Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Travelling with Kids: Why It Doesn't Need to be Hell on Wheels [Mamadoo]

See what I did there, with the 'wheels' pun? Funny, I know. A lot funnier than travelling with kids can be.

The Mamas at Mamadoo asked me for my top tips when travelling with kids, which you can find here. Seriously, with school holidays approaching, can you afford NOT to read it, just in case I mentioned the single, gem of advice that can make your holiday easier?

In all seriousness (and I can be, when the wine runs out) if you are planning a car trip these holidays, make sure you check your children's car seats before you leave. Check the straps are at the right height, and aren't twisted, have a professional look the connections over if you're not sure. But leave all the popcorn and cracker crumbs - it will save you having to make snacks for the journey.

Read: Shannon's Top Six Tips to Survive Travelling with Kids.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Why I Don't Find You Inspiring (Sorry About That) [Mamadoo]

Recently I wrote a post about why I will never use the ‘D’ word in front of my children. Readers really responded to it, and used words like ‘inspiring’, and my husband, bless his warped man-view of the world, recently bought me a Women’s Fitness magazine, presumably to support me in my journey back to a healthier place.

Despite the concentrated ‘fitspo’ attitude running throughout the magazine, I found nothing inspiring in those pages. I saw a lot of thin women, or women trying to be thin, but none of their stories made me do anything different, because – quite simply – none of those women were me.

Fitspo (look it up, it’s now a real word) is short for fitspiration, which isn’t actually a real word either. It’s about being inspired to get fit by looking at women in their gym clothes or underwear, who take selfies of their lean and muscular bodies.

If I look at an attractive women in her underwear, probably the last thing I am thinking about is picking up a pair of dumb-bells or jumping on a treadmill, but maybe that’s just me...

to read the rest of the article click here

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Would Your Kids Have Called the Cops?

There were three kids in the car, happily engrossed in a Scooby DVD. For once they weren’t fighting so when I pulled up in front of the bread shop and there was an empty space right out the front, I decided to leave them all in car while I ducked in to buy a loaf of bread.

It wasn’t hot. It wasn’t a dodgy neighbourhood. The bakery was practically deserted and I was served immediately. I could see them for every second I was in the shop. It was a judgement call – I left the kids alone in the car. 

But less than a minute later when I climbed back in, the Bombshell lazily commented to me: ‘You really shouldn’t leave kids alone in the car.’

My heart raced and I became instantly paranoid.

‘Did someone tell you that?’ I asked, looking around for the Today Tonight camera crew.

Instead the Bombshell pointed to a big yellow tag sticking out the side of the Baby’s carseat. ‘No, it says right here. It’s got a big cross and everything.’

Bloody schools, teaching kids to read.

I relaxed a bit and told her ‘you’re right, but if I was concerned about your safety I never would have left you alone, if it was hot, say, or we were in a not-nice neighbourhood where someone might take the car.’

It was the Bombshell’s turn to look around in paranoia.

‘I would hit anyone who wanted to take the car,’ she said bravely.

The Mop spoke up: ‘someone could have stolen us?’ she asked.

‘… or the car,’ her big sister told her helpfully.

‘A policeman would arrest you and lock you up for 99 years,’ the Mop told me, shaking her head sadly.

I sighed. ‘Well, please don’t tell any policemen that I left you alone for less than a minute.’

‘We won’t,’ said the Bombshell. ‘We don’t know any policemen.’

‘So,’ I asked. ‘You would have dobbed on me if you knew a policeman even if it meant I would get locked up for 99 years?’

There was a pause in the back seat as they put their heads together and reached a consensus.

‘No,’ decided the Mop. ‘We won’t dob because we love you.’

Yet for some reason, I’m still not convinced…

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Mamas and the Papas [Mamadoo]

As you may know, I recently got a gig writing hilarious posts for the Aussie shopping site Mamadoo (well I think they're hilarious, especially after four hours sleep).

And not only do I get cold hard cash (which is nice, because mostly I just get paid in 'likes' and 'I saw your blog yesterday, pretty funny' sort of thing), I get to write about things would I couldn't - or wouldn't - on Relentless.

Who would have thought there were off-topic topics on Relentless?

But I was recently asked to write a post for Dads, which is funny in itself, since I'm not a Dad. So I asked some friends who were, and not only did I get the beautiful Failure is an Option from my mate Glenn, but I also wrote Tips for First Time Dads which is full of gems from people who actually know what they are talking about. And you don't have to be a first-timer (or a Dad) to get something from it.

And so, in anticipation of Father's Day here in Australia this Sunday and in honour of all the dads in our lives (and in my case, my hubby Phill, father-in-law Terry and father Mike) I say 'here's to you, guys. Love your work!'.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Unwanted Help in the Mornings

For the past eleven weeks I have been getting up at some ungodly hour, turning on the DVD player and throwing myself around the room in an ungainly fashion. Some people call this exercise. I call it painful.

I don’t like getting up early and watching lycra clad Michelle Bridges telling me to ‘suck it up’ as her pumped up assistants drip sweat from their rock hard bodies. But I like what it has done for my health and waist line, so I am persisting.

I get up at the very very very small hours, so I can do it in private, because let’s be honest, most things that make you sweat when it’s dark outside should be done in private. Unfortunately, Baldy Baby (now two and a half) has the nasty habit of also waking at ungodly hours, which means I often have an audience as I wobble and groan my way through burpees and squats.

She is very supportive and as such, likes to get involved.

Often this means climbing on my back when I am doing a plank and yelling ‘giddup’, or when she is feeling more sedate, waiting for me to lie down to do sit ups or stretches and using my tummy as a pillow, her little head going up and down as I huff and puff.

Some days I am lucky and she takes herself off to the playroom to watch Dora. She will regularly come out to check I am still there, cocking her head when she sees me upside down in a downward dog. ‘Orright mum?’ she’ll ask, concerned about the colour of my face.

‘I’m alright, thanks Sweetie,’ I’ll reply.

When the DVD is over and I turn off the TV I will sometimes collapse back onto the floor, watching the fan circle overhead (yes, even in the middle of winter). She will lie down on the carpet next to me and put her head on my arm. We will lie there together in silence (except for my heavy breathing).

Then she will lean over and kiss my sweaty face. ‘I love you mummy’ she will say, before licking her lips and grimacing.

‘Yuk’, she will say, and disappear back into the playroom.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Little Name Big Heart [Review]

There are certain things in life where the name just doesn’t fit the object.

“W” is pronounced ‘double u’ but it’s actually double ‘v’.

We call them a pair of pants, but there is actually only one.

It doesn’t change the value of the object but it isn’t exactly descriptive either.

When I was offered the chance to try out one of the handmade Binky blankets I was expecting something small, for in my mind a Binky is cute and little. I had missed the line on the website indicating that the blanket was the size of a single bed...

To read out what happened next click here to go to my blog post on Mamadoo and for the chance to win one of two Binky Blankets click here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I was recently asked to write a post for first-time dads, and as neither a dad nor a first timer, I felt unqualified. So I asked my male friends for their advice (that article to follow soon on the Mamadoo blog) and one response was so funny and heartfelt I asked if he wanted to write a guest post for Relentless.

Failure IS an Option: by Glenn Dungate

I can remember clearly the emotion and excitement that I felt as I walked through the sliding glass automatic doors of the hospital the day after Maisie was born. I had gone home the night previous and fallen asleep strangely free of burden and worry and, instead,  filled with pride in the strength of my wife and elation for our “bundle of joy”. The need to clean the living hell out of our townhouse and watch as much Foxtel as possible was also strangely thrown into the mix.

I have never felt peace and excitement like I did in those first few days. Overjoyed that I had a daughter. Overwhelmed that I had seen things happening between my wife’s legs that I was sure would scar me for the rest of my life and euphoric that two was now three. A family. My family. Our family.

Then she came home. Free from the support of Midwives and Doctors, Maisie was now alone with us. I laid her down on a play mat and stared at her. What was going to happen now ? How was “it” going to happen and what was “it” exactly ?

For me “it” was the fear of failure.

I failed at three months after I dropped her on her head onto the tiled kitchen floor. This happened on the first day that my wife had left me alone with her. I was in tears and a major panic as I called my wife, crying down the phone that a lump was appearing on her head. Cradling her as her cries subsided we hopped into my bed and I tried to comfort her. She started falling asleep. I panicked again. Sleep after head trauma equals concussion.  I tried to keep her awake, she didn’t like that. Maybe because it was her nap time and her dad was red eyed and bouncing her up and down singing “Wakey wakey Maisie” over and over and over again.

I failed when she was a toddler and  I grabbed her arm in anger. She wasn’t listening, it was bath time and she had better things to do. She was in a typical Maisie moodI grabbed her right arm as I leaned down to try and reason through clenched teeth and she immediately burst into tears saying “You hurt my arm”. I was heartbroken.  I have always felt that hitting a child in punishment is beyond wrong. The thought that inflicting pain in the belief that it will create reason and understanding is brain dead and pathetic.  Anyone with intelligence knows that there are times that you cannot reason with them. There are times that you cannot make them understand. There are times that you have to think happy thoughts and take deep yoga like breathes. This was one of those times. And yet, I had just hurt her in my attempts to reason with her. More tears from me and a major apology followed.

Then my wife became pregnant. Euphoria soon turned to unbearable sadness when at 12 weeks we had to terminate the pregnancy. The pride in the mental and physical strength of my wife that I had felt with the birth of our first child returned, though in completely different circumstances.  I wanted to take all her pain. I wanted to hold her and not let go. Even though it was nature and even though there was nothing we could have done……. I felt I had uncontrollably failed.

In the months and years that have followed I have experienced the Jane Austin-like highs of love, pride and awe along with the Shakespearean-like battles of sadness, fear, anger and rage that only a child with the combined DNA of two crazies like us can produce. 

Despite my fears I have succeeded many more times than I have either truly or falsely failed. Maisie is now 5 and the “it” has become the realisation that parenting is a glorious burden. Embrace it and every piece of luggage that goes with it.  If you are true to yourself and more importantly to the human in your care, you can’t fail.

Glenn Dungate

Friday, August 1, 2014

Would You Like to Review My Children's Books?

A couple of years ago, stuck in the middle of school holidays with my then-five year old Bombshell, we decided that we would write a book together.

Specifically, I would write it, and she would do the illustrations. I let her choose the most important aspects of the book, such as the name of the main character (Fairy Sparkle Rose), the colour of her dresses, and the 'twist' at the end of the story. It is a story about being yourself and not following the pack.

I enjoyed it so much, I wrote another book 'How the Rainbow Got its Colours' which is a story about sharing.

Then earlier this year, obviously with the 'D' word flapping around the back of my head, I wrote a story called 'My Body My Shape' (yeah, the title is a work in progress) which is a story about loving different shapes and sizes.

I don't know why the image is doing this, but I assure you the books themselves are completely normal

Each story is aimed at 4-6 year olds. They are very simple stories, with painted illustrations by my daughters. I have simply printed them myself on Snapfish, so the production is basic.

But I have a few spare copies, and I will post them to you if you wouldn't mind reading them to your kids, and then emailing me a few lines telling me what you think. Be honest, there's no point telling me they're awesome if you actually think they're crap. If you happen to own a publishing company and you love them, then yes, I am willing to sign a contract.

It's first in, first served, so please email me your name and postal address to frommumtome@hotmail.com (email only please, don't put your personal details on Facebook)*.

Update: thanks to everyone who responded, but I have had more offers to review the books than expected,and unfortunately, there are no more copies available.

I can send packs of two books to the US or Europe (2 on offer) and packs of three books within Australia (up to five on offer). (Sorry about the discrepancy, but it costs a lot to post things across the world).

* I promise not to stalk, harass or sell your personal details to anyone. Just in case you were wondering...

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