April 2017

Stories/Articles

A day in the city by Kerrie Henry

I dress them in clothes I have made for them. Bent over my sewing machine during the few hours their sleep gave me each day I had stitched maternal joy into the stripes of his shirt and the cut of his pants...

A galloping mommy writer: Putting the pieces into perspective by KJ Hannah Greenberg

The cat plods onto my chest, all warm and steady breath, providing me with ample reason to stay in bed. Yesterday, things were reversed...

A Motherhood Statement by Antoinette Eklund

Oh hello. I have something to say. Today’s the day, I am going to make it. A motherhood statement. A broad sweeping claim, like arms wrapped around you. An encompassing statement, a forgiving, welcoming reassuring statement. A motherhood statement...

A tale of two toilets by Kylie Ladd

When it comes to toilet training, less is definitely more. That is, the less time and effort you have to spend on it the better. Nappies are a nuisance, but following your child around with a potty and a bottle of carpet shampoo is far more tedious...

Absent parents by Heather Rae

Once again this year my son will have his uncle stand in for the ‘Fathers’ and Special Person’s Night’ at kindergarten, because his father will be overseas for the Fathers’ Day celebrations...

Accidental parent by Vanessa Murray

It feels like somebody is draining the fluid around me. I know something is wrong. I go quiet and still. Several hours later the light is blinding as I am wrenched from my comfortable cocoon...

Alex by Donna Lee Austin

We’re out in the backyard enjoying the weekend sun. The grass is getting long and the lawnmower is broken. I’m pulling out the chickweed to give to the old lady down the street...

Amber by Samantha King

She lay under the willow tree, the cool breeze blowing the leaves above her, she watched God’s fingers of light shine through the branches, the shadows dancing across the patches of green grass below...

Baby broomer by Virginia Lowe

Once upon a time there was a baby who liked to sweep. He was only tiny when he started to walk (but he had been practising all his little life long) and as soon as he could walk without holding on, he picked up any broom he saw and pushed it. It was what adults did, but it was fun, too – serious baby fun...

Being ‘In Control’ – The Possible and Impossible in Parenting by Patty Wipfler

Parents are expected to stay ‘in control’ of their lives, their children, and themselves. Some major parts of this expectation are impossible to fulfil...

Can somebody help, I’m lost by Penni Drysdale

“Right, I can do this.” I exhale as though blowing out candles on an enormous cake. “Nappies, plastic bags, wipes, bibs, clean outfit, wrap, nappies, keys, mobile…”

Care, fear and the death of childhood by Rohan Wightman

I recently returned from living in Kuala Lumpur for six months with my partner and daughter. Little did we realise we would view returning to Australia with trepidation because of the cultural anxiety surrounding children...

Charlie takes over by Jo Barney

I tightened my arms that encircled his waist and held on. Charlie, his feet beating against my legs, stiffened and yelled, “I hate you, Jo, I hate you...

Children who abuse other children by Professor Freda Briggs AO

I regularly receive emails from parents on the same subject: their children have been sexually abused by other children at school. This is a comparatively recent but increasing problem and one that parents and teachers are ill-equipped to handle...

Co-sleeping: More than just cuddles? by Edwina Shaw

Social isolation is strongly linked to depression and other health problems. Human beings are social animals. We do better when we live with others. We are healthier and happier. Why then are so many of us ending up alone?

Dead-Nana by Tess Evans

Mikey sat on the back step and thoughtfully pushed an exploratory finger up his nose. He was gazing with some satisfaction at the result, when his heart began to beat uncomfortably fast...

Does your man still date you? by K. Danielle Edwards

It was eerie, the looming feeling that followed her like an apparition that refused to give up on this world – the feeling, the gnawing knowing, that she had married the right man but married into the wrong family...

Family fix-me-up by Rebecca Chaney

“Bring that sand back!  It’s for making concrete, not for your sandpit!”
Raising children and renovating your home. The two just don’t go together...

Five principles for spiritual parenting by Mimi Doe

We know more about nutrition than past generations. We’ve identified learning disorders and new educational techniques. We give our children every advantage we can afford, and some we cannot afford...

Gemstones by Michelle Brock

My sense of abandonment intensifies as I turn over the ignition and back the van out of the driveway. The car feels empty – the once endless chatter of youthful voices replaced by the silence of the vacant seats behind me. Who wants to come to the markets with me?...

Happy Birthday, Henry by Rheshee Williams

Waddling in from the stifling Katanning heat, Imogen felt a welcome sense of relief as the automatic doors sealed behind her. Flopping her disproportionately large body onto the waiting room couch she basked in the hospital’s air-conditioning...

How do we protect our children from internet pornography? by Julie Medlin, Ph.D. & Steven Knauts, Ph.D.

Eight-year-old Cindy was playing around on her mother’s computer in the afternoon after school. She was looking up websites about her favorite cartoon, “Pokemon.” Towards the bottom of one search page she noticed a link that said “Pokemon Porn...” 

How can you protect your child from sexual abuse? by Julie Medlin, Ph.D. & Steven Knauts, Ph.D.

As responsible parents, we want to protect our children from sexual abuse, but it’s hard to know how to actually do it. Our first instinct may be to keep them by our side all the time, but once our kids start to get older, this becomes impractical and not in the child’s best interest...

Josh Pyke – Creative father talks about raising children and crafting musical gems

Josh Pyke is an Australian musician, singer and songwriter a gift for story-telling. His lyrics are not quite what you’d expect from his folk/pop/Indie genre, in fact he’s won acclaim and respect for his creativity and clever way with words...

Jungle Hour by Cassy Cochrane

Known variously as Arsenic Hour or The Witching Hour, Jungle Hour is that period of late afternoon when the day dilly dallies as to whether it will become night or not. It can never quite seem to make up its mind, and this is what babies can’t stand, because babies like routines...

Kids can cope by Michelle Worthington

Life is full of questions. As children, asking questions is an excellent way of learning about the world around you. As parents, we are bombarded with these questions, and we have the responsibility and privilege of answering them...

Laboured experiences by Kylie Ladd

“I’m going to have gas and pethidine, but nothing stronger,” my friend Jemma* told me shortly before giving birth to her first child...

Loving ourselves and our children by Charmaine Saunders

Think of how the world would change for the better if all our children knew how precious they are and lived their lives in that belief? Self-love isn’t vanity or arrogance but a genuine confidence and having a healthy relationship with one’s own inner being...

Lydia’s story by Resselle Ladiao Hrelja

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish...

Made An extract from The Mothers’ Group by Fiona Higgins

It was the last Friday of the month, a warm spring day in October. Although it was only ten o’clock, the sun already had a sting in it. They’d parked the babies’ prams beneath the broad white umbrellas of Beachcombers...

Martial family arts: Computers, reptile research and shooting the moon by KJ Hannah Greenberg

A small set of feet connected to legs, torso and wildly swinging arms articulate themselves down the staircase. Banshee-like yelps filter forward in an otherwise poltergeist-free house...

Max and his cool new-age Dad. Not! by Kenny Williams

Max: Not all modern dads are superheroes. Some are stuck in the transition – take my dad. He’d like to think of himself as one of those cool new-age dads, you know the ones; able to change a nappy in under a minute, cooks, cleans...

Excerpt from Motherhood: How should we care for our children? by Anne Manne

My generation breathed in the assumptions of feminism as naturally as air. Our participation as equals in the traditional male worlds of work and achievement came more easily to us than perhaps to any previous generation of young women...

Mothers’ meeting by Jacinta Nandi

At the weekly mothers’ meeting, the social worker who’s in charge of the children’s area, Agnieska, tells us how we should react when we catch our children masturbating...

Murky waters by Penni Drysdale

Click. The front door. I turn to see him reaching out towards me, his little fists opening and closing excitedly, his legs kicking wildly...

One for the family by Philip Loyd

Charlie Easeman rolled over in bed when he smelled her perfume, her everyday touch reminding him what time it was and that he was in need of a shave...

Out of time by Lisa Berson

Her eyes were squeezed tightly shut. She was clutching her stomach, doubled over in pain as the wave of the contraction peaked at full force, groaning as it subsided...

Peace, love and khaki socks An extract, Chapter 1

Honestly, I couldn’t have given a shit if she was wearing undies or not. All I really cared about was trying not to throw up on her sandals. But rather than say so, I smiled and offered a feeble half-laugh...

Pleased to meet you Extract from ‘Becoming a Mother’ by Leisa Stathis

In the moment of birth it is not just a baby who is born but a mother too. For nine or so months we have been dreaming of this moment, the instant when we would meet our baby for the first time...

Precious by Alyson Hill

From high up in a cool, weightless place comes a distant sound; a babbling, not of water flowing but of little voices, one unintelligible and the other authoritative and rising and, alas, I am woken from bliss...

Question time by Caroline Tuohey

Don’t prospective parents ask lots of questions? I know I did. What shall we name the baby? Should we buy a pram with three wheels or four? Which car seat is the safest? How will I manage if the baby doesn’t sleep...

Roots, wings and other things (excerpt) by Donna Spalding

Our unplanned, multi-racial family had started off in the usual way, with the birth of our first and only biological child. The family grew, through numerous adoptions, to the unusually large number of eight children...

Rosie and me by Sue Madison

A mother called me today. Actually, a stepmother. She is a little worried about Megan. She isn’t sure if she should be. And she doesn’t know if she even has a right to be worried...

Santa: Innocent fantasy or harmful lie? by Chaley-Ann Scott

Most progressive parents know that lying to our kids is not a good idea – it’s not respectful or kind and is likely to erode the trust our child has for us. However, what about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and unicorns...

Separation Anxiety Disorder debunked by Chaley-Ann Scott

In our fast-paced, materialistic world dominated by the dual-income family, it is common for children as young as eight months to be labelled with Separation Anxiety Disorder if they protest strongly about being separated from their parents...

Sex and the kiddies by Kylie Ladd

The shift from couple to family brings change in many areas: financial, career, lifestyle. Perhaps the largest however are in the area that started it all in the first place. From sleepless nights of passion to well, just sleepless nights, here’s your guide to sex after children...

Sleeping with Lionel Richie by Darren Groth

“It’s time.” Zach stares at me and groans. Two simple words have shattered his rocking chair reverie. “Now?” “Now.” “She’s only been awake for an hour and a half...”

Snuffy by Tess Evans-Websdale

Mikey looked at the fishy thing on the computer. It didn’t look much like baby to him, but Daddy had said it was a baby and Daddy wouldn’t tell lies...

Sparkles in play dough by Juliet Gorrie

I have this thing. And this thing is, that I don’t like shop-bought play dough. Homemade play dough smells nicer, it’s softer and I just like it. It makes me feel like I’m at one with my inner ‘mother of the year’...

Story Magic by Phyllis McDuff

As life emerged on earth from the primeval slime, there was a group of cells that carried the potential to become human — to transform the jelly blob into the thinking, feeling, dreaming being we call man...

Superhero play – Good or evil? Can we really save the world before naptime? by Jayne Kearney

I swear my son, Levi, came out of the womb wearing a Spiderman costume – much to my dismay at the time. I was never going to be a mother who encouraged superhero play...

Swaying with nature? by Victoria Brown

With two teenage stepsons and a beautiful 18-month-old boy, we’re at that stage where people are asking when we’re going to start trying for ‘the next one’. Inevitably they follow up with a comment ... “I bet you want a girl.”...

Sweet dreams by Kerry Buchanan

Fussing was futile. Hope knew that. She held the wood gently against the lathe until it screamed. She carefully swayed the timber, letting the tones in the sound guide the movement of her hands...

Tales of the beach by Deborah J. Smith

One day, two intrepid adventurers – one with a year’s Spanish and the other with a phrasebook – braved a trip with the local Spaniards from the immaculately clean Granada station on a big, cushy tour bus...

Tea for three by Melissa O'Shea

Jo and I met in a tutorial at uni. Back then I envied her good posture and confidence, the legacy of a private girls’ school. Once we grew up enough to marry and buy real wood furniture, I envied Jo’s renovated character home on a tree-lined street ten minutes from the city...

The baby artist by Caylie Jeffery

In the quietest and darkest hour of the night, when bone weary parents have laid their heads, the machines continue their unrelenting tango with delicate souls...

The Crying by Amanda Meyer

“Honey,” came the small voice in the night. “What?” and the reply a little too ready and sharp, “Are you really awake? It’s 3.00am.” “Well, could you ....? Maybe ... just. Oh please can you just go check her, I mean just check if she’s still breathing...

The current situation for parents and the work of parenting by Patty Wipfler

The situation for parents is growing more difficult in most countries of the world today, in spite of technological and material advances in the Western world. Capitalism and the ethic that supports it is encroaching on all the cultures of the world...

The curse by Jennifer Varela

My mother cursed me. She pointed at me, summoned all her strength, and hurled the most heinous words she could summon straight into my little five-year-old eyes…

The Divided Heart, Art and Motherhood An excerpt from the book by Rachel Power

In the month after my son was born I was standing in the laundry, washing miniature jumpers in the cavernous steel sink. The window overlooked our overgrown courtyard and, at its centre, a multitude of white cotton nappies...

The friendship cycle of a mother by Kerstin Lindros

It is no surprise some friendships don’t survive the turbulent toddler years. But I didn’t know that back then. I was a first-timer...

The making of mates by Kylie Ladd

Parents worry about many things when their child first starts school. Will she adjust to the long day? Can he remember where the toilets are? Have I given her enough to eat...

The ‘no more nappies party’ by Kathy Szaters

We had a ‘no more nappies’ party at our house. First, we decorated the house with balloons and hand-made posters. Then, we set theparty food out on the table – there was an array of sausage rolls, cocktail frankfurts, and chips, accompanied by iced chocolate doughnuts for dessert...

The power of the bower by Martin Pattie

It started off with a bit of verbal jousting regarding a minor plumbing chore. “Where's that thread tape?” I asked. “Dunno . . . it was here,” said Roo. “Did you take it?”...

The recalcitrant by Stella Jones

“Harvey, why are you so lazy and uncommunicative?” There was no answer eight-year-old Harvey could give without risking further reproof...

The Sunflower Dress by Michelle Brock

‘No, I do it Self!’ Annie declares defiantly as I scoop her dripping body out of the bath and bundle her in a towel. As I race towards her bedroom, large droplets plop from the tangled spaghetti of her hair...

The Two Year Old Teacher by Tiggy Johnson

As parents we are generally open to accepting that our toddlers provide us much opportunity to learn about ourselves. But what about when it comes to our own learning?...

The Umbilical Word – Excerpt by Darren Groth

The early morning sun streamed through the frosty glass of the spare room’s only window. The angle of the rays, coupled with the passage permitted by the gaping wooden slats of the attached blind, saw much of the light fall upon the computer work-station. It was radiant...

The Woodcutter’s Wife: A Stepmother’s Tale by Dolla S. Merrillees

When asked what I would like to be when I grew up, I can’t say I actually aspired to being a divorcée, however glamorous it sounded, or, for that matter, a wicked stepmother...

Extract from Thriving at school: A practical guide to help your child enjoy the crucial school years by Dr John Irvine & John Stewart

Education or learning? ‘What are we doing to our kids? We have more benchmarks, more standardised basic skills tests, more objectives and progress checks, but many kids still don’t listen, don’t care, don’t respect authority...

Tricky Kids: Transforming conflict and freeing their potential (Excerpt) by Andrew Fuller

Stubborn, pigheaded, defiant, oppositional, free-ranging, having a mind of their own, iron-willed, forceful, determined, hardheaded, free-spirited or just plain difficult...

Under the island house by Lori Bernard

The name ‘island house’ usually gives people a false impression. “Come visit us sometime at the island house,” we will say, and the image that comes to mind is that of a large house on stilts overlooking the calm bay waters...

Underground Road – An extract by Sharon Kernot

Edith peers through the lace curtains at the madman singing to her letterbox. She raps her knuckles on the window hoping to frighten him away. He doesn’t hear, doesn’t look at her...

Using words with care by Mimi Doe

Words have the power to destroy or heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change the world. Jack Kornfield...

Video Born Killers by Yolanda Corduff

The brave new world of computer-generated virtual-realities, blockbuster action films and violent video games has spawned many new industries, most reaping financial benefits many of us can only dream of...

What to do when you crave a Mummy ‘time-out’ by Chaley-Ann Scott

You have had four hours sleep, the house looks like you’ve been burgled, the kids are screaming at each other, and the baby has colic. We have all been there and it’s not pretty...

When Mummy’s breast is the security object
by Kirsten Ehrlich Davies

According to my child-raising bible, a toddler’s security object is an important symbol of comfort, bridging the transition from Mummy’s arms into the big scary world...

When teens choose to use: Top 6 reasons teens turn to alcohol and drugs by Raychelle Cassada Lohmann

There comes a time in a teen’s life where he or she is faced with the single decision to take a drug. Oftentimes the power of that one decision is underestimated. Some teens are able to say no and others can’t resist the urge and give in to temptation...

Why use your words? by Kate Hopper

When I was seven months pregnant with my first daughter, Stella, and just beginning the third year of the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Minnesota, I became suddenly and severely ill with preeclampsia, a disease that affects 5–8% of all pregnancies and is responsible for over 77,000 maternal deaths worldwide every year...

“I value every precious moment with my children – or at least I try to.”*

Living in the moment is such an integral part of being a mother. The world rushes by, and so does their babyhood, despite all that relishing, savoring and devouring. Watching some home videos of my three-year-old as an infant and toddler, I found myself enraptured, remembering those blissful times (clearly blanking out the bleary-eyed exhaustion). Even now that we are well out of the baby years and immersed in more challenging times, I take the time to pause, be still and cherish.

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* by Anne‑marie Taplin, author of Being Mummy