Just Be you

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How do we teach our young kid’s, especially girls that you don’t have to be like everyone else? Be confident in your own skin, just be you!  Everyone is different and that’s okay, no two people are alike because that would be totally boring!

I’m sure even as adults we are still dealing with some demons of always comparing ourself to someone else, or comparing our lives to someone else’s.  Do children learn this from us or is it just a normal human thing that we do and have to get ourselves out of.  This thinking all started due to Pink Shirt day at school today.  I went to Savemart a couple of weeks ago to find some pink t-shirts for the girls.  I chose one for my oldest who was fine with it and stuff then this morning she decided to change her mind (as they do) and wear something else.  She chose a very light soft pink top with jeans, it’s still pink but not in your face pink.  She has accessorised with pink earrings and sunglasses, she even chose fluro pink bands for her braces!  So all cool no dramas.

Then she see’s photos of other kids dressed up in bright pink clothes and fully decked out, pants, tops, hair everything which was so cool.  But instead of looking at it like, “wow they look awesome”, it was more like, ” I am not walking to school, I look horrible, my top is not even bright enough”  You get the picture!  I reminded her that you do have the top that I bought, which you can still wear.  NO!!!  It’s not pink apparently and more purply pink.  I said to her there are lots of shades of pink not just one type.  Anyway she ended up walking to school crying because she didn’t like how she was dressed and how she looked.

All morning I felt like a terrible mother for not being able to choose the right shade of pink or getting lots of pink stuff for her to wear and that she walked to school crying.  When I have gone over the top in the past she didn’t like it so I kept it simple this year, well I was wrong!  How do you win? Can you actually ever win with kids? The lesson here is next time take them shopping and let them choose!

Kid’s seem to ignore all the wonderful attributes that they have all because they want to be like the next person, instead of just rocking who they are.  Right about now I wish I had a Phd in knowing how kids minds work or something.  I’m always conscious of how I speak and alway’s make sure I never compare myself to other people in front of the girls.  I mean let’s be honest every now and again, I do compare myself to someone else in my head off course but not like I want to look like that person or anything, more like if someone is going on holiday, I would think to myself, “Oh how I would love to be on holiday now too” that sort of thing.

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When we start comparing ourselves to others we start to loose our own confidence in ourselves!  The thing is though,  it’s happening with kids from such a young age, how do we fix this?  Imagine how freeing it must feel to just be you, and not give a flying f*ck about anyone or anything else.  Just live and soak up everyday!  Maybe I should print out every type of quote that I can find on the web and wallpaper their walls with them all!  Like I am at a loss because I can tell my girls all the right things and read all the wonderful things there is out there about being yourself but until they start believing it themselves, am I wasting my time?  Am I a nagging mum?

If you have any tips or advice or anything…..throw them my way!

Ronell x

 

 

 

 

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Getting Ready for Puberty & The Essential Girls Kit

This blog post is definitely not one for the guys, so look away!  A couple of girlfriends and I were talking today about puberty so that prompted me to share this post with you and what I have done for my daughter.

We all know that the time is coming when puberty graces us with it’s presence, for many this is confronting and for others not so much.  But whether we like it or not, it’s happening, so there is no point hiding from it, the best form of action is being prepared.  I bought a book for Miss 11 last year by Kaz Cooke called Girls Stuff from 8-10 years old.  We went through the book together and it was pretty funny and light-hearted so it took away the awkwardness about it all.  She did say, “mum it’s so gross!”, so I said to her that yes it may be gross and it may be annoying and stuff but it’s part of life, this is how a women’s body work’s and we can’t change it (until you hit menopause).  After this, she just accepted it all and is okay about it.

I figure the more open we are about it and the more comfortable I am talking about it, this in turn has made her more comfortable.

Right, first things first, I wanted to start her on a good skin care routine.  The skin takes such a hammering during puberty, I had awful acne throughout high school and after, it was just horrible! Both my girls from the time they were born, I have always used moisturiser on their skin morning and night, so it’s something that is second nature for them now.  I researched a bit about skincare products that are suitable for young skin and I wanted natural products.  I finally decided on Oxygen Skincare.  Their skin care is 100% natural, made right here in New Zealand and certified organic and not tested on animals.  Check out their website for more details.

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Next thing is liners for their underwear.  It’s a good way for them to get familiar with knowing how to put it on and take it off, and also when the day arrives and they get their period, knowing that the liner is there initially will probably stop them from freaking out.  I personally think it’s a good idea to always wear a liner everyday.

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The next step is putting together a little kit that they can keep with them at school, either in their bags or if they have lockers at school they can keep this in there.

 

To put together the kit we both went to the supermarket and were looking at all the products and working everything out.  Involving your child in this process I think is a good idea.  This is the kit that we put together.

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I bought the pencil-case from Kmart.  I think it was around $8-$12, and it has two zippers.  Inside the bag are two spare pairs of underwear.  We also have scented sanitary disposal bags, they come in a box and inside the box is two packs (the black pack with paisley’s) so we just have one lot in the case.  We also put in special wet wipes that are for the (oh god how do I say it) your private parts or as the pack says “intimate wipes” (everyone has all sort’s of names for it), a small bottle of hand sanitiser and 4 pads the brand she chose was U by Kotex.  I didn’t add in any paracetamol tablets because well she doesn’t really know how to take tablets and I know she school will have some form of pain relief if she absolutely needs it (I’m hoping she will be fine).

I hope that by doing all of this we are ready for when it happens and I know that if she is at school, she will be okay and know exactly what to do.  Information and preparation is key in avoiding total tween or teen meltdown!!!

If you have any other tips or things that you do or have done, I would love to hear it.

Ronell x

 

My 11yr Old has a Smartphone!!!

As our eldest daughter is starting intermediate this year, we thought it was a good time to get her a phone.  I think a lot of other parents thought the same thing as the shop was filled with very excited and eager tweens and teens getting new phones, and parents re-directing their kids to the not so expensive phones.  It’s not a decision we took lightly, it seems kid’s are getting phones much younger these days and our rule was always that we would look at it when the girls start intermediate.  I mean I got my first phone when I was 19 and it was a Nokia 3210, however I don’t think waiting til that age now would go down well.

After much research and looking around and talking to the sales guy in the store we decided on a Samsung Galaxy J3 Pro.

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Having a phone now teaches her to be responsible for something, it gives her a bit of independence and freedom as well.  I am glad that I can now contact her or vice versa when she is out walking to school and home, at her after school activities etc.  But before we handed over the phone we had to go over some ground rules, and I wanted her to have some sort of contract between herself and us.  So trusty Google came up with the goods.  I downloaded a cell phone contract and a social media contract.  She isn’t on social media but has asked if she can get Instagram, which I am still considering. My husband and I were chatting the other day and we both agreed that technology is not the enemy, it’s when people abuse and misuse it, that’s when it becomes a problem.  Technology is moving forward and our kids are bang smack in the middle so instead of holding her back and sheltering her from it all, it’s better that she learns about it.

Now I know some people might think having a contract is a bit over the top, and that’s fine, but for us, since kids are getting phones younger now, we wanted to educate her and make her aware of cyber bullying, the many weirdo’s that are out there, what is and isn’t appropriate use of the phone and social media.  Even photographs, what’s acceptable and what’s not.

Here are the links to the contracts that I have downloaded and used, the social media contract is from iMom and Cell Phone contract is from 30 Hand Made Days.  They are pretty good.

Social Media Contract

Cell Phone Contract

Ronell x

Wonder the Movie

WHEN GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN BEING
RIGHT OR BEING KIND, CHOOSE KIND.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

Well, let me just say one thing, this is the first movie that I have actually cried from the start to the finish, and I completely forgot take any tissues with me (amateur move).  It is very hard for your heartstrings not to be pulled watching this, and more so for parents because you automatically put yourself in those parents shoes or you think about your own kids and all that they go through at school.

For me it really hit home because, my oldest has had the shittiest time at primary school, because whether we like it or not there are mean kids in every school, but on the flip side there are also true gems that can be found too, you just have to look really really hard for those.  It showed me how having really good friends makes all the difference to a child’s life especially at school because they spend so much time in school and to be able to have that person you know will always be there to pick you up when you are down, stand up for you and never leave you behind, when others are being mean to you, well that is true friendship. The emotions that August went through at school made me think about the struggles my daughter has had and all the tears that we have to wipe away to this day.

“It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

I am grateful though for her having the amount of empathy, kindness and sensitivity that she has because that gives her the courage to always stand up for the those been mistreated, and if I am being really honest I wish there were kids that did the same for her.  She has a few good friends now but I hope one day she truly finds her best friend who I know will be there for her always, because I tell you what you would want her by your side as a friend.

“Don’t try to fit in, because you were born to stand out” – R.J Palacio, Wonder

As a Mum going into school I look around and see other kids with their friends who have known each other for a few years and I can clearly see the close bond that they have, and every time my heartbreaks a little because I so wish that she had that too.

Friendships at school seems to be a number game, what’s the saying two’s a company three’s a crowd. Well she has always been the number 3 in any friend circle so she is always on the outs unfortunately. Anyway that’s another blog post!!!

Leaving the cinema tonight she said to me, “Mum if there was a child like that in our school I will play with them everyday.”

As parents you would want your child to take care of the Auggie Pullman’s of this world.

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

I would seriously watch this movie again and again, and I will probably cry every time.  I urge everyone to watch it and if you have kids definitely take them to see it to too.  However my 6yr old was getting pretty restless towards the end (so I wouldn’t take a child younger than 6) but she did say she loved the movie!

Right time for bed now!  Hope you enjoy the movie too, and I would love to hear what you though of it.

Ronell x

Perfectionism In Children

Why is it that, we are so quick to say to others, that it’s okay, you don’t have to be a perfect parent, or you don’t have to have the perfect body etc. yet we expect our children to be perfect in all that they do (whether we are doing this intentionally or not)?

This topic came up because a friend and I were talking about our kids and the things that they have to face each day etc. and that as they enter into the next phase of schooling with intermediate and high school, the pressure and stress that comes with it.  Well it got me thinking about my family, especially my older daughter.  She is a perfectionist in everything that she does, and I don’t think this is a good thing.

She hates trying new things and would put it off out of fear of not getting it right the first time.  She get’s frustrated and gives up easily too.  In turn this frustrates me, because I know she can do it, if she just gives it a go (not a great combo – frustrated child + frustrated parent = everyone is having a meltdown).  I always say to her, don’t compare yourself to others, because everyone is different, and each person has different strengths and weaknesses.  Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability and if that is in the middle or last it doesn’t matter, because it’s the best you can do and you gave it your all.  I want her to just be a kid and enjoy school and her friends while she can, with no added pressure or stress, because we know that shit piles up when you’re an adult.

This got me looking at ourselves and how we parent, and I started questioning how we do things.  Trust me we don’t always get things right, but that’s okay because we are still learning.  There is never a finish line with parenting, just a few hurdles that come up every now and again.  I thought is there anything we are doing unintentionally that is giving my daughter the message that you have to be perfect.  The biggest culprit I think is ME! I don’t say to her, you have to be perfect, or do things perfectly, however she must be picking things up from observing me.

I myself am a perfectionist, I didn’t really have this issue when I was in school,  but when I think back I was always really tidy, I loved cleaning my room and would usually rearrange everything all the time.  This got worse as I got older and had children I believe.  In regards to my house, I need to have it super tidy all the time (not ideal with children) and when it is messy (or any mess in general) my anxiety starts up really bad, so I just clean all the time. I know it is really unrealistic, but I do it anyway.   Messy play gives me heart palpitations, that’s why I loved daycares.  Growing up my mum let us do all sorts of crazy stuff, even messy things, and we never were told not to do anything because she didn’t like it.  So I am not sure how this came about in me.

I know I need to relax and ease up a bit, however it’s not as easy as it sounds, but foremost I need to help my daughter around not being a perfectionist, and I want to break the cycle and better ourselves as parent’s.   So please don’t judge me!

I am sharing this because I hope that there are people out there that can help me and others with tips or strategies that have worked for you.  If you are in the same boat as me, what are some of the things that you are doing to minimize the effect of perfectionism, in both yourself and your children.  Desperate parent right here, so I will take all the help I can get!

I came across an article from She Knows about Raising excellent, not perfect, children and it was very interesting.

Here is the link:  Raising excellent, not perfect, Children

Another good article is from the Anxiety BC.

Here is the link:  Overcoming Perfectionism

Ronell x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My view on 13 Reason’s Why! 

There has been a lot of hype around this new show on Netflix and there’s probably a 100 articles and views on it so I’m gonna pile mine on too.

We binge watched the whole season in a few days luckily the kids were away so we literally watched it for an entire day!!! As a parent it grips you even more.

It is quite confronting with the incidents that happen in the show like rape, drugs, alcohol and suicide.

It just goes to show how one small lie or rumour at the beginning starts a whole ripple effect in the main characters life who is Hannah. The whole time watching the show the thing I was thinking about the most is how oblivious the parents where to what was going on in each of their kids lives.

Some of the kids had great relationships with their parents but even so the parents didn’t pick up on the deep issues that their kids faced. I know kids especially teenagers are pretty clever when it comes to hiding things and putting on a show that everything’s fine, so if they do that and still have good relationships with their parents, how do we as parents find out if anything more serious is going on?

Off course you can’t interrogate them which will just make things worse. I suppose it just comes down to being open with them, being present when they do actually talk to you and try to pick up on any cues they may give you that something is wrong.

It was also interesting to see how the kids involved responded to everything once they found out how their behaviour added to the situation. Almost everyone one of them deflected the blame, only a couple actually stood up to the other kids and accepted how their actions together with everyone else’s contributed to Hannah taking her life.

Now the show got a lot of backlash from people everywhere, going on about it being to graphic, it shouldn’t be on TV and it’s so full on, the usual PC bullshit in my eyes.  The thing is we don’t live in the dark ages, we know that this sort of thing happens and we should be talking about it and helping people rather than pretending it doesn’t happen. I watched an interview on TV with the main characters and they said, that their main purpose of this show is to get people talking about mental illness and I think they have achieved it, because everyone is talking about it and is more aware of it.

Unfortunately, bullying these days in school start’s much earlier than high school.  Last year personally for our family we went through a tough year with our oldest daughter at school having the worst year and she was only 10.  Kids can be very mean and I have seen it and experienced it.  So for me watching this show I learnt a few more things.  Since our experiences last year, we have all become more open with each other and I am glad that my daughter knows she can come to me about anything, because she knows that we will always help her no matter what.

Selena Gomez who is one of the executive producer’s of the show has confirmed that the show will be returning for season 2 next year!  It will pick up in the aftermath of Hannah Baker’s death and the start of the characters’ complicated journeys toward healing and recovery.

No parent or child should go through this, so yes I would encourage, especially parents to watch this show, whether you want to watch it with your teenagers that’s your call, but definitely watch it.

Ronell x

 

I’ve Travelled The World Through Books

I have not physically travelled to a lot of places around the world, but I was transported globally through the many books I have read.  From Dublin, Ireland, to New York, out to the country in Texas, and down under in Australia (disclaimer: I did actually live in Oz for a few years!) and off course Europe.  I can name a few places, and through these books I could smell, taste and get a glimpse of being there and experiencing everything it has to offer.

My love for reading began at a very early age.  One memory that stands out to me is when I was around 11 or 12 and still in primary school.  It’s not a good memory but it always has stuck with me for some reason.  We were given a book to read and it was time for our group to come to the front of the class, and we all had to sit down with the teacher.  Anyway, my teacher had asked me, “When you read the book Ronell, did you see what you were reading in your mind, like watching a movie?”  Off course I saw every word that I read come to life, however I thought that wasn’t meant to happen when you read and that I was loosing my mind, so I said to the teacher, “no I didn’t see anything when I read”.  Well I got in a bit of trouble with the teacher and I was told off for being stupid and not being able to read properly.  I was by this stage to embarrassed to tell him the truth, so I just went with him thinking I couldn’t read properly.

I soon learnt that I was not loosing my mind and that’s exactly what is meant to happen when you read, so I read all the time like a crazy person, because for me it was like watching a movie.  When I was in high school, I used to be in my room for hours reading, and my mum used to scold me for being stuck in my room, because she thought I was checking out the boys walking by our house, but I was really reading.  I couldn’t afford to buy any books so I borrowed loads from the library and used to read my mum’s old books and my sister’s books that I could find.  I do remember reading a Danielle Steel book in high school (possibly not a good choice of book at that age).

When I started working I was ecstatic because I could finally buy books, and I read pretty fast so I was churning through the books.  I remember being swept away with Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (I even bought the DVD’s based on the book and the sequel),  and then going back even further in time with Ken Follett.  Oh my gosh I could go on with all the different types of books that I have read.  A lot of people read to fall asleep, but when I read it’s the opposite, I get so absorbed into the book that I forget about time.  Once I got married, the love affair with reading continued (I actually don’t think this affair will ever end), except now we were running out of space to store these books, and they were not cheap either, so my husband bought me a kindle.  I love my kindle, but I miss real books especially the smell and feel of them, you know you love it too!

Now that I have kids of my own, I want to pass on that love of books to them, and I think I may have given them the book bug.  I buy them books over sweet treats and toys any day.  Every occasion that we celebrate there is always a book included in their gifts.

I would like to share with you the two most recent books I bought for the girls which are:

1.  Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli & Franesca Cavallo

I love this book!!!  I have bought one for each girl to have with them always.  This book reinvent’s fairy tales, inspiring girls with the stories of 100 heroic women.  These are real life stories.  I want my girls to know, that you don’t need to be a damsel in distress or wait for Prince Charming to always save you.  I want them to read this and know they can be strong, independent women when they grow up, and that no dream is unattainable. That whatever their passion is in life, to go for it and don’t let anyone tell them they can’t do it. The book has been illustrated by 60 women artists from every corner of the globe as well.  RRP $39.99

2.  Wonder by R.J Palacio

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This book has got some rave reviews, some of which are:

‘Has the power to move hearts and change minds’ – Guardian

It wreaks emotional havoc’ – Independent

‘Tremendously uplifting and a novel of all-too-rare power’ – Sunday Express

August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? (insert from goodreads)

So that’s just a snippet of what the book is about and I liked it because it was different to your usual kids stories. RRP $22.99

I hope I didn’t bore you with my ramblings about reading, but like me I know that there are lots of other book lovers out there who share the same passion.  I currently have 3 books that I’m reading on the go!

Right I better stop now because I can go on forever about reading!  I would love to hear about how your love for reading began, if your’e a bookworm like me.

Happy reading!

Ronell x

 

 

Be Proud Mummies!


I have recently returned to the workforce after being a stay at home mum for a bit.  At first I was a little apprehensive and worried thinking holy shit how am I going to fit everything that I did whilst being at home around work or fit work around everything I did at home.  Usually I had all day to clean up and prep all the dinner stuff (even sneak in a bit of Real Housewives or whatever else was on the planner waiting for me to watch) and then after school, head off to the multitude of activities.

Then I gave myself a pep talk and put on my big girl pants and was ready to head out the door.  The girls were a bit excited seeing mummy dressing up for work.  Well I couldn’t be happier for doing so.  Ever since starting I feel like I have an extra bounce in my step and I’m proud of myself. Even though I contributed to the household before with keeping everything running, now to be able to help financially a little bit too makes me feel great.  The best feeling was buying my husband his birthday gift that I can now say I paid for myself!!

Instead of having all day to do my other stuff I now found my rhythm/routine and can fit it all in.  I’m up at 6am, both girls help me in the morning and the afternoon with simple chores that I give them, even the husband helps too a lot more now.  I had to tweak our dinner’s to meals that don’t take too long to prep, but I’m proud that I can still fit everything in even yoga classes in the evening some days.  Don’t get me wrong at the end of the night once the girls are in bed I am tired but I have a feeling of accomplishment.  I don’t have a cleaner or a nanny to help me, it’s just me. I know that there are lots of other mum’s that are doing the same as me, still keeping the household running and going to work, whether part-time or full-time, and still getting the kids to all the after school activities on time, so to all those mum’s, stand tall and be proud of yourself that hell yeah we are doing it!  Can I just drop a Beyoncé song line here, “Who run the world? GIRLS!”

At work I sit around the meeting table now, with the rest of the team, and it feels great to contribute to things and be heard, prior to this I was always in meetings, with me, myself and I.  I’m lucky enough to work with an amazing team of other women, and I love being at work, and to know I’m making a difference even if it is small is a great feeling.   At work you get thanked for doing a great job and your efforts are recognised.  It makes you feel good about yourself.

I hope people don’t read this and think I’m taking a dig at mum’s who don’t work because in my opinion all mum’s are working mum’s whether it’s a stay at home mum, if you run your own business or if you head out to the office.  This is just how I feel about returning to work!

So I am a proud mamma and you should be to, for all your accomplishments! 

Ronell x

 

 

 

Beauty & The Beast

Last night was family movie night. Initially it was just going to be myself and Kiara who’s 10. I was sitting on the fence about whether Chloe who’s 6 would be too little to watch it.  In the end we thought stuff it we will all go and watch it, much to Chloe’s delight. 


The movie was amazing! We loved all the singing and dancing in it. I think Emma Watson who played Belle was perfect for the role. I also loved Mrs Pots & Chip. Now the Beast well I’m not so sure about that. I think everyone held their breath when the spell was broken and the prince was relieved. 

I think he looked a bit too clean if that makes sense. He should have had a beard or a bit of stubble or something.  I found him more attractive when he was a beast rather than the prince! Is that weird? 

There are a couple of scary bits but not too bad. Our girls were okay with it they just covered their eyes a bit. 

This movie was one of my favourite Disney movies growing up, and I’m so pleased I got to watch this with my girls. 

All in all we loved it! 


Hope you enjoy it as much as us!

Ronell x

Clip n Climb – North Shore

Every parent knows this scenario well! It’s the weekend and is pissing down with rain, the kids are fighting with each other or bored or who knows what! We parents are thinking, “Please god save us!” 

Well we were saved this weekend that has just gone by. Auckland received one of its heaviest downpours, however we braced the weather and took the girls to the new Clip N Climb in Albany, North Shore. 

The set up was pretty amazing. At the entrance you will find a huge picture showing the height of some of the tallest mountains in the world. 


Once we entered the girls were quickly and efficiently harnessed up and were ready to go. But before climbing you are taken through a quick safety briefing which the guys make pretty fun for the kids. 


The girls got to climb for an hour. There were so many different walls for them to try out they loved it. We went to the first session in the morning so it was pretty empty however it does not take long to fill up. It’s also a very popular party destination. 


They did so well it took them a few times before they worked up the courage to go all the way to the top. I bet it isn’t easy either! I’m yet to give it a go myself! 

The girls cooled off afterwards with a well deserved ice cream! It’s fair to say we had a quiet afternoon as they were pretty tired from all the climbing. It’s a win win situation! 

If you would like more information about Clip n Climb check out their website here. 

Clip n Climb North Shore
Happy climbing! 

Ronell x