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Get Some ‘Green’ Sleep on a Buckwheat Pillow

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Katesurfspillow2

Have you ever thought about your pillow? Pillows that you buy from most stores are filled with synthetic polyester or polyurethane (unless they are down pillows). They might be advertised ‘anti-allergenic‘ or ‘anti-dust mites‘, which sounds all great, but that usually means that the pillow has been treated with chemicals to make it that way! Synthetic pillows are also treated with boric acid, which makes certain that the pillow passes flame retardant tests. Ewww… I hate the idea that my head (or any other head in my family) would spend upwards of 8 hours a night with the most important part of their body resting on something treated with chemicals known to kill mold, dust mites and prevent flame! Do you see what I’m saying?! There is a natural and affordable alternative! Read the rest of this entry

Five Things the British Nanny Almost Got Right

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Katesurfsbritishnanny

Partial knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

I saw the Huffington Post article ‘5 Reasons Modern-Day Parenting is in Crisis-According to a British Nanny‘ floating around my Facebook newsfeed for days. I purposely ignored it, until a friend actually asked me to read it to see what I thought about it! I read it and to my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be. Although, there are HUGE, POTENTIALLY, DANGEROUS GAPS if her advice is taken out of context. Her article was short, easy to read, had something that every parent could relate to BUT, I would like to revise it for her. Read the rest of this entry

Criticism: The Fine Art of Giving and Receiving

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Katesurfscriticism

I recently wrote a blog post on why kids need to go outside and not waste so much of their time in front of screens. In my mind, I was writing out my concerns over children needing to connect more with nature and with their bodies. Lots of people liked it, but some people tore it apart left, right and center! To some people, I was writing a piece that was attacking their life style and their way of thinking. I was told I was being judgmental, closed minded, rude and even antagonistic! I was shocked because that was totally not the original intention of my post at all! Looking back, I probably could have written my article differently and then I shared it with the wrong group of people. Oops, my bad! Read the rest of this entry

Dear School Kid, Go Outside and Play. Love, Your Teacher

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goplay

Dear School Kid,
Today I said a little prayer for you. As I stepped out of the ocean tonight, after a mid-winter surf, feeling all fresh and alive, I wished with all of my might that you might have a chance to feel how I felt in that moment. My fingers were numb from the cold, but I had awareness in my breath and felt connected to my body. I wondered if many of you have ever felt this way before? It’s ok, I know how it is… I know that you’re stuck, sitting in school for 6 hours a day, and most of the time you don’t want to be there. And then after school, you go home and you sit around some more. I know because you told me. You told me that you sit in front of a screen for at least 5 hours on a school night and at least 9 on the weekend. Where does your mind go when you sit in front of that screen? Do you even notice that your whole consciousness dissolves in that glowing rectangular box in front of your face? I know it must be nice to get to do something that you ‘like‘ instead of being stuck sitting at school… I do understand…. Read the rest of this entry

4 Fun Yet Powerful Ways to Get Toddlers and Preschoolers to Cooperate

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Katesurfscooperate

I’m pretty laid back when it comes to letting my kids be free range. But, there are certain times when I just can’t let them play with something… and sometimes I absolutely need to get something out of their hands or I have to get them to do something or we need to leave somewhere. Teeth brushing, getting dressed, leaving the playground, etc. You know the deal… can be a huge struggle. But there are few little tools that I’ve found hugely useful over the years. No bribery. No punishments or rewards. No sticker charts… Just fun! Read the rest of this entry

NIP in America: An Insider’s Perspective From 10,000 Miles Away

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 Katesurfsbreastfeeding

NIP stands for Nursing in Public

A year ago, I would have never posted a picture of myself breastfeeding on the internet. Now, I feel like there’s no better way. Read the rest of this entry

201,987 Reasons Why I Bother

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Margo

(The title of this post is only meant to be *slightly* making fun of the ‘numbers of reasons’ posts that everyone writes these days.)

I sometimes wonder why I bother writing post after post on awareness parenting. I mean, I’M ALREADY a gentle parent. I’m already doing things that I know are good for my children’s emotional and physical growth… The few hours of quiet that I do get around the house, I spend writing, edited, sharing, responding to comments, etc. Today, the number of views on my blog stands right at 201,987, at the moment of writing this sentence. It might sounds exciting to some, but really, some blogs get that many views in a single day! Some days I feel like it’s a waste of time… until… I hear a story… and then I stop. Re-think it. And write another post.

How can I stop writing when I hear about a parent smacking a baby for being ‘naughty‘?! How can I stop writing when I hear about a parent who has ‘trained‘ their child so well not to disturb them at night that even if the child wets the bed, he or she is too scared to wake the parent up and ask for help? How can I stop writing when I hear about parents who actually put locks on their child’s door at night to keep their kid from wondering into the adult bed? How can I stop writing when I hear parents in the grocery stores yelling at their kid to shut the hell up and stop acting like a baby. How can I stop writing when I know there are mothers out there who are looking for the same answers that I have already found?

My little one PEED IN OUR bed last night! Did I scold her? Did I lock her in the other room? No way!!! I picked her up, changed her clothes, held her close, said I was sorry for not getting her to the toilet in time and my husband changed the sheets. Then, we all cuddled and went back to bed.

Society has trained parents to become disconnected from our children’s emotional well being. And, right now, I somehow feel the need to take the responsibility and be one of the many natural parenting warriors out there. It’s a tremendously arduous job that humanity faces in order to bring back basic, loving parenting knowledge that has been lost over the years. The best way I know how to contribute, is by writing these stories. It’s easy to sit back and complain about how bad it can be, so rather than complain (although complaining is fun in small doses), I try to come up with a solution and SHARE those solutions. I think the best way that ANY of us can make a difference is through sharing stories and offering honest and evidence based advice.

Every parent could write a book and if you don’t have time to write a book, someone else (like me) will write books, articles and posts on something you feel strongly about. I’m not going to stop writing because I know that someone, somewhere out there is reading this stuff and maybe, just *maybe* it’s making a difference. Maybe, the next time a parent thinks about trying cry it out, they’ll find one of my blog posts and decide against it. Or, maybe next time one of your friends thinks that smacking is a good idea, they’ll remember an article or story that you shared and decide against it. Maybe next time a desperate mother with a newborn needs to find a way to carry her baby, they’ll find one of my babywearing tutorials.

We all do parenting different. We all do LIFE different. It’s ok, actually, it’s great to have diversity and something to talk about. But, no matter how different you think we all are, we’re really much of the same. We should never stop sharing our stories. We can never think that we should always just ‘mind our own business‘. Human beings are not meant to live in isolation, we need other people’s brains to bounce ideas off of. The way we connect and communicate with people these days is mostly through the internet or through short snippets of daily life, at work, at playgroup, at the park, etc.

I know why I bother… when I see how much love, empathy and awareness my own kids are gaining each and every day, then I know it’s all worth it. When I see the kids at our playgroup, whose parents follow similar parenting philosophies as mine, and how happy and sincere and CONNECTED everyone is, then I know it’s all worth it. It’s not ‘what we do‘ it’s ‘how we do it‘. The way we treat our children has a direct impact on the world and our future. So, treat the kids well. Share your stories, don’t be shy! You never know who is listening, at least there have been 201,987 episodes of listening here so far!

 

Totally Herbacious Vegan Soup

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vegan soup

(I double dog dare you to make this without singing ‘Are You Going to Scarborough Fair’)

It’s winter in Australia and probably one of the coldest driest weeks we’ve had in a long time. My skin is all dry and the heels of my feet are cracked.  I knew that I needed something quick, warm and wet for dinner last night and I didn’t feel like making a mess with a million preparation pots. I also have quite a good herb garden on my balcony (it’s doesn’t get *that* cold in this part of Australia that you can’t grow a few herbs). It was the end of the week, so I wanted to use up the rest of my veggies, but you can use any veggies you want! Read the rest of this entry

Ten Non-Reasons Why Your Baby is Crying

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 Babycrying

Babies cry. You don’t have to feel bad about it. Either they’re trying to tell you something (they’re hungry, scared, etc.) or they’re frustrated or in pain.  We should always do the best we can to respond to a crying baby’s needs. Yes, sometimes it’s overwhelming and yes sometimes you need to put a crying baby down for a moment. Yes, we live in a silly society where parents live isolated and don’t have enough help. Sometimes, you pick up a baby and they just keep crying. Read the rest of this entry

Should We Never Ever Judge?

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GoldieBra

Judgement: The ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions. –Oxford Dictionary

I got in a bit of facebook trouble today (as you do sometimes) when I posted a Miss. Judgey Pants remark that went like this:

“Society has taught us to hold into our material possessions, but not to hold on to our babies.

A young fit father was pushing his three or four month old baby in a stroller with one hand and holding a coffee in the other. The baby was screaming and shaking. Dear Sir. Put down your coffee. Stop pushing the stroller. Pick up your baby!”

Read the rest of this entry