By George! Plunket sells out to royalty

Disclaimer: I’m going to warn you that this a rant! I am no expert, I haven’t talked to all parties involved and quite possibly I don’t know all the facts. But from an outsider, I can see that this situation is not the best…. and worse, I feel what is seen on the outside is misinformation being fed to impressionable people.

Woop, woop! Prince George arrives in the country tomorrow, a whole lot of fuss over a rather chubby and gorgeous 8-month-old baby boy. Its his first overseas trip – I hope he travels ok! I think it is quite special how his trip to NZ shores is so similar to William’s first trip in May of 1983. (I wasn’t even born myself!). I would love to catch a glimpse of Kate and William on their tour but don’t live very close to any of the main centres they are visiting. I always thought William was quite cute – he has a gorgeous smile 😛 I’ll take comfort that I’ve seen him at Buckingham Palace instead!!!!


(c) to author - yup, me!
(c) to author – yup, me!


Of course, the world will be watching as Kate, William and George arrive in New Zealand next week. And car-seat safety buffs like myself, have been eagerly waiting to see what kind of car seat the prince will be belted into. I’ve seen Facebook pages trying to guess what brand of seat, and all the mums commenting have hoped he would be rear-facing! So when this article here at Stuff was released yesterday, there was quite a commotion! Check it out on the Plunket Facebook page yourself! Basically, Plunket has installed a Maxi Cosi Opal Convertible car seat into the limo/car – a $699 (NZD) luxury seat. It has been advertised as:

    • “In rearward facing position (infant / 0-13 kg)”
    • “Comfortable and longer usage in rearward facing position”
    • “Optimum recline offering more legroom for extra comfort in rearward facing position, the safest position for young infants to travel”
    • “Opal allows real comfort in rearward facing position up to 13kg for optimal safety”
    • “Maxi-Cosi recommends to use the rearward facing position from birth to 13kg”
    • “Extended safer rearward facing travel until the child is approx. 15/18 months old”

Yep, those are direct quotes from the website of Maxi-Cosi, the car seat manufacturer. The same words are used on Babycity’s page where they sell the seat online here in New Zealand.

So it’s certainly a surprise to see the car seat installed forward facing by Plunket this week, ahead of the visit. Plunket have always reccomended rear-facing until at least 2 years – or until the weight limits of the seat. It is MUCH safer for a child to be rear-facing as long as possible, and some seats comfortably rear-face a child until 20+ kgs.

The car-seat-safety buffs hit out at Plunket in droves, prompting this follow on story from Stuff. But all Plunket can say is, “Whilst it is Plunket’s practice to recommend rear-facing seats for an eight month old, there is no legal requirement to do so.
The final decision on the selection and installation of a child restraint rests with the parent or caregiver.”

Ummm. Thats a cop-out to me. Plunket had the opportunity to educate parents in NZ. They could have installed the seat rear-facing, because Kate and William were hardly standing by the car, were they? They might have missed an opportunity to educate these parents too (after all, they got it wrong when George was born!). In addition, I felt that it could have been reported WHY to rear-face for longer, even if the Palace had commanded a forward-facing configuration.

I really enjoyed this little story in the Herald about Prince William’s car seats when he was in NZ. From Tord Kjellstrom’s account, he had the chance to offer some information and advice for the young royal parents.

And I think that is why I am most upset. The world is watching the little Prince and this was an opportunity to educate.
Hundreds of volunteers and passionate parents tirelessly educate, promote and inform about car seat safety. There are more cars on the road, we travel further, and faster, and safety has no price.

Earlier this year, a baby died just 6km away in a car accident. Less than 10km away is a white cross marking the site where another newborn baby, 6 weeks old, died several years ago. The thought of losing my own babes almost inspires me to never drive again. So when evidence is presented in front of us to MAKE OUR CHILDREN SAFER…. quite simply, why wouldn’t you???

STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 2200 hrs BST THURSDAY OCTOBER 24TH 2013  HIGHER FEES APPLY. STRICTLY EDITORIAL USE ONLY.  The official portrait for the christening of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, photographed in The Morning Room at Clarence House in London on October 23rd 2013. PICTURED: HRH Duke of Cambridge, HRH Duchess of Cambridge with their son HRH Prince George. Prince George is wearing an outfit made of delicate Honiton lace and white satin by Angela Kelly, an exact replica of the one worn before him by every baby born to the British Royal family since 1841. The Duchess is wearing Alexander McQueen dress and a Jane Taylor hat.
Daily Mail

They go to extreme lengths to put in security and other safety measures… I would have thought that car safety might have been important to the royal family too.

And I’m so disappointed in Plunket, who actively promote extended rear facing, that they have gone against their own guidelines. What a shame to lose the opportunity to educate and model to new parents.

And for all the doubters, and all those crying, ‘Goodness, let the parents make their decision! Leave them alone!’ – watch this. Its mild.




AS: Let’s talk about Postnatal Depression

As you all know, postnatal depression is a subject dear to my heart (and mind) and one of the huge reasons I started The Motherhood Project.

I feel that often us mothers try to do it all…. and we beat ourselves up, riddle ourselves with guilt, try our absolute damnest to be the best…. its really no wonder that we fall over sometimes. And yet, when we do slip up or fall to pieces, we berate ourselves for failing! Gah!

Yep, us mums really can be our own worst enemies!

Add to this situation how society perceives us. Generally, we’re ‘just’ mothers, taking time away from our ‘real jobs’ and not contributing to the economy. If we’re slightly in need or single or unsupported, we become a ‘burden’ on the economy.
(all those ‘-‘ are in reference to what I’ve read, heard and discussed about how others view parenting).

Society – and of course, again I am generalising, and here refer to our NZ culture, western society etc – thinks our babies should not ‘interrupt’ our lives – they need to be sleeping 8 hours from 6 weeks old, are cartable from party to social occasion to BBQ to picnic to wedding etc, and must not be cuddled, rocked or breastfed to sleep, lest we spoil them! So if your baby doesn’t fit this ‘norm’, you doubt your parenting, become frustrated and resentful.


Depression and other mental illnesses are generally misunderstood in our society. Still commonly dismissed as not a ‘real illness’ and combined with the Kiwi mentality of “harden up”, depression is surrounded in stigma and judgement. Its great when stars stand up and say, I have depression. I really like John Kirwans book for this.

In addition, we’ve cultured ourselves to see asking for help as a weakness. We’re covered in baby sick, the washing hasnt been done in 3 days, and do we pick up the phone to ask a neighbour, friend or relative for help?

It’s no surprise then, that new mums struggle to feel validated when feelings overwhelm them. With pregnancy and birth hormones surging, sleep deprivation and huge feelings of responsibility and hopelessness, post-natal depression can affect 15% of new mums.

Symptoms include feeling exhausted, stressed, tired, anxious and confused. You may feel unable to cope with your new baby, or feel little towards your baby. Managing daily activities can be tough, and it can be hard to make simply decisions, because of difficulty concentrating and thinking. You may be worrying, feeling guilty, useless or irritable or having negative thoughts. It can be a low flat mood or loss of enjoyment in the things that used to make you smile.

NOTE that of course, it’s understandable to have many of these symptoms post-birth! Some of these feelings are normal without throwing a baby into the mix!!!
In the days after you’ve given birth, its normal to be teary, exhausted and overwhelmed with emotions! This is commonly referred to as ‘baby blues’ and tends to pass after the first week – it is a result of your pregnancy hormones crashing and coming back to normal. Likewise, there will be bad days – teething baby, colic, growth spurts, job stress, moving house or relationship issues – and feeling angry, teary and fed up is also normal! It is when the symptoms linger on and start to affect your enjoyment of life, that post-natal depression is a problem to be addressed.

The first place to start is to talk to someone you feel comfortable with. Ideally, approach your midwife or GP and let them know how you feel (take a friend for support if you need to). There are also great resources at

You may find that talking to people who understand can help you feel better about what you are going through. Avoid people who don’t understand and can only offer judgement or criticism. I’ve met a few of these – people who think mental illness isn’t real, or that I need to get over myself. However, even worse I find, are the people who are down themselves, except they are trapped in negativity and determined to bring you down too! I have had to cut ties with people who are so depressing that they refuse to help themselves and despite my efforts to help, are determined to STAY grey. At some point, I’ve had to focus on MYSELF so I can focus on my family, and end contact with these people.

Taking antidepressants can lift your mood and pull you from the black cloud. I know there is alot of stigma around these drugs too. Indeed, some doctors seem to give them out like lollies, and they are not always the answer. But for those who genuinely need them, and can find one that works for them, antidepressants can help keep you out of the black cloud/keep your hear afloat. And for some, that can be just the lift they need, to get things back in order.
A trained maternal mental health counsellor can offer you strategies for coping, and call in any other support you may need. My experiences here include weekly visits (in my own home, so less stress!) and lots of chatting about whats happened, how I have felt/reacted, and how I could do better. What I got out of using a counsellor is giving me the tools/strategies to cope when the black cloud rolled in… and I could use these strategies over and over. Worth a try!

Often getting back to basics can pull you back to feeling happy again. Ensure you are eating well, exercising regularly, and getting sleep when you can. A naturopath or homeopath may be able to help as well. Work through your issues and do everything possible to ensure you have smooth day-to-day running so you can enjoy baby and have time to yourself! Allow yourself time to appreciate the warmth of the sun, the scent of flowers, the sand between your toes and the other goodness of nature!

There is a lot of pressure on mothers!  Mothers need to stop judging each other, forget about pleasing the world, and do what is right for their family. We feel we need to be supermums, but we can’t have clean houses, happy children, healthy food and study or work commitments ALL THE TIME! The balance is ‘some of it, some of the time’! Be kinder to yourself and ease the pressure.

The more we talk about depression, the better it will be for new mums who are seeking validation of their feelings, and support for their new lives. Remember it can take some time to move out of the rut that is PND, but you will get through it!!!

Personally with myself and my friends, we find that we can stand up and shake ourselves off – and we’ve done it!!! But for many of us, we’ve revisted the black hole again – so dont forget to hit those basics again (sleep, exercise, good food, minimal stress), adopt your strategies again, and ride through the next wave of life 🙂

Controlling the Chaos

Controlling the Chaos

I was incensed to read a comment from a mother in a magazine, that having children is no excuse for a messy house. I’d quite like to know exactly how many children she has. And I’d also like to know the size of her bank account. Maybe that is a rude response from me, but the truth is that I know many mothers struggle with clutter, chaos and generally uncontrollable houses (I know I’m at the worst end of the scale!) and her comment just grated me! The thing is, that I doubt my mess would be half as bad if I had the money for a) a bigger house for my brood, and b) storage options that worked (you know, the ones that cost heaps of money, the ones you have pinned on Pinterest, the ones that have everything labelled and there is a place for everything). Because I know that if everything was organised and had a place, then I would have hardly any trouble keeping on top of everything!
I’d also like to know if she has any hobbies. It seems to me that mothers who don’t have hobbies have tidy houses. If you have a couple of kids, a dog, a small-ish house (which you love, but carry the burden of a mortgage) and a sewing table or scrapbooking alcove, then chances are your home is not as tidy as you would like!
We have a crippling mortgage, kids stuff everywhere, work stuff everywhere and hobby stuff everywhere. It is hard to keep everything organised when you are trying to store baby gear for your next babe. When you have toys for a 6 month baby and toys for a 6 year old child (and the toys for the kids in between!)
Contrary to what that woman probably thinks, most mothers with messy houses are not lazy, but simply overwhelmed. Not to mention the massive issue of being sleep-deprived and thus low on energy and motivation.

If you are finding the chaos simply overwhelming, frustrating or you no longer care, you are not alone. Tidy family houses are the minority!!
When you browse through your favourite home magazine, remind yourself that these houses, however real, have been tidied and then styled. Imagine if that magazine rang you and said they’d love to feature YOUR home in their magazine. Chances are you’d spend a few late evenings scrubbing, cleaning and tidying. Plus, take a closer look at your magazines. I’ve noticed alot of styling going on!!! They move the rug and desk closer to the bed, carefully arrange some shoes and a toy on the floor, and ‘casually’ sling a coat or blanket over the end of the bed. Thus when you look at the picture, you can see many things in this beautiful picture. But it’s not real!
Some parenting magazines have taken this on board in the last 18 months – have you noticed a few columns and competitions about mothers who get help sorting the mess?

If only we could all have a personal declutterer come and organise our homes! Right up there with winning lotto, aye?!


Etiquette, anyone?

So I think I have pretty decent manners – I say hello, excuse me, apologise if I knock someone accidently. I close my mouth when I am chewing, I say thank you if someone does something for me, and I am usually decently covered.

I actually researched etiquette when it was my birthday last year, because I wanted to invite my friends out for a night but I couldnt afford to shout everyone. SO I tried to find out the correct way to ask people to join me while also stating that it was ‘pay your own way’.

I think it is bad manners:
*to chew with your mouth open, or to talk with your mouth open
*to text while talking to someone (i.e use your phone when in the middle of a conversation)
*not to take your shoes of in someone elses home
*to butt into a conversation

I understand that everyone’s views are different – etiquette and manners are very much culture which varies.
My grandmother is appalled when you are asked to bring a plate, yet I have been bought up in a country where ‘bring a plate’ is normal, accepted, welcomed 🙂

But I think basic manners make you a lovely person, someone that others want to be around.

Yet lately I have been faced with situations where manners seem to have gone right out the window.

Not least of all, having given gifts, and then not being thanked!

Now gift-giving is a spectrum. Some people have a knack for giving thoughtless gifts (regardless of price), and others are talented at giving very meaningful and thoughtFUL gifts. It doesnt matter whether the gift costs nothing (or is even recycled, upcycled, repurposed or otherwise old!) or if cost a few hundred dollars – if it doesnt mean anything then it is worth nothing.
And so, if someone gives you a thoughtful gift, where they have spent time choosing something they think/hope you will like, and spent their time/money/energy preparing it for you and then wrapping it, doesnt that deserve a thank you?

I think so!

I thank someone the instant they give me the gift! I will usually phone/text/email/write later and thank them again, too!

So you can understand how miffed I have been lately when I have given gifts, and I have not had a single word of thanks, not an utterance of appreciation.

And then I went to this wedding, and I was appalled at the lack of etiquette here.








Does jeans and short black skirts and chunky boots, jandals, shorts and beach shoes…. match the grace and beauty of a wedding?


Let the FUNDRAISING begin!!

Tomorrow marks the start of The Motherhood Projects massive week of fundraising activities!!!!!!!!!!!

First of, grab your camera and participate in National Family Photo Day – officially on Sunday!!!!

We have 16 photographers across the country involved – many have special packages and discounts available this week – please take advantage of them!!! Many of these lovely photographers are also donating part of their proceeds this week to our fundraising tally – THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ll also announce some competitions and giveaways next week – thank you to the businesses who have so generously given prizes, including the wonderful Artfullcrafts, some of our photographers, Travel Brokers, Cinnamon Nappies, EggiPeggi and a few more to be announced!

While you’re all busy taking photos of your cherubs 🙂 …….. I will be putting myself under the scissors of the beautiful Leigh from Inspired by You, who will be cutting all my hair off!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please sponsor me…… every SINGLE dollar counts – so please, I’m asking you to skip ONE coffee this week, and donate the $$ to The Motherhood Project, so we can support the Child Cancer Foundation!!!!!!!!!

And then, when the week seems like it cant get any bigger, we’ll be releasing our THIRD book……….. details to come!!!!!!!!

So its going to be HUGE!!! And I want YOU to be a part of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Take photos – get a professional (check out the directory) or do it yourself

*Sponsor me to cut of all my hair!!!!

*Stay tuned:


The preferred method is by direct credit/internet banking to

THE MOTHERHOOD PROJECT – 06 0489 0222214 05

(we dont have to pay any fees if you use this method. However if you need to deposit in-branch, email me for a different account number, or else we will get charged $3 for the transaction).

You can also donate online by credit card at

THANK YOU in advance, for supporting THE MOTHERHOOD PROJECT – I really really appreciate your help, kind words, monetary donations, donation of prizes and vouchers, and everything else that you all do to help me help others xxx

Shattering the SUPERMUM myth

Are you a SUPERMUM?

Know a supermum?

She has perfectly combed hair, and her make-up is impeccable. She has a beautifully dressed baby on her hip, a tidy house, a clean car, and a husband who changes nappies.
This contrasts to your baby sick-stained top, unwashed hair, dark eyes and the three piles of washing on your couch. Oh, to
be like her.

Does Supermum exist? No, she doesn’t.

Trust me, I have tried. I have had three babies under 3 years old, while working part-time, studying full-time, and doing a fair bit of community work. You may have come around and my floor was vacuumed and my kids were munching on organic home baked bread with homemade jam. You might have thought, “how does she do it?”. You wouldn’t have been alone.
Many mums asked me how I ‘did it’.

Did what? ..

Did it all.

Well, I have always been honest. You can’t have it all. Not only would that be greedy and a contradiction to the values I am trying to teach my kids, but it is actually impossible!

The minute you would have left, two of the children would have been embattled in fighting, resulting in me shouting. My partner would have come home, still annoyed with me over a fight we had that morning. There would have been no dinner ready at 5pm, and I would still have been up at 11.30pm, cramming for a management test due the following day. I may have collapsed in the shower that night, crying, for the life that wasn’t going to plan.

Which part of that is ‘super’?

And it would have continued. No clean clothing and a mountain of dirty laundry. Me and him fighting over money, intimacy, housework. Another essay due this week. Orders that need to get out and I haven’t even processed them.

I promise I have been honest. I have always said, ‘I don’t have it all. I am struggling.’
Some people laughed it off. Some offered to help. Some read between the lines, many did not.

Why do we think we can have it all? Why do we WANT to have it all?

We put so much pressure on ourselves. much comes from society. There is a perception/pressure that we should have well-mannered kids all the time, a tidy house, and hold-down work. If your child throws a tantrum in the supermarket, you get ‘looks’ as if you’re the worst mother in the world. If you have piles of clean unfolded washing on the couch, you feel guilty when visitors drop by. If you host coffee group you feel bad when you serve shop-bought biscuits instead of a homemade cake like last week’s host.

I know mums who would love to play with their kids, but spend their days tidying the house instead.

As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, we have a stigma that exists, that makes it hard to ask for help.
Asking for help makes people feel as though they are failures. Saying, “I am struggling” is a sign of weakness. Admitting depression can be greeted with scoff, judgements or criticisms instead of support.

We need to change this stigma.

The thing is, we’re all in this together. We’re all mums, wanting the best for our babies. Let’s stand tall and proud of that, and help each other through.

Lets be more honest with each other, for a start. Lets not gloss over how well our children are sleeping, if they are not. Lets not rush to hide unfolded washing when visitors arrive.

Talking about the not-so-nicer aspects of parenting and being more open about PND can be the first step towards helping each other and supporting other mums.

We can all be ‘supermums’ in a way! We should pat ourselves on the back when the new baby sleeps. We should give ourselves a high-five when all the kids are belted in the car, faces cleaned, teeth brushed, and you have all their lunches made. You should reward yourself when you have the house mostly clean and the washing on the line.

We can have it all – just not all at once.

What are your thoughts on ‘supermum’? Does she exist? Are you a supermum? Know one? COMMENT BELOW!

I dont like baby walkers

Check out this article in the Herald this morning, on how Consumer NZ tested 10 baby walkers… and 9 of them were unsafe.

I personally dislike baby walkers ALOT. Thats my opinion. I have to admit feeling glad that the feeling in this article was against them too, especially Plunket’s stance that their organisation does not support baby walkers.

Aside from the fact that they can topple, and also disregarding the alarming fact that walkers allow babies to reach things they wouldnt normally (I’m thinking hot drinks in particular!)…. this is my reason:


I believe babies start on the floor…. laying on their back. When they are ready, they start to roll, and then they spend some time on their tummies. Soon they start to shuffle. Baby will then start to sit. They will learn to crawl, and then pull themselves up, and then they start to walk. Along the way, there will be bumps and little falls. But you cant get any safer than the floor.

EXCEPT when there is another child around! But more on that soon!

So a baby left to develop on their own is safer…. and dont fret, because they will learn! I was absolutely fascinated watching my baby learn to sit on his own – my previous babes had been propped up.

Have you propped your baby? Using the laundry basket, a bouncer, chair/swing, pillows or otherwise?

I think its a bad idea:
*It isnt natural
“The learning process will play a major role in the whole later life of the human being. Through this kind of development, the infant learns his ability to do something independently, through patient and persistent effort. While learning during motor development to turn on his belly, to roll, to creep, sit, stand, and walk, he is not only learning those movements, but also *how to learn*.  He learns to do something on his own, to be interested, to try out, to experiment. He learns to overcome difficulties. He comes to know the joy and satisfaction that is derived from his success, the result of his patience and persistence.” Dr. Emmi PiklerPeaceful Babies – Contented Mothers

*It cant be good for posture – look at your baby slumped over. Not to mention the way she falls as she slips down the pillows. She is not ready

*It restricts movement. it stops her from being able to kick and roll, which is what she should be doing.

*You’re trying to rush the process – dont! Enjoy what she is doing now!

And so it is that I don’t agree with putting your baby in such contraptions BY HABIT.

Which brings me to the BUT (you knew it was coming!). There is a place and a time for everything.
I have used a saucer (its like a walker without wheels!). It has been brilliant in situations like butchering the cow, where I needed the child off the dirty ground and I couldnt hold them. Or when you’re frantically preparing dinner for the family, the other kids are requring attention, daddy is home late and the baby wants to attention.
I have used a bouncinette to pick the baby off the ground when around the toddler. Remember I had my babies close together and a 14 month child, still a baby himself, cannot understand how to be gentle with a baby sibling.

So yeah, I can see the benefit of these things occasionally.

In the ideal world, the baby would be tucked against mum in a sling for those moments above (I LOVE babywearing!) and there would be no need for these contraptions at all! The not so ideal world gave me SPD and my damaged hips do not like extended baby wearing. I digress.

So… I HATE HATE HATE the baby seat that holds a baby up (I wont name brands) from a very young age, and I hate exersaucers piled with plastic toys designed to keep babies amused for hours.

And don’t even get me started on ‘tummy time’… that’s another post all together!!

I regret propping my first baby up, and placing him in contraptions that restricted his movement. I wont make that mistake again….. *smiles sweetly* because now I know better!!!

Toss all those walkers out, Consumer NZ!!!!!!!!!!!!

This World We Live In…

Photo credit: New Zealand Defence Force/

The RENA is leaking oil onto a beach only half an hours drive from here, and for most NZers its a bit of a shock to have such an environmental disaster here in our waters, so close to home.

It is times like this that you think about the world that we have bought our kids into. Is the world for our precious babies going to be clean, full of resources and opportunity? Or are we going to destroy it so that it is full of pollution, raped of water, greenery, fresh air?

What are we giving to our children and grandchildren?

What kind of world are we raising our children in?

Do you ever wonder about this?