Mum Words With Liv Williams

Mum Words With Liv Williams

Liv Williams is a mother of 3 and the brains behind eenie meenie miney mum. Describing herself as a ‘purveyor of big words and failed attempts at hilarity. Lover of bed socks and boy bands; peonies and Polaroids. Die hard coffee aficionado, ironing resistor, serial wardrobe untidier, couch commentator. Occasional selfie enthusiast, plus other fatal personality flaws.’

Every month I submit this column, I exceed the word count. If you know me in real life, and my tendency to tell very long winded, detailed stories including verbatim reports of what people said and an apparent total inability to live-edit my own anecdotes, this won’t surprise you. I promised myself that this month I wouldn’t subject everyone to another bruising session of Too Much Information, I’m coming up for air! With that being said, I’d love to hear from you. If you’ve read/watched/listened to or done any of the things I’ve recommended in this column over the last year or so, let me know what you thought! Send me an Instagram DM @eeniemeeniemineymum.

WATCH: The Final Quarter: the Adam Goodes documentary

Half a million viewers tuned in to The Final Quarter when it aired this year, if you weren’t one of them, I implore you to take the time to do so.
The film documents arguably one of the most shameful chapters in Australian sporting history; the booing and abuse Adam Goodes faced over the final seasons of his AFL career, eventually driving him into an early retirement. Using archival footage, it tracks Adam’s experience on the field and off, as he endured systematic bullying and racial vilification at the hands of spectators, the general public and the media, under the guise of “sporting culture”.
I watched the documentary with tears in my eyes, wracking my brains about how we as a nation can be better. You should too.
You can watch The Final Quarter online at 10PLAY

LISTEN: Sleep with Me podcast

The creator and host of the Sleep with Me podcast claims his voice is so boring listeners can’t stay awake when listening to it, and sir, I feel like my husband could host a podcast about cycling and achieve the same results.
Seriously though, fellow insomniacs come one, come all! This podcast is specifically designed to help you fall asleep. I’d love to give you a detailed rundown about the labyrinthine stories, the gravelly tone and maze-like monologues told, and wow you with the science behind how this all combines to lull you off to a restful slumber. But I can’t. I’ve literally never heard them past the first ten minutes. That’s right, this guy has achieved the impossible and overridden the reams of Eminem lyrics that suddenly pop into my head as I finally decide to hit the sack, and managed to bore me to sleep. Mission accomplished.
Available wherever you get your podcasts

 

DO: Lash out with Miss Eyelash

Ladies, I’m about to become your best friend. Or, Miss Eyelash is at any rate. I have forever lamented my pathetic inability to grow lashes (whilst simultaneously having no trouble growing leg hair, go figure) but have been very reluctant to dabble in the fine art of eyelash extensions because of all those twenty-something reality TV stars that look like they’re using tarantulas as eyepatches. But I’m here to tell you, lashes are the new boobs; not since I was a flat chested teenager have I been so obsessed with having a bigger, better pair. Miss Eyelash is what I like to elegantly call, the shiz. Specialising in natural looking lashes, you don’t walk out looking like a spidery lashed Bachelor contestant with eyeball verandas; instead you’re a subtly enhanced, school pick-up approved, fuller lashed version of yourself with a little bit of je ne sais quois. Exactly the look I was after.
What’s great about these extensions is that you have options; you’re not locked in to getting refills every month if you don’t have time or money for that sort of commitment, these are low maintenance lashes. You can have them applied as a one off, for a season or holiday (they last for about a month looking their best), or you can view it as an ongoing investment in not having to put mascara on every bloody day and have regular refill appointments. Emma from Miss Eyelash is a GURU, pioneering natural-look eyelash extensions in her exclusive salons in Melbourne, before moving to Adelaide and launching Miss Eyelash private suites in The Marina at Glenelg. You might not have considered lash extensions before; we’ve all seen how thick, badly applied, overly long lashes look (no thank you), these are not those lashes. Run, don’t walk!

Miss Eyelash @misseyelash

Bookings: misseyelash.com

 

Hayley Berlingeri: Do You Ever Get The Dreaded Mum Guilt?

Hayley Berlingeri: Do You Ever Get The Dreaded Mum Guilt?

 I’m Hayley Berlingeri, Adelaide born and bred, mamma of three, and here I am just finding my way (AKA fumbling!!) through my days with my little ones, trying to be the best version of me that I possibly can be (which more often than not, results in me flopped out on the sofa at 10:34pm eating an entire packet of Mint Slice bickies, and thanking God that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it!) Before the babes came in to being, I poured my heart into my career as a Junior Primary teacher and JP Coordinating Principal, I travelled the world, near and far, and I solidly slept. But since then have given every waking minute to motherhood and all its mess, mayhem and marvel. Oh, and I love to share our stories in squares on our Insta page @sweetlittlestory xxx

DO YOU EVER GET THE DREADED MUM GUILT? – Maree, Gold Coast

Mum guilt. (I’m certain there’s such a thing as ‘dad guilt’ too!! Maybe we should rename the catchphrase as ‘parent guilt’?! Anyway….) We all know it IS a thing. But really, it shouldn’t be! And it never used to be! Our own mothers never heard of, or talked about, or lived with ‘mum guilt’. And that’s because they weren’t BOMBARDED with social media information overload about all the trillions of ways we MUST parent.

For, if we don’t parent using each and every one of those trillions of strategies, our babies will grow to be three eyed monsters who can’t function in society, and have horns growing out of the top of their spines (has anyone read that article??!! It’s apparently a thing!) All this info is nothing more than fear mongering.

Sure, there’s some merit to most of that info..but with soooo much of it out there, we simply can not take it all on board and execute every suggestion (and they are just that: suggestions, not the absolute truth).

It’s making us fearful that we’re not doing enough, ever. It’s making us feel guilty that we can never be all that we need to be, ever. And that’s robbing us of our joy. And mothering, on the whole, should be joyful! Yes, we need to be present with our children, but no, our kids won’t become mutes who can’t make eye contact if we reply to a text on our phone for a few minutes, or if we have a little scroll on Instagram to see who’s having a blast on their Euro holiday (everyone I’ve ever known at the moment! Take me to Greece!) And yes, we need to be teaching, leading by example, and being mindful of what we do and say, but if we need to flop on the lounge with a glass of vino and a bag of Burger Rings for a little recharge, our kids won’t become obese alcoholics because they’ve seen it! It’s like that tongue in cheek meme going around; we CANNOT give our kids EVERYTHING, and do and be ALL of the things that ALL this info is telling us we should, hence the ‘mum guilt’… I truly, utterly, 100% believe that, and at the end of the day, all they need is US. If we can give them as much of us as we can, and all of our love, the rest will surely follow… even if we do chuck one kid in front of the tv and straight-jacket the other one in the high chair so we can cook dinner.

The worst mum guilt I’ve ever felt was when Valentina was 7 weeks old and my body wasn’t producing enough milk to keep her little tummy full (it actually never did right from the start, and knowing what I know now, I realise that was the one and only reason she was unsettled as a newborn, because she was starving) and I started to wonder whether I need to put her on the bottle. But I felt SO sick about it. So guilty that I was pondering the thought of giving her formula, because I KNEW BREAST IS BEST. I had full blown anxiety over it. I couldn’t sleep because of it. My stomach was in knots because of it. I spoke to my wise old granny about it and she so easily and simply said that if I don’t have enough breast milk, then it’s a simple decision! Just pop her on the bottle. It’s as easy as that! But it wasn’t an easy decision for me at all. And why?? Because I’d been BOMBARDED like a smack in the face by midwives, TV ads, community nurses, and social media articles that all said BREASTFEEDING IS BEST! Which IT IS!!! Of course it is! It’s the natural way to feed your baby. BUT, if your body, for whatever reason, can not produce enough breast milk, you’re left feeling guilty, fearful, afraid of your only other option; evil, chemical filled formula. I totally agree that breastfeeding is best. That’s a given. And it SHOULD be advertised and promoted, but perhaps there needs to be some follow up information stating something like ‘if your tits do happen to run out of milk, then feeding your newborn formula will not cause her body to shrivel to the size of a sultana. It will not cause her brain to dumb down due to chemical intake. Her immunity will remain strong enough to keep her alive, even in the middle of an Adelaide Winter.
So do NOT be afraid. Go forth and FEED YOUR BABY!!!’ Now, THAT info would’ve come in real handy.

Love Hayley xx

@sweetlittlestory

Canna Campbell Shows Us Why Money Matters

Canna Campbell Shows Us Why Money Matters

Canna Campbell shows us why money matters

Canna Campbell knows a few things about money. With over a decade of experience in financial planning, including a successful career in banking and running her own boutique finance agency, she is passionate about educating and empowering women and families to create and sustain financial freedom.

Canna’s new book Mindful Money, offers a holistic approach to finance, coupled with her accessible attitude and enthusiasm to share achievable strategies that could affect positive change in your life, the book guides readers through the practical realities of managing finances.

We chat with Canna about how we can all be more mindful with money, budgeting for families and the best way to set up our children with healthy financial habits.

Tell us a little bit about your journey to discovering your own financial freedom and how that has led you to want to help others on their own pathways by writing Mindful Money?

I’ve been in financial planning since my early twenties, and I also started investing at a young age. I noticed that a lot of my girlfriends were asking me concerning questions like “what do you mean you don’t have any credit card debt?” or “what do you mean you’ve got emergency savings?” and I realised there was a big black hole in basic financial literacy. Basic financial literacy isn’t taught in schools or universities. There are accounting, commerce and business degrees focused around business and corporations, but no one ever shows you how to do a personal budget, why you should never have a credit card debt, how to use a credit card wisely or how to build an investment portfolio. I realised that I needed to help fix this, because financial stress is huge. They say that 30-35% of divorces are caused by financial stress, but it’s actually the one area you have so much more control over, and if I can show people how to make their lives that little bit easier, then I’m proud and happy to do that.

What advice would you give to parents about teaching our kids how to be smart with money and laying the foundations for future success?

Number one is always lead by example. Our children are sponges, and constantly watching us. Always educate, but come from a place of empowerment so your children understand what you’re explaining to them and feel part of it. Don’t just stop at savings. Savings is one third of the big picture; it’s great for your child to have a savings account, but also show them the power of investing because they have the benefit of time. If you can teach a child compounding interest, particularly through investment, not just savings, that’s going to set them up for life.

Tell us a little bit about the importance of having a ‘money mindset’.

It’s about having the right attitude and engagement with your finances and along with it, empowerment. You could set a series of great financial goals, but if you don’t understand why they’re important to you, the benefits and value system that it triggers, they’ll end up being soulless goals, and you’ll either give up, get distracted, or if you do actually achieve the goal it will feel meaningless. There’s no gratification or sense of pride, and they’re really important things to have in creating new habits. The mindset is essential; we all have some form of self-destructive patterns or triggers, it’s the investment of a little bit of time to understand them so you can catch them, and avoid jeopardising your successes.

What do you believe are some of the most common misconceptions about money?

We need to be talking about investing. Building up a passive income stream so that we have a sense of financial freedom in our lives, even if it’s a small amount, will help take some of the stress and pressure off our own mental and physical wellbeing.
Another misconception is that you don’t need to worry about paying off your mortgage any quicker than the 30-year term the bank prescribes. It is significantly in your interest to pay off your home as quickly as possible, so that you free up your cash flow to be able to diversify, invest elsewhere, increase your family’s lifestyle and wellbeing, or start planning for things like retirement. One of the best pieces of advice I can give someone who has a mortgage is to actually pay it off as quickly as possible.

Quick tips to unlocking your financial freedom

  1. Passive income is key. Make sure you’re building investments that pay an income stream
  2. Have a separate savings account which is the financial goal account to put money aside into for long term investing
  3. Learn about ETF’s (exchange traded funds) and listed investment companies because that’s the way to build an immediately diversified portfolio
  4. Always reinvest your income if you can afford to
  5. Try and contribute on a regular basis, through a habit system, so you don’t think about it, you just do it
  6. Always track, review and monitor your passive income and watch it grow

Canna’s guide to family budgeting

  1. Have four different bank accounts:
    everyday account linked to your debit card, where your salary is deposited and most of your expenses withdrawn
    life + emergency money which is your financial float account for recurring quarterly, biannual and annual expenses, and a set amount of money for emergencies
    lifestyle goal account which could be a family holiday savings account
    financial goal account where you put money aside to invest for your family’s financial wellbeing e.g. extra mortgage repayments or money to eventually put into superannuation
  2. Keep all accounts with the same bank, so if you need to quickly transfer money, it’s there within seconds, and also from an efficiency perspective, you can see your entire cashflow situation on one screen
  3. Check your account balances and transactions daily, to keep yourself informed and ahead of upcoming expenses
  4. Even if you can only afford to put $1 into your financial goal account, that’s ok! Creating the habit is the most important principle here
  5. Keep it simple: if you haven’t set up your finances in a really simplistic way, you’re not going to engage, it becomes too hard, it’s too easy to put off and do another day

You can find a detailed guide to family budgeting and setting up your banking ritual in Mindful Money

Mindful Money is available at Dymocks Hyde Park RRP $34.99
@cannasass @sugarmammatv
sugarmamma.tv

A Chat with Dr Grant about Mental Health for New Dads

A Chat with Dr Grant about Mental Health for New Dads

 

Mental health for new dads

Mental health is an important topic of discussion whether it’s for women, men or children, and here at KIDDO we love that the lines of conversation around mental health are being opened and the stigma is lessening. We talk to Dr Grant Blashki, Lead Clinical Adviser for Beyond Blue about mental health for new dads.

Bio

Dr Grant Blashki is a practicing GP, the Lead Clinical Advisor for Beyond Blue, and has published numerous books and research papers about mental health. He is an active commentator in media and has given hundreds of public presentations. As the father of three grown-up children, he is committed to helping new dads traverse that exciting, and sometimes daunting, transition to fatherhood.

What are the main challenges that face the “modern father” in society today?

The very notion of being a father has evolved and morphed in recent decades, mostly for good. In my clinic, I see so many young fathers who are engaged with their children on a daily basis. In times past, this was rare, however these changes in roles have also brought their own pressures.
For instance, social media is a relatively new phenomenon that can increase the pressure to be the perfect parent, which often paints a false representation of what parents should experience day to day.
Some dads are feeling the pressure from society to still fill the traditional role of ‘the bread winner’ as well as being a hands-on father and struggling to juggle both roles.
My impression is also that for many young men who are about to be fathers, there is a sense of “how can I be a father? I haven’t really got myself worked out yet.”

How has the evolution of a father’s role changed the pressures on fathers these days?

It’s great that dads are becoming more and more hands-on in raising their kids, we’re gradually seeing traditional gender roles for parenting soften and this stands to benefit everyone. There’s still some way to go in these changing roles being more accepted in society, but we’re moving in the right direction.
Some dads today feel the stress of trying to ‘have it all’, balancing their career ambitions and being an involved parent at the same time. Which is why it’s great to see workplaces becoming more supportive than in the past with parental leave arrangements, relieving some of the pressure on mums and dads.

Fathers are more hands on than ever before. Has this had a positive or negative impact on their mental health?

Being involved and engaged with the raising of their children is an overwhelmingly positive thing for fathers. It promotes strong emotional connections with their child and it can really boost the dad’s sense of purpose.

What are the main reasons that men will struggle when becoming a new father?

Because men don’t experience all the physical changes of pregnancy and giving birth, they may not begin to feel like a dad until after the baby is born.
Becoming a dad is a big change. Some main ways men can struggle include the pressure to be a ‘good parent’, relationship stress with their partner, worrying they won’t love their new baby and difficulty getting enough sleep.
These adjustments come with stress which, when it builds up, can put your mental health at risk. In fact, depression affects one in 10 dads between the first trimester and the year after the baby’s birth. Anxiety conditions affect one in six dads during the pregnancy and one in five in the postnatal period.
However, awareness about men’s experience of PNDA is low, with 45 per cent of fathers not aware that men can have postnatal depression and 43 per cent of first-time fathers see anxiety and depression after having a baby as a sign of weakness.

What are some recommendations to get help if someone is struggling with their mental health?

Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. Your GP is a great place to start, they can help find the right support for you.
For soon-to-be dads, it may be helpful for you to take some time to think about how you’ve reacted to the news and talk it through with your partner. What are you worried about? What are you excited about?
The main message is, talk about how you’re feeling, don’t just dwell on it by yourself.

Mental health professionals are available 24/7 at the Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 22 4636. Web chat is also available 3pm until midnight AEST at beyondblue.org.au/getsupport
The Beyond Blue website has resources for new dads including Dadvice, and some excellent videos from the fathers discussing how they manage some of the challenges.

Tips for keeping well as a new dad

– Talk to your partner about how you’re both feeling
– Reach out to other dads/parent groups – Beyond Blue forums might be useful
– If you need help, see your GP and maybe undertake a GP Mental Health Plan
– Try not to forget the small stuff – drink enough water and eat well

If you or someone you know is struggling with feelings of depression and loneliness reach out beyondblue.org.au

Or read our article about a Modern Day Dad’s Group in Adelaide

Lighthouse Youth Projects: striving to give every child the chance to be amazing

Lighthouse Youth Projects: striving to give every child the chance to be amazing

Lighthouse Youth Projects: striving to give every child the chance to be amazing

Co-founders of Lighthouse Youth Projects, Jamie Moore and Ryan Lloyd share a longstanding love of BMX and cycling, borne of a lifetime spent riding trails, tackling jumps, performing tricks and forming lasting friendships through a love of bikes.

With a wealth of industry experience behind them and a passion for living life to the fullest, these two dads harnessed their mutual love of riding and the benefits and life skills it can bring, and created Lighthouse Youth Projects. The registered charity, volunteer supported, not-for profit organisation was founded with the vision to inspire disadvantaged young people, supporting them into positive pathways through bicycle-based mentoring and life skills programs.

We chat with Jamie about the inspiration behind Lighthouse, and how they’re helping disadvantaged young people in our state and beyond.

Tell us about Lighthouse Youth Projects. What inspired you to start a not-for-profit directed at helping young people?

Ryan and I set up Lighthouse Youth Projects with the vision to give every child in Australia, regardless of their disadvantage, the opportunity to ride a bike with someone passionate enough to care, willing to see their potential and to encourage them to make a change for the better.
I met Ryan, who is one of Australia’s best freestyle riders, while I was running a bike distribution business. We started riding together, with Ryan in a sponsored role and myself as an advocate. In 2013, Ryan broke his back overshooting a BMX jump and around the same time, my business failed. For both of us, these life changing events prompted us to really work out what mattered most. Both having a wealth of experience riding bikes, we wanted to share that with people; we wanted to create something that would enable us to pass on this love of riding and its many benefits, to the next generation of young people, particularly those with a background of disadvantage.
As soon as we started working in the juvenile justice system, I truly realised that so many young lives are wasted and if someone doesn’t step in and try to help, then everybody loses, not just the child.

Can you tell us what positive benefits bike riding has, and how your work helps disadvantaged kids?

We believe that bicycles can change lives and be a springboard to a new, positive way of living. Riding is something that most people seem to enjoy, and a lot of people probably take the physical ability to actually ride a bike for granted. It’s not uncommon for the kids we work with to have never ridden before, or to have never had someone in their lives who was willing or able to teach them to ride a bike. Riding is the most efficient way a human can move across the earth under their own power so it’s a very effective metaphor to show positive change and encourage good habits too.

Can you tell us about the programs Lighthouse offers?

We are lead contractors in two federally funded programs, Cycle of Change and RIDE, which have successfully targeted youth unemployment by way of bicycle-based mentoring. These programs run every day of the week in both South Australia and Tasmania.
We also run an ongoing ‘Behind Bars’ program, working with young people who have become involved with the juvenile justice system. This involves school holiday mentoring and programs to help the residents adapt better once they are on the outside, with an aim to help these kids in accessing opportunities to participate productively in the community.
We also facilitate Concrete Sessions at Oaklands skate park every fortnight. These are open to the general public, bikes and helmets are available to borrow free of charge, and we welcome people to come down, have a warm meal and hang out in a stress-free environment.

Can you share some success stories about kids you’ve worked with?

Seeing a young man called Ben from Munno Para finally start to ride on his own after persevering and trying so hard but with limited success, was simply amazing; the look on his face is something I will never forget. Another story that springs to mind is a young person we worked with, Dale, who came to us in Cycle of Change with no idea whatsoever about “what to do with his life”. After working and riding with him for a year, he graduated the Cycle of Change program and started an apprenticeship with Aldom Motor Body Builders. He always texts me the photos of what he is working on, and this type of connection is just so rewarding for all of us.

What are your personal highlights over your time mentoring disadvantaged kids?

There are so many, to be honest, it’s hard to pick! I think one of the best things I can be involved in is seeing someone ride a bike on their own for the first time. It never gets old and we know that for them, the adventure is just about to start! Also seeing someone who has been involved in the juvenile justice system making a positive change and being released. For me, that’s a moment when I think “well, someone didn’t give up on that kid, and that might have been the only time that’s ever happened”.

What’s coming up for Lighthouse?

This year we started delivering our RIDE program in Tasmania, so for us working in another state is pretty exciting. We will also be doing a lot more Get Stoked! riding sessions across SA and TAS and that’s a great way we can connect and ride with more disadvantaged kids, hopefully spreading a positive message along the way.

How can people get involved and help out with Lighthouse Youth Projects?

As a volunteer driven organisation, the more hands on deck, the more opportunity we have to help as many kids as possible. We are always eager to hear from skilled professionals in their field who could have an integral role in helping us to help others. We encourage people to visit our website and fill out the volunteer form, and we’ll get in touch!

Want to help? Lighthouse Youth Projects are always on the lookout for donations of second hand, usable mountain bikes or BMX bikes for their programs. Please contact Jamie and Ryan via the LYP website if you have something you’d like to donate!

lighthouseyp.org
@lighthouseyouthprojects

A Modern Day Dad’s Group!

A Modern Day Dad’s Group!

Dads supporting dads

If you were to walk into a pub and see a group of guys sitting at the bar, craft beer in hand, shooting the breeze and having a laugh, you could be forgiven for assuming they’re a footy team having end of season drinks, or old mates from Uni catching up.

What might not spring to mind immediately, is that this group of blokes is actually a dad support group, chatting about fatherhood, life with young children, changing relationship roles and the highs and lows of supporting their partners through the early, hazy days of parenting and beyond.

But, that’s exactly what happens every week at the Wheatsheaf, where a group of Adelaide dads have formed their own dads’ group; having regular catch-ups to connect with other fathers, discuss parenting issues, and learn from the experiences of other dads.

Across the country, thousands of mums meet regularly for mothers’ group, many of us attributing our sanity through the long, nebulous days of early parenting to having a support network around us, of other women with a shared experience. In this day and age, men are more connected with family life, taking a more active and hands on role in parenting than ever before, but these types of networks are rarely geared toward fathers; dads who may be looking for similar avenues of support and the opportunity to swap notes and connect with others experiencing the same challenges.

Meet James

Age: 36
Occupation: Owner of Dirty Deeds Produce Marketing
Kiddos: Paloma 3, Fleur 2
Loves: Surfing and drinking wine
Husband to: Clare

We chat with James, dadvocate and one of the founding members of local Adelaide Dad Support Group, about how having a support network of other fathers has affected his journey through parenthood. James encourages Adelaide dads to reach out to The Dad Support Group and come along, or check in with dad mates and find a time to get together and chat about all things fatherhood.

How long has your dad group been meeting?

The Dad Support Group has been around for a few years, some of the core members had kids nearly four years ago and caught up casually. The current iteration which includes new members, some first dads and soon-to-be dads, has been going a few months now. I think the regularity is a key aspect, it’s so easy to let dates and events slip past with kids because of competing schedules and the general madness of parenthood.

What have been the benefits of creating the group?

They’re bigger than I imagined. Men, typically like to interact side by side with a task to focus on. This gives us a bit of an ‘out’ when it comes to discussing anything of real depth. In this case, we come together with a single question or topic to discuss. It happens eventually, after a heap of chat about the usual (footy/life/work) and we often discuss a particular topic for an hour or more. It offers a platform to share, listen and discuss issues around being a Dad and a supportive partner. My kids are older than a lot of the fathers in the group and I think some of the biggest benefits have come to the guys who are new to being a parent, or about to become one. It’s great to pass some of this on, as this lived experience is so fresh for some of us.

What are the main things that shocked you when you became a father?

This was a topic of one of our chats actually! For me it’s happened slowly, but after having our second child I’d say how relentless parenting is. It’s very hard to find time for self-care and more structured opportunities are needed, otherwise you can really struggle.

What information would you give to expecting dads?

Not to listen to the Dads that feel it’s a rite of passage to freak them out with lazy comments like ‘what have you done?’ or ‘you’re in trouble now, mate’. I mean, I’ve said this stuff in moments of weakness but honestly, the advice I’d give is to be excited! Being a dad is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’d also say be super supportive and present during the pregnancy and beyond; the experience you have after the arrival of your first bub won’t come again, it’s the best time to indulge in the journey.

What do you think are the main pressures on modern dads?

Firstly, I’d like to say the pressures on both parties has increased and I don’t want to discount the experience of the modern mother. Having said that, I think there’s a lot more expected of modern dads in relation to child rearing and tasks within the household. This obviously takes away from the things that dads traditionally did to wind-down and decompress. I really think that we need to talk more about dads; their mental health, pressures, expectations and opportunities for self-care.

What is the best thing about being a dad?

The other day my three-year-old said ‘when I grow up, I’m going to get a step dad’, I’m not sure if she knows something I don’t, but we had a good laugh. I’d say the best thing is that regardless of the day you’ve had, be it work or even challenges with the kids, it can all be washed away by a single moment of love or laughter provided by the little ones. My kids are at an age where I get lots of affection and they say some hilarious stuff daily. I’ve never laughed so much or dished out and received so many kisses.

Have you come across any misconceptions about parenting?

I guess that everyone’s experience is the same. Before parenthood I probably would’ve assumed it was a pretty uniform experience, but sleeping habits, health of children and parents, location and support from family really changes your experience.

Have you seen a difference in yourself as a partner and a parent having a dads’ group to attend?

I think I’m feeling a bit more supportive of other dads and supported as a father. It’s also really crystallised my feelings on the merits of support for men and fathers

Meaghan Coles Photography 

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