Outsourcing the Safety of a Piece of your Heart

Can you remember the moment you brought your baby home for the very first time?

In the thick of that glorious, sleep deprived, rollercoaster of emotions, everything hurts newborn bubble – I distinctly remember sitting on the couch, staring adoringly at the teeny tiny little bundle of deliciousness whose entire length of her outstretched body only extended from my knees to my postpartum tummy and thinking to myself –

“so this is what it feels like to have your heart exist on the outside of your body.”

Once the months of breastfeeding angst, monitoring the colour of poop and adjusting to our new normal had settled enough, the mothers in my antenatal group, my Plunket playgroup and other friends with babies were all starting to think and talk about the same thing – what are my options for returning to work? Who am I going to trust with the safety of my baby in order to enable me to be a confident working parent?

I remember making a point of sitting down one afternoon to look at childcare options while Everly was napping, and being a puddle of tears. I welled up at the thought of handing her off to be cared by someone else for 8 hours. What if I miss her first words? Or her first steps? What if she doesn’t get the attention she needs because she is around so many other kids?

It was hard. Being a first time mother, I had no idea what I didn’t know. What questions do I ask and what do I look for? How can I tell if my child will thrive here or not?

I spent so long researching the options in my area, trying to get a feel for what other parents experiences were. Do I go with an in home service or a centre? What are the pros and cons of both? I navigated my way through pages of information, the websites of private and government subsidised services and Education Review Reports – just to try and help me make sense of it all.

The experiences of the other parents I knew echoed mine.

“I finally shortlisted some options, and I went to visit them, and they had no space for 6 months, 8 months, until next year so it was back to the drawing board.”

Parents of kids under the age of 14 everywhere, everyday need to make decisions about childcare. Whether it’s early childhood, after school or before school care, and for school holidays. If a family is relocating for work or a change of lifestyle, decisions need to be made about what’s going to happen with the kids while mum and dad are at work.

There are over 800,000 parents in New Zealand and there has to be a better way to help them navigate their options, answer the questions they don’t know they should be asking, and start that evaluation process from the comfort of their own home for the care of the little people most precious to them.

What if there was a single place online that could help educate us about what our needs are in addition to what we think they are, and narrow down our options based on the criteria unique to our individual families? What if we could request to be contacted by multiple providers or make appointments using a form from one place rather than 20 different websites – some of which don’t even work or give us zero confidence that the enquiry got through.

Helping parents everywhere to answer these questions and solve these challenges is the goal of My Kids Village, a social enterprise founded by parents, for parents. We are only just getting started and over the next few months we will be endeavouring to help parents answer these all too familiar questions and assisting them to connect with their circle of people that makes up their kids village.

If this sounds like something that would be helpful to you, or someone you know, head on over to My Kids Village and register for free as a parent to receive helpful content and updates as we release them. 

6 Ways to be on Holiday at Home

As my golden island holiday tan fades as quickly as the burden of the responsibilities of real life return, I’m clinging on to the memories of relaxed, schedule-free days spent meandering to the buffet breakfast and lounging poolside under the warmth of the Fiji sun.

The stresses, rushing and busyness of daily life were left behind in exchange for slowing down and being nothing other than present. How can we recreate and weave these moments into the tapestry of our every day lives back at home? Here are 6 ways to do exactly that.

1. Rise early and eat breakfast like a queen

There’s something about being on holiday that inspires me to be up at the crack of dawn. The call of a buffet breakfast with everything you can imagine on offer certainly helps. But why wait to be on holiday to devour a three-course breakfast? Fruit and yoghurt, chased by a cooked breakfast of eggs and bacon or an omelette with all the trimmings and finished with a pastry – cinnamon rolls if you’re as obsessed as me! All complemented perfectly of course by a strong cup of coffee and/or multiple cups of fancier than usual tea. Now that’s the way to start every day!

2. Enjoy tropic-inspired mocktails on a weeknight

Pour yourself a mid-week, tropical holiday inspired mocktail, close your eyes and be whisked away right back to the waters edge, you can almost feel the sand between your toes. Our go-to mocktails were a Watermelon Mint Cooler and the virgin version of a Pina Colada, the Coco Colada.

3. Belly laugh

A ridiculous game of “would you rather?” can have you laughing so hard it hurts (and may even make you pee a little, so I’m told…). If you haven’t played it before, I suggest you start here and the rest of the game will take on a life of it’s own. Giggles guaranteed.

4. Get dexterous

Time away from a screen and keyboard and much less time than usual on my phone and social media encouraged me to read an actual book AND to take to pen and paper. To me it feels like there is much more freedom for creativity doing it the “old way.”

Treat yourself to some fancy new stationery and a beautiful pen and take time out for just you, your mind, and pen and paper without the influence of the internet.

5. Tour your home city

Tourists who have spent less than a week in Wellington have most likely seen and experienced more than I have in the years that I have lived here. Going away and returning is a great reminder to take stock and try and see our beautiful city through the eyes of visitors, instead of taking what Wellington has to offer for granted. Start building your itinerary here.

6. Install a unicorn rain shower

OK so this one is definitely more of a wishlist item but bear with me. You know when you’re on holiday and the showers have those giant flat shower heads that feel like magical unicorn rain trickling over your entire body? I want that, in my house. You should have one too. I found one here.

That’s my round up of 6 ways to bring meaningful moments from your holiday home, and incorporate them into your everyday life. What do you enjoy doing at home that reminds you of being away somewhere exotic and carefree? Would you add any others to the list?