Category Archives: Motherhood

What My ‘Birth’ Actually Looked Like…

There are very few ‘pretty’ pictures of my first few years as a mum.

Even fewer still are any insta-worthy memories of me and my pram, strolling along the beachfront, new baby tucked in, coffee in hand with a #yolo #mumlife underneath.

Not because I didn’t want to, or because I didn’t try my hardest to be that magazine-perfect image of a mum I’d been sold and completely bought into, but because that version of parenthood wasn’t ever going to exist for me.

We’d just gotten married and had one goal front and centre – to start a family.  I imagined myself skipping along, little cherubs in overalls, collecting flowers and sitting down for Sunday picnics.

Hahahahahahahaha. No.

I’d done what every normal (*cough*) girl does when she decides she wants to have a baby – subscribed to 337 magazines on everything from pregnancy, to birth, parenting, natural parenting, health issues and whatever else I could find. I bought books that covered my 9 months pre-natal all the way up until teen years that covered feeding, sleeping, discipline, milestones, wonder weeks and every possible medical condition I could potential imagine encountering. If my child had a rash or back-chatted me, I was ready for it.  Every single episode of Super Nanny ever recorded had been watched and I was horrified at those people who just couldn’t seem to get it together, it all seemed so obviously simple.

From the outside.


I went to the doctor at least 9 months prior to our planned conception date (Hello Honeymoon 😉 ) , started my prenatal vitamins, downloaded my ovulation calendar & thermometer, my ‘maybe baby predictor’ where you spit on a little microscope and “if it’s blooming so are you”!

*Note, spitting on a stick just prior to attempting actual baby-making is kind of counter productive*

We attended breastfeeding classes (turns out Phil is a natural, if he’d had the boobs for it), the baby expo, where I purchased every single item that could potentially make my experience as hassle-free as possible, antenatal classes, parenting classes, first aid classes, water birth classes and began squatting in preparation to push that baby out (and…turns out I was a bottle feeding, c-section mama in the end).

I was so SO ready and I totally had this parenting thing down.

Then I became one.

The shock of motherhood, or the ‘birth of a mother’ is something I never knew about until I was there.

There’s my actual birth:

A planned c-section that, although, had dashed my plans for a romanticised ‘natural’ labour,  was thankfully drama free.  I went in, baby came out.  An hour later I was nibbling on sandwiches and drinking lemonade.

And then there was my ‘spiritual one’ where I was hit in the face with the reality of motherhood.  Now, if this rite of passage into motherhood was a physical process for me, it would have looked something like this:

Being rushed along a hospital corridor bleeding out, barely breathing, nurses screaming “we’re losing her!” probably with a fire on some ward and a hostage situation taking place circa 1990’s hospital drama E.R.

Because while the physical birth of my baby was relatively uncomplicated, my start to motherhood was anything but.

Everything that could go wrong did.  Everything I imagined in my mind of what “motherhood” looked like, was the opposite in reality.

The first few weeks were a blur.

My baby cried (screamed). All day. Every day. All night. Every night. For months. And months.  And months.

Crying is pretty much all I did too.

I cried for all my hopes and dreams that were seemingly being shattered with every day that passed. Unrealistic, ambitious and largely unattainable dreams – even for a parent with a baby that did everything they were *meant* to.

Because babies are meant to throw up on you, pee in your face and poop all down your shirt, into your car and into the bath. It’s just not meant to be glossy magazine glam, no matter how much you put fluffy socks onto it.

My turning points and acceptance came slowly. The first was our paediatrician who hugged me and told me that I was doing an amazing job, reminding my to always advocate for my child because if I wouldn’t, who else would? I was his mum, I need to be his voice while he learned to find his own…

…And then she asked me to wait out in the hall (I think she meant a few blocks away) because no-one could hear themselves think with my baby still screaming in the room.

The next revelation was driving home from KMART (that place is just FULL of inspiration). Just randomly I realised that this was MY experience. As difficult as it was, it was still MINE. And I wasn’t about to miss the moments I HAD because I was holding out for some kind of imagined reality.

I decided to just fake it til I made it.  To find joy, even in the most obscure of places, and screw the resentment and regret that I’d kept finding myself lost in.

I decided to take in the tiny moments I did have, really breathe it in, and what was real around me., instead of peering into other people’s insta windows for the moments that I didn’t.

To put it simply, I made a choice to no longer grieve for something that had never existed anywhere except inside my own mind.   The birth, my ‘new parent’ experience and my skewed perception of motherhood all needed to be let go.

I took a second look at the glossy magazines that had fed me images of two-dimensional perfectly dressed mothers with their giggling, smiling (non-screaming) bundles of joy, babies who slept and ate and did everything advertising had told me they should, and I took a breath and decided one last thing.

That no matter how much I was invited to buy into it,

My experience of motherhood was not for sale.


School Clutter Clear Out

Today was the last day of school for 2016 for our kids and they return home from a year of learning with all of their ‘stuff’.  So much stuff!

If you ever thought that having a baby created alot of ‘stuff’ in your house, just wait until they’re school age and watch the piles begin to appear.  And grow, and grow.

In approximately 55 days time, they will return again to the classroom with their shiny new piles of ‘stuff’ that you’ll have bought, labelled and laminated.

Crazy as it sounds, my back-to-school prep begins tonight, tackling the piles and jobs that often get put on hold.  Doing it now means that when it’s time to spend nights on end in January labelling socks and covering books, our 2016 ‘stuff’ & clutter is out of the way.

The golden rules to making this work is to:

1) Streamline/double up on your jobs – anything that can be done together at the same time, do it!

2) Touch each item only once.  If you pick it up – deal with it straight away.


End Of School Clutter Clear Out List

  • Hang their Christmas cards in their rooms (the kids and I will do this tomorrow, tonight I’ve just helped them sort their cards into piles ready to put up with blutak). (10 minutes)
  • Put up the decorations/cards and gifts they’ve bought and made for you.  As well as any awards or Christmas photos they’ve come home with. Each of my kids has a felt pin up board in their room and I’ve simply swapped out and filed some older items from there. (10 minutes)
  • Clean any laminated charts that you need for next year.  Especially the THRASS chart which will be filthy.  A quick spray with eucalyptus & a wipe and it’s ready for next year (2 minutes).
  • Disinfect headphones – a quick wipe with eucalyptus should do the trick.  (1 minute)
  • File all the work you’re going to keep/throw all the work you’re not.  I have a large expanda file for each child and put all their special pictures, drawings and items in there. (At the end of the year/start of next year, I’ll go through it and cull 2016 to keep only what I really want and scan into the computer or throw away the things I don’t.  I find it too hard to do it as it comes in, I never know which pictures are going to be the ones worth keeping until I can compare them all. I also do the same for workbooks, I’ll keep one or two but for now, I put them all into a box to sort at the start of the new year when we can go through and reflect on them). (5 minutes).
  • Copy and laminate any resources that have come home that you’d like to put up in their homework nook.  Such as their names, school logins, alphabets, number charts, left and right reminders.  I copy and re-laminate these because the ones that come home are usually a bit ragged around the edges. (5 minutes).
  • Empty and wash lunch-boxes, lunch cooler bags & school bags (inside & out)  with hot soapy water.  I do this in my kitchen with an Enjo cloth, dishwashing detergent and a towel on the floor.  A quick scrub and they’re now hanging on the washing line to air out overnight. Remove all bag tags as well – Santa has new bag labels for their stockings this year, the ones I’m keeping, I’ve given a quick wipe over to freshen up.   (5-10 minutes) **Streamlining here – I also give my stroller a scrub and remove the seat cover to throw into the washing machine.**
  • Wash all hats, take home bags and library bags.  I throw all of mine into the machine in delicates bags.  My stroller seat is also in the machine with this load. (5 minutes to sort, 5 minutes to hang).
  • Wash or throw out their nap-time cushion (for Kindy/Pre-Primary age). (1 minute)
  • Polish or throw out school shoes.  One pair I’ve kept as they’re only new so I’ve polished them up for next year and the others I’ve thrown straight out as they were just about falling apart.  (1 minute)
  • Read through and scan or file the school reports.  Follow the ‘pick it up only once’ rule.  Don’t forget to celebrate their achievement! (5 minutes)
  • Sort and store their stationary into the cupboard.  Test texta’s, sharpen pencils and throw out anything you don’t need to keep.  (15 minutes)
  • Put away all empty workbooks – these can be sent to school next year or used at home to practice homework. (1 minute)
  • Strip wash school socks. The soap build-up from washing can leave them feeling hard and crunchy, a strip wash 1-2 x per year will get them feeling fresher and softer.  Method – Soak in napisan, launder on a normal wash with regular laundry soap.  This is to remover dirt & stains. Launder once more with a tiny squirt of dishwashing detergent (but NO laundry soap!) and put some vinegar into the rinse dispenser.  Run a rinse cycle 1-2 times to remove the soap build up and dry indoors on a rack to keep their newly returned softness (10 minutes plus time in machine).

Hopefully that helps you clear out the clutter that comes home from school this year a head start into your back-to-school prep for next year.

Let me know if you have any tips or routines you follow to stay on top of the end of year ‘stuff’… I’d love to hear it!

Rebecca xx

Your Child DOES Come With A Set Of Instructions

Have you ever tried to put together Ikea furniture without following the instructions?  I don’t even know if that’s humanely possible.  Even with instructions, it’s frustrating and overwhelming at best.

When it comes to parenting and all the various ‘styles’ that are out there, I believe that as long as you do your very best for your child and commit to really being present with them on your journey together, there’s very little that can go wrong.

Wouldn’t it still be nice though if your child came with instructions that could help you figure it all out? I don’t know why they don’t tell you in the hospitals or in the parenting magazines, but they actually DO!

Perhaps it was so small you missed it when the stork delivered your bundle of joy or it was stuck to the inside of the wrapping, thrown out and left behind when you took baby home.

The fact remains that each and every individual child DOES arrive with an instruction manual to guide his or her parent through.  Shy child? Yep there is a chapter on that.  Difficult baby? – A whole section dedicated in there!  If you’ve got a problem, this manual 100% has a way to guide you through.

Now, before you start googling or getting your credit card out for Amazon… just hold off a minute. You already have a copy imprinted directly on your heart.

When my first child was born, I realised very quickly that he (and therefore, I too, as his mother), didn’t seem to fit in.  Born not quite at peace with the world, it took an incredible amount of soul searching and challenging of everything around me perceived as being ‘right’ to find our path together.

I sought answers from every expert.  Label us, please tell us what’s wrong!  But no amount of expert opinion could give us an answer.  In fact, the very opposite.  They simply reassured me that while our situation was definitely not ‘normal’ (…”the doctor has asked if you could please wait down the hallway with your screaming baby”…) he himself, was perfectly ‘normal’.

So it only left one other possibility to consider.  That it was me.  But while I was trying my hardest, I was still failing dismally and day after day, I would find myself staring desperately at my wailing child, images of sweet lullabies and walks in the sunshine fading further and further away.

One night, a few months in, he finally fell exhausted into one of his beautiful deep sleeps. I remember sitting there, outside his door for a very long time in the silence of the night, weeping until my tears ran dry and feeling emotionally drained.  I just sat there silent. And it was in that silence that I crawled back into his room, looked at my sleeping child and simply whispered to him “I’ve got this kiddo”.

I found renewed strength, took a sledgehammer to the images in my mind, in my heart, of what my child was supposed to be like, how it was supposed to feel and what society said he was supposed to do and I gave both of us a clean slate with no expectations.

Fiercely protective and burnt out from judgement being passed on a daily basis, I decided from then on to start walking to the beat of my own drum and the beat of my own heart.

I became responsive, instead of reactive.  I tuned into his world and was respectful of his individual needs, as opposed to what others wanted from him.  I found joy in his individuality, instead of despair.  I searched for him.  And I found him.

And in doing so, he and I began to thrive.  It didn’t become easier, in fact, it became harder. But I had answers.  I had confidence.  And I had trust.

Society at large often didn’t agree however.  More and more judgement was passed our way.  I cannot tell you how many times I heard through the grapevine or worse, overhead them myself, that I was doing it wrong.  That by not pushing him harder, or being tougher on him that I was only going to create bigger problems further down the track.

But tonight, as I yet again watched my happy, kind-hearted and well-adjusted child move confidently outside of his comfort zone, I give thanks for those early days that forced me to look deep within and learn to ignore societies expectations. And for helping me discover and open the instruction manual for my child that I so desperately needed to find.

If you ever feel lost or overwhelmed, just pause.  Quieten the world around you, open your heart and find the instructions that are sitting there waiting for you.  No-one knows your child like you do.  If it feels wrong, it is.  You’re born with that instinct, an unconscious connection between your heart and theirs.

It’s quite simply just parenting by heart.

And always remember… You’ve got this kiddo.

The Guaranteed Way To End Mealtime Battles FOREVER

Almost every family has no doubt experienced it.  The dreaded mealtime encounter of “I don’t like it, I’m not eating it”, followed by the battle of wills, pleading, bargaining, commanding, then onto the endless hours of googling and pulling your hair out trying to find a way to please everyone’s individual mealtime preferences.

If you’re exhausted just reading that, no doubt you’re exhausted living it!

There is a way to end that problem once and for all.  And it’s not a magic recipe.  A special way of cutting or presenting food (though that never hurts!) or a ‘formula’ to follow to create willing palates.

Far simpler than any of that.  You just have to make a choice not to get drawn into the battle.  Just make a choice not to argue about it.  Plain and simple.  The battle is over before it begins.

happy kids playing

Food is one of the greatest pleasures in my life and it’s something I believe is incredibly important to pass onto my children.  A love of and an understanding of good nutrition and a healthy relationship with their food is a priority on my parenting journey.

Of course my kids try it on.  They tantrum and experiment with their likes and dislikes, just like everyone else out there.

I just make a choice, plain and simple, that I’m not going to turn it into a battle.  And far quicker than you think, kids very quickly get the message.

I am far too busy working and caring for all three of my kids to stress myself out about what to cook every night that will please everyone.  I’m far too appreciative of a varied diet to succumb to only having spaghetti bolognese seven days in a row. And I’m far too conscious of the importance of good food to allow them to survive on a diet of junk.

Our Family Mealtime Rules

  1. Parents provide, children decide.
  2. I provide healthy, nutritious options, my children can decide how much they eat from what’s served up.  And sometimes that means nothing.
  3. There is no replacement option.
  4. The kids are actively involved in making choices about the food we eat.   It’s not about control, it’s about being efficient and providing boundaries for a healthy diet.
  5. I take into account our family preferences and create family-friendly healthy options.  No fancy cuisine in this house, just simple, good food that the ‘majority’ of the time, is readily accepted.
  6. Treats are totally fine, I just don’t have them in the house.  They are very much a ‘sometimes’ food.  We ‘crowd out’ the cravings with healthy food, so that when it comes to the more indulgent items, it’s no big deal.
  7. We discuss what good food is and how good food makes you feel.  We also discuss why they may feel ‘not so great’ after eating not-so-great foods.
  8. There are no strings attached to a meal.  Food is there to nourish your body.  It’s not a bribe, a punishment or a ‘you can xzy if you eat…’
  9. We encourage playfulness with food.  Don’t want to eat it? That’s fine. But bet you can’t kiss it!  Bet you can’t lick it! What – you did!  WOW!
  10. Variety is the spice of life.  I offer a lot of options, regardless of whether or not they ‘like it’.  Children often need to see food many times over before they will be ready to try it.  It took me three years of regularly serving up carrots to get my eldest to try them.
  11. We don’t say ‘doesn’t like’.  We simply say ‘choosing not to eat that today’.  A food being rejected a few times, followed by the frequent labelling of a ‘fussy child’ and a consistent validation of ‘doesn’t like, doesn’t like” can end up with you creating your child’s own truth!
  12. Children’s appetites are incredibly varied.  Especially during the toddler years.  Be aware of growth spurts and energy needs.  Your child may need more frequent, smaller meals at a younger age than a traditional three meals and two snacks per day.
  13. When considering how much to serve up, halve what you think you should put on the plate.  Then halve it again.  This will save food being ‘wasted’ and avoid your young child feeling overwhelmed at the sight of a large meal.  You can always give more if it’s readily accepted.

It’s not easy.  But having a firm boundary around mealtimes and not allowing yourself to get sucked into mealtime ‘battles’ can make a huge difference, not only to your families diet, but also your sanity and sense of happiness.

My kids are great eaters.  But still, they dig their heels in every now and then and more than once have gone to bed with an empty, rumbling tummy.

But I give them a hug, remind them of the choices they made them which created that hunger and reassure them that there will be a yummy, nutritious breakfast waiting for them in the morning.

And I pause, reflect and give thanks for the fact that my children are so blessed in this life to be able to experience hunger, while never having to truly fear it.

I can’t promise you that this strategy will get your little one to start becoming more adventurous with their diet, but I can promise you that by choosing not to enter into a battle with them about it will result in a far happier, less-stressed you.

If you’re worried about any aspect of your child’s diet or their relationship with food, please don’t hesitate to seek expert help.  There are a number of dedicated nutritionists and child health experts who can help guide you and your family back towards the path of good health.

Body After Baby: The ‘Miracle’ Product Every Pregnant Woman Needs To Know About

“I’m pregnant!!!!” First comes the big announcement

Then comes the apparent fact that you can kiss your waist, breasts and “lady bits” goodbye.

Perhaps for me, it was because I’d spent the last decade working part time as a model, perhaps it was the well meaning, yet overly terrifying images that people unintentionally imprinted into my imagination, or perhaps it was the fact that my mother had lamented on an almost daily basis about the mummy tummy gifted to her by yours truly.

Whatever it was, as soon as we had our “Let’s start a family” conversation, I raced out to research every possible way that I could support myself throughout pregnancy and beyond.

What I found straight away was two definitive answers:

  • That no matter what, your body will permanently change in some way, shape or form. Feet can even go up by an entire shoe size.   Or two (“Yes, Darling… I need ANOTHER new pair of shoes. Not my fault, my feet are bigger after bearing your children…”).
  • That every single woman has an individual divine design that will dictate their own unique size, shape and body type.

Being healthy, fit and supporting my own body shape, became my priority as well as minimizing any damage that could result from the incredible physical feat I was about to embark on.

No different to applying sunscreen every day to prevent premature ageing of the skin, I decided that prevention would be much better than cure and so I focused on products and healthy habits that could assist me this outcome.

My first discovery was the SRC Recovery Shorts. If you know me, and you’ve told me you’re pregnant, you no doubt have heard me go on, and on, and on, and on (and on!) about these shorts.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a pretty confident statement that I believe 100% that these shorts are the reason the waist I was born with and enjoyed in my early 20’s is a very close cousin of the waist I have now in my 30’s after bearing three gorgeous babies.

I also have no doubt that it has the potential to manifest further back into a slightly more mature-looking identical twin sister once I manage to start hitting the gym again.

2[1]  P1010380 IMG_0288

Pre-Baby On Board                  Two Weeks Post Baby 1         Back Shooting In Studio

IMG_0158   999230_10152479755069392_1852652662_n IMG_0936

Six Days Post Baby 2      36 Weeks Along With Baby 3    Three Weeks Post Baby 3

In the three post baby photos, I was right in the middle of wearing my SRC shorts.   During this time, I literally watched my stomach go from swollen and unbelievably stretched back to a place of normalcy by being supported and protected during it’s most vulnerable phase of metamorphosis.

The theory behind the shorts wasn’t rocket science, in fact, it was simply a better designed, packaged and convenient way of centuries old belly binding.

The SRC Recovery shorts are a medical compression garment designed to be worn for the first 8 – 10 weeks post pregnancy, for as many hours as comfortable (both night and day) for best results.

For the first few weeks after having a baby, you will still be losing fluid and research has shown that providing support to a wound or swollen area can reduce swelling, pain and aid healing.

The SRC Recovery shorts also allow greater core stability, supporting your abdominal muscles, caesarean wound and/or perineum.

Think of it like this… for 9 months, you’ve slowly grown a watermelon inside of your stomach. It’s being held up there in an insane, gravity defying way, then the next minute, the watermelon is out and everything has nowhere to go but back down to earth. You want to guide that previous watermelon residence back down to earth gently with a scientifically-proven support crew in place.

I began wearing my shorts the moment I was up and out of bed and I wore them 24/7 for 6 weeks or more post partum. I also had a piece of medical tubing that I would use when my shorts were being washed, dried and I put them straight back on again.    And the results were nothing short of amazing.

By the time Ava was born (2013), the market seemed to have a few more products on offer. I did try some of them out but I found that the level of support and the results were nothing like what I was seeing with my SRC Recovery Shorts. They’d proven to work twice before and I was not going to take my chances third time around.

Yes, it was at times irritating to have to wear them 24/7 in the middle of a hot Australian summer but seeing my stomach defy THREE TIMES what I had been lead to believe was the inevitable, was more than enough incentive for me.

A word of warning however: If you are going to do it, spend money on a product and put your faith in it, you MUST follow through on the recommended instructions. Wearing intermittently, wearing for a short time, not starting them early enough, using a product that has been worn for multiple pregnancies and/or not cared for according to instructions may not give the same results.

Another cautionary note: This product is a support garment, not a weight loss product. It has the capacity to support your mid-section and return you to a great point to restart your post baby fitness goals, and while I can only describe my results as ‘miraculous’, it’s not going to give anyone a waist, butt or thighs that they weren’t born with or that they didn’t work hard for.

Even if a flat tummy is not high on your list of priorities, there is a huge amount of research to show why post partum belly binding is something to still consider for health and wellbeing reasons.

SRC Health has a range of products to support women in pregnancy and beyond. Their original Australian designs meet the needs of a new mum and the rest of the family. More information on their unique, patented designs, sizing guide and online shop can be found here:

The Greatest And Most Horrific Moment In My Life

International Women’s Day is once again fast approaching and as always, becomes a time of reflection for me. In 2011 I was inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame along with 99 other women from the past 100 years – celebrating the achievements of inspiring and incredible women – all who had contributed to the fabric of our great State.


I stood there, my name listed alongside Edith Cowan (posthumously), Professor Fiona Stanley, Dr Fiona Wood, Gina Rinehart, Priya Cooper​, Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, Dr Anne- Azza Aly​, Margaret Court and… because someone also thought so – me! I sat there star-struck, in awe of these great women around me. But as I sat there, I was also profoundly affected by the fact that I was there in one of the greatest capacities that a woman has – inside of me was another heart beating alongside mine, I was in the early phases of growing a new life. It was my secret and as I cradled my already growing tummy on stage amongst these women, not quite yet ready to tell the world, I looked up and all I could think of was what this new little life meant for me as a woman, and as a mother.

However, only days later, my world came crashing down as our little baby was not to be. I felt totally violated. Robbed by some invisible being who stole all my hopes, dreams and plans for the future. It was singlehandedly one of the greatest moments for me professionally and most horrific moments I’ve ever had to face personally. I steeled myself, took stock of my life, my aspirations and stepped back in all areas to focus on what mattered most to me – being a mother to my beautiful son. Four years on, I have another son and a daughter and a renewed passion for the journey that lies ahead for our family.

Now with a daughter to guide, and all too familiar with the challenges that lie ahead for her as we still fight for equal pay, equal rights and equal opportunities, I remind myself how blessed she will be for how far we have already come.

I don’t know what the future holds for me as I’m still firmly planted in the cyclonic winds of early childhood but I do know that I’ve already achieved something kick-ass incredible… something I struggle to comprehend that it was even possible – the fact that I created LIFE three times over. And what amazing little lives they are.

So many inspiring women around me that come into my world on a daily basis – International Women’s Day WA (IWD)​ is a celebration of you, of us and how we affect the world through peace, through innovation and through sheer hard work and determination. Yep – it’s good to be a lady!

How To Get Your Child Eating Green (And Orange, And Yellow, And Purple)

It seems like so much of our time as parents is spent worrying about our children’s sleep and what they eat.  But what if I told you that it didn’t have to be that way, that life is so much simpler than we like to make it?  Children by nature, are very simplistic little beings as well as creatures of habit.  They crave familiarity and stability but at times, this also can lead to bad habits developing and can create a great deal of unnecessary stress in the home.


Sleep is another issue that I’ll address in a later post but today I’ll give you a few tips on how to get your child eating better and setting them up with healthy habits for life.

Rule Number One – Monkey See, Monkey Do.  You can’t expect your children to have healthy habits if you’re not making a good diet a top priority for yourself.  Healthy habits begin in the womb as research has shown that a child’s tastebuds will be naturally influenced by what they’re exposed to during gestation.  Moderation and variety is the key.  Children learn by example, not by being ‘told what to do’.  So make your own diet a priority and you’ll start to see rewards long term both for you and your family.

Rule Number Two – If You Don’t Want It, Don’t Stock It!  I don’t buy junk food or processed food during a regular grocery shop.  If I want that soft drink or chocolate, I’m going to have to drive out and get it.  Sure, at times, I’ll have the occasional processed treats in my cupboard, but I know if it’s there all the time, I’ll indulge all the time. I don’t want my kids growing up seeing food come out of a packet, I want them to see it grown, baked and served with love.  I know my weakness.  So I’ve created this tactic to combat that and also to stop my kids becoming too familiar with a cupboard full of chemicals.

Rule Number Three – You Provide, Children Decide.  It’s up to you to provide healthy, nutritious food and drinks.  But it’s up to the child how much they eat and what they eat.  You can encourage trying something new, but never force them to eat.  It’ll always backfire in the long run.  Keep it simple, serve it up and let nature do the rest.  We have hunger pangs for a reason, let their body work for them, respect their genuine dislikes (my son can’t stand savoury crackers as an example) and allow them to develop a healthy, positive relationship with their own nutrition.  A healthy child will never starve themselves.

Rule Number Four – Never Give Up.  Research has shown that children need to see a new food 15 times before even trying it.  We never use the words, ‘Doesn’t like’ or ‘Won’t eat’ in front of our children.  By saying that in front of them, you’re creating and reaffirming a restricted diet for them.  A simple, “Oh, you don’t want to eat that today? That’s okay, maybe tomorrow sweetheart or another day”.   When my preschooler states loudly that a sibling “Doesn’t like” something, I remind him that “they’re just choosing not to eat it today, and that’s ok”.   It took two years of offering carrots on a weekly basis in our house before anyone ate them.  Now they’re a snack staple!  Try serving them up differently – different shapes, different textures (chopped, grated, steamed, etc) and you might hit the jackpot!

Rule Number Five – Don’t Provide Substitutions.  Don’t allow your own fears to interfere in your child’s development of a healthy diet.  If they’re not hungry for a carrot, they definitely don’t need coco pops.  I like to offer two to three options and let my children have a say in what they’d like to eat, for example, they can decide between an apple, banana or orange.  Don’t get carried away and leave it open ended “What would you like to eat?” is just setting yourself up for failure!  And always  avoid this situation “So would you like a carrot?, a banana? an apple? toast? yogurt? cereal? an omelette? chips? pancakes?”  It simply never, ever works.  Provide options that you know are reasonable and leave it at that.

Rule Number Six – Remember Amounts Will Vary And Be Prepared.  A saying in our house is that “Mummy is not a vending machine”.  However, I’ve learnt that babies can eat a lot, toddlers often eat very little (they may have birdlike diets or be known as healthy ‘non-eating’ toddlers.. both are not uncommon) and preschoolers eat A LOT!  I make sure that I always have healthy cereals, fruits and veggies, yoghurts, cheeses and baked goods ready to go.  And…Yes, food will at times go into the bin.  It’s part of life, accept it and move on.  Don’t make a big deal about it and just remember to start smaller next time.  A good rule for a toddler is to halve what you think they need, then halve it again for the first serving.  Too much can overwhelm and end up with their refusing to eat.

Rule Number Seven – Adjust The Snacks.  Keeping in mind that amounts needed will vary due to your child’s energy needs, if mealtimes are a battle but snacks are being consumed in abundance, then you may need to readjust your serving of them.  Adjust the times that snacks are allowed (An hour from mealtimes is our standard) and the amount consumed if you feel they’re impacting on the  main meal.

Rule Number Eight – Get Them Involved.  Grow veggies, take them to the farmers market, allow them to chop fruits and veggies and decide what gets thrown into the blender.  Take the unknown away and give kids a reason to be proud of what’s being served up. Perhaps they were the ones that grew or picked those mushrooms. Make stories up about food – tell them how much the Easter Bunny and Reindeer love their apples and carrots.  Create positive connections between what they see and what they taste and half the battle is already won.

Most importantly, remember that sitting down to eat is really hard for small active children.  Cut them some slack, keep it short, get creative how you serve it up and make mealtimes fun!

Quick Guide To Introducing A Green Smoothie To Your Kidsraspberry-kale-green-smoothie2+srgb.

  • Start regularly consuming a daily juice or smoothie and include your partner as well as any willing children.
  • Begin with simple flavours that you know are a favourite – watermelon and strawberry is delicious.  Let the kids make it for you.
  • Continue to offer every time if they’d to have some.
  • Subtly add in some extra nutrition  – throw in a small handful of spinach, a stick of celery and some mint to the watermelon and strawberry.
  • Remember to talk about what you’re doing, how great you feel, how it makes you run faster, jump higher and is so healthy.  If they have a taste, challenge them to a running race, the more they drink, the faster they get and they might just beat you if they can drink the whole lot!
  • Ask your kids what colour they’d like and let them help you with figuring out what could go into it – a green smoothie in our house has honeydew, spinach, pineapple, green apple, lime, mint, cucumber and celery.
  • Educate yourself on how you can boost the nutritional value.  Add a supplementary powder, chia seeds, coconut oil, etc.   What flavours you add in will depend on the recipe but there is always something you can add!

Have fun and enjoy the fact that you’re giving your kids one of the best gifts that a parent can give – a positive relationship with food and a love of healthy living.

If your child has issues with food and you’re concerned, getting help from a nutritionist is a great idea.  I love Little Fusspot you can find them on Facebook and it’s run by one awesome mummy based in WA.  Start following her to get some great ideas on improving your families diet and all how to turn little fusspots into healthy eaters.