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Parenting, unschooling, yurt life

BIGGEST.NEWS.EVER.

26 February, 2015

I was making dinner yesterday and Ramona came in and was like “What you up to Mum?” and I said “Making a pie” and she took a good look inside my bowl and went “Worst. Pie. Ever.”

So… we do sort of, obviously, overuse that “Ever” thing rather a lot. But, truly, this is the

BIGGEST.NEWS.EVER.

You know how we moved to New Zealand for this sort of wild and free and outdoorsy life? And then we kept looking and looking for a bit of land to put our roots down? And then couldn’t find anywhere and it felt like things just weren’t really going to plan?

 Well, meanwhile, we were living in our yurt on an organic farm and learning an awful amount about farming and living sustainably, and how not to dye the chickens bright pink, and also making firm friends with the other families that live here. One of the families has a brood of children, and they unschool too, and we share many other values, and they have also been looking for a forever home. About halfway through last year we realised that we could, and should, do all of this together. 

 And then, exactly one year to the day that Tim and I moved here we looked at this piece of land on a river, in one of the North Island’s most spectacular spots, the Karangahake Gorge.



The local water feature

 And we were like; Woah. This is the one! It was ticking all the boxes we’d given up on – having a river to swim in, lots of forest, lots of flat, affordable. It is surrounded by Conservation Land, and a swing bridge from the corner of the property takes you over the river into some forest and small mountain ranges hundreds of miles big.

It's hard to capture - but here is a snap

It’s hard to capture – but here is a snap

So we bought it! Halfsies, with our friends. And today it goes unconditional! And we move there in the Spring! 

 It is funny though, this community living thing. It is like being heavily pregnant, when everyone wants to tell you their horrible – death defying birth stories, with all the gore and fears. And you are all “You are telling me this because ….. ?????” 

 When people hear we are going to be sharing this Dingly Dell they tell me about their best friends who bought together and then one of them chopped the other’s ear off, or that community that internally combusted due to communal mouldy potatoes. 

 I’m absolutely not denying it is hard, sharing life like this. We know so, so many people dream of it and it doesn’t work out. We realise it could well not last forever. But we are really committed to the idea, to bringing our children up in a tribe, to working together to live as sustainable life as possible, so we are going to really try and live this dream.

 (And at least we’ll never look back and wish we’d been more bold.)

 So YIKES AND YAY!!!!! We are planning now, and dreaming, and THIS SHIZZELMCNIZZEL JUST GOT REAL!

 (PS, I haven’t forgotten about the Social Justice and Parenting Series thingy it is just quite heavy and so I’ll be taking more frivolous breaks in between them…) 

Attachment parenting, Breastfeeding, Parenting

A Breastfeeding Poem (also- I need your help!)

19 February, 2015

Milk-cry

“BOOBOO!” You shout
Less crass than “BAPS!”
– the milk-cry of your sister.

Entangled elsewhere,
Hands dirty, arms full,
You dissolve;
“Booboobooboobooboobooooo.”

Sometimes, instead of “Mama!”
You try “Booboo?”
My sense, that milk is all I am to you,
manifest.

Then you call “Booboo!”
When you mean “Weewee!”
And I know it simply
Drips from your lips.

As natural as breathing;
Oxygen in/ “Booboo” out.
Sung through the day
Hummed in the night.

Our own home’s cuckoo;
Your heart-burst for Booboo.

breastfeeding poetry

(Despite having written poetry since being able to scrawl letters, I’ve only one other time shared a poem with others and that was moons ago. So yeah, yikes. There it was.

My Grandad Harry, who is ninety, is a prolific poet, writing several verses every single day. He has had books of his beautiful poetry published and each Monday he shares a new poem on Facebook. How cool is that?

I’m not imagining emulating my Grandad, but when poet Natalie Goldberg wrote that writing doesn’t exist until it’s been heard or read, I felt that if I was going to give in to the urge of writing poetry then I must give fully to it, and hit publish every now and then.)

And now, I’d love your help

As I finished this poem I wondered about all the other milk-crys out there and thought I might like to make an anthology of them.

Ramona loves to hear the story of her own word, BAPS! (Always yelled.) She asks how I knew she meant Mama Milk and I tell her how it was always accompanied by her extending her arms, pumping her hands like she was milking a cow, and then climbing on to my lap and stuffing her head down the neck of my jumper.

What have your little ones called breastfeeding? Is there a story about it? If you don’t mind me sharing it on this blog, please do leave a comment with your own kiddo’s milk-cry.

Thank you!

Activism, Featured, Parenting

Parenting for Social Justice: Non Violent Communication

16 February, 2015

This post goes out to a legend of our time who sadly passed away last week. Marshall Rosenberg dedicated his life to peace and created tools that resolved conflict in the most tricky of situations. I read his book, Non Violent Communication, and became sure that if everyone read it, and put it into practice, the world would be a much more harmonious, beautiful, just place.

I felt it had massive potential for use in the home, that the principles and methods of talking and listening could transform parent- child relationships, that it could restore connection where a disconnect had taken place.

So, I want to kick off a short blog series, Parenting for Social Justice, with Non Violent Communication. (NVC, because life’s too short.)

Who jake change begins at home- here's how

Not because I am amazing at it (I am pretty sure my beg, every early morning, “Let me sleeeeeeeeeep moooooooore because otherwise I will diiiiiieeeeeee” flouts all the NVC guidelines) but because I TRY to bring this kind of communication in my life, and I believe it is KEY in raising social justice loving children.

NVC is a strategy for communicating, but it can also be a lens through which we see life. The four components are observations, feelings, needs and requests.

First, we observe what is actually happening in a situation: what are we observing others saying or doing that is either enriching or not enriching our life? The trick is to be able to articulate this observation without introducing any judgment or evaluation—to simply say what people are doing that we either like or don’t like. Next, we state how we feel when we observe this action: are we hurt, scared, joyful, amused, irritated? And thirdly, we say what needs of ours are connected to the feelings we have identified. An awareness of these three components is present when we use NVC to clearly and honestly express how we are.

For example, a mother might express these three pieces to her teenage son by saying, “Felix, when I see two balls of soiled socks under the coffee table and another three next to the TV, I feel irritated because I am needing more order in the rooms that we share in common.” She would follow immediately with the fourth component—a very specific request: “Would you be willing to put your socks in your room or in the washing machine?”

This picture shows how we can phrase what is going on for us using the four components- it is from a really helpful slideshow on NVC here.

NVC FOR PARENTING You can possibly also see how with small children, this could be a bit heavy, and you will need to be sensitive to that, and never, ever use the revealing of your feelings as a tool for manipulation.

NVC holds an awful lot of insight that I think is especially helpful for parents (well, like, on top of The Whole Thing):

Connection is the key to peace

It is the reason, the how, the why, the everything. Rosenberg is adamant that human connection is the way to unlock violent or angry situations. As parents our number one goal for each day should be connecting with our children. NVC shows us how to keep those doors of connection open no matter what.

The world needs more Empathy

“Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing. We often have a strong urge to give advice or reassurance and to explain our own position or feeling. Empathy, however, calls upon us to empty our mind and listen to others with our whole being.”
NVC is a process that gets us into an empathetic place- it has been successfully used to nurture understanding in situations from warring street gangs to international conflict. When we parent with understanding and empathy we are likely to see our children showing understanding and empathy- things the world needs in order to prevent warring gangs and international conflict. The pathway to world peace begins in every home. (What’s good enough for the Gangs of New York is good enough for my Tribe in a Yurt.)

Our needs as parents are real

I love that NVC is about being real. Our feelings are valid and not to be hidden, and yet, yet, it asks us to take a breath and recognise what lies beneath our feelings and how we can actually get what we need. Sometimes I get the impression that attachment parenting relishes martyrdom…. The fact is, if the intense sacrifice of parenting a baby stretches into the toddler and older child years we are denying the importance of our own needs.

The world needs more Self Empathy

And therefore Rosenberg doesn’t just talk of giving empathy to others, but of receiving empathy. We can not keep being empathetic to our children if we aren’t getting dosed up ourselves. We need to find support people to top us up, but mostly we need to be empathetic to ourselves. Being kind to ourselves is one of the most important foundations for empathetic parenting. Funnily enough, I think it is the thing we struggle most with. We experience guilt piled upon guilt and give ourselves a break NEVER. Dive into self empathy, your children will love you for it!

Non violent communication for parents

Being a judgey judger doesn’t help us connect

Importantly, it asks us to not judge our children when they do things we find difficult. We asked constantly to put judgements on our kids- are they good, bad, naughty? And it is hard sometimes to take our judgemental specs off.

We have actually been working with an NVC trained mediator recently and she inspired me with the idea that there is very little “good” or “bad” in day to day situations…. What there IS are people with basic needs trying to get them met in a way that we don’t really like! Never is this more apparent with children. Most of the time children are just expressing a need – for connection or belonging or security- with a strategy that really grates! “MUM I DO NOT WANT YOUR DISGUSTING PASTA FOR TEA!!”

Non Violent Communication in Parenting

What a change of perspective when we can see that our children are just working out the best ways of getting their needs met- and that we are able to have a sincere, kind discussion with them about this.

Non Violent communication in parenting

We need to find alternatives to R ewards and punishments

If there is anyone I going to listen to about how to avoid big, global conflict it is a dude who has dedicated his life to resolving it. Rosenberg says “Punishment is the root of all violence on the planet”and he isn’t referring just to institutional punishment but punitive measures taken in the home- smacking and shaming and bribing. He advocates more connection based, more empathetic ways of communicating with our children- only when children experience empathy will they be able to give it. When children act out of fear of punishment, or in order to receive a reward, they are not acting from the heart, which lessens the good will and peace in the world.

Here is Rosenberg with his dad hat on, using NVC in one of those really tricky situations (that I know too well) when your child hits another:
In such situations, I recommend first empathizing with the child who is behaving violently. For example, if I saw a child hit someone after being called a name, I might empathize, “I’m sensing that you’re feeling angry because you’d like to be treated with more respect.” If I guessed correctly, and the child acknowledges this to be true, I would then continue by expressing my own feelings, needs, and requests in the situation without insinuating blame: “I’m feeling sad because I want us to find ways to get respect that don’t turn people into enemies. I’d like you to tell me if you’d be willing to explore with me some other ways to get the respect you’re wanting.

Take a deep breath

And then, to finish, I think NVC holds one very practical tip that I reckon could be the big change from a volatile parent-child relationship to a peaceful one, and that is: taking a big deep, reflective breath before we react or reply.

Parenting can trigger an emotional response in us- sometimes my child’s behaviour unleashes a small, angry dragon in my belly. If I react from that dragon place out come the bribes and warnings and manipulation. But if I take a moment to understand my feelings, to empathise, to listen, then my fiery breath is much less fierce, and stinky.

NVC conversations are slow and quiet, they involve silent space, reflection and observation. Have a look at this Youtube video to get a sense of how softly, softly these parenting chats can go.

Non violent communication for parents

So there we have it, boom shack, a little overview of how NVC can work in the home. NVC has bought about so much peace worldwide- I believe if it is implemented between adults and children the impact will be multiplied a google times.

Parenting for Social Justice series

You know, I have an undergrad and post grad degree in social policy, and spent the majority of my career in policy and campaigns- determined that this was the way to a fair world.

Then I had children. I began to see that social justice begins in the home; that peaceful adult- child interaction has just as much a role as the UN, the NGOs, all the Nobel Peace Prize nominees. I will raise warring tyrants or peacemakers (or somewhere in between!) depending on how I treat my children.

This series has been on my mind for a year- I want to take a look at how common themes and concepts within the global social justice movement apply to childhood.

I’d love to explore this with you, if you have any ideas we can look at, it’d be awesome to hear from you.

A just and beautiful world is nurtured every time a child is loved and respected….

Activism, Parenting

Dear the Pope: There is no need to smack children, ever.

9 February, 2015

***I’ve just sent this letter off to the Pope (His Holiness, 00120 Via del Pellegrino, Citta del Vaticano) and thought I’d copy it onto the blogdiggidy in case any of you fancied letting him know about how real and possible a violence free family life can be. It lacks my usual absurd banter because, like, this dude is the MONK BOSS. His holy eyes don’t want to read my driftless jesting and made up words***

Dear Pope Francis

I want to paint you a picture of how some families live, because I have the impression that you think hitting children is normal – and that avoiding hitting them on the face is a step forward.

I believe a better (and more biblical) vision for you to cast would be one where all children can live a childhood free from harm at the hands of their parents.

It is a vision becoming tangible in some places.

There are millions of children growing up who have never experienced violence from the people entrusted with their lives. And they are growing into good and kind adults.

We have discovered that children can thrive through their early years and become upright citizens without ever feeling the harsh slap of a hand upon their bodies. We can resolve conflict peacefully, using words and not fists to work through difficulties. We find creative solutions to family problems; we dig deeper into connecting with our children when they are expressing a need we find tricky.

We hope for a kinder world, and know that the best thing we can do to achieve this is to treat our children kindly, and with understanding, rather than with physical punishment.

We use our role as parents to protect the human rights of our children – the right to be safe, to be free from violence. Research shows that children who are smacked are more likely to exhibit criminal and delinquent behaviour later on, and have their mental health destroyed.

Children have the right to dignity, which you correctly recognized. Simply hitting a child on the body instead of the face doesn’t defend dignity. Dignity is defended when parents treat their children with compassion, gently guiding them through the ins and outs of living together, when we speak to them, and treat them, as we would want to be treated.

Shame, manipulation, punishment and violence- every one of these strips our children of dignity, and corrodes their sense of being unconditionally loved.

Some of us have found a way to live in harmony with our children. We believe it is possible for all families to find this way.

Another world is possible, Pope Francis. And your role, as a representative of one of the world’s dominant religions, as someone whose words are reordered and aired throughout the whole globe, is to herald it in.

Please, publically defend the rights of children as you have begun to with other minorities. They are a people group that deserve to experience fairness and safety and kindness, just like every human on earth.

Yours truly,

Lucy

Dear Pope Francis

Parenting

Life’s a peach

29 January, 2015

Ah, summer on a farm in New Zealand is a bit flipping delicious. Some dear friends and my folks are over from London, which is completely AMAZING, and we are meant to be off camping with them but I am finding it hard to leave the farm. IMG_5826.JPGEveryday a new vegetable will burst out of the garden, and all the fruits are ripening by the minute. We have been crunching nectarines, apricots, peaches, plums, raspberries and strawberries. It has been pretty lovely watching these tiny little blossoms turn into juicy baubles of goodness before our very eyes.

We have a picking ladder that stretches about 10 foot into the air, above the trees, so you can harvest the ripest fruit along the canopy. Everytime I turn my back Juno has scarpered up it, sitting merrily at the top, clutching at an armful of apricots. One of my parenting philosophies is “A broken limb is better than a lifetime lived in fear” but seeing our baby perched up there sets even my heart on edge!

We’ve swum almost every day… we found a tiny corner of paradise just down the road form us. The river is clear and the sand is soft and you can dive into the depths from the shore. We make clay from the rocks and clean our hair and our faces… except the girls mostly just leave it on their hair and faces. They can’t help but be quite a lot like the Croods.

So life has been a bit of a beach… peach… peachy beach.

Hmm… actually…part from the week that we were setting up our new yurt. That was pretty tough. We had to give our old one back as it was borrowed, but we bought our own secondhand one. *proud yurt owners* But getting it up took a serious amount of sweat, help from friends, and, yes, slightly manic tears.IMG_5777.JPG

I am always struck by how, even when you are living the dream (such a cliche but it drips off my lips) melancholy and stress sometimes come along for the ride. They creep up, with the bold stealth of bullies. Unwelcome companions, but hard to shake.

IMG_5699.JPG

We watched the brilliant documentary Happy the other week- and we became determined to put more effort into the practices that lead to well being – such as mindfullness and connection- rather than simply resting on our laurels of living the dream. (Circumstances don’t count towards happiness half as much as daily rhythms and habits, we are learning.)

IMG_5524.JPG in fact, I might have some MASSIVE news in regard to all that very soon…. EEEEKKK! *secretive eyebrow waggle*

We should really go off in our bus and park up at a beach and see the sites while my mum and dad are here… but the sweetcorn will be ready next week…

PS If you are on Instagram come and say hello for more photos like these.

Feminism

Here’s why I think female body hair is beautiful

19 January, 2015

I made a new friend recently, Del, a diminutive midwife. I have enjoyed quiet conversations over cups of tea (while my children decorate the bathroom walls with crayons), I’ve wondered at her unassuming, almost -but-not-quite-timidity and I’ve absorbed her mindful aura. Then, last week, she yawned and stretched and a shock of black hair gaped at me from her armpits.

ZOMG!

It was then that I realised that I LOVE HAIRY WOMEN!

Hairy Bride

I haven’t shaved regularly for about 15 years – I was even a hairy bride nine years ago.

But it has always been a political and cultural statement, begun very determinedly as a result of doing Women’s Studies at Uni and feeling like pulling out a razor was being beholden to an oppressive patriarchal society. I was gobsmacked that for years I had been so willing to do something every single day to my body purely to fit some image of what a women’s body should look like. For me there isn’t much else of this in my life- I sometimes wear make up, often don’t, sometimes wear nice clothes, mostly look like I’ve rolled through the local retro shop’s bargain bin. There is very little else that I think is so thoroughly embedded in our idea of womanhood as smooth, non- hairiness.

One of my lecturers told the story about how Gillette pretty much CREATED the concept of smooth legged women in order to have a female market for their products and I went home and boshed my razors in the bin, unwilling to have my body commodified.

I stopped shaving immediately and thenceforth, quavering only every so often on steaming hot summer days in London when I felt I didn’t have the internal reserves to sit on the tube having other commuters gawk at my wiry leg hairs.

Some days I didn’t want my body to be a statement. Hairy underarms are beautiful

Hairy pits are beautiful

Now, however, I realise my statement has become a part of who I am and what I love about my body- and, turns out, other people’s bodies!

I LOVE MY BODY HAIR. Hairy pits and hairy legs ARE a shrugging off of a sad, unnecessary expectation of women’s bodies but they are also SEXY.

Yup.

When I saw tiny Del’s ferocious pelts as she stretched I was struck by how much this made me feel like she was deeply in touch with her womanhood, that she was brave and even wild.

It is kind of superficial, and possibly could be almost an objectification, but I felt like her body hair signified a certain boldness and a brazen self-acceptance.

I’ve been ruminating about this all quite openly with my husband over the last few days. He made a confession.

When he was a teenager he had a young female maths teacher who didn’t shave. Every time she reached up to make a mark with her chalk all the students used to grimace, repelled by her hairiness, a symbol of her unwomanliness.

How sad is that? She would totally be my friend, these days.

Now Tim tells me that he feels the opposite, that all of my body, including my hair, is alluring.

He married me hairy, and loved me hairy, partly because I was prepared to stand out from the shiny skinned crowd. But now he has come to appreciate body hair, and the way it oozes sensual pheromones, in itself. Hairy women are beautiful

Hairy pits are natural – just not that normal

Don’t stop shaving because I tell you to. That would possibly put me on a par with the teenage boys who talk disgustedly about their female classmates as “having a bush” if they don’t shave. I’m not interested in being another voice telling women what to do with their own bodies. Do what you want with your body, it is yours, in all its awe-inspiring glory.

But do consider that we somewhat perpetuate the normality of bare vulvas, underarms, and legs by shaving them ourselves. We can make what is natural (hairiness) normal, by doing it. (I enjoyed this recent post by a mother and why she has quit her razor due to what she thinks it does to her daughter’s perception of body image.)

But then take that slightly “feminist social obligation” idea a liberating step further and consider the fact that hairiness can come to be loved, both by you, and your partner.

There is a radical self-acceptance in casting aside your razor.

And I reckon there is nothing more wondrous or beautiful than a woman who revels in every natural inch of her body.

I am fortunate to be surrounded right now by glowing women who haven’t touched a razor in years, and being embraced by this crowd seems to almost have retrained my mind about smoothness being normal. I don’t feel shy about my body hair, or like I am making a statement, when in a more mainstream place. I stand tall, basking in the liberated contentment I feel within my body temple. I am miles, MILES, apart from my eating disordered, self conscious teenage self.

Body Hair
I did laugh my socks off at this cartoon but it doesn’t QUITE back up my point that hairy women are sexy!!!

Spread the word, folks. Body hair is making a comeback and it is beautiful.

DIY, Featured, Finding things

You won’t BELIEVE what she upcycled this breadbin into

12 January, 2015

Harhahahaha. Everytime I write a blog post I have the sensationalist Upworthy title spring into my head first. I couldn’t resist actually leaving this one in because, for real, how else can you make a post about a bread bin sound read-able?

And, LOOK! It IS pretty cool, c’mon. It is a well easy way to make small storage to niftily fit into the corners of your kitchen/ bathroom/ bedroom. And it is super thrifty too as every single charity shop in the whole world has about 17 billion old bread bins for sale, along with the breadmaking machines and the Mr Bean VHSs. Oracles of the nineties, reminding us of an era of scrunchies and homemade velvet chokers. (In fact, heck, I’m going to link up, for the first time in FOREVER (argghhh so. much. Frozen.) with Magpie Monday.

Upcycled breadbin
BEFORE

We began by screwing them in- we have three with space in between for pretty teapots.

Upcycled breadbin

Anyone else all about the neon at the moment? SO good. With grey? So, So, SO GOOD.

Upcycle your breadbin

I cut a triangle out of a potato to make some stamps for the side… a bit wibblywobbly, but that way it gives rise to the conversation about how perfect potatos are for stamping.

Handy and stylish upcycled breadbin

Done any upcycling lately?

No Poo

The hair you’ve always wanted (with Eggs and Soapnuts Shampoo)

9 January, 2015

I just opened an email that filled my heart with gladness! I get emails like this about once a fortnight and every single time I just about want to cry. In the last Chapter of my ebook, Happy Hair, I say something along the lines of how the No Poo movement is part of a wider movement – one that is standing up to the big corps that are flooding the earth with plastic and toxins and promising health and beauty to people that they just can’t provide. Emails like this are a reminder that this is so:

I read your Happy Hair book about 3 months ago, I was pretty desperate at the time having lost a lot of hair following the birth of my second daughter. I’d read The Modern Rapunzel before your book but although that book was helpful, your book addressed my problems; grease and dermatitis. 

Since then, I’ve had many awful hair days, it took a depressing two-and-a-half months to get there, and thank God braids were in fashion, but now I can get to 4 days fairly easily, it even still looks clean at the end of the 2nd day. This all feels like a major achievement after having been a wash-every-day addict since my teens (I’m 37 now). I use the shikakai shampoo you suggest too. I’ve even ditched having highlights and henna my hair now, thank you for giving me this idea, henna is very effective on my dermatitis, though I’m not sure whether its the lemon juice or the henna itself. I mix it with indigo so am now a very shiny dark brown. I even have quite a bit of new hair growth.

I wish I could tell my Grandma who died a few years ago, I have the same hair/scalp as her, she had very fine hair and I remember her saying how she would wash hers and the next day it would be flat and greasy. For many years I’d assumed this would be my future too.

Thanks for giving me an alternative.

HAPPY HAIR  - the definitive guide to giving up shampoo

I recently wrote up accounts of two of my favourite shampoo alternatives for Cosmo.

Eggs as an alternative to shampoo

This is my very, very favourite alternative. We had a hot day here yesterday and my hair was in need of a wash, I went into the garden, smashed an egg on my head, rubbed the slimeyness all over my head, grabbed a fistful of lemonbalm and squashed that into the mix too, and then hosed it off. I felt like a cavewoman, in a liberating kind of a way. And my hair looked like I’d stepped out of a salon, not a cave. Egg is an amazing alternative to shampoo

Here is my Cosmo article all about that.

Soapnuts as an alternative to shampoo

And then soapnuts, argh. They ROCK. Get them in your cupboard right now because they clean EVERYTHING!!! soapnuts are an amazing alternative to shampoo

(Yes: FRINGE!!!!)

Here is my Cosmo article all about that.

And here is the Wonderthrift guide to using Soapnuts as laundry powder. MASSIVE SAVINGS TO BE HAD!

So, yes, I continue to be wowed by all the potential of No Poo. If you are unhappy with your hair I urge you to consider trading traditional shampoo for other alternatives- you may well find the hair you’ve always wanted.

(Buy my comprehensive guide right here, in two clicks. And tell your grandma about it!)

Let me know if you’ve tried anything wacky in your hair- or as a beauty alternative. I’d love to experiment with it for Cosmo. If it involves me acting tribal in my garden it a bonus.

writing

The best of Lulastic and the Hippyshake 2014

5 January, 2015

As of tomorrow we have been in New Zealand for ONE WHOLE YEAR. What a simply bonkers year it has been. It has involved such a wonderful amount of travelling time- taking our bus on roadtrips a few times a month, it has involved a massive amount of family time – what with both of us being around for a lot of the week, on one hand it has been a year of fulfilling dreams (becoming a proper, paid writer, one of them) and also not quite achieving what we set out to do. (Buying some land and building a house of our own. Fortunately not achieving this has had the bonus of getting to reside in a beautiful yurt on land with two other incredible families.)

Not having internet in the yurt means I am getting WAY better at being really present, at zoning into family life, but it has meant that I rarely spend time promoting the posts I’ve written. Which is weird, why would I write them and then not go nuts sharing them? I guess because it is the writing I like the most.

Because I don’t get online that much, and because Facebook is like a big, unpredictable baboon in the way it lets you know  – well, NOT no- about new posts, it is quite possible that you have missed some of 2014’s top bits and bobs. Here is some of the most popular bits of Lulastic writing from the year:

My top three posts were all to do with giving up shampoo. Why go No Poo? and Shampoo Free For Two Years and
Happy Hair: the Definitive Guide to Giving Up Shampoo all totally rocked it, I think mostly because so many newspapers linked to them in “HAIR RAISING SHOCK OF WOMAN WHO DIDN’T WASH HER HAIR IN LIKE EVER” style articles. Seeing as I am hawking an ebook about giving up shampoo I am well glad that people are visiting here for information on that!

Aside from my posts about No Poo, the rest of my top ten were about parenting. I am stoked about this as it is my passion to support parents to live peacefully and communicate respectfully with their children.

Emotional Memory: Explaining a Child’s and a Parent’s Raw Reactions – so glad that this post about tantrums was so well read as I genuinely feel that if parent’s knew about this they would breathe a sigh of relief and feel much better able to cope with intense emotions.

Raising a Rebel – Why I am Glad My Child Isn’t Compliant – Here I discuss how compliancy is totally overrated! If you sometimes despair because your child never does what you say then give yourself a high five and tell yourself you are doing a WICKED JOB.

Did you know that the Lulastic Facebook community is the absolute bombdiggidy? They helped me crowdsource the 4th most popular post in 2014 – 40 Ways to Find Your Parenting Mojo – a list of creative and simple ways to break the cycle of grumpiness.

This post, Give a Child A Knife and You’ll Empower Them for a Lifetime, put me live on BBC radio where the host hit me with the first question “So, do you advocate giving GUNS to TODDLERS?!”  Pfft. I’m not advocating that, nope, but a knife? Yep.

Tandem Breastfeeding a one year old and a four year old was also up there- we can’t have ENOUGH pictures normalising extended (well, natural term) breastfeeding in my opinion. So THANKYOU for sharing this post.

One of my most intense posts, one that generated yards of discussion was about how we perpetuate a major ‘ism” everyday. Could the concept of adultism transform parent-child relationships? This was probably my least favourite post of the year as I felt that in my passion for sticking up for kids I fell into a role of accuser, and I never want to be this. I want to encourage and support parents to question the status quo through stories, not badgering. But it must have struck a bit of a chord, eh?

And the tenth most popular post is one in which I sum up my entire parenting-changes-the-world theory – Urge: Allowing our children’s yearnings to bloom. Increasingly I think that, after keeping our children safe and well fed and generally feeling really loved, if we have any leftover energy, we should focus on helping them listen to their internal voice. I think this is the key to a fairer, more beautiful world.

Let’s make 2015 a  fairer, more beautiful year, eh?best of Lulastic 2014

eatingout

Eat Like A Bear

5 January, 2015

I swear, at about 5:30pm everyday I go “It is time to cook ANOTHER MEAL?!?!” And I am blown away by how this has to happen every single day. Like 3 times. Seriously. I sometimes wish we were bears so that we could spend a few months gobbling up vulnerable prey and then the rest of the year not even thinking about food, but just napping instead.

And truly, I love to cook. Love it. Make a complete and utter warzone of the kitchen without fail but love the creativity involved in chucking ingredients together, hoping for the best.

It just sometimes feels like drudgery, don’t you think? Sometimes?

I know one mum who, last year, just resigned her job as household cook. She had just done one too many dinners and she said to her family “Enough, that is it. Dad is the chef du jour, every jour, from now.” And that is the way it is in their home.

We didn’t need an alternative like the above as we already have fairly deconstructed gender roles in our house but we have found our own solution to the incessant need for meals. And that is to budget for emergency meals out. For those days when instead of “It is time to cook ANOTHER MEAL?!?!” It is “ARGH IF I SEE ANOTHER SAUCEPAN EVER AGAIN I AM GOING TO SMASH IT INTO MY OWN FACE” and then we zip out for a kebab or a curry. We call it financing our sanity.

Quandoo have been making it easier and easier to do this, with their quick and simple restaurant finder and booker. It takes a few seconds to get your head around what can be a bit of a sanity-loosing experience. I have also spent an inordinate amount of time watching their Food Eaten In Real Timepage – laughing my socks off at how the pace of “Kilos of Fruit being Eaten” is matched almost EXACTLY by “Pints of Beer Drunk.”

People, we gotta eat more fruit.

And only drink beer if the alternative is to smash a saucepan into your face. Or if its after 6pm.

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