Category Archives: Parenting

What’s the true cost of Marriage Equality?

magda-and-ahnThis is one of the best interviews I’ve ever seen.

Great depth in storytelling, empathy with subject and not surprisingly, it got me thinking…

What does it cost to enable people who love each other to marry?

Rightly or Wrongly: Judgement is a human and societal default 

Modern western society judges a woman’s worth by two things:

  1. her ability to get married
  2. her production of offspring.

I’d like to say this isn’t the case, but as a woman who lived her first 40 years as single and baron, this has been my experience.

However, from the moment I was carried across the proverbial threshold and married, people treated me differently.

It was somehow like I’d finally hit my straps and was now ‘a success’.

Even my family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances seemed to breathe a subconscious sigh of relief . A 20 year career was nice, but irrelevant. What about kids?

It is for this reason I don’t participate in public declarations of wedded and family bliss.

If I get anything that asks me to publicly promote the perfect happiness of married life (what I use to call smug married couples) or life as a perfectly happy parent, I ignore it.

When declarations of love are that important, I like to keep them private, because I know what a privilege they truly are.

As a sign of respect for my friends and the other members of our society who are denied the life changing, socially liberating institutions of marriage and parenthood, I refrain.

While Mother Nature plays her part in determining the path to parenthood, marriage is freely available for all … men who love women and vice versa.

So why do we as a progressive society flatly deny same sex couples, the same privilege?.

Gay, lesbian, bi, trans and queer (GLBTQ*) members of our society can have a commitment ceremony. Which as luck would have it, is also available for heterosexual couples as well and increasingly the preference for couples.

But why do we value men who sleep with women, over people who identify with other sexual orientations?

And what is the cost to society if we were to open the option of choice to GLBTQ members in our society?

This is probably where we learn from historical debates on the value of social inclusion:

  • What’s the cost of giving women the vote?
  • What’s the cost of including indigenous Australians on the census?
  • What’s the cost of giving indigenous Australians the vote?

Magda.png

She doesn’t say it, but Magda was psychologically victimised as a child by both legislators and society by not being exposed to ‘her normal’.

Keep in mind, being gay in Australia in the 70’s was considered a mental illness, conflated with paedophelia and downright illegal.

Ironically, the same public who proudly lauded her brilliance and celebrated her public successes include the legislators who continue to restrict her freedoms.

How many other children have been (and continue to be) victimised by our ‘societal norms’? What is normal anyway?

What is the real cost of enabling people who love each other to enjoy the priviledge of the institution of marriage?

Being respectful of others doesn’t cost us a thing. Judgement costs both sides.

Why are we legislating who someone can officially marry based on sex? Shall we try doing it on eye colour too? It’s just as ridiculous.

Same sex marriage doesn’t ruin the moral fibre of a society, it enables it.

Who are we not to support ALL our children by providing them with the range of norms to truly represent the diversity of persons and persuasions in our community?

The Anglican church doesn’t have a problem with same sex marriage.

The Catholic church I’m not sure about, but how can they? The whole premise of a priest’s commitment to God, sees him married to a man.

Governments should not legislate love. They should nurture generation now and next, by acknowledging diversity and not regurgitating the stereotypes of yesteryear.

Nothing founded in ignorance and constructed to promote an ideal rather than reality enables anything but judgement.

Thank you Magda for being so eloquent in both your observations and intent.

To any rationally thinking legislator, marriage equality is a no brainer.

To those who feel the need to debate the pros and cons, to research and formally report findings: your process driven approach while well intentioned, is still robbing fellow Australian’s of their civil rights.

Why are you better, more moral or normal than anyone else?

I look forward to the day that every Australian has the option to be married.

#DontLegislateNature #NurtureRespect

 

*I hope I have used the correct terminology. If I haven’t, please let me know via Twitter @TiffannyJunee or in the comments section below

Embarrassing Bodies

My husband is head chef in our house.

During my pregnancy, I ate like the Wallaby tight five during the off season.

The first three months after our daughter was born, I was breastfeeding (or expressing) every couple of hours. Not surprisingly, my appetite was nothing short of voracious.

Somewhere between three and four months, we organically reverted to a ‘working day’ routine, which meant I began to breastfeed in the morning and then again in the evening, introducing Mother Formula for the other feeds.

Neither my husband nor I have ever bothered engaging in any of the stress-filled ‘to formula or not to formula’ debates that can put the most confident of new parents into a state of flux.

Our approach has served us (or at least our new parent sanity) well, but we’ve also developed a team of trusted advisors along the way.

So true to form, we followed the recommendations of our midwife re: best baby formula to use and haven’t looked back.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I’d looked ‘back’ at any time prior to our annual trip to the skin cancer clinic.

As we’re both in our 40’s and we’ve always been ‘outdoorsy’ types, an annual skin check is a must. Thankfully, neither one of us has ever had any cause for concern during these visits…until this week.

However, it wasn’t the ‘flaking paint’ the doctor froze off my forehead and nose in six different spots that concerned me.

It was disrobing.

You see, on my last visit, I’d been fit and fabulous.

And while after having bub, I was actually the trimmest I’d ever been – thanks to the physics of breastfeeding, over the last month or so, I have not only developed ‘the mummy (leg) wobble’, but also a post natal paunch to rival the sturdiest of marsupials.

So there I was, topless and in my best granny undies, when I felt compelled to reflect (and correct myself) on when my thighs had turned into unstable tree trunks, and my tummy had developed a certain ‘dough’ quality to it.

While there’s nothing quite like pregnancy to suck the elasticity out of your skin, the reality was a lot less exciting.

Irrespective of whether you’ve just given birth, or never given birth, you are what you eat.

And never was that truer than now when I had to admit to myself, that despite dropping to only 3 or 4 feeds a day, I was still eating like I had been when I was feeding bub 10 – 12 times a day.

I don’t eat junk food or drink soft drinks. I am gluten and dairy free and since falling pregnant (and while breastfeeding) now caffeine free (which is a lot harder for a chocoholic than it should be).

What I have been doing however, is eating a plate full of food at each meal and going back for seconds or thirds.

While it is a testament to my husband’s amazing culinary efforts, inspite of the home cooked, low-fat meals prepared for my dining pleasure, overeating I had to admit, had become the norm, rather than the exception to my daily behaviour.

I really hate thinking, let alone talking about not being happy with my body.

I’ve seen too many young women struggle with body image and the physical, emotional and psychological effects of eating disorders.

However, there comes a time in every woman’s life when you have to stop, reflect (honestly) and decide to reprogram bad habits into a positive move towards being the best possible version of yourself.

So this weekend, I took control. I had to.

I’m blessed with great genes, but they’re of the athletic variety and unless you’re moving and eating lean, they’re of little benefit when you’re carb loading for the fun of it.

So far, so good.

Although, consciously monitoring my number of portions has been proving a little harder than it should have been. I’ve already learnt how to ignore my tummy as it grumbles in disgust.

Remember: I’m not doing this to be skinny. I’m doing this to feel healthy again, after consciously changing my eating habits from nurturing two back to one.

It’s not a quick fix. It’s a conscious effort over time.

Wish me luck! 🙂

 

Let your effort speak louder than your mouth

NFL star DeAngelo Williams has over 9 million views and 150,000 shares of a video he posted on his official Facebook page this week.

The video explains why he returned his daughters participation ribbon at her recent sports carnival.
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FDeAngeloWilliams%2Fvideos%2Fvb.1438173719737752%2F1787585011463286%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=1&width=560
Participation is fun in the moment, but the rewards are limited to the effort required to achieve.

Who wants their child to strive towards participation, when they can win?

Admittedly there is a real chance they’ll fail – but it’s a fundamental life lesson that develops the person – not an entitled product of parental management.

What kind of child do you have?

A participant or a kid that strives to do their best…?

I know which one I’ll be encouraging my kids to be.

 

 

Introducing my digital baby

As many of you know, last year I earned the privilege of parenthood after giving birth to my first child.

What you may not have been aware of… I also birthed my digital baby: How2 Social – a social education and mentoring platform.

My intent: Give everyone, no matter what their current skill set online, the opportunity to social with confidence.

In the year since, I have been splitting parenting duties between my now toddler and evolving the How2Social business concept while also setting myself the task of getting down and dirty in the back end of the build.

Admittedly, it has taken me a lot longer to get to this point than I originally thought it would, but that in itself has been an invaluable learning for me as well!

Which is why I am so thrilled to be able to introduce you to How2Social.com

Think of it as a concierge for social.

Built for the express purpose of enabling people of all ages and ability in and around social and digital media technology.

In the original stage we are launching with four distinct programs. They are:

  1. The Art of Social Parenting – the parents and guardian’s toolkit for managing their digital families.
  2. Social Business – for small and large organisations developing / refining their social communications.
  3. Social Me – for individuals developing your personal brand online.
  4. Social Sports – the pro athletes and coaches toolkit for building value through social communications.

Each of them are umbrella programs for an array of content specific, social media enabling, practical How2guides with the added and personalised benefit of a dedicated mentor to help you build your skill and confidence while building your brand for personal and/ or professional use.

It was important to me to develop a quality and individualised solution for people to learn and evolve their skill set in a ‘safe place’.

That’s why at How2Social we don’t mass produce solutions.

Each program is specifically tailored to the individual and very specific needs of members wherever they find themselves on the journey that is social.

Membership is free and the programs are intentionally affordable.

When you have a moment, please visit www.how2social.com and if I can assist you in anyway, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Additionally, if you know anyone who would benefit from How2Social education products and mentoring services, then please forward them my details and ask them to contact me directly.

e: tiff@how2social.com      t: @TiffannyJunee    li: tiffannyjunee

Thank you so much for taking the time to be here with me and celebrate the latest stage of my social technology journey. I am very grateful for your continued support.

xo Tiff xo

 

Self aware celebrity #NeverTooLate

Posting a photo of yourself four weeks post partum carrying the comment ‘I’m finally getting my stomach back’ is a new mum’s post of excitement.

After playing host for 9 months then fulfilling the roles of: dedicated milk bar, cleaner, general slave to any and every need of your newborn, a mum is entitled to get excited about getting a little of her ‘sexy’ self back.

As someone who had completely underestimated the joy of merely seeing my bikini line post bub’s arrival, I think it imperative – in light of Instagram and Facebook posts from former beauty pageant contestant, Erin McNaught and other ‘celebrities’ – that both men and women remember there’s a line that differentiates us all…called genetics.

It is these inherited genes that play a significant role in post partum body types.

Additionally, it’s also important for ALL to remember that social media technologies enable a private peek into the lives of the genetically blessed leaving those of us without washboard abs to wonder what we’re doing wrong.

Only if we let it…

Personally, I think Erin looks great and I’m happy (if not slightly hopeful my 40 year old skin will jump back with half of the  elastic glory) her 32 year old frame has done!

I’m sure she has been working out, watching what she eats and generally looking after herself.

If she’s breast feeding even better – as no doubt those uterine contractions are going to contribute positively to her postpartum recovery.

But what about the other new mums who follow Erin on Instagram?

Those women who may have suffered bloat and are struggling not only with the demands of being a new mum but with trying to be a desirable woman…?

Celebrity used to mean you were famous for being good at something.

Sadly that hasn’t been the case for the past decade or two, so much so that anyone willing to have a opinion, access to a camera phone and a willingness to share private pictures and stories is considered newsworthy for others.

In an era where you can be worshipped for wearing an attitude as ferocious as the price of the designer clothes your parents pay for, I encourage all new mums to stop and contemplate for a moment.

1) Is my baby safe?

2) Is my baby feeding well?

3) Is my baby fulfilling all the ‘output’ requirements as identified in pictures and print on a laminated A4 card that was dutifully handed around the new parenting class (and memorised by my husband!)

4) Am I managing to get a little rest in between feeds?

5) Am I eating well?

6) Am I drinking lots of water?

7) Am I managing to have a shower each day?

If you answered yes to most of the above, then I think you’re doing pretty well.

At the end of the day, if bub’s happy,you’re already half way to ecstatically chuffed that you’re bluffing your way through this new parent caper exceptionally well! 🙂

One of the most profound discoveries for me, on falling pregnant was the impact on social discourse with other women.

When you fall pregnant the way you interact with other women changes. From female relatives, life long friends, colleagues, students, acquaintances and even pseudo friends, the learnings are key.

As an older mum, I think you’re also acutely aware of how privileged you are to:

a) have fallen pregnant,

b) carried to term

c) be blessed with a healthy bub.

Which in turn, (I’d like to think) enables you to be more cogniscant of other women’s struggles around procreation and building upon little families in your 40’s.

Personally, I’d like to see a slightly more measured approach from our so called ‘celebrities’ in support of new mums around parenting expectations (you’re going to be flying blind, so ask as many questions as you need to build confidence, because this new parenting roller coaster is 50% knowledge acquisition in the flash of a brief hospital stay and 50% confidence). #Seriously.

No book can prepare you for where your first hurdle will lay.

For me, when my obstetrician, placed my baby on my belly after birth, I was a crying dribbling mess.

I couldn’t believe how clever my husband and I were – and how insanely awesome Mother Nature truly is.

I was also petrified.

Seeing my hesitation, my obstetrician gently encouraged me to take the baby. Instantly, I seemed to have grown eight arms of which I had absolutely no control over.

“I don’t know how” I admitted.

“She’s your baby Tiff, work it out. You won’t hurt her.”

It was the best thing he could have said to me.

I’d carried her for the better part of 9 months (well 8 and a bit to be specific) and it was on her father and I who she would now be reliant, so I didn’t have the luxury of hiding behind my fears.

I had to jump in and step up.

Which is all any of us can endeavour to do to the best of our ability as novices on the new parent treadmill.

…and if we see our friends or celebrity types with washboard abs four months after a visit to the delivery suite, rather than bemoan the jelly belly you still wear like a badge of honour, embrace the fact genetics, diet and lifestyle play a huge part in our ability to recover expeditiously from the inordinate stress carrying a baby puts on your body.

After all, one gassy smile or cross-eyed eye roll is all it takes to remind us, this journey isn’t so much about us, as it is inherently about them! 🙂