Louisa Claire

Opinion

Today

Today was a pretty ordinary day in our house; just an ordinary Saturday doing ordinary Saturday things.

The Architect took the big kids to the market to do our weekly shop. He came home with fresh coconuts for me which was lovely. Spent close to $200 on the groceries which is at the expensive end of a shop for us.

I did dishes, dishes and more dishes combined with a stack of washing. I sent emails, tidied up a bit and cooked.

I turned lights on, and off. I used the computer, heated our home and even finished off some clothes in the dryer.

I did all this and more. Boring right?

Right.

Except it’s not really – because all those things I did, I did because I am an Aussie, and I am rich.

80% of the world live on less than $10 a day.

We spent more on our groceries today that some people earn in a month.

I can’t remember where the stats are but I am pretty sure I’m in the top 1% of the worlds wealthy. If you’re an Aussie you are too. Yay for you! and me! We are blessed indeed.

A few years ago a beautiful young girl called Amy died. She was 21.

Amy used to find it really hard that she had so much, both materially and spiritually, simply because she was an Aussie. It was a cause of great inner turmoil for her … it just wasn’t fair and she felt this with a depth and intensity rarely seen.

I never knew quite what to say to her when we’d have these conversations. The best I could come up with was that she was right and that the best way we could really respond was by being responsible with what we had – with our wealth, our knowledge of God and His love and with our lives.

Amy would be heartbroken and really, really pissed off today. She’d be gracious about it, as was her way, but she was tough and she’d be tough about our governments decision to break out moral and legal obligations to people seeking asylum.

Over 90% of people who arrive by boat, in Australia, seeking asylum are found to be genuine refugees.

If you don’t know the facts, then now is the time to learn them. Today is a day where the best we can do is be informed…

Rudd is right, very very right.

Australia’s view on global refugee problem is distorted ~ Tim Costello

You’ve been misled on boat people. Here are the facts. ~ Julian Burnside

Today we must be informed and be resolved. We can do better and together, we will.
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Why are we even still talking about vaccinations?

I don’t get it.

Just don’t get it.

The science has spoken. There is no debate.

No debate.

Vaccinations are the best thing for us as a community and every day people LIVE because they and others have been vaccinated.

And yet there is still this bollocks out there that people should have the “right to choose”.

Well actually, no. When you choose NOT to vaccinate then you effectively make that choice for everyone else too.

Every time a parent chooses NOT to vaccinate the child they make a choice to risk life and health on behalf of another family, another child.

And that is not ok.

Do you have genuine questions about vaccinating children? If so, please let me know and I will provide researched, fact based answers for you – I understand that some parents, especially new parents who have heard the fear mongering might be genuinely concerned. I truly appreciate that because I myself was concerned for those very same reasons. If I can help direct you to fact based information upon which to make a confident decision I would be more than happy to do that.


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I still call Australia home…but now you can’t.

Yesterday I learnt that our government has excised all of Australia from the migration zone. This means that noone who arrives in Australia via boat without a Visa is entitled to apply for protection under the Hague treaty. It gives Australian authorities the right to remove anyone, including children, to a detention center for processing where they are not allowed legal representation. The media ban on access to detention centers has also been upheld.

I cried…am crying.

I am ashamed, so deeply ashamed that this beautiful country, my home, could have made a decision so ungenerous and inhumane.

A couple of years go members of the local and national Australian community came together through this blog to raise funds and goods for people in detention. Last week Bliss' school did one of their regular collections for the Asylum Seeker Refugee Council and next week our church will do its monthly collection for the same center.

Almost everyone I know abhors the way our government and the one before it treated asylum seekers. Almost everyone I know would love to help, to see change. But where can we even begin in the face of an issue so big?

Removing the emotion from the equation, how a Labour government could have made this decision, taking even further the actions of John Howard is…confusing. Why do they perpetuate the lies, the fearmongering when they have a chance to do the opposite, to truly lead.

Have they forgotten who their voters are? Who they represent?

I am but one person and all I have is this one little blog…but I'll be damned it I don't use it.

 


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It’s time for school camp. The kids are ready, are you?

Last month I sent my little girl off to school camp for two nights.

As a mother, I found it full on. I missed her, I was worried she would miss us and two nights feels like a really long time when they are little.

But my anxiety was unfounded, she returned having LOVED it and so full of confidence. It made me feel so proud, and also so glad that I hadn’t let my fears and my anxiety impact her experience…or even let it stop her from having the experience all together.

Bliss_CampFull_2

While she was away I shared my anxiety on social media and in doing so was met with a lot of surprise that a child of her age would be off on school camp. What really shocked me was the stories that were shared about parents who don’t let their children attend school camps even at the older ages of 8 and 9. Children who miss out on being with their peers and of learning the inner satisfaction of growing up and into some independence.

Education choices are very personal and I definitely realise that a 5year old going on school camp is outside of the norm in Australia but I can tell you that it was an entirely positive experience for Bliss and for all the other kids. I think it was probably also good for me and my journey as a parent.

I can also say that the one reason I was willing to send her to camp was because I do trust her school.

It’s the issue of trust that stood out to me as I heard the stories of children not being allowed to attend camp. If you can’t trust your school to send your child on camp with them isn’t there a much bigger issue at play and a much more terrifying situation for our children?

Or am I misunderstanding this situation….??

 

 

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Your problem is that you’re overweight…thoughts on talking to kids about weight loss.

I sat down on the weekend and opened the Daily Life magazine to find myself looking at an article called “Drastic Meseaure: If she’s hungry, she can have some salad” which chronicles the journey of a mother who, at the advice of a paediatrician, needs to help her 7 year old daughter lose 7 kilos.

It’s something of a strange title because you don’t have to read far into it to realise that for this mother it’s a case of “if she’s hungry, she shouldn’t be and no she can’t have any salad.”

If you haven’t read it but have a vague interest in what I am going to say here then I’d suggest taking a few moments to acquaint yourself with the article – to paraphrase it here would not do it justice.

I tried to read this journey with an open mind. The idea of teaching children about choices is great, the idea that even at a birthday party you shouldn’t gorge yourself on everything is fine too, good even. The thing I struggled with the most was the language Weiss used about food when talking to her daughter about the issue, and the overwhelming sense I had that this mother was so consumed by her own food issues that she couldn’t find a way to respond that didn’t pass those issues on to her child. She betrays herself by speaking heavily of the “health” related side of this weight loss journey, likening it to a “disease” but concluding the experience by asking her daughter if she “likes the way she looks now”.

No matter what we say about this, no matter how strong our opinion we best not forget that there is a young child involved, a child who has been placed on very public stage about something that most of us would prefer to keep private.

Near the end of the article, Weiss makes a comment that astounds me. She says…

Food was not a fraught issue in my household growing up, yet I developed problems with it. There are some issues that kids are just born with. I didn’t make Bea obese. I don’t blame sugary drinks, processed foods, trans fats or gargantuan portion sizes. She didn’t become overweight because she gorged on junk food or played video games all day. She was simply and indisputably born with the unfortunate tendency to overeat and a congenital preference for foods that are conducive to weight gain.

I don’t want to be a smart arse about it but I do have to ask, isn’t this is a “condition” the whole world is born with?

I support a parent who wants to do the best they can by their child and who, having identified an issue such as this early on, is willing to take some hard lines to help their child get healthy. What I have serious questions about is the undue burden placed on a 7 year old who is told “your problem is that you are overweight.” (I can’t imagine a way that I would be able to say that to my child, or indeed anyone, that didn’t involve me being a total bitch.) I’d like to think there is a way for a parent to take responsibility, because surely when you are 7 years old involved it is the responsibility of a parent to oversee things like diet, without burdening the child. And while I think Weiss’s desire to give her child the language to talk about something that most of us are uncomfortable to talk about is admirable, I fear that it is too big an ask for a seven year old.

It seems to me that at the heart of this issue is “shame” and the way it is (wrongly) inextricably linked to the notion of being “overweight” or perhaps it’s the other way around… Weiss perhaps protests to much that she is primarily concerned with the health of her child – isn’t this the argument that gets trotted out whenever the topic of weight comes up?? We aren’t comfortable with it so we try to sanitise it and hey, making it a health issue makes it waaaay more palatable. Weiss’ daughter now understands this connection in a way that I don’t think a 7 year old should. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

The issue of food and body image is fraught. I regularly think about how I speak of these things in front of Bliss, how I speak about myself and what kind of example I am to her. If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen me share updates about my own post-baby weight loss journey. I speak of it there in small measure because it does not consume me. I no longer agonise about my appearance and weight and if I can find away to impart this ability into my own child’s life well before her 30th birthday then I will be utterly thrilled. I highly doubt that this process will ever involve me uttering the words “your problem is that you’re overweight.”

 

 

 


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How would you make a difference in an Australian child’s life?

 

How would you make a difference in an Australian child’s life? Not your own child, clearly… (you are already doing that!)

Full on question hey?

I’m a bit embarrassed to say that this is something I have thought about a bit…but not done anything about. Before kids I used to think that when I became a Mum I’d go and visit old folks homes and spend time working with charities and the like. None of that has eventuated and though we do give financially to different charities, it never quite feels like enough.

As you might know, the team from Colgate Australia partnered with The Smith Family this year to raise money for children from less priviledged families around Australia. (By the by, you can help them donate $1 by uploading a smiling photo to their FB page). Turns out helping other kids is pretty simple stuff, with just the click of a mouse people are changing lives every. day.

Colgate are giving 20 Australians the chance to find out first hand how they can practically help other Aussies in need via their “Smile for Change” competition. The winners of the comp, and there will be 20 of them, will be able to sponsor a child through The Smith Family at no cost to themselves – Colgate will foot the bill and you will get the chance to see, first hand, both the challenges faced by Australian families and the way this amazing charity works to make life better for them.

You enter via the Colgate Australia Facebook Page. Entries close on August 28th. All you need to do to enter is make sure you have liked the page and then in 50-150 words share why you want to become the sponsor of a disadvantaged child.

So, if you could – how would you (or are you) making a difference to a child’s life?
 

I wasn’t paid to write this post, but I was sponsored by Colgate Australia to attend Blog World in New York in June this year.


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