Archive for December, 2012

What’s so great about Christmas?

Last year we talked about dads, traditions and Christmas.

This year we thought we would focus on the great things about Christmas.

1.  Time for a break

You generally get a few days off in a row to eat, drink, be merry and hang out with your loved ones. If you are lucky like me, you get time off with your partner for a whole two weeks as your family business shuts down or you take annual leave. Looking forward to that. (For those who don’t have time off at Christmas, check out Dads, Traditions and Christmas for some great alternative ideas.)

2.  The beach

It’s summer here in Australia so we get to head down the road to our stunning local beach. My hubby gets to swim out with the boys to the pontoon and jump off, look for shells and starfish and after all of this share an icecream, and then head home for a afternoon nap. We know our snow dwelling friends in the northern hemisphere have similar fun activities in the cold and really enjoy this time.

3.  Christmas tree decorating

Every year in the McKay family we spend the 1st of December together decorating the tree. There is always music and yummy treats and we all take turns putting up our favourite decorations and the new ones we have made this year. We love this family time together and it’s now one of our rituals that everyone loves. (Cath wishes it were so, tree decorating in the Cook family consists of her son constructing the tree, end of story, and then her daughter decorating with help from herself, with hubby hiding anywhere he can! Not quite how she envisaged their family tradition.)

4.  It’s a great time for reflection

Every year we sit back with our boys and go over the year that has rushed by. We talk about all the wonderful times we have had, what our highlights have been. We also cover the not-so-great days and how we coped with these times. It usually comes back to our strengths as a family and how we can stick together. I suppose this is the Aussie version of thanksgiving. This gives us the ability to look forward and discuss what we would like to do for the new year, what our hopes and dreams are.

5.  Carols by candlelight

If you’ve ever had an Aussie carols night you’ll know that it’s usually ‘carols by sunset’. And boy are our sunsets spectacular. We usually head down to the Fremantle Arts Centre and meet up with loads of our friends. The picnic is packed along with a few beers. We love the community feel of Fremantle (money is raised at the door) and how we can all sing and watch the children have so much fun.

6.  Giving (and receiving)

Each year we give to our preferred charities. It’s a way of giving back and hoping that we can make another less fortunate family have a lovely Xmas. The McKays always give to the Kmart Wishing Tree, supporting the Salvation Army and the tremendous work they do in the community. The Cooks choose to buy a Gift of Compassion, providing a much needed services in countries less fortunate than ours. I try to make my gifts or buy from local small businesses to help them along too. Of course everyone loves to get a present. We just try to keep it low key and from the heart. Our boys have been busy at school making something for Sean and I which we look forward to.

I have about a hundred other points on why Christmas is just so fab but will keep it to the ones above.

Cath Cook and I (and the extended DadSkills team) would like to wish all our new dads, mums and babies, our supporters and followers a wonderful, happy and safe Christmas, however you choose to celebrate Christmas this year. We look forward to being able to do even more great and wonderful things to support dads and their families in the new year.

Dads to be here is the tip on crowd control for when baby is here

In our society today, we tend to spend a lot of time talking about what to do during pregnancy and birth and don’t give enough attention to the time when you bring your new squishy slippery little baby home.

I remember when we came home with our first son. I had a great pregnancy, amazing birth supported by my husband and doula, but had completely forgotten about preparing for when we got home (in fact, the first time around I just didn’t even realise that I needed to). Of course we had all the gear that we needed, but not once did I think about the support we would need. It never crossed my mind.

As a result of this, we have included a very informative session on this important topic on DadSkills – online childbirth childbirth classes for the Dad to be.

I always ask the question “What are you going to do when you get home?” during my prenatal classes. This usually leads to a big discussion about what the couples have available and any gaps that may need filling before baby is earthside. I include dads in this conversation because they are the “protectors” and great at coming up with solutions.

Couples will usually ask me how they can politely say ‘no’ to visitors. Or they express that they are worried that everyone will drop by expecting cups of tea and their full attention? They also wonder how they can ask for the help they need.

We know this can be a problem and so DadSkills has come up with some free downloadable crowd control registers. One that asks for help right off the bat.  And the other allows you to know who has visited while you are resting. These were born (pardon the pun – can’t help myself ) after my second baby arrived. With my first son, I didn’t know how to say ‘no’ to unwanted visitors. We had people dropping in on their way to work at 6.30 in the morning. I mean, seriously?! I also didn’t know to ask for help. Call it SuperMum Syndrome maybe, but I thought I could do it all. And it stopped me from enjoying this time as much as I could have.  Second time round was different. I knew what I needed and got my husband (seriously creative type) to make up some laminated signs and stick the Visitors Register on our big heavy duty gates and the Help List on the fridge. What a relief! We managed to get the help we needed and manage the crowds of visitors in a positive way.

They were so successful that a couple of friends then made up their own. Awesome!

If your baby is born in hospital, the Visitors Register could even be used on your hospital door. Cath reached a point after the birth of her first child where the inability to sleep was causing her stress and visitors would just pop in out of the blue. In the end, she ended up placing a sign on the door to say that she was resting and couldn’t receive visitors. The Visitors Register would have been perfect at that time!

So what are you going to do to make sure you have the support you need?


childbirth classes – dad to be – dads to be – online childbirth classes – antenatal classes – prenatal classes – pregnancy classes – birthing classes