Surviving the school holidays

Surviving the school holidays

By Lauren – Gold Coast Mum

Before having kids I didn’t really give much thought to how working parents juggled looking after – and as well as, entertaining - school-aged kids during the school holidays.

When I was younger and my Mum was working, my sisters and I were fortunate enough to be able to hang out with our Nanna who lived with us.

We spent school holidays riding bikes around the neighbourhood, playing netball, movie and roller skating dates, trips to the local shopping centres, sleepovers and more.
I was a Brownie and Girl Guide in my younger years (PRETTY sure I was the first girl in Australia to receive the Asia Pacific badge back in the day! ;-) so enjoyed a couple of short camps that were so much fun.

Me back in the day as a Brownie.

Me back in the very early 90s as a Girl Guide.

But after having watched too many American TV shows or movies and read too many American tween and teen books, I really wanted to experience ‘Summer Camp’ – an extended trip away camping (or in cabins) to enjoy spending times with friends, learning new skills and participating in fun/challenging activities.
I’ve had friends who have worked at these and had the time of their lives!

Sounds like something my little ones will enjoy as they get bigger!
These past school holidays I juggled my work commitments – working as a consultant and freelancer  and helping current and new clients – as well as taking on a super exciting new gig as Editor of a monthly magazine here on the Gold Coast (will share further details with you in an upcoming post, I promise).

I had Miss 6 home with me during these recent school holidays and she enjoyed a sleepover at her Nanna’s and a day out with a friend from school (they went to the movies, accompanied by the friend’s mum, and also had manicures! How cute!). Miss 6, Mr 4 and my 2yo twincesses also enjoyed trips to the park and visits from interstate relatives.
School holiday fun.

A few of my friends who work full time have to put their children into vacation care during the school holidays, or are lucky to have grandparents/aunties or friends happy to come to the rescue, and mind their children, for the whole school holidays.

I recently came across Crusaders, also known as CRU Camps - a Christian youth camp who run holiday and day camps for kids and teens. 
They offer activities such as abseiling, rock climbing, canoeing and more.
It looks like a great option for my friends’ kids and for my little ones when they are bigger!

The team of young adults – who have all had the child protection screening checks in accordance with government child protection legislation - look after campers 24 hours a day, there’s a ratio of at least one leader to every five campers (amazing, this is more than school or kindy!) AND there are at least two leaders in each group with Senior First Aid qualifications.
A camp ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ attend primary age camps to care for the emotional needs of young campers. How good is that!
Check out their website  for further info about the fabulous camps such as Splash 2016 being held in September.An epic week of water and land action where attendees enjoy magical days on the lake canoeing and rafting, tubing around the beautiful Lake Macquarie with new friends.
They’ll try fishing and awesome day and night wide games, water wars, chill out times, fun leaders, tasty food, a movie night and campfire.

Such fun!

What did you get up to in the holidays when you were younger?
What do you do with your kids in the school holidays?

Do you take time off work?

This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are my own.




World Breastfeeding Week 2016: Time for mums to be empowered and informed

World Breastfeeding Week 2016: Time for mums to be empowered and informed

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum

After 6 years of being either pregnant or breastfeeding, this ‪World Breastfeeding Week 2016 I'm neither (my twincesses weaned around last Christmas).
But I'm still as passionate as ever about being a breastfeeding advocate to help‪ normalise breastfeeding!
By no means does this mean I'm 'anti' formula feeding mums (I have plenty of beautiful friends who formula feed & we love & respect each other regardless); it's just that I know there is a huge need for ALL women to have/use the support to be informed and empowered if they do WANT to breastfeed.
Too many 'booby traps' are causing mums to cease breastfeeding earlier than they desired, when, if armed with the correct info & advice (& a good support network), they may have been able to continue their breastfeeding journey (if this was their goal).

The more this is discussed and we can ‪‎normalize breastfeeding, the better.
Formula companies have big budgets and continue to creep into all areas of our lives to promote their products, & by doing so, prey on new mums' vulnerabilities & create self-doubt.
Breastfeeding is (generally) free to produce & isn't a big moneymaker so there are no big corporations lining up out there spending millions to promote it, or offering women the best support to ensure they are successful in their quest to breastfeed.

They don't want us to succeed in doing what we can do for FREE.

Our success = their failure.
For now, mums can thank the kind & helpful NFPs, volunteers, advocates, educators & professionals who are helping women succeed with breastfeeding all over the world.

However, too often, people turn their noses up at such helpers, claiming they feel judged etc.
Here's the thing. Breastfeeding can be challenging. It can be friggin hard. Bleeding, cracked nipples & attached 20 hours a day in the first few weeks can be tiring! 
Once you make it through the first few weeks/months, breastfeeding is beautiful. 
It's easy & free.

But just like anything, if you want it bad enough, you work hard, you persevere/ arm yourself with the right info & advice to help you meet your goals.
Just like if you were wanting to get a 6-pack & run in a marathon, you'd accept advice & tips from professionals & others who have 'been there, done that' without feeling like they're judging or that you're a failure if you choose not to use the tips or tricks offered, or if you choose not to keep running.
The same applies to breastfeeding.

However this topic stirs emotions & people get defensive.
So, to new mums/ mums to be, accept info/advice & help, call your local Australian Breastfeeding Association, attend a meeting, read up on cluster feeding or the 'top up trap', speak to a Lactation Consultant or IBCLC or a helper. 
We need as much help as we can get to be empowered to know we CAN do this!
(Obviously in rare cases there are genuine health issues etc which may prevent breastfeeding. Some health professionals aren't up to speed on this and give bad advice - I have been on the receiving end a number of times, but thankfully I knew better or sought better advice.

But don't let anyone tell you you can't due to having a premature bub or twins (or more). 
I breastfed my twins on demand while also having my then-1yo & then-3yo to look after & while doing some work from home.
I overcame obstacles including tongue ties, flat nipples, mastitis, colic, silent reflux & more. I have friends who had twins at 28/30 weeks and pumped religiously to ensure a supply etc.)
World Breastfeeding Week isn't about patting ourselves on the back or to shame those who choose not to breastfeed or those who genuinely can't.

It's about ensuring current & future mothers feel (& are) supported in their quest to breastfeed - if that's something that is important to them - & that they have access to the right help. 

Peace & love to ALL mothers. xx
Here's me with my ‪‎twins right before they weaned just after their 2nd birthday. 

What timing!

And here is just one example of the cheeky formula companies and their mission to influence vulnerable mums...

This appeared in an Adelaide publication over the weekend.
An article about breastfeeding to HELP mums, with quotes from the president of the Australian Breastfeeding Association. And strategically placed next to it??? A formula ad (apparently by law they can only advertise the 12+ months product, but still...)

Wouldn't it be great if the ad was promoting the FREE and/or low-cost services available to help mums breastfeed instead.
But as we know, helpers/supporters and professionals in this field - who dedicate time and effort each and every day to HELP and EMPOWER women, generally don't have budgets to match these big brands!

(Brand label covered as their $$ has helped them gain enough exposure...) 


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