REBECCA MORSE: “You can’t pour from an empty cup”
Rebecca Morse is co-host of SAFM’s breakfast show, Bec, Cosi & Lehmo. She has a degree in Journalism and started her media career at the ABC, where she was named SA Journalist of the Year in 2005. Rebecca is actively involved in community and charity work, as a proud Ambassador for Kickstart for Kids, the Animal Welfare League, the Premier’s Reading Challenge, Uniting Care Pancake Day and the Port Adelaide Football Club, She is married with three daughters, Grace, Milla and Frankie and an adopted dalmatian named Henley.
It’s my take-out message for you in this issue of KIDDO focusing on health and wellbeing.
I’m parenting three daughters through very different stages. If I’m not well-rested, hydrated and operating at optimum core strength they will eat me alive.
Our youngest at 10 is relatively low maintenance. We just have to drag her off Tik Tok, find her lost library books and try to stop her walking into furniture as the clumsiest child to inhabit the earth.
We did however discover the hard way that she does in fact require at least some degree of maintenance when I had to make an emergency hair appointment after her favoured top knot hairstyle sprouted a dreadlock that had to be cut out. Poor third child.
The middle child has started high school and requires constant contact with her friends.
As a result they are always on speaker when I walk into her room to yell at her to tidy it/do her homework/unpack the dishwasher, meaning they all think I am constantly angry. Not far from the truth to be honest.
Then there’s the biggest challenge. The year 12.
This makes the newborn stage seem like a walk in the park. Although they both cry themselves to sleep.
Here’s a tip to parenting a child through their final year of high school that you can have for free if this challenge is ahead of you…
Comparing their experience to yours will not be well-received.
The “I did Maths, Physics, Chemistry, English, Legal Studies so why are you so stressed with a couple of subjects and some sort of research project that I don’t understand?” argument is always met with a storm-off and door slam.
Pointing out what time one’s 18 year old gets home from da club on a Saturday night when an assignment is due is also a no-go zone apparently.
In fact no experience that you have gained during your own life can be drawn upon as a parent of teenagers because they already know everything there is to know from watching the Insta-famous do unboxings.
So how do we look after our own health and wellbeing while we navigate these parenting challenges?
Everywhere I look the advice is to journal and meditate.
I have tried meditation. I understand the benefits and I’d like to persevere. But I can’t keep my mind clear for even a minute. It’s VERY busy in there.
Then there’s the journaling. I kept a diary as a kid that pretty much just listed whose friend’s house I wanted to have a sleepover at. These days they call that manifesting.
Mindfulness and gratitude I get. I just don’t feel the need to write it down.
You have to find what works for you and not what Oprah or Gwyneth’s latest guru tells you works.
What I need is sleep, exercise and alcohol-free days. Oh, and treats.
Sleep is the toughest box to tick for me, working breakfast radio hours. But watch me nap for Australia. That’s my meditation.
Exercise has always been a big part of my life. I know how bloody annoying that sounds, sorry. It’s ok, I don’t do it every day, I’m not a monster. But on the days when I force myself to do it I never regret it. They’re onto something with that endorphin gear.
As for alcohol-free days, well that’s self-explanatory if not always achievable.
Then there’s the treats. I found myself home alone for an hour on a rare Sunday afternoon recently. The washing and dishes were done. Also rare. Thanks to Nicola’s lockdown tips my drawers were decluttered. I lit a candle that smelled like success, hopped under a blanket with some salt and vinegar chips and watched The White Lotus.
If I had a gratitude journal that would have gone to the top of the list for sure.
So whatever it is you need to fill up your cup, do that. Do it without guilt or excuses or explanations. Be unapologetic about the volume of your cup.
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Meet Lawyer Mum, Amy Nikolovski
There have been a lot of career highs for leading legal firm Partner Amy Nikolovski. From being made Partner, to Managing Partner and President of the SA Law Society, Amy’s made it happen. But her proudest career achievement to date has been the positive impact she’s had on the legal profession by bringing change to the industry with respect to sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination.
Amy has been a staunch advocate for women in business and law in all aspects of her professional life, having chaired the sexual harrassment, bullying and discrimination working group of the Law Society and subsequently seeing recommendations she pushed in her term of Presidency resulting in real change for the profession. All the while starting a family and occasionally waking up with a little foot in her face.
We chat with Amy about the pressure on women to have children, the expectation versus reality of being a working mum and her advice to other women working in law.
As you were progressing through life and career goals, did you feel pressure to have babies?
I definitely felt pressure to have babies as I progressed through my life and career goals. My husband and I started dating when I was 16, and got married in 2009, shortly after I turned 27, the pressure was almost immediate. What made it worse was that we had difficulty conceiving, and it felt like every person that I encountered would ask me about when I was planning to have babies, little did they know the struggle I was dealing with. Eventually after 6 years of trying I fell pregnant with my son with the help of IVF at 36 years old, and almost as soon as he was born, people were at me again about when I would have another. As a woman of a certain age, it is like there is no reprieve from baby making!
How would you describe the ‘expectation vs reality’ of having a baby and being a working mother?
I had my son during my Presidential term in 2019, when I was President of the Law Society of South Australia. I look back now and am still unsure how I got through that year, on next to no sleep, traveling all over Australia with a breastfed babe in arms. I have been very lucky though, my mum is an absolute godsend, she looks after Niko and even travelled with me as my “nanny” as did my two sisters in 2019 when I had my first interstate trip to speak at a National Conference in Port Douglas when he was only 9 weeks old. They say it takes a village, and I have been very lucky to have the support of my village over the last two years to be able to support me and my journey as a working mum. My husband also retired in late February 2021, to be a full time stay at home dad, which has again provided more flexibility to me. Being your own boss also makes a difference, in that I was able to work from home (before we were all working from home post covid), and really pick my own hours, which not all mums’ have the luxury of. I am very fortunate to have a really strong support network around me and supportive Partners, who have not seen my young child as a hindrance to my ability to be a leader and a top lawyer.
What has becoming a mother has taught you?
Patience. I have never been one to have a lot of patience, my A-type personality meant that I was constantly on the go, however having a little person means sometimes you just have to move at toddler speed, and that’s ok, not everything has to happen immediately or be perfect all the time.
Have you found your negotiating and communication skills being a lawyer has helped to manage a toddler?
Ah, no! He wins every argument, because can you really negotiate with a toddler? Maybe as he gets a little older my skills will become more useful, but as it currently stands, Niko is in charge, I am just his lowly handmaiden!
What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mum?
Seeing him grow, from his first smile, to crawling, his first steps and first words, I look at him and still can’t believe I grew him inside of me. The sense of love and pride is overwhelming some days.
What advice would you give to other women in law thinking about motherhood?
Do it! Don’t let your career get in the way of having a family, the law will always be there, but your opportunity to have a family may not.
What’s your proudest career achievement?
Seeing a shift in the profession—that I have played a role in—has been inspiring, to know that future women won’t or will be less likely to suffer from the sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination which was running rampant when I first joined the profession.
What does being a trailblazer mean to you?
I actually feel uncomfortable with that term, I think I am just doing my part as a woman in a position of power. I am aware of the privilege that I have and want to ensure as many women are able to access the same opportunities that I have had available to me.
Finish these sentences…
I can’t live without…
Niko… coffee and my phone!
My morning starts with…
Usually with a tiny foot in the face (yes I co-sleep, it is the only way I get any sleep!)
Female role model…
In the law, my friend the honourable Judge Jo-Anne Deuter.
My legacy will be…
At 39, it is still being written.
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Top 10 Tips to being a Winning Dad, with author of The Winning Dad Manual, Symon Jarowyj
Wanna be a winning dad? There’s now a manual for that, thanks to Symon Jarowyj!
It didn’t take long for Symon Jarowyj to realise he didn’t feature high on his daughter’s popularity list.
Despite being primary nappy changer during the first six weeks of Neko’s life during his partner Natalie’s recovery from a caesarean, the Grace Emily pub part-owner soon learnt that when it comes to a kid’s priorities, it’s 1) mum, and then 2) everyone else.
“When Neko was about two I started realising that whenever my mum or mother-in-law would come over, she’d show a lot more excitement than when I came home from work,” Symon explains.
“I was getting a bit jealous and thinking, I’m not even in the top two in popularity anymore! So I started jotting down ideas of ways I could make things around the house more fun for her so she’d think I was a bit less boring. Like if I was doing the washing, I’d be smelling every item of clothing as she passed it to me and saying ‘pooo!’ to her in a really high voice and pulling a funny face or whatever, just to get a giggle.”
As Symon’s list grew, chats with punters over the bar revealed more stark lessons all dads must learn in their little ones’ first years of life and he started to thinking it would actually make a pretty funny book, something for dads to have so they can prepare for what’s coming.
“I liked the idea of a manual that was illustrated to look like an airport emergency landing card – something small and tongue-in-cheek, but something half-serious that identified those areas for dads on how they could do a better job,” Symon says.
The Winning Dad Manual
Enter The Winning Dad Manual. It’s the 60-page life saver for any newly anointed father. With straight-forward instructions that take you from baby bump to toddler phase, this illustrated guide book prepares dads (and mums) for the little known battles that present themselves in parenthood. Printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and printed with jellyfish friendly inks, the light weight and slim shape of The Winning Dad Manual fits snugly in your shirt or jacket pocket to go with you wherever the dad adventure takes you.
Just in time for Father’s Day, Symon gives us his Top 10 Tips to being a winning dad!
- Being a Dad begins in the first trimester not at birth.
- If you have a 2 door car sell it and replace with something “family orientated” .
- Shopping for baby gear requires compulsory attendance.
- Make sure vehicles always have more than half a tank of petrol so mum need not concern herself with this task.
- When in public make sure you keep an eye on surroundings just in case you need to deal with a nappy blowout.
- If heating milk always check temperature before giving to child.
- Try and turn household chores into fun or else your kids may think you are boring.
- Keep an eye on Grandma and Grandpa. They don’t love you as much anymore and are targeting to be very popular with your kids.
- Nothing wrong with using 15 baby wipes to get that tush super clean.
- Purchase the winning dad manual.
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MEET WAI CHIM: Survivor Australia Contestant and Children’s Book Author
This year’s Australian Survivor cohort is one of the most accomplished yet, with so many amazing achievements among the group of contestants, not to the mention stellar game play on display each episode. At KIDDO HQ we’ve been particularly taken with Wai Chim, who -in her real life outside the game- also happens to be an academic powerhouse, creative mastermind, digital producer, copywriter and acclaimed award-winning author of six children’s and young adult books to boot!
We chat with Wai about how being an author has played into her game strategies on Australian Survivor and how her experience on the show may end up on the pages of a new children’s book.
As an acclaimed award-winning author of six children’s and young adult books can you tell us where your love of writing first began?
I definitely loved books and stories from a very young age. I grew up in an immigrant family so we couldn’t afford much, so the library was where I spent a lot of time after school. And I loved to write creative pieces for class assignments like poetry and short plays to act out with my friends.
How do you determine the themes / storylines for your children’s books?
Writing for me is a way to explore ideas and feelings that are more challenging, like grief or shame. I write a lot about my Chinese heritage because those were the kinds of books that I wish I had more of when I was growing up with main characters that ‘looked like me’. My latest book, THE SURPRISING POWER OF A GOOD DUMPLING speaks to what it’s like growing up as an Asian-Australian and I tried to bring so much of my youth to the page. Plus, I love to write about food!
Do you have any authors you look up to and who may have inspired your writing journey?
I am greatly indebted to so many authors and mentors through my career but I would call out Alice Pung and Justine Larbalestier as ICONS who have really helped me understand what mattered when it came to writing for Australian kids.
Literacy is such an important part of a child’s development, can you provide some tips / pointers to encourage reading in the home environment? Or how to make reading “more fun’ for children that may not be as interested in reading?
Reading is SO important and I think there’s so many great ways to get kids into reading and falling in love with stories. I am a huge fan of graphic novels (and hybrid novels) that bring an illustrated element to the story so kids can engage more readily. I am also a fan of novelisations of movies and TV for the same reason, as long as kids are reading and loving the story on the page it doesn’t matter if it’s what we think of as ‘literary’ or not. So definitely let your kids be the guide for (age appropriate) stories they would love.
What was your favourite childhood book? Or favourite author?
As a child I loved Beverly Cleary and Wilson Rawles, Where the Redfern Grows which was the first book that made me cry and I realised how much power was in the written word.
How has your profession helped your strategic play for the game of Australian Survivor?
I think being a writer means I understand people and what their motivations are. Writers are good observers, so we stay under the radar and wait for the climax of the story!
What other projects are you currently working on? Do you have any plans to release any additional children’s books?
I’m part of an anthology called Hometown Haunts: #LoveOzYA Horror Stories that’s coming out in October which features some of the best young adult authors in Australia. I’m also hoping to bring some of my Survivor experiences into a picture book and a novel further down the track – this will be dedicated to my fellow contestants, the Cloncurry 24!
Catch Australian Survivor 7.30pm Sunday – Tuesday on 10
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Owner of mental health space, The Red Tent, Mikki Fisher wants to change the game of mental health.
The business owner, mother of three and strong advocate for mental health found herself inundated on her social media platform with women who wanted to open their hearts to her. Instead of leaving these messages unopened in favour of prioritising sponsored content like so many influencers might have done, Mikki decided she wanted to make a difference. On a mission to create a safe space where women could openly discuss mental health struggles, Mikki believes that by changing our attitude towards mental health, we can get rid of the stigma attached and instead celebrate healing.
We chat with Mikki about her online mental health space, The Red Tent, how it evolved and how women can get involved.
1. Tell us about The Red Tent?
The Red Tent is an online mental health space for women*. We provide a safe space with online therapy, workshops, resources and more. We want to change the game of mental health! We believe that healing should be for everyone. We want to f*ck off the stigma by changing our attitude towards mental health. We want to remove the shameful, white-coat feel about it and instead celebrate healing.
*We are a safe space for everyone! We have a rainbow of clients! The Red Tent will be the women’s section but we are growing on that.
2. What prompted you to launch it?
I found myself attracting people (especially women) who felt comfortable enough to share their traumas, struggles and feelings with me. I always have for some reason! Strangers have always opened up to me in a really beautiful and vulnerable way! Once I started to create a bit of a platform I was finding myself inundated with women sharing their hearts with me.
I love helping people so much! I love being a safe space! And I want to give everyone every second of my time and energy, but I can’t. Plus it’s also not productive of me to be that person. I was constantly recommending women to seek help, because I know from my own personal experience how effective it is. I have always believed that nurturing your mental, spiritual and emotional health should be treated the same way we treat our physical health.
I became a bit of an evangelist for healing. I just wanted everyone to know how empowering and life-changing it was to heal! I wanted them to know that they didn’t have to have a diagnosis to be worthy of healing. If you felt a bit shitty, that was enough, In fact, you don’t even need to feel shitty! We all have healing and discovering to do!
So I decided to create a space for people to do that. Somewhere they felt safe and welcome. I wanted the language to be real and relatable! I wanted the branding to be colourful and inviting! I’m so passionate about what I do and all I want is for that to translate through my business.
3. How does The Red Tent tie into your life/work/family?
I’ve created The Red Tent to essentially be able to run itself. Or at least it will be able to soon. The joy of creating a business is that YOU get to decide how it will look. How will it support your clients? How will it support your staff? How will it support you? I wanted to create a business that was essentially an extension of myself. I wanted it to be able to support a life of freedom and flexibility! For not only myself, but also for my staff and for my clients. Freedom and flexibility are at the forefront of my mind. I want to be able to be there for my family whenever they need me. I want to work smarter, not harder.
I can’t encourage people to look after their mental health and live a life of balance, but create an environment that doesn’t mirror that.
4. What do you envision for The Red Tent in the future
SO much! We have a podcast launching soon, products that will be available, a membership/subscription, courses and so much more. I also want to take it on the road! Do in-person events!
We are also creating a Men’s Tent and Rainbow Tent, which will be safe spaces specifically for men and the LGBTQIA+ community. They will all be under The Red Tent umbrella, but I think it’s important to have a safe space for these individual communities to heal together.
I honestly have huge plans! I am probably an absolute pest to work for haha. This is why I work with A-type personalities who take all the open tabs in my brain and put them in an Excel sheet.
5. Why do you believe mental health is so important for women specifically?
The short answer is that I don’t. I think it’s important for everyone.
But the reason that I created it for women originally is because the feminine energy is the Mother energy. The carer and the nurturer. I truly believe that women are more likely to seek help because (thanks to the patriarchy) there is slightly less stigma attached. I could write a trillion words on this subject, but essentially I believe that if we heal women, we can heal the world.
I’ve seen it happen with our clients. A woman will come to us for help and then before you know it, their husband/partner/brother/son has booked five sessions. If we heal our women, we create space to heal everyone else. We heal generations! We create an emotionally healthier world for our children!
I also want to reiterate that the word *women* is being used as a blanket term for anyone who feels strongly led by their feminine. It has nothing to do with what bits and pieces you were born with.
6. What have been some of the biggest challenges faced in launching The Red Tent?
I am definitely the biggest challenge without a doubt haha. Imposter syndrome has reared its head often. I’ve been pregnant twice and had a baby in the last year. I’ve had to balance creating and running a business while parenting two (now three) kids. I also work for myself outside of The Red Tent, which I’ve needed to do to fund TRT (starting a business of this size is NOT cheap).
God, there are so many challenges! Creating/running a business is like having another child. It challenges you in so many ways. A giant mirror! The irony of creating a mental health business that has challenged my mental health is not lost on me. It has forced me to heal and grow even further! It has challenged my ego! Which it has needed to, because I’m just a silly little human with the expectations of a robot.
The business really has gone through (and will continue to go through) it’s own healing journey. And I love that. The business embodies its purpose.
7. What would be your go-to piece of advice for new mums?
Your child chose you for a reason. Don’t worry about being the best Mum, and instead channel your energy into being the best YOU. Kids don’t do as we say, they do as we do.
8. What is your favourite thing about The Red Tent and why?
Its heart. This business has been created from a deep, deep passion to heal the world. I know this because I am the heart. The Red Tent won’t ever be perfect. It’s human. It doesn’t judge. And it says fuck occasionally. Because, don’t we all?
9. Who can access The Red Tent services and how can they do this?
Anyone and everyone! So long as you have the Internet and a phone or computer, you have access to our services! Regardless of where in the world you are!
Our website is still being finished, but at the moment you can check us out and book a session with one of our incredible therapists on Instagram at @the.redtent
10. How have your priorities changed since you first started The Red Tent?
Oh, great question. I think I’ve shifted from aiming to achieve perfection to embracing my humanness. I started out trying to create a business from my masculine. I was trying to keep up with the masculine entrepreneur energy and it was exhausting and continued to defeat me.
I love the quote “Women are expected to work like they don’t have children, and parent like they don’t work”. Well, I kind of hate that the quote has to exist because it’s so true. BUT, unfortunately it is very true. I decided to unsubscribe from that idea. I didn’t want to work like I didn’t have children. I wanted to work like a real life human. I wanted to slow down, create from intuition and trust the timing of everything.
I still kind of suck at this, but I’m learning.
Follow The Red Tent:
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Speech Therapy: It’s not all lisps!
WORDS: Lauren Jones, Director and Senior Speech Language Pathologist at SPOT Paediatrics
“Oh, so you work with kids who have lisps, right?”
Inevitably when I tell someone what I do, this is one of the most likely responses. I’m a Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) working in the paediatric sector, and I’ve found over the years that most people are generally unsure of the roles SLPs play in the allied health community. Although we are often called “speech therapists” or “speechies” many of us spend a lot of time helping individuals to develop many skills in addition to speech clarity or articulation. So, what do Speech Language Pathologists do?
Speech Language Pathologists in general have very diverse scopes of practice. We have expertise in a variety of settings and are involved in the care and support of individuals from birth right through to end of life. Chances are, you know someone who has been supported by an SLP at some point in their lives!
So why would children need an SLP?
In the paediatric sector alone, the breadth of support provided by SLPs is extensive. Some children may require help in a single area, while others need assistance more globally. SLPs support children with:
- Speech: Supporting children to appropriately produce speech sounds, and helping children to develop fluent speech (e.g. stuttering)
- Language: Supporting early communication/language skills, assisting children to develop their understanding of language (receptive language), and providing support when children have difficulty expressing wants, needs, thoughts, ideas and feelings (expressive language).
- Play: Play is integral to language and social development. SLPs support the development of early play and communication skills.
- Social Skills: Helping children to develop an awareness of themselves and others and supporting them to develop their social communication skills in order to increase meaningful and successful social interactions.
- Literacy: Assisting children who experience challenges with reading, spelling, and reading comprehension.
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC): Providing support and education around the use of additional tools and systems that may help children to communicate successfully. SLPs provide assessment and implementation of AAC systems for children who find verbal communication difficult, this may include visuals, language boards, picture exchange systems, or high-tech voice output devices.
- Feeding: Supporting families with mealtime challenges. Some professionals may also be highly skilled in working with children who have challenges related to swallowing disorders.
If you’re concerned your child may need some support from an SLP you’re able to get in touch with a professional without the need for a referral. Our community is full of wonderful therapists, and the most important consideration is finding someone that your child is able to build a positive relationship with and who you feel hears your concerns as a parent.
For more information about Speech Language Pathologists:
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