Pinky McKay is Australia's number one parenting expert, regularly columnist, lactation consult, mum and is the author of five titles: Parenting By Heart, Toddler Tactics, 100 Ways To Calm the Crying, Sleeping Like a Baby and Baby Massage.
Pinky aims to help parents in Australia and around the world with what she terms -Parenting Madness', Pinky recently spoke at the launch of Priceline Protects providing parenting tips relevant to expecting mums, new mums and also those with a growing family.
Pinky explained that 'being a mum is an awesome job and an awesome responsibility and that we have everything in us to be amazing and strong mothers".
'We need to protect ourselves so we can protect our children and while Priceline Protects is about protecting our children and our families financially there are lots of other ways that we will find ourselves being protective of our babies and children. When our babies are born we have this amazing hormonal cocktail that makes us all become mother lions and even the dads don't get a look in because we are so busy protecting our child. We have stone age bodies and stone aged babies in a modern world, we don't need to protect our babies from predators anymore but there survival needs are still the same a stone age baby, they still need to be close to us, have their needs responded to very quickly and they still need to feel safe," explained Pinky.
'I work as a lactation consultant in Melbourne and I visit mothers in their homes and I've often had mothers tell me -I've expressed a whole freezer full of milk because if sometimes happens to me I want my baby to have my milk'. That is a little bit over the top perhaps, but it is an example of how mummy-mad we can all be when we have a new baby," Pinky continued. 'It goes without saying that it is the responsibility of parents to protect their children, financially and obviously life insurance is apart of this protection. You are your child's advocate and most important role model."
Pinky also talked about other ways we need to protect our children and ourselves by explaining what the -wolves are'. Wolf One: Your heath. You need to be in peak position to care for a child and obviously mothers do get exhausted and it is important that mother's have a health check often including: a blood test, have your thyroid, Vitamin D levels and your hemoglobin checked. Every mother needs to have a health check at least once a year, if you have a new baby you probably need to do it at three months and six months, too.
Wolf Two: Criticism. When you feel upset by criticism it is easy to start doubting yourself and how you're parenting. You're an individual and your child is an individual and you might take a little bit from here and a little bit from there – you can't follow one recipe and expect that to fit your child. Our children need us to stay calm so they can feel safe and secure.
What can we do about criticism and how can we choose what the right thing to do is when we are feeling bombarded with conflicting advice? Pinky advocates Parenting By Heart Pinky understands it can be scary to trust your instincts when you're a new mum. It is important to skill up and learn more as your children grows up, even when they're teenagers. Rather than saying -follow your heart' Pinky has a formula to checking what advice is okay for you, you need to step back and say: Is it safe? Is it respectful? and Does it feel right by me? If you can tick those boxes, go ahead; try it on your child. If it is stressful for you or them, just step back a bit and try something else to do, or just wait for a little bit; sometimes stepping back and relaxing can help you work it out.
Wolf Three: Stress, Overwhelm and Exhaustion. We cannot always protect ourselves from exhaustion but these all play off each other and affect our health as well as our ability to think clearly and act clearly. This makes us very vulnerable to inappropriate advice and criticism and it can weaken our connection with our children.
Pinky McKay provided a range of tips to make things easier, 'even on the dark days when you see a light at the end of the tunnel and it feels as if it is probably a train coming towards you". Pinky explained that 'a lot of stress that mothers feel is created by pressure to do everything right and none of us get it right every time with our kids. Most of the pressure is self-imposed but there can be outside pressure too."
Pinky blew a couple of parenting tips 'out the window" to take a little bit of stress away from parents and remind them that 'they are not the only one who feels like this".
'The first myth is there is no such thing as a -good baby' there is only a -real baby' and just like us some days they'll need more cuddles than other days. The second myth is about bad habits, everybody seems to be terrified of bad habits, I've seen mothers often too scared to cuddle their babies and pick them up when they cry because they are worried about bad habits. You're not creating bad habits, you're wired to respond to that baby and protect that baby. MRI's show that parts of mother's brains light up when their own babies cry. If you want to pick up your baby, pick up your baby; the cuddle police will not knock on your door. The third myth is that everybody else is as together as they look – they are not – I've visited mothers within the same suburb, in the same fortnight and I suspect they're at the same mothers group but due to confidentiality I can't say anything. When I ask -have you talked about this in your mothers group'? They respond -oh no, I can't because everybody else is so together'. I can assure you, they are not. Lighten up and know that the woman who looks the most fabulous might be the one who is feeling the most awful inside and the makeup might be her only way of feeling in control. Don't judge or be scared of those women because they're probably feeling the same as you."
Pinky has five shortcuts to try and make your life a little bit easier:
Delete or Delegate: Instead of sweating all the small things and feeling that you're not measuring up to everybody else's perfect idea of mummy standards, write a list of everything you do – keep a pad on the bench for a couple of days and write down everything you do. It's a great way to reassess how valuable you are and that you cannot be replaced then check of the list and ask -Do I really need to do this? Do I really need to do this right now? What can I stop doing? What can I delete? What can I delegate?' Remember it's good for kids to learn responsibility, if you have older children, get them to help you and get your partners to help you – remember to ask nicely!
Plan Your Day: You don't need a ridged routine but it can help if you plan because you can avoid stress at peak times. Prepare dinner in the morning, have the slow cooker become your new best friend – throw everything in it and leave it, you can also get rice cookers that will do risotto so you don't have to stand over them and work. Chop vegetables in the morning.
Before you go to bed, if you have older kids, set up an activity for your toddler to play with in the morning, so that when you come out, if you're not a morning person, there is something for them to do. I did this and it gave me a little bit of a breather.
Divide Your Work Load: Don't knock yourself out cleaning the whole house, in one day, just do one job a day, that's all you need to do.
Be Kind To Yourself: You don't have to be an all singing, dancing, entertainment machine and you don't have to stop everything when they're awake and play with them; take them into your world when they're awake – put them in a sling or put them in a rocker near you and show them the washing machine buttons – that's just as fabulous as any of the toys you can give them. If you get your work done, while they're awake, when they go to sleep you can rest!
Pinky left Priceline Protect audiences with one last message 'You can be the mother that you want to be, you don't have to use anybody else's stereotype, you be the mother you want to be but you do need to maintain a strong sense of self so it is very important to nurture you and you can't give what you don't have."
Changing a Dirty Nappy More Appealing Than Life Insurance
With 85% of Aussie mums frustrated with the insurance industry, Priceline has announced the launch of Priceline Protects – a new insurance developed to challenge the conventional approach to insurance by providing affordable, accessible and relevant insurance options to Australian women and their families.
Designed by woman, for woman, Priceline Protects has been developed in partnership with leading life insurer AIA Australia and will launch with two initial insurance options – Priceline Protects Life Cover and Priceline Protects Serious Illness.
Priceline stated that 'Priceline Protects has been developed in partnership with AIA Australia who is a leading life insurance group." Priceline believed it was important to 'consult people who live and breathe insurance."
The move into the insurance space, from Australia's leading health and beauty retailer, comes at a time when Australian women are chronically under-insured.
Amanda Connors, Priceline Marketing Director believes Australian women have a conflicting approach to insurance: 'We know they're the ones looking after most of the household admin. They're making the key decisions and keeping the family budget in check, yet despite 79% classifying life insurance as an important form of protection for their family, scarily over 62% don't actually have any."
The survey conducted by Lonergan research in February 2011 also looked at the reason why Australian mums don't have life insurance, finding the concerns around cost, time and a lack of understanding of the benefits were the main deterrents. In fact, of the mums surveyed, 27% would prefer to change a dirty nappy, 21% make a visit to the dentist and 19% have a pap smear before looking into life insurance.
This avoidance comes despite the fact that over four in five (83%) Aussie mums believe that their untimely death would place an enormous or significant financial strain on their family, highlighting a strong awareness amongst mums of just how important this type of protection is.
'So far the insurance industry hasn't been able to find a way to really reach mums. Mums, more than anyone, know how important it is to safeguard their families – they do it every day but they don't want to have to trawl through masses of paperwork and jargon when it comes to insurance. We've worked with AIA Australia because they know insurance inside out and we've talked to women about what they need to look after their families. From this, has come Priceline Protects, straight-forward, affordable, rrelevant insurance for Aussie women," said Connors.
'We've also ensured that in developing Priceline Protects we give something back to our Clubcard members. We know that more than 50% of women are interested in being rewarded when they spend so we've created a system whereby we match every dollar they spend on insurance with a Clubcard point. Anyone can sign up and it's free," said Connors.
Michelle Bradley, Acting Head, Direct and Partner Alliances, AIA Australia comments: 'The unfortunate reality is that sometimes the worst case scenario does occur and it's then that having an insurance plan in place can make all the difference. The challenge is cutting through the clutter to let women know it is easy and affordable. That's why we partnered with Priceline; they've clearly struck a chord with Australian women and we're confident that Priceline Protects will appeal to them."
Said Connors: 'We think we've really got something unique with Priceline Protects and can't wait to start spreading the news to the millions of women who are a part of our Clubcard loyalty program and who already know that Priceline consistently offers them products and services that deliver real value to them."
Priceline Protects – the key facts
Backed by one of Australia's leading life insurers, AIA Australia
Currently offering Life Cover and Serious Illness
No medicals required – sign up in just a few simple steps
Affordable monthly cover from less than $20 a month
Bonus Clubcard points for every insurance dollar spent
For more information about Priceline Protects go to: www.pricelineprotects.com.au or call 1800 66 77 80.
For more information see: www.pricelineprotects.com.au