Let Me Be Your Daddy Blog

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My husband was actively involved in my pregnancy (up to a point of course, and then the eating of donuts/carrying of child/aches and pains were all mine), and was also involved in the planning of said pregnancy. And now that we have August, we co-parent as much as possible. Sound too good to be true? The fact that to many people, it does, is the issue here. There are heaps of great Dads that are taking an equal share of raising a child, but do we hear about it (apart from when it’s reported in wonderment)? Nope.

Throughout my pregnancy and now as a Mother (always with a capital for marketing purposes), I have at my fingertips an overwhelming amount of information, mostly in the form of Mummy blogs, ranging from the inspirational to the contrived. Some I felt resonated with me, but others were eons away from my way of thinking. But that’s cool – I have a heap to choose from. From the very beginning of this crazy child-rearing adventure, I was learning and absorbing. But I soon realised that my partner hadn’t been worded up on this stuff, nor had he even been invited to the party.

See, he’s a Dad. And therefore, he’s struggled to find a blog for this role. He wanted to be able to connect and share this new experience with other like-minded Dads, preferably in the same country. But it appears that the Daddy Blog is a rare beast. When he did find a ‘group’, the promise of beer, sport or food was apparently necessary to grab and keep a male’s attention, and often overshadowed the main purpose of the group. He was dismayed, and I can’t help feeling that this is hugely patronizing to those men wanting to connect with other fathers, and this certainly didn’t fly at our house.

Why do we do this? I don’t want to downplay the value of the parenting blog or forum, in whatever format it works for you – but it appears as though women have staked a claim in this area, with an almost righteous attitude about it. There are clubs, awards, societies, and everything in between for mothering blogs – in the Kidspot Voices of 2014, the parenting blogs in the Top 100 are all by women, with various forms of the word “mum” in the titles.

The reality is, women are continuing the vicious circle of parenting roles by keeping men out of the loop, and I’ve found that the assumption is continually made that if something needs to be researched or checked in regards to our son, all eyes on me. Why do I need to be the one to Google, call or ask – that’s a BIG responsibility dude. Ask my husband. Get his signature on August’s immunisation form. Have him sign the boy up to a daycare waiting list. His handwriting is much nicer than mine.

I’m not for a moment suggesting that just because a women is writing a blog about parenting, there isn’t a place for that. We have bits that men don’t, and these bring with them a whole range of fun stuff to LOL about (or FML about). But there should exist a more shared experience, where the joys, trials, and hilariously confusing aspects of having a child can be discussed by everyone involved. And this, in turn, will go towards both parents taking on a more equal responsibility.We know of a couple of great fathering blogs, like this one, and we love people like Brian – but we hope ours will also become somewhere for everyone to go and laugh at ourselves and our kids equally.

Spread the love peeps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a Feminist and I’m OK

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Whether it’s my bestie or Beyonce, I get really sad when I hear a woman say she isn’t a feminist. Like, really sad. Not because I think she’s probably sitting at home doing her husband’s ironing and foregoing all her girlhood dreams, but because I think it shows just how misunderstood the big, bad ‘F’ Word is in 2014. And I’m sick of it being shamed.

I’m a feminist. And I’m neither ashamed nor afraid to say so. And I think so many women (and men) actually are feminists at the heart of it but they are either unaware or ashamed to say so because they think being a feminist comes with a whole score of seemingly unattractive traits. And that’s sad to me. Sad that women feel their attractiveness trumps their own social freedom. Sad that men feel their masculinity is undermined by supporting women towards that goal.

And so I would like to clarify a few things. There is no singular feminist manifesto written by some mythical bra burner – feminism means different things to different people – but here are a few things that being a feminist definitely DOESN’T mean:

Being a feminist doesn’t mean I don’t shave my legs.
I don’t shave my legs because I’m lazy and the hair on my legs is blonde and I genuinely don’t give a rats.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean I don’t wear lipstick.
Right now I’m wearing Nars Heat Wave paired elegantly with trackies.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean I don’t like bras.
Because, dude, I’m breastfeeding right now and OMG just… no.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean I hate men.
I quite like most of the ones I know personally, and really admire many I don’t know personally – particularly this guy and this guy.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean I think all men are out to get me.
That would just be weird and paranoid.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean that I don’t think men have their own battles to fight.
They do. And I will fight gladly alongside them because it’s all the one battle, really.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean I’m a lesbian*.
In the words of Jerry Seinfeld “not that there’s anything wrong with that”.

Being a feminist means I believe in gender equality. And I believe that right now, in 2014, gender inequality still exists to the detriment of women, particularly in the workforce. I know this because I am a woman who once worked a job that demanded so much of me that becoming a mother rendered me useless to that profession. I had no choice but to forge my own path and it occurred to me, about 18 months ago, that my own path better work out because if it didn’t then I would have been screwed. A great many women are faced with that same dilemma, and very few men are. It is one of the most difficult and diverse challenges to gender equality because it requires nothing short of a complete overhaul to workplace policy and domestic culture.

Being a feminist means I believe that we need to consciously move away from the objectification of women. And we need to empower our daughters to know that they have absolute ownership over the body they inhabit; whatever it looks like, and however they choose to clothe it.

Being a feminist means that I believe we need to stand up and speak out when little acts of sexism and misogyny occur. You might say that Tony Abbott’s wink was harmless. You might say that the Nova FM prank on Samantha Armytage was all in fun. You might say that these little acts, perpetrated by men who are not necessarily bad men (insert hilarious comment about our dear Minister for Women here), are not the same as overt acts of sexism such as rape and domestic violence, but these small and seemingly inconsequential acts of sexism creates a culture that enables and normalises misogyny. And we must be brave enough to challenge the little acts, even amongst our friends, without fear of being labelled precious or aggressive. From little things big things grow so I’ve drawn a big fat line in the sand and I’ll be standing my ground.

Being a feminist means I am committed to being part of the solution to an equal society. I refuse to sit on my hands and say ‘that’s just how it is’; how it is now is not how it was 20 years ago, and it is not how it will be in 20 years time. I will be part of the momentum that propels this inevitable change, not the dead weight holding it back.

I am part of the solution by sending positive messages to my daughter and leading by example:

I do what I love with my life so that my daughter may grow up feeling that it is her right to do what she loves with her life, whatever that may be. I never underestimate my privilege in being able to do this.

I cherish my body so that my daughter will learn to cherish her own.

I stand up to sexism so that she will stand up for herself and others.

Being a feminist needn’t be such a provocative thing to be. In fact, I think that raising two future feminists is probably the most radical and honourable thing I can do.

* this is a reference to an episode of Geordie Shore where two of the girls debated whether they were feminists and came to the conclusion that they weren’t because you had to be a lesbian to be a feminist. *slaps forehead*

FFS Friday: When Your 9 Week Old Has Better Hair Than You

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Volume? Check. Colour? Check. Silky Smooth To The Touch? Check. Natural Hipster Coiff? Yeah, another Check.

Anyone who has had a baby, or, in fact, has ever just carried one around in public will know that you instantly become the invisible man/woman behind the infant. A prop that has the sole purpose of bringing this babe to the masses. And I’m totally cool with that. Ya gotta give the public what they want.

But when your baby starts to pull admiration for his tresses, in particular after you’ve hit the salon for a long over due ‘do’, it’s time to accept the fact that no matter what you do, what you wear or indeed whether you’re wearing anything at all – this kid will be the king of the focus-pull.

Don’t take it personally. I mean, you made the kid, so bask in the baby-love and remember this: many hilarious hairdos are at your fingertips for future birthday embarrassment. Small victories.

Sons of Eccentricity

FREDDIE & AUGUE

So….

How did you spend your last six weeks? It’s been a bit of an extended absence from the Daughters because, well, we added a couple of Sons to the mix. You heard me. Sons. And nobody was more shocked about it than we were.

Not totally shocked. I mean, we both knew we were having babies. But boys? Really? TWO of them? Neither Caroline nor I knew what we were having, but already having one daughter (and Hazel totally owns her ‘eccentric’ genes) I just kinda expected to have another. And I just kinda expected Caroline to have one, too. And everyone just kinda expected it. In fact, when I worked out the baby odds in my head, it went like this:

Most Likely: A redhead girl
Moderately Likely: A girl with hair that isn’t red
Less Likely: A redhead boy
Practically Impossible: A boy with hair that isn’t red

But then on the morning of the nineteenth of March I got a text from Caroline’s husband that stopped me in my tracks and brought a sentimental tear to my eye: I am holding our son. And so Augie the boy baby was the first surprise.

And then almost four weeks later on the fifteenth of April, along came the second: Freddie the boy baby. I knew something was up when the doctor exclaimed during delivery “Ooh, you’re a lot bigger than your sister was.” (She wasn’t joking – 55cm and 3.97kg). I never specified largeness in my baby odds, but as a particularly small human myself I didn’t feel I needed to. He is a big boy and I am a small girl – the concept floored me, and floors me still. In all fairness, his hair is auburn so he falls somewhere in between Less Likely and Practically Impossible on the likelihood scale and combining that with his unmistakably pointy chin and bowed lips, I can be assured that Frederick Francis Constable is indeed flesh of my flesh. And I adore him.

FREDDIE

So the adventures of Augie and Freddie begin. Won’t you follow along with us? We promise not to keep you waiting so long again.

Birth Plans vs Birth Ideals: Knowing What You Want, With The Knowledge That Your Captain is a Newborn

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I love to learn new things. Anything really. Ranging from the completely superfluous skill (writing backwards and mirrored, faux tap) to something that I can utilise every day (tech stuff, mediation, faux tap). So naturally, when presented with the completely new world of pregnancy and an impending labour, I did my research. To me, knowledge is comforting, it makes me feel in control and worded up in an often unknown landscape.

Look, I didn’t overdo things (no magazines, a few great books and I may have stalked a bogan baby online forum), but I asked a lot of questions and read-up on what spoke to us heading into this new adventure. My husband Adam and I had strong ideas about giving the natural labour sans pain relief a go, and as our hospital offered a water-birth and I am a lover of all bodies of water – that had me at hello.

A Birth Plan was talked about from the very beginning, and it was around the time we were writing it up that I realised that a plan was all what it was. And we know what happens to the best laid plans. What I’d be taking into that birthing suite was a plan of attack, and during my pregnancy I’d read about and met people who were taking in Birth Ideals. This is about as pointless as writing a business plan and incorporating daily flowers in the foyer as part of your indicators of success.

One of our main points in the Birth Plan was (in addition to a water birth, as little intervention as possible and a big bouncy ball) was “get baby out safely”.  I know enough women who have given birth to understand the absolute luck of the draw when it comes to following a Birth Plan. This is where knowledge comes into play for me. I knew exactly what I wanted to when it came to a birth ideal, but when it came to the plan, I also found out what my options were should the baby take the decisions out of my hands and throw some us some curve balls. What would happen “if”? And knowing all of this didn’t scare me; if anything I felt it further equipped me to approach the labour with confidence and positivity.

In one of our birthing and labour classes the hospital provided, the midwife went around the room of first-time parents-to-be and asked three questions: What were their names? What week were they in? What reference materials had they accessed?

I would say that about 80% of a rather large group said they’d avoided reading too much so they didn’t scare themselves. Holy crap – THAT is my version of a nightmare. I can understand that to some people ignorance in this arena may appear to be bliss, but let me tell you, after going through labour myself I could not imagine entering that situation knowing the bare minimum. The biggest challenge you will face in labour is fear, and although this may not ring true for everyone – when you don’t know what’s happening and why and you’re experiencing pain like you’ve never experienced – fear will increase this tenfold.

A great resource for me was a book called “Birth Journeys: Positive Birth Stories to Encourage and Inspire”, compiled and edited by Leonie MacDonald. It may look a little hippie-esque from the front (nude pregnant women in a lovely strategically-draped scarf). It is full of positive birthing stories from Australian women, ranging from full natural home-births to high-risk caesarian sections. It reinforced that whatever way your labour goes, regardless of your Birth Plan, it can be a positive experience and not one to be judged by – either by others or yourself.

This meant that when my Birth Plan was quickly thrown out the window thanks to a combination of body, environment and baby – I knew what the options were, why they were there and when they would kick in. This meant that although I was disappointed I didn’t get my intervention-free waterbirth, I had such a positive birthing experience that it didn’t matter. It felt like the ultimate outcome was just a part of the journey to meet August. Whether he arrived via the official exit or the stage door – my experience was not lessened by its diversion from the planned path.

Welcoming August Gray

If I’ve been a bit quiet of late (though really, with Amy solely holding the fort with some cracker posts – you’ve got a pretty good reason not to have noticed), it’s not because I haven’t been carrying my weight (all 42 weeks of it) – it’s because that weight was finally converted to baby on the Nineteenth of March, 2014.

Introducing, August Gray Kennon. We think he’s a bit scrummy.

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In addition to a long labour, birth plan that went out the window and a longer stay in hospital than anticipated, well, you know, I have a newborn. It’s pretty much all consuming, and he has taken my time and breath away faster than you can say grazed nipple.

So I’ll be back in the swing of things with a post tomorrow, and since Amy has her own impending baby to birth, you might see a bit more of me when she disappears into the newborn haze.

I’ll leave you with the moment Hazel met August (this was taken just before August started crying and Hazel took the hands-off “I didn’t do it!” approach to baby-holding)

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A Prayer for New Parents

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May you give birth in the manner of your choosing;
And if not, may you avoid forever the acid tongues of those who did.

May your breasts be plentiful and hardy;
And if not, may you avoid forever the acid tongues of those whose are.

May you understand and accept, without reservation, that there is simply no such stage of human development called ‘sleeping through the night’;
And if not, may you avoid forever the acid tongues of those who are delusional on this matter (and bless them, for they are probably sleep deprived).

May you realise that the pram does not maketh the parent;
And in doing so, save approximately $1500.

May you find beauty in the post-partum body, without berating, parading or popular-trading the pinnacle of ‘motherhood’ as a toned, muscle-wrapped body;
And may you never venture to the Instagram accounts of Miranda Kerr or Rebecca Judd.

May you never resort to baby sign language;
For it is mumbo jumbo, I tell you. Mumbo. Jumbo.

May you sleep in whichever configuration works for you, your child, your life, your family;
And may you awaken most mornings at least mildly refreshed, without somebody’s feet in your ribs or wet nappy on your face.

May you realise that you are the most influential person in your child’s life and that it is your everyday actions (not TV, books or popular culture) that will ultimately shape their character;
And may they pick up at least one hilariously bad habit or embarrassing mannerism of yours to serve as a daily reminder.

May you find comedy in toilet training;
For there is tragedy enough in this world without finding it in poo.

May the parenting forums filled with judgmental, ill-informed and badly written ‘conversations’ eventually implode;
And may you have the strength to never go online until such time.

May you forgive yourself quickly for not enjoying ‘every’ little moment;
For it is a scientific fact that kids can be jerks sometimes and enjoying that would be weird.

May you go to bed each night knowing that your love and best efforts are enough, that YOU are enough, and that your child loves you just as you are;
And may you actually get some sleep.

Hating on Friends with Kids

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So here’s a thing that’s become a total THING. Hating on friends with kids. Especially friends who post things about their kids on Facebook. And I’m here today to tell you it’s weird, guys. Hating on people who have kids is weird.

Look, I remember 2007 like it was yesterday. I remember when Facebook was all travel photos and hilarious status updates that had to start with ‘is’. I remember being nervous about being tagged in photos from Friday night because I could barely remember Friday night. I remember being relieved to discover that although I didn’t remember it, I still looked (mostly) pretty hot. I remember giving myself the goal of posting one funny thing about cats every day. I remember. Oh yeah, I remember.

Then 7 years passed by, and a bunch of us did a few big ‘life’ things. Like getting married and having babies. And because those things were suddenly a lot bigger parts of our lives than Friday nights on the piss and LOLCATS (though for me personally, nothing will ever be bigger than LOLCATS. Nothing, you hear?) our posts started to evolve as well. We started posting about the things that were going on in our actual lives rather than, oh I don’t know, lying about going out on a Friday night when we weren’t. Or posting travel photos of places where we weren’t. Or disappearing off Facebook altogether in shame.

And the response to our change of social media direction? Haters. You may be shocked to hear that there are entire blogs dedicated to complaining about parents talking about their kids on Facebook. Entire blogs!

Haters, I’m not going to psychoanalyse what your problem is (well, I already have but I won’t present my findings in a public space), but if you’re offended/annoyed/disinterested by stuff that your “friends with kids” post on social media, I am going to give you just a dash of parental advice: you don’t have to look at it. Just like we don’t have to look at your lame selfies.

How you go about it is this: in your Newsfeed, identify a post containing a simply disgusting child who has the audacity to be starting kinder today. Hover over it and you should see a little downwards arrow on the right. Click on it and you’ll see the “I don’t want to see this” option. You can then opt to completely unfollow (without unfriending) a person who notoriously posts stuff about their abhorrent child.

How you don’t go about it is this: dedicate an entire blog to complaining about the thing you’re so offended by. It seems to me that it will actually make you far more involved in the topic that you apparently don’t like. As in, it would become your JOB to write about the thing you HATE. Where’s the logic? I ask you, where’s the logic?

These ‘friends with kids’ were presumably your ‘friends’ first and foremost. It’s not like total strangers are knocking on your door and parading their children in front of you and demanding you ‘like’ them. Why be so offended by a cute/funny/gross/uninteresting photo of a kid you know? Why be annoyed to hear that they just took their first steps? If you feel that there’s too much talk about them going on, seriously, just unfollow and stop being a jerk.

Haters, I’m sure you’d rather peruse your own profile pictures than look at photos of someone’s kid. And that’s cool. But the bottom line is this: Facebook was invented for people to connect with each other in their own unique way and talk about the things going on their actual lives. It wasn’t invented for YOU and only YOU to talk about and connect with YOURSELF and the people who think exactly the same way as YOU, are doing the same activities as YOU and are at exactly the same life-stage as YOU.

If we were friends on Facebook, I would unfollow you without ceremony. I wouldn’t start a blog about self-righteous and immature jerks, though. I’ll take this opportunity to rant about it, but an entire blog seems a little overboard. And lame. And frankly, I’m a parent now so I don’t have the time.

FFS Friday: The Havoc That an Unborn Can Reap

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1. This is just one of series of images that my husband took of my foot in which he had made an indentation with an inanimate object. In this instance, his thumb. Oh, the humanity!

Now, it wouldn’t be right to say that I’m renowned for having a well-turned ankle and a good set of calves – but I will say that I have always been happy with the shape, size and general look of anything below the knees. And for most of my pregnancy, indeed really all the way up to about 38 weeks, I thought I’d escaped the curse of the fluid retention.

Clearly, I was wrong.

So here we are, at 41 weeks with the legs resembling the trunk of a native tree and fingers the size of soy-sages.

And before anyone has a heart-attack about potential pre-eclampsia – I don’t have it. Blood pressure etc all normal – just storing up fluid like the Hoover Dam.

FFS

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2. How many towels does it take to soak up the overflow from a bath you left running after dozing off because that new book you purchased was SO BORING …. oh, about this many.

FFS!

 

Bodies and Babies – The Feedback Session

On a scale of one to ten in the “whelmed” department, it’s pretty safe to say that Amy and I have exceeded the numbers and have spilled into the “over” section.

Overwhelmed indeed.

What we’ve loved is the sharing of other people’s stories, and it has made it clear to us that these tough topics need to be discussed openly in a place without judgment, agenda or an intent to spark debate. I mean, we LOVE a good debate (don’t get me started on pyjamas vs au natural), but that’s not the intent here.

We thought that today it’d be nice to roundup some of the encouraging comments and feedback we’ve received from our last couple of posts that really seemed to resonate with readers. We’ve had strangers and close friends share their stories with us, with so much to be gained from this exchange of experiences.

There’ll be plenty more where that came from folks!

An Ode and a Farewell to This Baby Body

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“Hell yes to all that!!  I actually made the very bold statement to Dave the other day that, for the first time in my adult life, I actually feel sexy. And it all began when motherhood came knocking. Didn’t see that coming. Yay to a beautiful body, flaws and all, but most of all: yay to a newly refreshed mind, heart and soul.” Brooke

“After motherhood we accept our bodies for what they are. Amazing.” Hannah

Let the Tough Times Roll

Let the Tough Times Roll

“This was beautiful Beautiful. Reading this has had a huge impact on me and helped me with something I’ve been dealing with in an unexpected way. No over sharing here but a case in point of how allowing people into you vulnerability can reflect their own and help them deal with it. Thank you!”  Richard

“Thank you for sharing your experience, I think the more women talk about these kinds of things, the better we can all deal with them. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as oversharing. I didn’t think I could like Hazel anymore than I already do, considering I’ve never met her, but am glad to be proved wrong! She’s wonderful, and so are you xxx” Leila