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Most of us parents try so hard to give our kids the best start in life. We may invest in their education, take them to soccer training or teach them how to cook, but somewhere along the way we stuff up. There are those little moments in our busy lives where the cracks start appearing in our ‘perfect parenting plan’ or PPP for short. Sure, we’d love to always say the right thing to our kids but sometimes they just get under our skin even though they are as cute as two boots.

There is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ childhood. As much as we try and try and try to be awesome parents, sometimes we just aren’t and I’ve realised that it’s ok if there’s a few moments of ‘reality’ flung in there because it keeps them grounded. Real life will not be such a shock when they’ve had a parent full of flaws, as long as I am humble enough to apologise when I’m in the wrong and as long as I can shake off the ‘perfectionistic parenting’ thing and the guilt that goes along with it. As long as they know I’m trying and that I love them, I can’t ruin them too much can I?

On certain days I feel like I’m at the top of the parenting scale; I’m ticking all the boxes, giving my kids the encouragement they need, and squatting down and looking them in the eyes as they tell me the detailed story of ducky and the garden full of bears for the umpteenth time. Ah, yes, those are the good days. But, as with most things, it can turn in an instant and I can go from super-mum to super-dud-mum depending on my mood and spitty-spatty words that somehow just come flowing out of my sometimes careless mouth. And then it’s like I’m hit with an anvil of guilt which hits my head and pounds me into the ground like a hammer to a nail. And it’s a bugger trying to climb out of that claustrophobic hole.

As much as I try not to ruin my kids, I know that somehow, sometimes I do hurt their feelings and build horrible walls between us that may last for a moment or longer, I’m not sure. But above everything else I’m just desperately in love with those two little souls and I tell them that every day which, I’m hoping, will cover over a multitude of sins…as they say.

Do you have those bad-parent moments as well or is it just me?


Fear can be crippling. It can steal your sleep, give you horribly deep worry lines and make you jump at the smallest noise. The worst thing about fear is that it can stop you having a full and enjoyable life and that makes me plain old mad! So, to kick fear in the you-know-wheres I thought I’d give you a list of funny phobias so that we can stick it to fear and not let it take over our lives; bring it into the light and have a good old laugh. It’s not to make fun of people who experience these fears but to give us scardy-cats a little laugh at ourselves and at fear itself!

Here are the funniest phobias I could find… is yours here?

  • Acerophobia- Fear of sourness.
  • Alliumphobia- Fear of garlic.
  • Anthrophobia or Anthophobia- Fear of flowers.
  • Apotemnophobia- Fear of persons with amputations.
  • Arachibutyrophobia- Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.
  • Aulophobia- Fear of flutes.
  • Aurophobia- Fear of gold.
  • Bolshephobia- Fear of Bolsheviks.
  • Chaetophobia- Fear of hair.
  • Consecotaleophobia- Fear of chopsticks.
  • Dextrophobia- Fear of objects at the right side of the body.
  • Dutchphobia- Fear of the Dutch.
  • Euphobia- Fear of hearing good news.
  • Geniophobia- Fear of chins.
  • Genuphobia- Fear of knees.
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words. (HA HA)
  • Kathisophobia- Fear of sitting down.
  • Leukophobia- Fear of the color white.
  • Linonophobia- Fear of string.
  • Lutraphobia- Fear of otters.
  • Metrophobia- Fear of poetry.
  • Omphalophobia- Fear of belly buttons.
  • Onomatophobia- Fear of hearing a certain word or of names.
  • Pogonophobia- Fear of beards.
  • Tremophobia- Fear of trembling.
  • Zemmiphobia- Fear of the great mole rat.
  • For more go to

I wonder whether there are heaps of people who suffer from these fears or only a few? Hmmmm.

What’s your phobia?

I’m scared of whales… strange but true!!!

Image by Whit Welles

Fear. Dread. Anxiety. Terror. Things that go ‘bump’ in the night, or the day, or in your head. What scares the nickers off you?

The tangible: spiders, snakes, lizards, whales, donkeys, hippies, carnies, clowns, fingers and/or toes. For me, it has got to be spiders and whales. Imagine a spider whale or a whale spider… (she shivers). I don’t mind cockroaches or snakes or sharks unless they’re crawling over my face as I sleep or trying to bite me to death. Nup, it’s the hairy, multi-eyed, crawly little eight legged bug and the huge lump of blubber that gets my heart racing. What about you?

Answer: __________________________________________________

The intangible: failure, success, rejection, nightmares, ghosts, commitment, marriage, being a parent, not being a parent, being a nerd, not being a nerd, other people’s opinions on you being a nerd, depression, sunshine or failing friendships. This is the big section if you ask me. Because you can pretty much stay out of the way of sharks, spiders and snakes (if you’re lucky) but these are always with us. We carry these fears in our heads, throughout our lives. It’s a constant battle to keep them in check so that they don’t ruin our lives.

Fear of failure is pretty common. Especially when you take on a new job or school, most of us just want to be seen as successful. It’s humiliating when you miss the mark. It hurts. And that hurt stays with you and effects the future levels of anxiety and fear. Ooga booga.

Then there’s rejection. There’s nothing like school to instil in a person the fear of rejection. Girls especially are skilled at the nose in the air, turn of the back move. They perfect the ‘you’re not my friend’ sentiments from a very early age. Not sure why girls are particularly hard on each other. Must be something in the waters. Or the emotions.

Fear of people’s expectations is tied into the whole rejection thing, which is linked into the fear of looking daggy or not seen to be fitting in. And I bet that nearly every person is walking around with this paranoia; that they’re not good enough, that they don’t fit in. It can drive a person crazy, all this comparing clothes, cars, careers, houses, smarts with everyone else is exhausting. Why do we bother?

Our masks don’t help anyone. Rather, they perpetuate these false standards that everyone hates but strives to life up to. We’re all running around trying to be good enough, when the truth is that we are good enough, because no one is good enough, if you get my drift. We all have our weaknesses. Truth is powerful, masks are harmful.

What are your biggest fears? Come on, remove the mask and share. Cos you’re not alone out there.

If you had to write the story of your work life, how would it go? Traineeship, apprenticeship, university degree, family business, interview (disaster/success), bosses, payment, experience…

My work life has always been grey. After leaving school I went to University for a year. It was a sad 12 months. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was studying Communication which was cool and all but my heart was not in it… unfortunately. So I dropped out and worked in the Travel industry for a couple of years, thinking that I would be able to travel. Which I didn’t.

I just had this nagging desire for something to do with my mind, something more. So off I toddled back to University and absolutely loved my new course, Bachelor of Creative Arts. I had never worked so hard in my life, because I was finally studying something I loved… Drama, English and even a little bit of Business. (Got a ‘B’ in Accounting which was a big deal for a Creative Arts student).

After Uni, all I wanted to do was to travel with my hubby. And we did… after a year of mindbreaking, soul sapping work as a receptionist. But I did it, I travelled and loved it.

Back home and once again I was lost about what to do. I really wanted to have kids, but what to do in the meantime. So I took a job with kids, fell pregnant and was/is a mum, going on 8 years. Panic set in when my first baby went to school… gotta work… but what to do!? Had I squandered my working years, wandering around in a haze of options, doubt and confusion? I had to nail down what I loved to do…writing!

I was sent into the blogosphere by a friend who is a headhunter. I was wary, unsure but it was here I found my voice. But the eternal question hovers; do I do what I love as a job or should I get a local job in a shop/office just to pay the bills?

So my husband and I are both freelancers. Scary and exciting…?! You never know when you’re going to get that magical job that will propel you forward in your career. But there’s part of me that wants the steady income every week. The magical increase of numbers on a Thursday! Ping! Love that ping.

In the end everyone makes the decision to either do what they love, or what they have to do. The lucky or smart people get both. I’m hoping to one day be that lucky or smart or whatever. In the meantime, I keep plugging away at my humble blog/s ( – check it out!) and hope and plan and pray that one day I can do what I love for work.

Dougie Hoswer – First Blogger featured on Television?

Steps by Petr Kratochvil”>

Image by Petr Kratochvil

Do you ever feel as if you’re running, sprinting as fast as your pretty little legs will take you and you’re getting nowhere? I know it sounds like the beginning of an ‘Infomercial’ but I wish I could find a product that combines motivation with efficiency! It would taste like strawberry liquorice dipped in Cadbury’s best!

Once you’ve lost momentum, it is so hard to get it back. And being a stay-at-home mum in this day and age means getting back to work is a tricky thing. First there’s the self-esteem thing; “What have I been doing all these years? What do I have to offer the world? Who cares what I think?” and second, there’s the  flimsy old resume, worn down from years of neglect.

It’s so hard to revive an old career or kickstart a new one, something that I’m experiencing right now. I love writing. It is something that I can’t (and won’t) stop. Sure I’ve had a few things published but nothing consistent as yet. My aim is to be able to write from home so I can be around for the kids. Cos even when your kids are back at school, you still have to be available when they’re out and about! How do you start a career, be a mum, do the dreaded house cleaning, be a wife and still have time for your own stuff?

Parenting is often referred to as ‘juggling’ which sounds a little panicked if you ask me. But we’re not an ignorant lot just chucking things up in the air willy nilly. No, we’re like the seasoned juggler who is riding a unicycle whilst juggling batons that are on fire! How good are we?

However, there are some times when the rush of the day/s can give you headspins. When it is like running on butter and if you fall, you’re going to slide and keep on sliding (like the scene from Big Fish when Edward Bloom is born and slides out of his mother’s womb and down the hallway). I’ve had those days when I’m just not with it. The eyes are glazed over and I’m one step behind in the conversation, which leaves you feeling vague and a bit slow! It’s just hard keeping everything in your head. And if your day starts like this, well, there you are on your bum sliding and it’s not even morning tea time!

Yep, modern parenting is like walking in fast forward. The trick is learning how and when to slow down and look around. To regroup and gather all those thoughts in your head together to make something meaningful. And as our kids grow, our confidence and abilities follow, opening doors at the right time for us to follow our dreams.

How far is too far and how much not enough? I’ve always had a healthy respect for rules and am quite literal when following them. However in the past umpteen years I’ve challenged myself to occasionally break them, just to live a little. Afterall, no one is perfect and the more you strive for perfection, the more you fail and the more you feel like a failure.

So today my 6 year old and I heard that a whale had been beached on our local beach. Well my heart raced, my palms sweated, I couldn’t wait to check out this momentous event. (Who has ever been able to see a whale up close?) So off we sensibly drove around the bends to the beach, literally hop, skipped and jumped to the rocks where the dead mammal lay and took a gander. There was a Ranger on hand to keep the crowds under control and a couple of barriers a few metres behind the animal. Well, my son and I were obedient and stayed behind the barriers as other onlookers meandered past with cameras at the ready.

‘Good’ little me standing sensibly behind the barrier had a momentary lapse of said goodness and decided to carefully step a metre in front of the barrier as my sensible little man perched behind. There were 2 others out before me and as I took my first photo, the ranger yelled to get behind to ME! Diggidy dodge. A growl formed deep in my soul. Why me? Good girl, rule keeper, breaks one tiny inconsequential barrier to get one darn goblet photo and the overly cautious ranger danger yells at me!? C’mon!

My son had said to me, minutes before, that you were really supposed to stay behind but with a wicked grin I decided otherwise, afterall, what was the harm? Rules, schmools. I am happy to respect the authorities and toe the line in most things but there is a kind of freedom that comes with deciding not to be perfect. To test the boundaries once in a while. Though the ranger man chose me to pull back into line, I’m glad I did it. Such a little thing really but it felt good. I find as I get older I care less about what people think of me and breaking tiny rules occasionally give me permission to be human and not try to be something I will never be… a perfect human being! So here’s to imperfection! Clink.

image by Gengiskanhg

Yesterday I was chatting to a new mum friend about the world of parenting. It can be a pretty daunting place. First there’s the pregnancy and how you’re carrying (is it a boy or a girl?) and then there is the pressure to be the best parent ever!!!!

I loved the way my friend put this and yes, I’m going to steal it for my own glory. She said that being a first time mum is like being in year 7 (she’s a high school teacher). You are new, wide eyed and terrified. You look around at all the other mothers with awe and a little insecurity. Out of the blue you find yourself standing in a baby warehouse surrounded by cots, prams and… what the heck are these? Breast pumps, Bumbo seats, wraps, booties and weird baby toys.

The second tier of motherhood is the second/third/fourth time mum. They’ve been here before. They were the pale, frightened first timer and now they know what they’re on about. They can wrap, burp, feed, rock their baby without a care in the world. They are the 9th graders. They almost own the joint, almost.

The 12th graders are the shop assistants. They know everything! Which pram does what and when you should use a stroller and what bottles are the bomb! Their cockiness is unsettling and comforting at the same time. Basically, you need someone  to show you the ropes. It’s like peer support, I guess. The bigger the peer the better.

There is so much to learn in the parenting world. Forget all the equipment you need to raise a baby, the most important thing you need to know is that you are capable, you can do this. You must do this. You should also know that for a lot of people, parenting means competition & guilt. If your child is not walking, talking and using the iphone before the age of 2 you are a failure.

And you MUST have them booked into kindygym, hop skip jump, kindamusic and swimming lessons at two weeks old or it is the end of the world. You will not have that superstar soccer player or Olympic champion if you don’t start them early. You are a failure if they can’t read before they go to school or if they’re shy it’s all your fault for sitting on your lazy bottom and instead of getting out of the house even though you know you’ll trip over your eyelids if you do.

You must be perfect, you must wear the right clothes and seem like you have it all together when inside (like everyone else) you’re screaming out for help and sleeeeeeep.

Ultimately, your happiness and those of your family comes first. Forget the competitive nature of parenting, because in the end, we all fail.

Yes, it is that time of year when the ‘R’ word is bandied about like it’s nobody’s business; RESOLUTION. I don’t know about you but I seem to have resolutions all year ’round.

I call them ‘gotta’s. “I gotta get fit, I gotta read more, I gotta play with my kids more, I gotta have more fun, I gotta earn more money, I gotta hang out with friends more often, have more bbqs, get more frequent hair cuts, look after skin/hair/ body better, gotta, gotta, gotta!” No pressure there.

Last year I started the resolution season in a tizz! My son was starting school and my daughter pre-school and so my place in the world was shaken. Resolutions/gottas started frothing from my mouth and flying out of my ears until I felt like hiding in a corner for a spot of rocking. But not this year my friends, oh no. This year is different.

Sure, I still gotta get fit and gotta have more fun but there is no panic. I know my place in the world, I have landed on my feet (or  near enough to). It’s fun watching the kids grow up, my husband get exciting work and my writing develop. I have a job or two on the horizon and an article to be published soon. I have direction and determination and I kinda know how and what to do, without the panic but still with a fair amount of fear. This fear I have renamed, ‘adrenalin’, cos it’s a blast. Sure, it is still scary being a thirty-something year old writing novice but you’ve gotta (there’s that word again) start somewhere, sometime. And now is my time.

2011 has resolutions that are achievable and down right exciting. The kids and the hubby are fairly happy, the sun is shining, I live near the beach in the most beautiful country in the world and my cup runneth over! It could be the shopping buzz talking (I got 50% off a dress today!!!) but life is finally light and bright.

In the past three years there has been a lot of darkness and mud wading going on if you get my drift. You know those times where you just can’t seem to move forward? You have no choice but to keep your head above mud/water and keep pushing through though your muscles ache and your teeth grind and you stare towards the horizon, tears blurring your vision. It is literally sink or wade time and who wants to sink?

So, the brightness of this new day gives me extra joy in comparison to the muddy days of yore when basically everything came crashing down and it all sucked. Now, things suck much less and I feel eternally grateful for all the goodness around me; people, places and the like. My New Years resolution is to be grateful and do the best I can and have fun doing it!

image by Luis Garcia (Zaqarbal)

We all hear stories about the ‘bad’ kid. What they get up to, the lack of discipline in the family unit, the shock, the horror, the blame. But what about the ‘good’ kids? How does our world see them? And what effect does this have on our little ones?

Our culture loves to label people, whether it be good or bad. These, labels or  boxes are difficult to handle, even when you find yourself in a sparkly container with neon flashing lights. A box is still a box. You see, being a good kid, means expectations are high and your parents are seen as super duper ‘good’ or incredibly ‘controlling’. To quote Gloria Estefan, “it cuts both ways”.

I have pretty good kids. My son is well-behaved, sensitive, kind and not really a crazy boy. My daughter is spirited but on the whole, loving, kind and shy-ish. Sometimes various parental types will describe my kids to other parentals as well-behaved, good! It’s funny, you know, because I almost take offense to this. Not because they mean it as a criticism but it is as if they are saying that I’m lucky, I’ve got it easy or I’m some kind of super-mum. Which, by the way, is a complete myth! I quickly jump in with an embarrassed, “Oh they have their moments, don’t you worry.”

I don’t like being boxed in and I think it is unfair to label kids anything, even good! Because, I’m afraid that some kids, under that kind of pressure, go BAD! I love the idea that I fail. I have to, because I do it so often. It is a terrible thing for anyone to fear failure. Bring it on. My confession: I am not a perfect mother. I make ridiculous mistakes, I lose it, I have tantrums, (that equal my 4 year old’s sometimes). I get stroppy, cranky, I throw things, slam things and cry. I don’t know why my kids are well behaved and I definitely do not take credit for them. They are beautiful gifts and I’m so proud of them both. I love their personalities, their variety, their passions and beautiful hearts.

I never want them to live in a sparkley box; no one can ever live up to that glitter. It’s just not realistic. Everyone needs to have the freedom to fail and even to misbehave (or else how do you learn?). Otherwise, you have to live up to a perfect reputation which is impossible. It will drive them bonkers and make them miserable.

Maybe I have been strict or particular or whatever with my kids. But most of all I hope they remember that I love them, just as they are, even though sometimes, in those ‘fail’ moments, I wish they were more resilient or more sensitive or more aware or more tidy or ate with their mouth shut or ate dinner with gusto. Seriously, though, it is time we found our box cutters and set our kids and ourselves FREE!

Image by Tomas Castelazo

Some days I feel like a raw chicken leg left out overnight; stinky, tough and a little off (though some brave soul may still consume me).

It’s times like these that I embrace the paranoid within. My eyes dart back and forth as I try and read signs and body language and tone. My ears have grown a full inch in sticking-ed-out-ness as they strain to pick up any nuances. It all equates to a state of sensitive tension. It all equates to feelings of insecurity that I just want to spit on! No one wants to feel insecure, especially when it is produced by a whole load of paranoia. Not that I’ve completely lost the plot, perhaps just for a moment in time.

And so, I tiptoe around, looking this way and that, hoping that I can get through the day without saying something ridiculous or falling flat on my face in front of other more sane people. I like to think that I have a little bit of quirk in me and that helps to save face. Most of all, I must be rid of that little paranoid parasite that keeps gnawing away at my insides. I need to either feed him or yank him out.

For those of us that are feeling a little paranoid or just simply tired of ourselves, let me share a recipe of possible success to be rid of the negative internal monologues that haunt our everyday. In short, a plan for sanity without losing creativity! Here it goes:

  1. Live in sweet denial. Just simply assume everybody loves you! It is guaranteed to make your days sunny and blissfully ignorant. Huzzah!
  2. Run, jump, play, roll around in the sand and make sand angels. Enjoy the simple things.
  3. Find a really appropriate song and blast it in your car or at home, dance and cry and get out all that negativity.
  4. Paint, write, sculpt or make up a song.
  5. Write a letter to yourself, noting what you like, what you’d like to change and what you really want to do in life.
  6. Give yourself the day off. Relax and do nothing without the guilt. See a movie in the day, hire a boat and motor or paddle away your blues.
  7. Hang out with positive people.
  8. Help people. Giving always makes you feel useful and that gives purpose to your life.

Though we all may have raw and flabby days, it is always helpful to know that they do come to us all. No matter how together people seem, some are just better actors than others. As Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sing, “Some days are diamonds some days are rocks.” Just gotta keep chipping away.