Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The most magical time of the year...

Each year when November rolls around and shopping centres begin adorning the ceilings with Christmas decorations, I often hear people complain.

"The decorations are up too early," they say.

"I don't even want to think about Christmas," say others.

"Not another Christmas Carol!" also a commonly heard gripe.

Yet when I see the glitter of that first piece of tinsel - I feel a surge of excitement.

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas comes to mind and my mood instantly lifts.

I look forward to hearing the repetitive sounds of Little Drummer Boy and White Christmas.

And, come December (if I can wait that long) as I decorate the Christmas tree, I play my own Christmas Carols.

This year I even downloaded some to my iPhone.

I truly am a Christmas tragic and it's been that way since I was a little girl.

Christmas was always a big deal for my family. My brothers and I would wake at the break of dawn, ensuring my parents did the same, so we could open the pile of presents placed under the tree.

Of course this came after we emptied our stockings filled with gifts from Santa.

A tradition we couldn't bring ourselves to let go of until we moved out of home.

I continued to love Christmas all through my teens and beyond, almost skipping through the crowded malls as I chose presents for my friends and family.

Not much has changed.

I still enjoy watching corny Christmas movies and even admit to wearing Christmas earrings and/or colours on the big day.

There's something about Christmas that just fills me with happiness.

It's about family and togetherness and celebration.

And everyone - despite their complaints about busy malls and last minute shopping - seems that little bit more joyful, with a ready smile and a Merry Christmas wish.

In 2009, for me, Christmas is particularly special.

After a spate of family health scares in the past few years, I feel blessed to have my entire family happy and healthy for Christmas.

And this year I have already been given an amazing gift - my baby son, who will be experiencing the magic of Christmas for the first time.

He has his Santa's hat, his Christmas stocking and a pile of presents he won't yet understand he's receiving.

And with Christmas just two days away, I wish everyone a safe and merry Christmas filled with the love and companionship of family and friends.

Because, in my opinion, Christmas really is the most magical day of the year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

MILFs, Nags and Silver Foxes...

Last weekend, my husband called me a MILF.

It wasn't the first time either. He's used that term on several occasions since the birth of our son, seven months ago.

Now for those of you who don't know - a MILF is an acronym for "Mum I'd Like to (insert four letter F word here)", made popular by the 1999 comedy American Pie.

Some definitions (yes there are several) describe MILF's as women with grown children.

Others imply promiscuity.

Others again say the term can be applied to any mum you'd like to .... well, you get the picture.

So, was it a compliment, or should I have been offended by another sexually charged label for women?

Coming from hubby, I can't say I had a problem with it - it was all in good fun after all.

A light-hearted way of saying "No honey, you're bum doesn't look big in that skirt."

But I suspect it's all relative.

When my brother's friends labeled my mum a MILF, I'm sure he was less than impressed.

How my mum felt? Well I can only speculate, but I'm sure I detected a small grin as he told the story.

Former supermodel and still-gorgeous Cindy Crawford says she's more than happy to be a MILF.

"MILF is a word I absolutely adore!” she told GQ magazine.

Jim Carey's wife, 37 year old Jenny McCarthy says she is hoping to be dubbed a GILF (Grandma I'd Like to ....) when Carey's 22-year-old daughter gives birth in 2010.

For Crawford though, while she's a proud MILF, she says she finds the common Cougar term not so appealing.

"I hate that word cougar and what it represents."

That being a woman over 40 who sexually pursues younger men, typically more than eight years her junior, according to Wikipedia.

Some women are offended by the term, while others celebrate it, deeming it liberating and powerful.

But these are just two of a stack of labels applied to describe women, their actions or the male view of them.

Along with MILF and Cougar, there's Girl-Next-Door, Gold-Digger, Feminist, Tart, Yummy Mummy, High- Maintenance, Low-Maintenance, Nag... and of course several others too rude to spell out.

And the blokes don't escape the labels either - there's Sugar Daddy, Player, Silver Fox, Toy Boy, Under-The-Thumb - to name a few... and again, there are others I'll refrain from writing here.

Most of these colloquial terms are so common, they're now permanent fixtures in our every day language and a solid part of popular culture.

Some consider this type of label-giving offensive, and on some occasions they can be.

Often though it's all just a bit of fun.

But I guess it depends on the particular label and who's applying it.

Who would want to be called a Gold Digger or Under-The-Thumb in all seriousness?

On the other hand, Yummy Mummy and Silver Fox*, aren't so offensive.

And if we're all being honest, I wonder how many mums out there wouldn't take a bit of secret pleasure from being dubbed a MILF.

*Silver Fox refers to an attractive older male

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cancer just isn't trendy enough...

A new Bowel Cancer awareness advertisement is using a fictional terrorist scene to highlight the prevalence of the cancer in Australia.

The advertisement depicts scenes reminiscent to those of the 911 terrorist attacks, taking place over Sydney's Circular Quay, complete with smokey buildings, wailing sirens and body bags.

The voice over says: If 12 Australians were killed by terrorists it would be front page news. Yet 12 Australian men and women die from bowel cancer every single day. That’s more than breast cancer but no-one wants to talk about it, even though it’s curable if detected early.

(see full story: http://mumbrella.com.au/cancer-ad-features-terror-attack-on-sydney-14368#more-14368)

While this advertisement is set to be highly controversial - and clearly risks offending, distressing and angering anyone who has survived or lost loved ones to a terrorist attack - it has got people talking.

As a result, it's highlighted the fact that, as a nation, we seem to have become immune to the devastation that is cancer.

The figures are so astronomical, we barely give them a second thought.

They don't warrant much mention in the media, despite the fact that cancer is Australia's biggest killer.

Here are a few facts:

*More than 35,000 Australians die from cancer each year, in spite of a 30 percent improvement in survival over the last two decades.

*1 in 3 Australian men and 1 in 4 Australian women will be directly affected by cancer.

*Most people in Australia will be affected by cancer, either personally or through family and friends.

*This year alone, more than 82,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia.

If you stop and think about it, these figures are incredible.

I am one of those people who have been affected by cancer - I haven't been diagnosed with it myself - but people I know and love have.

Some have survived, others have not.

Those of you who have experienced the impact of cancer will know, it's one of the most terrifying and traumatic events you will ever endure.

But it seems we are no longer outraged by such tragedies.

When natural disasters occur, we rally together, have telethons and fundraising concerts - we all unite to raise millions of dollars for these far more trendy causes.

Indeed terrorism also provokes a similar response.

And so it should, this support provides much needed help to thousands of devastated families dealing with tragic events.

But cancer is also tragic, effecting everyone from babies and children to parents and friends.

It was not so long ago, our wish-giving foundations were forced to reduce the quality of the wishes granted, due to a lack of funding.

I have seen first hand the impact these wishes give and these charities are simply amazing, run mostly by volunteers.

We also know the survival rate for many common cancers has increased by more than 30 per cent in the past two decades, due to treatment improvements and new interventions brought about by research.

Research which is often funded by donations.

But the most important point is many of these cancers are curable if detected early enough. Yet few of us take the risk so seriously as to have regular checkups, deeming them too unpleasant.

The Bowel Cancer advertisement is certainly shocking, and I don't know that I support it, given the impact it must have on terrorism survivors and witnesses.

But perhaps the controversy will at least attract some much needed attention to one of Australia's biggest killers.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Skinny jeans and Shower Power - trespass magazine column

Twelve months ago, I was working full-time as a television reporter. I was into fashion, read books, loved music, discussed current affairs. I coloured my hair, wore a bikini, watched the news and looked forward to a good party.

I’ve since left my full-time gig in favour of freelance, to be home with my baby boy. Other than that, not much has changed… except maybe my comfort level in a bikini, and the frequency in which I attend said parties.

I have, of course, entered a new demographic. I’m now a mum, who happens to spend a lot more time at home. I still dress the same, think the same, crack the same jokes … yet when I flick on the telly I’m left wondering if I missed the part where new mums are required to enter a phone booth to be transformed into Mrs Brady.

Now I know most chick-flicks and TV dramas are full of yummy-mummies and ultra-cool mamas, but when it comes to commercials aimed at us real mums, it’s a different story. Clearly, mums are the target market for a lot of consumer goods, so there’s no shortage of ads, all aimed at the likes of me. Apparently.

Now I need Shower Power as much as the next mum, but when I watch these ads, it’s not me I see. I see a mumsy bunch, with matching pony tails, three quarter jeans and collared shirts.

Does giving birth and taking on a few home duties mean the end of skinny jeans, summer dresses and high heels?

But it’s not just the daggy dress code that leaves me cringing. I don't know about you other mums out there, but I don't use a magnifying glass to clean my toilet, and I don’t inwardly gloat when my friends use the bright white bowl.

I don’t use phrases like “not in my house” when I see finger prints on the stainless steel. And I do not feel smug about the mess my chicken stock meal has made (Tess and her REAL family I find particularly annoying!)

Don’t get me wrong, I wear trackies with the best of them. I cook, clean, compare nappy brands, even bake the odd batch of muffins - but I do it in my denim cutoffs listening to Groove Armada dammit.

And once it’s done I’m off to play with my son, or read a book, or call a friend, or go shopping. These ads would have you believe the sparkle of the shower floor is a daily highlight. And if a neighbour stops by and happens to witness the sparkle, well, even better!

Am I alone in my frustration, I wonder? Are my shiny bathroom taps really enough to make my friends green with envy? Do they watch these TV mums with an understanding nod, or find the stereotype as irritating as I do?

Do most mums spend their day worrying about that stain they saw on hubby’s shirt as he walked out the door? Or do they see the stain, deal with it and move onto more important things.

More likely, there’s no such thing as an average mum. At the end of the day, we’re all human.

Now - time to try that new stain remover.

(NB: This rant does not apply to nappy commercials to which I can easily relate and to which I have been know to shed the occasional tear)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Soundtrack to my life...

In movies, everyone has the perfect sound track to go along with their lives.

And I often find myself wishing that were the case in real life.

There have been many special, sad and frustrating moments when I could have chosen just the right song to be playing.

Sometimes this would have required me to move in slow motion however, but you get the picture.

But after going to a couple of concerts recently, I realised that I do, in fact, have a soundtrack to my life.

Songs may not coincide with those epic moments of life (apart from my wedding song of course and, sadly, funerals); but there are certain songs, bands and styles of music, that take me right back to a period of time, even a moment, in my life.

So, after seeing a couple of old favourite bands, I took the time to think about my soundtrack.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Pearl Jam.

And when Jeremy and Daughter blasted from the speakers, I was immediately taken back to my high school years.

And suddenly I was hanging out with my two best friends, having sleep-overs and looking forward to school discos and music festivals.

On Wednesday I saw Greenday, and I was taken back to a different time - my university days when I first went to see them play, and when I met my husband.

He was a massive Greenday fan at the time – and suddenly we were dating again.

But the sound track began back when I was a little girl.

Blueberry Hill and the Beach Boy’s Barbara Anne play over my earliest childhood memories; a little girl dancing in the living room with my mum and dad looking on.

When I hear The House of the Rising Sun, I’m watching my dad strum his guitar and when Fergal Sharky’s A Good Heart plays, I’m in the car with my mum as she drives me to swimming lessons.

I’m watching Rage with my big brother to the sound of Cheap Trick’s The Flame and 1927’s If I Could.

Anything Nirvana and Silverchair’s Tomorrow prompts memories of my friend and I as we dreamed of our futures, we were going to start a band.

And I’m doing laps around the Gold Coast in another friend’s first car to the soundtrack from Romeo and Juliette. It was the only cassette we had at the time.

I’m watching Channel V in the middle of the night with my little brother to the sounds of The Verve’s Freshman and Foo Fighter’s Everlong.

And enjoying decades of family get-togethers to Leo Sayer classics.

But this is just a small sample of the soundtrack of my life. The soundtrack wouldn’t fit on one CD, and it’s still being recorded.

And while the tracks don’t always coincide with particularly momentous occasions, they all remind me of special people, family and friends, and represent the special relationships that I share with all of them.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Miracle babies even further out of reach...

The day my son was born, was the most magical, beautiful day of my life.

It was also a day I thought may never come.

Like around 10 per cent of Australian couples, my husband and I were faced with the prospect of perhaps never having children.

IVF was our best, and possibly only, chance at achieving a dream we’d had all our lives. And it gave us our beautiful baby boy.

But soon, many couples in a similar situation may not be so lucky.

Laws to cap the Medicare rebate for IVF are due to commence in January 2010, making the possibility of a life with children even more remote for thousands of middle class couples.

Currently, thanks to the Medicare Safety Net, couples are reimbursed 80 per cent of the actual cost of IVF treatment, leaving out of pocket expenses at around $2000 – give or take a few hundred.

And while this cost is often the only one referred to when the issue is discussed in the media, there are many other associated costs, such as on-going specialist fees, hospital fees and anesthetist fees. In my experience, out of pocket expenses were close to $5000.

As it is, this is not a small cost. And when you take into consideration that IVF can take several cycles, costs can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars.

With the introduction of these new laws, the rebates would be capped and this potential extra cost could determine whether or not some couples can continue or begin treatment.

IVF is an emotionally and physically draining experience and, for many couples, their only chance to have children of their own.

The feelings of women experiencing IVF have been compared to those suffering from a terminal illness.

Additional costs would place a significant financial strain on families who simply can not afford to pay thousands of dollars multiple times.

Some couples may simply have to forgo the treatment, taking away their only chance of experiencing the magic of children.

IVF is responsible for the birth of more than 10,000 babies in Australia every year - my son being just one of those babies.

He is our little miracle and the prospect of not having had the chance to have him does not bear thinking.

And like many families, IVF will most likely be our only chance to give him a little brother or sister.

But it’s not because I put my career first, left it too late and think the government should pay for the convenience of having children how and when I would like.

I had just turned 27 when I started my first cycle.

Infertility is a medical condition – 40 per cent relates to female issues, 40 per cent male factor and 20 per cent is unexplained.

Fortunately for us, our first cycle was also the only one, but many couples go through up to ten IVF cycles, sometimes more, before achieving a pregnancy.

The government says those whose treatment costs are $6000 or less per cycle should not be affected by these changes.

But in reality, many clinics charge closer to $8000 per cycle, meaning couples could be up to $2000 dollars worse off.

It’s a tough blow to families already dealing with one of the most difficult challenges of their life.

And sad to think this amazing gift will only be available to the wealthy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

(news alert) Unit Clothing lands in the USA

Australia’s fastest growing action sports brand, Unit, has arrived in the USA, after being snapped up by Pac Sun.

The edgy and conceptual clothing and accessories brand landed on the shelves of the retail giant in November.

The range will be sold in 85 Pac Sun stores as well as through the online store.

Unit was founded by motocross racing brothers, Paul and Ian Everest, who turned their $600 investment into a multi-million dollar empire in less than five years.

During a time when many businesses are struggling, Unit continues to experience exponential growth, both in Australia and internationally.

Unit now has the highest sell through of all other motocross and street wear labels in Australia, outselling brands such as Fox, Skin and Metal Mulisha.

The brand has become a dominating force in the industry with serious design and industry credibility.

Creative Director Paul Everest says the brand expects the same success in the United States, with designs already flying off the shelves.

“We knew we would do well here in the US,” said Mr Everest.

“PacSun sold out of our ‘Frootloop’ tee in just 10 days.

“Australia is renowned for producing some of the worlds best surf brands and Unit is following in the same footsteps, doing for motocross what Billabong did for surf.”

Unit has a reputation for creative and sometimes controversial designs, for both its clothing range and its advertising.

“Our designs are edgy and our concepts resonate with core riders.

“Mediocrity used to work, with corporate boardrooms dictating youth culture.

“Brands like Unit are proof those days are now over.”

For more information visit www.unitriders.com

Thursday, December 3, 2009

There's something about Grandpas...

When I was a little girl, my Grandpa used to tell me he could punch down trees.

I believed him of course. And thought he was the toughest man in the world.

He could even punch out the monsters hiding in the forest, he said - definitely the toughest.

As I grew up I realised Grandpa used to tell me a few tall tails, mostly relating to his toughness.

But my opinion didn't change...I still thought he was the toughest man in the world.

I used to punch his tummy, you see. And it was as hard as a rock - he was the toughest.

There's something about Grandpas and every little girl looks up to theirs...

I got to thinking about mine, after the Green V Jones boxing match - my Grandpa used to be a boxing trainer. See, tough.

Grandpas have the best stories too. Mine has told me many over the years, most of them true, all of them interesting.

Many have a bunch of fascinating photos or a newspaper clipping to go with them. I could have listened for hours.

I still could.

He lives interstate, but my Grandpa's stories are something I look forward to before every visit.

I had another Grandpa too. He passed away when I was little. He was a war hero, distinguished and handsome.

Yes there's something about Grandpas - and it's not reserved for their little grand-daughters.

We grow up - but in our eyes, our Grandpa stays the same.

I still think mine is the toughest man in the world - and I'm sure he could punch down a tree... if he had to.

My Dad is a grandpa now too - to my son and my niece and nephew.

The boys are still babies - but already I see the way his three-year-old grand-daughter looks up at him, with admiration and love - because there's something about grandpas.

My Dad is turning out to be a pretty special one...and he should be - he learnt from the best.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Just nod and smile politely...

So it seems what they say about babies choosing the cardboard box over the flashy new toy, is true.

Except in my bub's case, he'd rather play with the bag containing his dirty nappy, or his dirty bib, or something with wires, or anything else I feel too guilty to let him play with.

Since becoming a mum I've found a lot of what they say about babies is true.

They put gooey hands on your face right after you've put your make up on, vomit on your new top and wake up just as you put the kettle on.

I've found that one smile from your baby can make your day, staring in to their eyes can melt your heart and hearing them cry can break it.

It's true that you never tire of watching your baby sleep and you'd give up everything to see them happy.

The cliches don't just apply to babies though...

They say new mums love to talk endlessly about life as a mum, sharing anecdotes that cause anyone other than those who can relate (and even some of them) to nod and smile politely as their mind drifts off to things they actually care about.

It appears that one is true too.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Men behaving badly... but not really.

So the judge bought it.

Despite having previously been found guilty of recklessly wounding girlfriend Katie Milligan - and sentenced to a minimum of 8 months in jail - former NRL star Greg Bird has successfully convinced a judge that it was not he who was at fault, but his girlfriend.

His crazy, neurotic, drug-taking girlfriend - the one that suffered a fractured eye socket and cuts to her eye after being hit in the face with a glass.

She was irrational, you see. Drunk and high and furious after an earlier argument, she lunged at him with a glass, and somehow - he can't quite remember how - the glass smashed into her face.

This version of events comes more than a year after the incident took place. At the time, the pair blamed the glassing on Bird's then flat mate Brent Watson, who is yet to receive a public apology for the false accusation.

Still, the judge believed the latest version - or at least accepted it - and now Bird is on the hunt for a new NRL team. His conviction was quashed and Milligan was left to take the public image fallout (and appeared happy to do so).

Not that Bird was left high and dry after the initial charge - he's been captaining French side Catalans Dragons in the English Super League.

He's facing another assault charge after being accused of tipping a drink over a woman's head and punching her. But apparently he was just defending another woman.

Time will tell whether Bird's career will benefit as a result of the publicity and subsequent outcome of the trial.

It wouldn't be the first time.

Time after time, we hear of sportsmen behaving badly - often involving violence, sexual assault or drug and alcohol abuse. They might get suspended from a couple of games, some even get sacked from their team. But very rarely are their careers irreparably damaged. In fact, the opposite is usually true, with remaining teams often fighting over accused players.

When you think about the message this sends out, it's ironic that schools are now teaching boys that violence against women and sexual coercion is wrong.

A lesson that shouldn't need to be taught in 2009.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Australia pays a high price for cheap knock-offs

Most of us would have to admit to buying or at least eyeing off the odd piece of fake designer fashion.

Lets face it, places like Bali and Thailand are famous for their cheap knock-offs - most visitors allocate a whole day to heckling for a bargain.

But these days you don't even have to leave Australia - you can find a pretty good selection of counterfeit goods at your local market.

And it's not just desighner labels from far away places being copied - Australians are ripping off Australians in their own backyards.

But while most Aussies view these stalls as a great place to snare a bargain - it's more than just the owners of the genuine articles being impacted.

According to recent reports, counterfeiting robs Australia of more than $1 billion every year.

Firstly, it's a tax-free business funded by those of us who do pay tax.

Secondly, it costs Australian companies hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost business as well as fees paid to anti-counterfeit organisations and private detectives.

Not to mention the money spent on Copyright and Trademarks.

As well as the economic impact, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, "counterfeiters run illicit business in which criminal networks thrive."

According to the OECD's report:

"These illicit activities steal market share from legitimate businesses and undermine innovation, with negative implications for economic growth.

Bribery associated with counterfeiting and piracy weakens the effectiveness of public institutions at the expense of society at large.

Moreover, the savings that consumers may achieve by knowingly purchasing lower-priced counterfeit or pirated products need to be considered in a broader context. Depending on the product, consumers can be worse off."

Despite the negative impacts on Australia, little is being done by the government to eliminate what has become an increasingly widespread problem.

At the end of the day though it's all about supply and demand...and while we continue to save a few bucks on fakes, counterfeiting groups will continue to thrive - and we'll be the ones funding their tax-free lifestyle.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Queensland Needs Saving… by daylight.

This is not a new issue. It’s an old one, and one that never ceases to amaze me. Daylight Saving - why we don’t have it and why they say we don't need it.

Whenever the weather starts to heat up, I ask myself the same question. Why do Queenslanders have to miss out on enjoying longer days, more sunlight, more time outdoors and (slightly) darker mornings?

I understand that cattle and other animals aren't about to change their sleeping and feeding patterns to accommodate Daylight Savings, hence farmers are against pushing the clock forward.

But what about the rest of us? Personally I'm not opposed to splitting Queensland's time zones, if that's the only way the South East is able to align itself with the rest of the country.

Every year as the southern states leave us behind, I'm left wondering why we continue to resist an obvious lifestyle advantage.

Some parents have expressed concern that the extra daylight will mean children won’t want to go to bed.

Well I grew up in Melbourne where Daylight Savings has been part of life for some time now, and guess what? I went to bed at the usual time. I may not have wanted to, but bedtime was bedtime, regardless of the extra light.

Others claim the extra daylight increases the risk of UV exposure. Keeping your hat and sunscreen on for an extra hour should solve that problem.

Daylight Savings brings clear benefits, especially to families. It allows more time for working parents to play outdoors with their children, more time to exersise, be outside, enjoy the summer weather.

Not to mention the fact that most of Australia does in fact have Daylight Savings, meaning an hour of lost business for Queensland companies and SMEs. Either that or employees are forced to work Daylight Savings hours anyway.

Even wishing interstate family and friends Happy New Year becomes a maths challenge.

And when I go to Sydney next week, I'm going to lose an hour... oh well, at least I'll gain one coming back, even if it is already dark.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Having it all - when the rules keep changing

I am now officially a blogger. And as I sit down to write my first post, my mind drifts to other tasks that need doing - research story, do washing, write press release, sterilise bottles, read to baby, feed baby, bath-time, play-time, cook dinner, converse with husband, and - maybe - read a few pages of my book.

They say Generation Y (of which I am only just) wants it all. And since emerging from my new-mum cocoon, I thought I was doing pretty well at achieving the common goal. I might not have it all, all of the time - and not as much of all as I'd like - but I did think I was managing to get the balance right.

But after spending several months in a bubble of baby-bliss, I hadn't realised things have changed. The requirements for "having it all" have been upgraded, with a whole new list of must-dos adding to the pressure of getting it right - life that is.

Domesticity is back in vogue, with many young women proud to call themselves a Domestic Goddess. As I note this new buzz word I think to myself, I must be one of these Goddesses. I have chosen to work freelance to be home with my baby, after all. I spend much of the day taking care of said bub, I get the washing done, prepare dinner (order it at the very least), I even bought a Swivel Sweeper.

It turns out I am no such thing. A true Domestic Goddess does more than simply keep the pantry stocked. She grows her own vegetables, bakes cakes from scratch and baby food must be home made - cooked, mashed and divided into tiny containers. She always washes whites separately, labels Tupperware and never resorts to long-life milk.

And when it comes to dinner, thanks to an endless supply of cooking shows, a basic meal just doesn't cut it. It turns out cooking is an art to be enjoyed and savoured. Who knew?

Be it work life, home life, social life or family life - when it comes to having it all, the goal posts keep getting further away - or at least shifting. Yet we keep on running towards them. Why? I asked one of Australia's most well-known balancing acts, Mia Freedman her views on the endless quest to have it all.

On having it all - just not all of the time...

"I could have chosen to continue my corporate career in management but I pressed the eject button two years ago when I left what was then Australia's leading media company, PBL. I ejected for a number of reasons including the fact that I was no longer fulfilled by the constant politics and stress and people management that comprises any management role."

On Gen Y and wanting it all...

"A couple my friends are in their twenties, both ambitious but equally keen on marriage and babies.

"I also think our expectations for happiness are far higher with every generation.

"I know Gen Y look at Gen X and Boomers and think we're a pack of sad losers half the time and wonder why the hell we don't chase our own personal happiness more aggressively. They may be right."

On being a Domestic Goddess...

"When we were kids, it was all about pass-the-parcel and a Mintie hunt. Pin the tail on the donkey. And there was one prize in the pass-the-parcel.

"Now, every time the damn music stops and a layer of paper is unwrapped, there has to be a gift. And it's not Minties anymore, it's Cadbury Favourites with mini Snickers and Picnics and Flakes and then you need to have separate food for the parents who won't leave and expect to be served proper coffee so it's like having two parties and then you have to book a fairy or Spiderman and then lolly bags and it's all just giving me a headache thinking about it".

On changing the rules...

"I believe it's a good thing to have high expectations for happiness. Heaven forbid we convince ourselves that a mediocre existence is all we can aim for.

But is there unhappiness or perhaps stress inherent in all the choices and control (well, compared to our mothers and grandmothers) we have as women today?"

Mia Freedman is a media commentator, author, mum and owner of website Mama Mia

About Me

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Nicole is an Australian journalist, presenter and communications consultant. She spent several years as a News Limited journalist, writing for a variety of local newspapers and magazines. Following this, Nicole was a reporter and presenter with the Nine Network, filing stories for Brisbane magazine program Extra, lifestyle show Weekend Extra and National Nine News. She is now a freelance journalist, writing for a variety of publications. Her special interests are features, lifestyle, current affairs, women, parenting/family and health. Nicole is also a public relations and communications consultant. www.nicolemadigan.webs.com
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