Blog Page 4

Twerking – What the hell

Before you read my post watch Miley Cyrus’ new music video and then read on

I get it. She wants to break free of her ‘Disney’ image from the Hannah Montana show but is this really an appropriate way to do it?

Celebrities will always try and be controversial because that is what sells. People talking about them increases their visibility which is in the end what they are looking for. What I disagree with, is the approach that Miley has taken to try and craft her new image.

How many girls out there grew up with Hannah Montana and probably look to her as a role model? Now she’s ‘Twerking‘ all over the place, what kind of role model does that? Surely knowing that you are a role model to so many girls around the world should bring with it some moral obligation.

I am not saying that she needs to go to church every Sunday, but there is a line, one which I believe she has crossed. I am just glad my girls don’t have a clue who she is.

How much is enough? Do you think public figures have an obligation to be good role models for our kids? Leave a comment below.

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Starting a blog – Why I started writing about being a dad

Why don’t you start a blog about being a dad

Was the suggestion from my partner who had been blogging about her experiences as a mother to 3 daughters. I’d been struggling to find content for my first blog where I was writing about social media and content marketing. It is a highly competitive field and I am by no means an expert, so starting a daddy blog was a great step for me to better my blogging skills and meet new people online.

If you’re new in blogging, you should use this theme – Enfold WordPress Theme – The best theme I know. I also use it when start the first blog!

I originally started this blog to just better my writing skills, meet new people and as a hobby but since then I have developed an idea of where I want to lead this blog. From talking about changing crappy nappies and dealing with tantrums, I want to use this blog to help encourage other dads around the world to share their stories of parenthood. Not just the good times of being a dad but also the sh*t times and to let others know that they are not alone on struggle street.

Most of my friends that I have grown up with are yet to venture down the path of parenthood, so naturally I felt like the odd one out when talking about parenting or being a dad. Starting this blog has provided me the gateway to discuss my trials and tribulations that is being a dad and reading others stories along the way has certainly helped.

I’m not trying to say that my way of parenting is better than anyone else’s or vice versa but merely looking for an outlet of my frustration as well as my triumphs as a parent. I enjoy expressing my views and I equally enjoy reading others opinions on similar issues that we face as parents. That is why I feel that any fathers who are some what inclined, should start their own dad blog.

It provides an outlet for your creativity to flow, for your inner writer to express feelings that you probably couldn’t normally. You don’t have to make your blog public like this one but by writing it can help you express your thoughts in a way that you probably haven’t previously. Sharing experiences and learning from others is what it is all about and I encourage you to share your story.

That is why I blog and it is why I will continue to blog about parenthood. I recently asked a new friend, Johnathan Ervine from Dad’s the way I like it why he blogged about fatherhood. He was kind enough to write an entire post on it and it’s a brilliant piece of writing. Johnathan like me was simply looking to get involved in the dad blogging community and contribute to the conversation and by all accounts he has benefited from it to no end.

I want to hear from you, why you blog or why you don’t blog. If you need help starting a blog, ask! There are a number of great dad bloggers out there who are willing to lend a hand and I am more than happy to help anyone out.

Like this post? Let me know on Twitter.

Guest post – Why I blog

By Jonathan Ervine (@j_ervine)

It seems like not long ago that I was reading an article about the growing number of dad bloggers in the UK. Within little over a week, I too had joined the craze and set up a blog entitled Dad’s the way I like it.

If you want to start a blog, you should also consider the Enfold theme, the best theme I know for both expert and newbie!

I didn’t set up my blog because I thought that I had something to offer that was better and different from all the other blogs out there, but rather that I’d seen that there was an exciting dialogue going on and I wanted to participate in it.

Since becoming a dad in April of this year, and indeed in the months just before that, I’d thought a lot about what it meant to be a dad and how dads are represented in the media. I wanted to share my views on both of these issues and also talk about my own experiences of fatherhood.

Setting up the blog and deciding on the name was in many ways the most challenging part as I spent ages trying out all sorts of different colour schemes on WordPress. Selecting a name for the blog was almost as challenging as trying to decide upon one for our son.

My first post was about preparing for fatherhood and the books that I’d read about this while my wife was pregnant with our son. It was read by massive numbers, but I was pleased to just get it out there and get my blog up and running.

Since my first post, I have blogged about representations of dads on television, nappy changing and paternity leave. I have deliberately tried to strike a balance between giving my views of topics to do with representations of dads and parenting and talking about my own experiences.

One of the most satisfying aspects of running the blog has been receiving comments from fellow bloggers and interacting with fellow dads from around the world. Over the last few weeks, I have had discussions with dads who live in the UK, US, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy and Brazil.

What I have found is that there’s a lot of solidarity among blogging dads, even if understandably there is not always agreement on all aspects of parenting. It’s been fascinating sharing different perspectives via Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in addition to discussing things on the blog itself.

There are so many groups for dads or parents who blog on Facebook and Google+ and I’ve particularly enjoyed being part of the Dad Bloggers Facebook group. This group is great for sharing posts, discussing fatherhood and issues to do with running a blog.

One of the main challenges with blogging that I have encountered is striking a balance between posting regularly and not spending too much time posting and reading other blogs. I’d initially planned to do one post at the weekend and another one mid-week, but have decided to stick to one a week so as not to give myself too much to do on top of a full-time job and spending as much time as possible out of work just being a dad and husband.

Another reason that I’ve decided to stick to doing just the one blog post a week is that I keep on discovering so many other dad and parenting blogs that I want to read. Some of these are fairly general, whilst others focus on more specific issues such as work-life balance or bilingualism and parenting.

I wouldn’t say that I feel that blogging about parenting necessarily makes me or anyone else a better parent, but I would say that it has helped me to think about what it means to be a parent and what is important in life.

Give Jonathan a shout out on Twitter and let him know you read his post. You can find more of Jonathan’s work at Dad’s the way I like it

I’ve earned the title of Dad

This is the second post in a two part series when I talk about earning the title of dad and that it shouldn’t just be awarded to someone who helped conceive the child. If you haven’t read the first post you can check it out here.

All dressed up and heading to the movies

All dressed up and heading to the movies

 Treating them like your own

I’m a big softie. Anyone who has spent any decent amount of time with me will be able to confirm that. I also believe I am a good father. Sure I have some ups and some downs but overall I think I rank pretty high on the parenting scale. When I met my Fiance she had a 3 year old daughter (Daughter 1) and I knew this before I had even been introduced to her. I’d seen a friend have a relationship with a girl who had a daughter around the same age and it failed, terribly. But for me, I didn’t care that she had a child. Truth be told, I was glad that Daughter 1 was around. I loved the idea of being a role model to someone, to be the one responsible for her well being. It was a great feeling the day she decided to call me dad.

It’s an honour

For a child to accept you as their dad, when they have a choice, is no greater honour. They are trusting you with their lives, no greater trust could be bestowed upon you. This is exactly how I felt when she decided I was her dad. My partner didn’t tell her to call me that, she had called me James from the beginning but we had formed a bond that was incredibly strong and has been growing ever since. She is my daughter and I am her dad and no one will take that away from me.

I’ve been there for her when she’s been sick, I’ve been there for her when she has come home from school upset, I have been there for Christmas day but unfortunately I have missed her birthday for the last 3 years due to work requirements. Although I miss her birthdays, I make sure I make it up to her whenever I can. Take this for example. It is her birthday one week after I leave next week so next weekend is all about her. There’ll be balloons, there’ll be cake and there will be party food. We don’t know anyone in Canberra yet so it will only be our little family but man it will be fun. I’ll post pictures afterwards.

What’s next?

The adoption laws in Australia seem fairly straight forward but having said that I don’t have a clue where to start. I’ve been reading and its fair to say, I can do a lot more to get my head around what needs to happen and how the process works but that is the route we are headed down. She is one of the four best things to happen in my life and I will never ever let her down (I’ll try not to at least).

Guest post – Why I blog

By Jonathan Ervine (@j_ervine)

It seems like not long ago that I was reading an article about the growing number of dad bloggers in the UK. Within little over a week, I too had joined the craze and set up a blog entitled Dad’s the way I like it.

I didn’t set up my blog because I thought that I had something to offer that was better and different from all the other blogs out there, but rather that I’d seen that there was an exciting dialogue going on and I wanted to participate in it.

Since becoming a dad in April of this year, and indeed in the months just before that, I’d thought a lot about what it meant to be a dad and how dads are represented in the media. I wanted to share my views on both of these issues and also talk about my own experiences of fatherhood.

Setting up the blog and deciding on the name was in many ways the most challenging part as I spent ages trying out all sorts of different colour schemes on WordPress. Selecting a name for the blog was almost as challenging as trying to decide upon one for our son.

My first post was about preparing for fatherhood and the books that I’d read about this while my wife was pregnant with our son. It was read by massive numbers, but I was pleased to just get it out there and get my blog up and running.

Since my first post, I have blogged about representations of dads on television, nappy changing and paternity leave. I have deliberately tried to strike a balance between giving my views of topics to do with representations of dads and parenting and talking about my own experiences.

One of the most satisfying aspects of running the blog has been receiving comments from fellow bloggers and interacting with fellow dads from around the world. Over the last few weeks, I have had discussions with dads who live in the UK, US, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy and Brazil.

What I have found is that there’s a lot of solidarity among blogging dads, even if understandably there is not always agreement on all aspects of parenting. It’s been fascinating sharing different perspectives via Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in addition to discussing things on the blog itself.

There are so many groups for dads or parents who blog on Facebook and Google+ and I’ve particularly enjoyed being part of the Dad Bloggers Facebook group. This group is great for sharing posts, discussing fatherhood and issues to do with running a blog.

One of the main challenges with blogging that I have encountered is striking a balance between posting regularly and not spending too much time posting and reading other blogs. I’d initially planned to do one post at the weekend and another one mid-week, but have decided to stick to one a week so as not to give myself too much to do on top of a full-time job and spending as much time as possible out of work just being a dad and husband.

Another reason that I’ve decided to stick to doing just the one blog post a week is that I keep on discovering so many other dad and parenting blogs that I want to read. Some of these are fairly general, whilst others focus on more specific issues such as work-life balance or bilingualism and parenting.

I wouldn’t say that I feel that blogging about parenting necessarily makes me or anyone else a better parent, but I would say that it has helped me to think about what it means to be a parent and what is important in life.

Ps: If you want to start a blog, you should also consider the Enfold theme, the best theme I know for both expert and newbie!

Give Jonathan a shout out on Twitter and let him know you read his post. You can find more of Jonathan’s work at Dad’s the way I like it

Earning the title of Dad (2 part series)

Biological fathers still need to earn the title of dad

Biological fathers still need to earn the title of dad

It’s my opinion that the word dad or father is earned and shouldn’t be a given right. It takes more than a sexual act, 9 months of pregnancy and the birth of another human being, in my eyes, to truly be considered a father. In this two part series I’ll be exploring the meaning of being a father and then exploring my personal situation and our lead up to applying for adoption. 

Daughter 1 is not my biological child. It pains me to say it because I consider her to be my own but I will never be her biological father. I am not going to go into details about the situation because that is a private matter but all I will say is that the “sperm donor” split the moment he found out.

I wanted to write this post to really give my perspective on what the definition of being a “father” means to me. I also wanted this post to be a place where others in a similar situation can post their stories, make sure you leave it in the comment section below.

Meet my daughter…

I met Daughter 1 in December 2009, when her mum brought her round to my apartment before we went to a local beach for a swim. Christine had never introduced Daughter 1 to a partner before, maybe she could sense something was different about this relationship. Later that year we got engaged.

A study conducted by John Moores University in the UK found in 2005 that 1 in every 25 fathers was not actually the biological father. That begs the question, should we think of being a father as more than just biology? In my opinion, most definitely. I have a great relationship with my dad (I assume he is my biological dad, I haven’t been told otherwise). We talk a few times a week and see each other when we can as we now live on opposite sides of the country. Our relationship is built on trust, respect and honesty. Which to me are the key factors to any relationship but lets go further.

A father by definition of the Oxford dictionary is;

The definition of Father

First of all, we have the definition “a man in relation to his child or children”. Great we got that, but let’s look at the variants which follow. “An important male figure in the origin and early history of something” and “a man who provides care and protection”. I feel I tick both those boxes and I bet many others who are in my same situation feel they do to.

So by definition, calling yourself the father of a child who isn’t biologically yours is still correct in the English language. Personally, this is incredibly important not only for me but I think for my Daughter, when one day we sit down and tell her that I am not her biological dad. But it shouldn’t really matter.

If you love them like your own, care for them like your own, provide for them like your own and even call them your own (I do, it gets messy otherwise) there is no reason I can see why you are any less of a father than the one who helped conceive it. By showing love, compassion and affection, not only to your biological children, but to kids who may not be biologically related, you earn the title of being their father.

It shouldn’t be a participation title. Fatherhood takes strength, courage and an immense amount of patience. If you can manage all of those things, plus being an excellent role model, you’ve earned the title of Dad in my books.

What are your thoughts on the definition of being a Father? Do you think it should be based completely on biology, or on who provides and loves the child? Let me know in the comments below.

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Healthy Snacks for Kids – Apple Chips

Quick healthy snacks for our kids is always at the forefront of any parents mind. How can I give them something that is nutritious as well as tasty. Today I’ll share with you a little trick that gets my kids eating fruit like its going out of fashion.

Healthy kids snacks, healthy food for kids

A sharp knife, apple and chopping board

What you’ll need

  • Chopping board,
  • Sharp knife,
  • An apple, and,
  • Not so Masterchef knife skills.

Optional

  • An apple corer.

My kids like fruit, sometimes but they like chips better so I was thinking of a way that I could get them to eat more fruit. Now I am not claiming that I made this up I am actually pretty sure I saw it somewhere and thought I would give it a go and it was a hit.

Healthy kids snacks, Healthy snacks for kids

Step 1 – Quarter the apple and remove the core

Step 1 –

Quarter your apple up and remove the core if you haven’t used a corer.

Step 2-

Slice the quarters thinly. This will determine the thickness of your apple chips or fries if you will.

Healthy food for kids, Healthy eating for kids

Step 2 – Slice the quarters thinly

Step 3-

This is where those not so Masterchef skills come into the mix. Slice the apple thins into chip like shapes and it will look something like this.

Healthy food guide, healthy meals for kids

Step 3 – Slice the apple thins into chips

Finished product

There you have it, Apple chips. My kids love these for a healthy quick snack for either after school or on the weekend.

Kids snacks, healthy option snacks for kids

A quick healthy option for kids snacks

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The Terrible Twos

Tantrum after Tantrum – dealing with the terrible twos

Public tantrums can be embarrassing

Public tantrums can be embarrassing

 I didn’t think it would happen to us, Daughter 2 was such a perfect baby. She slept through the night from a really young age, never cried when we went out and was an all round good baby in my eyes. But recently something has changed….

We went out yesterday to Gungahlin because I needed to pick up a few supplies before I leave for work in a couple of weeks. Let me start by saying, sometimes I can be short on patience and yesterday was one of those days.

Walking through the shops Daughter 2 was okay, I went to get a trolley and both Daughter 1 & 2 jumped in. But that’s when it started, screaming, crying and kicking. Daughter 2 did not want to stay in the trolley, the list of things to buy and I hadn’t even found the first item!

Parenting.com has a post claiming that the Terrible Twos is “an old-fashioned idea and not supported by research,” but I tell you what, if you want research take my daughter to the shops. That will provide enough evidence for any scientist worth their salt.

I absolutely love all my daughters with all my heart and would go to the ends of the world for them but boy oh boy. Daughter 2 has this little cheeky smile when she knows exactly what I am saying “stay with daddy please” but she dips her head and looks up at me. I can tell exactly what she is thinking “I know what he is telling me to do, but I’m my own person and I want to go here”. Independence is a huge thing to toddlers and they are curious, especially at this age about how the world works. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to tell Daughter 2 off for trying to get the pot out of the cupboard to make herself some dinner.

I went looking for some information on what causes the dreaded Terrible Twos and it was actually quite interesting. Kidspot.com.au claims that around age 2 our beautiful little angels go through a change in their brain development, or as they say explosive brain development. Thinking about it logically it’s actually quite easy to understand but it doesn’t remove the embarrassment or frustration out of the equation for us parents.

What can we do to deal with the Terrible Twos?

Thankfully the Terrible Twos isn’t a new phenomenon and even if there isn’t any scientific research to support it there has been considerable unofficial research into how to deal with these dreaded tantrums. Often we will find that the tantrums are caused by a lack of understanding from our toddlers perspective and this is actually quite reasonable as I know I get frustrated when I don’t understand something (why my toddler is having a tantrum for example).

Emotions, every males favourite topic, typically when your toddler is having a tantrum their emotions are running through the roof! But how can we deal with these emotions? Advice I’ve seen, ignore them. As long as they aren’t hurting anyone (or themselves) it may help curb that nasty tantrum that your son/daughter is having in the middle of Kmart. Walking away from the situation may help, not only the toddler, but the parent as the frustration of a screaming toddler could often cloud our judgement and send our emotions into a downward spiral as well.

Your toddlers search for independence can be frustrating for you but another option is giving your favourite little person a choice. This could help foster that curiosity that they so badly have for the unknown. By giving your son/daughter a choice (a reasonable choice of course) it can help boost their self confidence and give them that feeling of independence that they so long for.

Enjoy the time you have with them

I think it is important to remember (especially for me who doesn’t get to spend to much time with my daughters) that it doesn’t last forever and we need to enjoy the time we have with them. In 10 years from now, I guarantee that my daughter probably won’t want to go to the shops with me and these tantrums that are frustrating me now are going to be a distant memory. Remembering that these are our children’s development years and sometimes that “no” could be for a valid reason and not just because Daughter 2 wants to make a scene in Kmart. Remember, no one said it was easy…

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10 July 2013

When talking about feeding Daughter 3 today with Daughter 1

Daughter 1 “Babies sometimes suck on girls pimples”.

After a short period of intense laughter my wife and I sat her down to explain what exactly breast feeding is and why babies do in fact breast feed. I think she understood otherwise it will be an awkward time when she first breaks out with pimples…

What to do when a child has lied

Taking a stand against your children’s lies!

I found this meme on Google+ and I would definitely hate to be in that kid’s shoes!

I like it.

Raising kids

Taking a stand against your children lying

Let me know if you have any good pointer on how to deal with lying.

“What’s wrong? Are you pregnant or something?”

This was the question that I asked right before I found out I was going to be a Dad for the first time.

Christine and I had been dating since January, right before I deployed for 6 Months. I’d known her since December 2009 and in June 2010, she was pregnant. Holy crap what the hell is going on!

I was at work when I got a text, “hey do you mind coming over tonight I want to talk to you”. Now where I come from that means one of two things, I am going to break up with you or I’m pregnant. Fortunately (at the time I thought unfortunately) it was the latter and Christine was 5 weeks pregnant. I think I’d been back in country for 6 weeks so do the math!

A few minutes pass and I can’t handle it, I give her a call. “What’s up” I ask, “nothing, I just want to see you” I get back. This goes on for a couple of minutes until I ask the question that will change my life forever “What’s wrong? Are you pregnant or something?” “Yes” I hear from down the phone.

WHAT THE F**K!

This wasn’t meant to happen to me! I’m not ready for kids! Do I have to marry her now? What the hell am I going to do!

Just a few things running through my head after that phone call and I’m sure if you’ve ever been in that situation you would have had similar thoughts.

So I left work. “Boss, I’m taking the rest of the day off” (Luckily we had nothing on and I had a good boss, thanks Jon!) Driving to see Christine, more thoughts. What are we doing? We can’t have kids together. I should mention, at the time Christine had a beautiful 4 year old Tahnee who I now consider my own and I am looking to legally adopt her in the coming year.

I called my mum, “Christine is pregnant” I shouted down the phone in a panicked voice. “Oh James, don’t worry, you’ll make an excellent dad”. Thanks for the encouragement mum but I’m not sure I can be a dad, I can’t even organise my own life let alone another person’s. I was 22 when all this was going on mind you.

What do you want to do?

There was no doubt in Christine’s mind. She was having the baby. I think because I am so good looking it was too good an opportunity to pass up. She’ll argue otherwise.

Being a complete newbie at kids and pregnant women, we discussed what was next and left the bigger picture stuff to another time when emotions and thoughts weren’t running circles in our heads.

Needless to say, we proceeded along the pregnancy pathway. Months and months passed, Christine’s belly grew bigger and bigger. My nerves grew bigger and bigger.

We found a place and moved in together. This wasn’t too hard for me, as living on a ship with 15 men in a room the size of a bathroom for months and months. Tahnee (Christine’s daughter) was all a bit lost I think. Suddenly she was moving into a strange house with a man her mother had been dating for 8 months, although 6 of those he wasn’t around and she was pregnant. Needless to say, Tahnee was excited to have a little sister.

26th March 2011

It was a Saturday. Christine was 3 weeks out from her due date. Her back pain was excruciating. Her knees were collapsing and I was scared. Last thing I needed was her falling and hurting herself. I should mention, I was deploying for 4 months in 7 weeks. Admittedly it was to Hawaii but I was leaving my now Fiancée for 4 months with a new born.

I rang the hospital, “look she needs to have this baby now! She’s collapsing all over the place. Enough is enough!” I politely shouted down the phone to the midwife. “I’ll ring the doctor and see what he says and call you back”.

Longest 5 minutes of my life!

“Present to the hospital at 0800 tomorrow”

Activate, Overdrive.

That’s what it felt like. Right what are we doing with Tahnee? Is the car seat in the car? Is your bag packed?

Then I remembered. Crap! I am on my promotion course tomorrow and I can’t miss it. Please be a quick, uncomplicated labour! That night, I tossed and turned and tossed and turned some more. I was ready, well I thought so.

Newborn baby.

Mikayla Grace Tew

The next afternoon, Mikayla Grace Tew was born, 2.8kg heavy or for you non-metric types, 6lb 2oz.

My first, biological daughter. I held her, listened to her cry and the midwife asked “Would you like to feed her?” “How do I do that?” I asked being 100% serious. The midwife chuckled and told me it was simple.

As you can see in the photo, I was scared as hell.

Nothing you do will prepare you for the first time you hold your own child

I thought that I could read books, blogs and watch videos. But I’ll say it again. Nothing will prepare you for that first time you lay eyes on your child.

They are fragile, beautiful (even with cone shaped heads), vulnerable and looking for food. Go with the flow. I know in my situation I was scared as hell but it’s all about going with it. Sure, having a bit of background knowledge probably helped, but every situation will be different because if we were all the same, life would be boring.

Biggest lesson

Do a bit of research, but don’t expect it to be all peachy. Mikayla came out not breathing. We were lucky but a lot of people aren’t and my heart goes out to all of you. But as the saying goes, prior preparation prevents piss poor performance.

Also, listen. Listening is the best way to learn. If you don’t know, ask. The only stupid questions are the ones that aren’t asked.

Most importantly. Keep a level head. Nothing worse than falling apart in front of your partner/wife who is literally falling apart in front of you.

Have you got any tips or opinions to share?

Let me know in the comments below.

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