million things at once, preparing lunches and breakfasts, walking dogs, sticking a load of washing in the dryer, signing permission notes, listening to home-reading with one ear and French verb conjugations with another, all before drop offs and work  (incidentally, and quite nobly, without throwing anything at my husband who has been sitting, calmly, reading the paper throughout). But I don’t expect to do any of these things perfectly, or even moderately well. My house is a bit of a tip, my children have never known an ironed school shirt and sometimes lunch is Vegemite Vitawheats but it doesn’t fill me with guilt or make me feel like a bad parent. 75% is sometimes more than enough, considering how much we have on our plates.

What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do?

Stalking your own child on Facebook when they’ve blocked you (me – let’s hope Fred doesn’t read this blog, as he’s a 16 year old boy, this is a fairly safe bet). Letting a 9 year old watch an MA 15+ video (Katherine). Oh no, now our shameful secrets are out.

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

I think I’ve already covered the dog-walking, breakfast, lunch, drop-off chaos. When we get to work, Katherine and I meet in the office where we have a couple of big whiteboards, one with the menus for the next two weeks, and one with our daily tasks. These whiteboards are our brain substitutes for the days when things are a bit fuzzy and if they were wiped out we’d be totally lost. Our days used to be spent in happy tasks like plucking herbs and less happy ones like chopping kilos of onions but now there’s a lot more admin, planning, ordering goods and communicating with customers and we have a great team in the kitchen who don’t seem to mind the onions. We’re up and down all day from the kitchen, tasting and finalising dishes and testing new ones. Depending on the day, we’ll pick up various children from their various after school activities and I’ll always have grabbed something from the cool room to take home for dinner. A couple of nights a week, I’ll whack something on the stove, with instructions for the 16 year old to dish it up, so that I can get out to yoga, otherwise we’ll all sit down to a family dinner around 7, accompanied, in the case of the adults, by a very large glass of wine.

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg book, person, website

Would it be wrong to say alcohol? Oh dear. It’s probably true though, particularly in those early years. Now I’ve discovered vinyasa yoga which is probably a healthier thing to depend on and gives me good practice at keeping at least trying to maintain a calm face in the midst of chaos.

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

As Quentin Bryce said, you can have it all, just not all at the same time. Enjoy whatever stage you’re at, don’t stress about perfection and look for whatever help you need – which may just include ordering from Dinner Ladies!

Find out more about Dinner Ladies here..

http://www.dinnerladies.com.au/

and here on facebook..

https://www.facebook.com/dinnerladiessydney

Inspirational Monday – Sue O’Hara – ByKay Carriers

Meet        Sue O’Hara

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From       ByKay Carriers

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Can you tell us a little about your background before your children…

I spent nearly 20 years in the Fashion/Apparel industry (eeek – that makes me sound so old!). I kind of fell into the baby/nursery industry really. At university I was studying business accounting and then decided to get a job and go to Uni part-time. My first job was with Bonds – oh so very long ago!

ByKay carriers – how and why did you get involved in these beautiful carriers?

After the international trade shows late last year, there was a lot of buzz about babywearing and wrap-style carriers. I looked into it, contacted about 5 international companies about their products. Incredibly, all 5 came back and were interested in us Distributing for them here in Australia. I fell in LOVE with the ByKay range. It was the only Brand that offered both the jersey and woven products, and the denim is gorgeous – we have a carrier to suit everyone for every situation!

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What do you think the benefits are of using a carrier?

Where do begin? First and foremost I think the main benefit is having your little one close. Research shows that it’s the best for mum and bub. Worn or carried babies sleep better, feed better and even develop better – it’s amazing.

I recently read an article from the USA that detailed research showing that when your baby is close to you, their antibody production can increase to help them fight off illness; it’s part of the reason little ones become clingy when they’re unwell.

Can you describe some of the features that ByKay carriers have that other carriers may not..

ByKay carriers are outstanding quality. The fabrics are Oeko-Tex 100 approved, so you can be sure they’re safe for you and your baby and all of the carriers are made in Europe.

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The Denim woven collection – Wrap-Style Carrier, Mei-Tai and RingSling are very unique. They’re made from a lovely cotton/linen blend, so they’re nice and cool to wear, yet sturdy and safe. And best of all, they look GREAT!

Which carrier is your favourite and why?

My favourite ByKay Carrier would have to be the Mei-Tai Deluxe Denim. It’s such a versatile carrier… you can use it from newborn right up to 20kg+. It’s perfect for all types of carries – front, hip or back and so easy to use.

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How do you juggle working and a family?

Juggle is the perfect word – isn’t it? I have 3 kids (12 years, 9 years and 5 years). My husband and I work as a team to ‘make it all happen’. We have a BIG whiteboard in our kitchen that tells us what’s on each day (and a week in advance). If it ain’t on the whiteboard, it ain’t gonna happen!

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Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

Of course in some ways it’s the same. But I think the challenges parents face today relate more to being time-poor and keeping on top of what’s going on in each of your kids’ lives at any one point in time. This sounds like it should be simple, but it’s not. For example our 12 year old started high school this year and she’s a little younger than most of her classmates. They’re all on facebook etc…  and she’s not… yet! We don’t want her to feel left out from her friend group, but at the same time we want to ensure we set the right example and create fair and reasonable boundaries for her to be happy and SAFE.

Have your own self expectations changed since having children?

I think so. Sometimes I think we’re too hard on ourselves as parents. I try to remind myself that I’m only human and it’s the basics that my kids need… love, attention and food/water of course.

What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do?

Use sayings that my mother used to use when I was a kid… like ‘money doesn’t grow on trees you know’… the kids just look at me like I have 2 heads. And my 5 year old recently came back with: “we’ll have to get one of those trees then Mummy”.

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

I wake up at around 6.30am each day, make myself a green tea and check emails. Because we deal with Europe, a lot of the communications come through overnight. I then spend about 15 mins putting the final touches on my plan for the day and start getting the kids school lunches ready.

The kids are up by about 7.15am, they have breakfast and we all get ready for school/work. I drop the kids off at school at around 8.30am and either head out to appointments or back to the home office for more emails and any other sales/admin stuff that needs to be done. For ByKay, we pick and pack our own orders, so pretty much most days involve a little of that.

It surprises me every day how quickly school pick up comes around.. so I need to make my way to the school by around 3pm.

My kids play quite a bit of sport, so generally each afternoon one or all of them have some type of training etc….

Start dinner at around 5.30pm – eat at around 6.45pm, watch a little tele until 8.15pm; kids to bed at 8.15 with 15 mins reading time.

Then the fun begins – ironing school uniforms, completing school forms for excursions/photos etc… for the next day. And back to the computer for a few more emails or maybe a skype call to The Netherlands or the UK.

I’m generally in bed by about 10.30pm.

Hmmm – reading back over this doesn’t make my life sound too exciting! It is though. I love selling ByKay and working with people on marketing the products etc….

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg…. book, person, website

I’d have to say my Mum. I’m one of 6 kids (she had all 6 of us over a 10 year period)… she’s not a ‘pushy’ advice giver. She’ll normally wait until I ask for it. But she ALWAYS makes a point to tell me that I’m doing a good job! That my kids are gorgeous and that she loves us all VERY much. Oh and I read the Kaz Cooke book with my first child – LOVED IT!

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

The KISS principle – keep it simple stupid. I tell myself this in relation to parenthood and my business every day! Don’t overthink it and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Find out more about BYKAY Carriers..

http://www.bykay.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/bykayAUS

At flower child we stock all the denim Bykay carriers so that you can come in-store and try them on. x

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What do I need for a newborn baby – the REAL list

Baby showers and new babies = what the heck do I buy?

Trust me, we see it every Saturday (usually at around 10.30am – we call it the baby shower rush).

Unless the lucky recipient has been kind enough to put a registry together (which does happen, and we can certainly help you with yours if needed), it can be quite a quandry, what to buy. Especially when it comes to buying for someone in the workplace.

So we asked on facebook, what was the ONE thing you wish someone would have bought you?

What do you think the top answer was?

Wait for it………

reusable nappies!

Ok, so we’re a bit biased, in that we’re the only cloth nappy store in Sydney, but the majority of people wished someone had introduced them to cloth nappies BEFORE their babies were born. Food for thought.

Are you interested in what else made the list? What do you need for a newborn baby?

Reusable breast pads

Rainbow Ripple Blanket

Vapouriser

The big clips you put on your pram to hold shopping bags

Caboo baby carrier “instead of the baby bjorn that hurts my back”

Need some inspiration on what a new parent REALLY needs? Download our new baby checklist. It’s a range of functional products, drawn from our experience, and the most popular items that go onto gift registries instore.

What do you wish someone had given you?

 

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Our latest edition needs a name

Here’s our latest pinafore dress, and she needs a name.

Our lovely, vintage style dresses are handmade, here in Australia. We work with a company that provides meaningful employment to people with disabilities, to bring this fabulous range to you

Usually, we pick girl’s names, but this time, we headed over to our facebook page, to get YOUR ideas.

We had names like:

frutie patootie

fruit salad

Lily

tutti frutti

pick of the bunch

But, there can only be one winner, and that winner is……….

Fall Orchard!

submitted by Caitlin Fehring!

Congratulations, we’ll contact you to arrange to get a new Heaven’s to Betsy Fall Orchard dress out to you.

Inspirational Monday – Frills in the Hills

Come and meet Melissa - (otherwise known as Liss)

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Creator of          Frills in the HIlls

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Can you tell us a little about your background before your children…

I grew up in Manly, Sydney and am the eldest of 3 girls in my family. All my family cook… it must be in the DNA but I can’t remember not being allowed to cook or not participating in preparing food in our family.   I travelled extensively both for work and pleasure before settling down with my ‘import husband’ who is from the Riverina district in 2003.  We’d met whilst both living in Canberra in 1997 but didn’t get our act together in the romance department until 2001..

Frills in the Hills – love the name by the way – how did this come about and why?

Well I live in Terrey Hills and I have 3 girls of my own, clearly wasn’t thinking my blog would be food based when I named it :)

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How do you juggle working, cooking, blogs and a family?

When I started my blog over five years ago, I wasn’t working – so it was my hobby – blogging to me has never felt like a job as such – I’ve made income because of my blog (writing off the blog) but my blog is ‘my place’ and I think that if I made that commercial, I would lose my attachment to it.

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Since going back to work, the posts are fewer but my love of the blog hasn’t diminished and in fact it’s super useful as my cookbook – my husband and kids use it when I’m not there!  Managing a balance between home and work is a challenge at times but I make my weekends count .Though the week my life is mostly about work,  and I travel frequently with my job, I’m very lucky I can work from home a few days a week when not travelling so that is super helpful to maintaining a good work/life balance.  I make time for my blog when I can – it can be a 2 minute Facebook interaction here or making and photographing recipes there and then blogging later another time.

The number one tip I have for working Mums out there is that you can’t have it all but you have to be happy and make the most of what you have, and that in itself can feel like ‘it all’.

Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

Yes and no.  I think parenting now is more strategic, we think through every risk, every possibility.  I find I’m terrible at letting my girls have the independence they need because I want to protect them so passionately… but this is where my husband is the better stay-at-home-parent because he supports their independence and it’s making our girls better people.  I had a lot more independence and was exposed to a lot more risk as a child – and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, it’s just different.

We also (and I’m working on this too) tend to give our kids everything we think they want and I think we need to pare this back a bit because we have to learn things just don’t happen and we have to learn we can’t have everything and do everything.

Have your own self expectations changed since having children? 

I thought I’d be more a ‘friend-parent’ but I’ve found I’m more effective as a ‘fair-parent’ where sometimes you have to draw that line and see through the hard lesson no matter how hard it is for you to administer it.

And twins as well – that is a huge undertaking for any family!

The first few years were a struggle, initially we had 3 under 2 with nappies (MCNs!), bottles, dummies, washing, washing, washing with very little sleep.  It was a good test for us and made us the really great parent-partnership we are today.   At this end of the scale (our girls are 8.5, 8.5 and 10) it’s great – we generally can cater to similar interests and the baby stages are long behind us.  No regrets now!

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What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do? J

I swore ironically that I would never swear in front of the kids, big fail on that one!

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

During the week I live a typical ‘Dad-day’.   My husband is the stay-at-home parent (and at this stage of our girls’ life he’s better at it!)  So my weekdays are really centred around work.  I get up, get ready for work, commute to work.  Tetris-like-schedule, rush lunch at my desk, either work late and taxi home (missing my girls dinner and bed time :( )  or come home, quick family dinner – catch up on the day’s events..  then usually more work whilst watching telly. If I’m lucky, I’ll blog!   On days I work from home  I usually manage to squeeze in some cooking and a little more 1:1 time…

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg book, person, website

Definitely my husband, he came into this crazy journey with a willingness to partner and share the load.  He’s completely awesome.  The other must-have is a sense of humour – if you can’t laugh you have to give up!

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

Focus on the friends in your life who don’t place conditions on your friendship.  The best friends to have are the ones that still love you even if you haven’t bothered to pick up the phone for weeks or months.

Find out more about Liss and Frills in the HIlls

http://www.frillsinthehills.com/

And check out this no-coke chocolate slice that Liss shared today on her blog – I am so making this with my boys tomorrow. YUM

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http://www.frillsinthehills.com/2014/07/no-bake-chocolate-splodge-slice.html

Bringing home two babies…

In the beginning, when my babies were tiny, I made the decision to not let their twinship define them. ‘Why pay such homage to the fact that they were multiples’ I thought. Yes, it is indeed a very special thing to have a twin, and of course a wonderful blessing for a mother, but my girls are very different, they are sisters who happen to be born on the same day. I always try to assert their individuality and nuture their differences. We call them ‘the girls’ for example, and never ‘the twins’.

I joined my Mothers Group when the girls’ were 6 weeks old. At first, we would meet at the local Early Childhood Clinic, where we enjoyed many a cup of tea and chat whilst our babies lay on mats, content with watching ceiling fans twirl for an hour or two. Our meetings were fun and informative, and a highlight of my week.

As our babies grew however, so did our groups desire to explore the world outside of the clinic. Arrangements began to made to meet at the beach, or to swimming lessons, or the local cafe, and my heart sank a little. My idea of being a ‘regular’ mum with ‘regular’ babies was being challenged. How on earth could i juggle two babies, my pram and my over-sized nappy bag by myself in such ‘non-baby friendly’ environments? It began to dawn on me that not only was this going to be difficult, but it posed a serious threat to my girls’ safety – which baby should I leave in the hot car whilst I race the other to leave alone on the shore? My MG was lovely, and always offered to help as best they could, but they had their own little bundles to look after, and I felt like a constant burden having to ask for help or requesting different venues.

I think the epiphanic moment for me was at a Christmas catch up, when I had to explain that my 13 month olds’ would undoubtedly explode into snotty, blubbering messes at the idea of sharing a present while all the other kids had their own – I knew it was nobodies fault, that is was no one else’s job to anticipate the socio-political dramas I encountered daily with my girls, and that the extra present I had tucked away in my bag would suffice in pacifying my daughter who missed out… But it was then that I realised we no longer fit into a conventional MG.

I am lucky enough to have fallen in a with a beautiful group of mums through our local Multiple Births Club. When I joined my MBC, I was overjoyed. Mothers of twins, triplets and quads of all ages, meeting in enclosed parks, community centres and churches with purpose built ramps and saloon doors to accommodate my enormous pram – I found myself and my adventurous duo finally fulfilling the ‘regular’ stuff I had so desperately longed for. Adult conversation. Check. Coffee. Check. Time to pee solo. Check!!

I finally had first hand advice on tandem feeding, twin co-sleeping and logistical nightmares like how to get two babies from the car to the double shopping trolley and which aisle at the supermarket would fit my pram. I was in heaven, and I relished in the uncensored, honest, raw testimonials my new friends would share. Their multiples did not define them as mothers, these women simply played the cards they had been dealt, and got on with the job at hand.

Women in the MBC do not tolerate judgement. No one competes. How can you when so many multiples are born prematurely and display such variable stages of development? There was no “Little Johnny just cut his 17th tooth and can now recite from the Encyclopaedia”, but lots of “Oh my goodness, I was so tired doing the midnight feed, I accidentally put the bottles on the oven and the car keys in the fridge”.

No one gossiped – we all had our good days and our bad (which was usually disarmed with a warm casserole and a bottle of plonk delivered to your door.

Everyone pitched in – with organising get togethers, keeping children entertained, and even breaking up the odd argument between the toddlers (these mutliples seem to have a bit of a pack mentality, you see).

We were their to support each other, pat each other on the back and help each other as best we could. Sure, these gals still had babies of their own to juggle, but there is something entirely unapologetic about having a fellow mum dash your children to the ladies while you feed and burp her newborn.

Still to this day I meet with my MBC friends. Now that our children are growing we can finally meet at the beach, the library or the zoo, albeit much later than my original MG did. It has occured to all of us that the freedom we are now enjoying with our children is well earned and appreciated much more than we ever anticipated. Life with twins has certainly kept me busy, but as my girls have grown and learned to communicate and listen, we are definitely enjoying the life we so longed for back in the early days.

I guess what I am trying to say, is that whilst the good intentions of others don’t go unnoticed, there is something deeply satisfying about being surrounded by people who just get you. People who understand you, and accept you for the parent that you are.

There is absolutely support out there for you if you are expecting or raising multiples. You may not need it physically, or emotionally, or even mentally, or perhaps you do. Either way I can guarantee that you will appreciate the comradery that both you and your children will develop. The relationships my family has built are timeless, the confidence I have learned is priceless, and the advice I have been given, invaluable.

And yup, every so often, when the planets align, I still get a chance to pee solo ;)

Inspirational Monday – Sharon Collins – CBA

Meet     Sharon Collins

sharon

From    Commonwealth Bank

(Head of Executive Talent Acquisition for General Management at CBA)

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Can you tell us a little about your background before your children… 

I was 34 when I had Stella so I managed to do a few things before being a Mum. After school  I travelled the world and worked as a model for three years. I came back to New Zealand  and went to University where I spent far too long studying.  I completed my Masters and met my husband.  We immigrated to Australia  so he could complete his PHD. I expected that we would only stay a short  time while he completed it yet we are still here today. . I got my first job in Sydney as a recruitment consultant. I went on to work for one of the big global search firms for fourteen years recruiting across a number of industries including financial services.

Where do you work now and what is your role?

Two years ago I joined  the Commonwealth Bank where I am responsible for Executive Recruitment

How do you juggle working and a family?

I have a huge support network.  It includes very supportive husband who shares the household  responsibilities (although that does not include washing), a very helpful daughter(who at 12 loves to cook), parents who come and stay over school holidays (I cannot believe how many school holidays there are), a very helpful sister and great friends (one of whom took my daughter to dance class after school for at least 5 years). . Oh I also have a great cleaner (essential for sanity)!

Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

My mother was a stay at home Mum. She was always at home after school and was always there for us. Interestingly we were very independent as children and would take ourselves too and from school and bike everywhere . Kids today are far more cosseted yet have so much  access to information. They are far more worldly.

Have your own self expectations changed since having children? How?

I think I am not quite as ambitious as I once was. I really want to have balance in life and even though I work hard and quite long hours I am home for dinner most nights of the week. I try to stop and enjoy things more because you realise how quickly life passes you by. This is especially as you watch your kids grow up so incredibly quickly! Stella at 12 stands eye to eye.

What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do? 

Sound like my mother!

mother phrase

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

Exercise (most days- way too early) make school lunch, drop daughter at train station work from 8-6pm….come home cook dinner (we all do). Crash at about 8.30. I am a closet crafter and love to crochet. I have nearly completed a king size rainbow blanket.

(there are hundreds of these around the house!)

crochet

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg book, person, website

My sister…I read all the baby books when I was pregnant. Had the baby and never read another one. I just listened to my sister as she was a Nanny. So far the advice has worked.

And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

Do stuff for you! If you are happy then the family is happy. Took me a little while to figure this one out.

Find out more about The Commonwealth Bank of Australia here..

https://www.commbank.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/commonwealthbank

Inspirational Monday – little people nutrition

Meet      Mandy

Mandy with kale cropped

From     Little people nutrition

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Can you tell us a little about your background before your children…

I was a girl just kicking back working and hanging with my husband, family and friends! I worked professionally as food scientist, specifically in product development, so creating food products for an international food company. I loved to eat out a few times a week with friends and have a few too many glasses of wine. Loved having a boogie on the weekends and lying in bed all Sunday reading the newspaper. Loved travelling around the world visiting different cultures. Spain, Portugal, Japan, UK, Ireland, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, France, Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand. Oh goodness, how times have changed!!

Can you explain what “little people nutrition” is all about and why you started it?

Little People Nutrition is about providing honest, practical food and nutritional information and tools for parents and carers for young children as well as the whole family. I also use it as a way to connect with groups of people, families, parents, children and community groups to run workshops on nutritional topics of interest, cooking workshops for families and children and also my writing and consulting work that I do for businesses around nutrition and food science.

I aligned my focus on area of childhood and family health and nutrition when my husband’s work took us away from Sydney. With a young babe on my hip in regional Australia (with the intention of moving regularly for the next 10 years) I commenced my postgraduate studies in Human Nutrition at Deakin. Having learned a lot about what drives consumers to eat what they do with my previous work I wanted to share with families how to make more informed decisions at a very basic level. To build the confidence of the family in their own choices and help them sift through the fads and misinformation out there.

What do you find the biggest issues families have with feeding children?

Truly believing in their own ability as parents and carers in guiding their children to make better choices. As well as persisting. Persisting is key with healthy eating for everybody. Slowly chipping away at healthy delicious whole foods until the family loves them and craves them (especially with fussy eaters).

The other issue is families interpreting what is in processed foods.

Just recently we had a situation with my daughter presenting with an immediate reaction to what she ate. I could not decipher from the label what it could be as the ingredients in isolation have all been consumed before. The problem with labelling laws in Australia is the variance in what food companies can name an ingredient. If I can’t decipher some labels, how can someone else, without my background.

What are 3 things you find help in feeding children healthy and nutritious meals that they will actually eat?

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  1. Don’t be afraid to try new things with the family. You might not have liked avocado or tempeh as a child, but you child might! And just because they didn’t like it last week, in a few week’s time they very well may!
  2. Market the foods to them in ‘kid language’. Healthy means absolutely nothing to children. They couldn’t care less. But food that helps me run faster than my sister, makes me paint better, jump higher, win my swimming race, perform better in ballet class, sing louder and clearer, kids want these to be in their reach. They are all only white lies as obviously nutrient dense foods are helpful to the energy levels and overall health of our children.
  3. Make it fun. Food should be fun. Get them involved with the cooking or decisions in the menu planning and let them serve the food themselves, even if it is with their fingers.

How do you juggle working and a family?

Just trying not to drop too many balls at once. A constant juggle really but just focusing on what I have to do that day to meet a deadline.

 I have childcare for a few days for both girls and since moving back to Sydney, my parents look after one of my daughters for half a day.

I also have an incredibly supportive husband who helps me when I need to jet off early to a factory or he will pick the kids up. I am the main carer of the girls during the week but he is always there if I need it and relishes the opportunity. It really is about co-parenting as well. We are both responsible for everything although obviously my forte is not fixing the gate, and nor is his making spinach and ricotta cannelloni.

I also work a bit on weekends and probably three nights a week. But I am lucky as my work, especially the development of recipes and tools that I use with other families, I can trial them on my family first!!!

Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?

Yes and no. My father was very hands on, every night passing that netball back and forward with me. And although my mother was the main carer, she worked at a minimum part time during my whole childhood. Very similar to our current situation.

I think parenting has become a verb rather than just being a parent, which has positives and negatives. I think there is definitely an appreciation of the gift of having children is and that although it can be a complete schmozzle, we are blessed. I know we don’t take it for granted.

Can you describe to our readers your work place and what is involved …

 My workplace is incredibly varied. Part of the time I am at my desk writing for myself or for other websites. Sometimes I am in an office discussing products and processed foods with Marketing, Supply Chain and Innovation. Sometimes I am out at processing plants, looking at the line of products and checking the quality, sometimes I am in a tasting room trialling multiple samples to decipher whether the product development is on tract, sometimes I am standing in front of a room full of parents talking about nutrition and health, sometimes I am cooking with a group of young teenage mums and sometimes I am cooking meatballs with a group of 3 year olds. So varied and so wonderful. I love it and am so blessed but have worked very hard for a long time to get here.

Learning about seeds

Have your own self expectations changed since having children? How?

I have realised probably in the last year that yes, I can have it all, but not all at the same time.

I remember when I was pregnant with my first daughter and I thought that on maternity leave for 12 months I would knock out a Masters degree and learn Portuguese fluently and start a catering business of healthier baked items. What the?! Pretty funny in retrospect.

Of course I am still on track with a few of those things but it will occur more likely in the space of 10 years, rather than 12 months!!!

My children are young for only a minute period of time and already my eldest is about to start school next year. I can’t believe it! But it means that if you can, or have the opportunity , or want to, enjoy the time with them as much as possible, even if it is just the weekends as soon, they won’t want a piece of you!!

What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do? 

Gosh I don’t know. I don’t think I really knew what being a parent would be like. I do know that I said that I would never visit one of those play places. They still freak me out, all the plastic and people screaming in my face with kids eating fluro red slushies and hot chips but when we lived in the ACT, 2 degree days and a 2 year old, you just need to get out!

Can you walk us through a typical day for you…

Oh goodness, they are all different but one writing day may be:

Wakeup about 6.30-7am with an arm in my face and a leg in my back from my kids who arrive in our bed by 2am.

Breaky altogether, this is so sacred and I love that my husband is slow in the morning and spends breakfast with us.

Get ready and if it is a work day, off to childcare/preschool or my Mum drops by…around 8:30-9am.

Then I am in work mode where if I am writing content I will research it whether it is on-line or at the supermarket or calling someone or even in the kitchen recipe testing.

Before lunch I normally do some exercise if I am working from home and then have lunch. Exercise could be dancing to Beyonce or Xavier Rudd on Youtube,  yoga or taking the dog for a walk/run.

Then I get back into work and finish up what I need to do by 4 where I par prep tea, get the girls and get back and aim to cook dinner in the time that Peppa Pig and Charlie and Lola runs for so that we can sit down by 6pm. Any latter and I will have to dish out 13 pieces of green apple and begged for spider nuts (walnuts) and then they will be whiny at tea time!

The girls and I always eat together for dinner by 6ish and if hubby is home, he will join in.

Then there is quiet play for girls where hubby and I catch up, bath, books and bed for the girls (and sometimes me too if I am pooped). Otherwise I am manning the couch with my computer researching, writing or emailing people for either my work or for the blog.

I am normally in bed by 11pm.

What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg book, person, website

A few. I love some blogs like The Beetle Shack and The Veggie Mama. I also love Fox in Flats (although I am so not fashionable). I also love Natural New Age Mum for a different spin on things. And my husband, he is so calm and collected on all issues with our family where as I am known to become a little passionate, emotional, frenetic or panicky in situations!!!

Actually since I had my children before a lot of my girlfriends I did really turn to the internet and the on-line world for my dose of courage and reality. It made me feel what I was experiencing as normal.

Hit us with a great recipe that is family friendly and easy to make! 

Family friendly nachos - recipe for flower child

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And one tip for us all on keeping it real…

Breakfast for dinner is always a winner. Eggs on toast are a completely satisfactory and healthy option for dinner for the family. Way healthier, quicker and cheaper than many fast food options.

You can find Mandy on:

http://littlepeoplenutrition.com.au/

http://instagram.com/littlepeoplenutrition#

https://www.facebook.com/LittlePeopleNutrition?ref=hl