Bronny has written a fantastic blog about her late brother Justin over at Mamamia.So far it’s had over 700 Facebook shares and Bronny has even been invited back to do another blog for them!!
Bronny has written a fantastic blog about her late brother Justin over at Mamamia.So far it’s had over 700 Facebook shares and Bronny has even been invited back to do another blog for them!!
Do you know what gets my goat? Journos like Andrew Bolt lambasting single mothers for all of society’s woes! And don’t get me started on the TV programs that show women in their late 30s or 40s having abortions because they fear becoming single mums (yes, I’m looking at you The Slap!).
A quick Google search of the words ‘Andrew Bolt’ and ‘single mother’s’ revealed an astounding number of pages and pages of search results for his blogs, not all of which lambast single mothers, but also for comments attached to his blogs. This actually just made me feel sad that single mothers who are already vulnerable, are attacked rather than assisted. Let’s keep in mind that the Labor Goverment in 2013 enforced a new law whereby all single parents once their youngest child turns 8 will be transferred to the New Start allowance – a measly $527 per fortnight. Somehow this is supposed to force single parents into work rather than be on welfare. It does not take into account who will look after the children before and after school – or the fact, the amount most likely earned whilst working will in fact be paid out to before and after school care if parents can not find some other cheaper option. It got me thinking – why the hate Bolt? What did single mothers ever do to you. Why can’t you ever write in a constructive supportive way about single mothers or in fact just keep your opinions to yourself.
In his ironically titled blog ‘The Troubled Rise of The Single Parent’ Bolt makes some staggering accusations at single mothers whilst proffering flimsy quotes to back up his argument. For example, how about this pearl of wisdom:
‘the demographic profile of the single mother makes uncomfortable reading’
Really? Why so uncomfortable? Is it because single mothers step up and take responsibility when usually fathers have walked away? Happy to have their fortnightly visits or indeed – no contact at all. What I find uncomfortable is the rate of abandoned pregnant women by father’s who choose to not take responsibility for their actions! In fact statistics gleaned from the USA (apologies it’s not Australian – apparently the Australian Census doesn’t deem this important enough to gather these statistics) showed that a remarkable 44.2% of single mothers are either divorced or separated! Given there is a trend away from marriage it’s not surprising that the second highest statistic is that of those never married – 36.8%. This does not take into account whether the mothers were in fact partnered and abandoned post pregnancy announcement, or after baby came along. Regardless, it really doesn’t help single mothers when high profile journalists like Bolt like to dig the boot in because their parental status makes him uncomfortable.
There is a general consensus that children raised in happy, loving, secure households tend to be the most well adjusted. Let’s get something straight. Just like not all partnered parents are the same neither are all single mothers! There are plenty of unhappy, abusive two parent families. Quite often the result of these unhappy families is a single parent situation – when the said abused parent finally leaves. Could we perhaps surmise that a child with issues in a single parent family is perhaps carrying those issues from the very two parent family that created the abusive situation? In actual fact the single parent is now trying to pick up the pieces of the chaotic two parent environment to nurture and care for their child. I am sure we have all been shocked by the recent and tragic murder of Luke Batty – the eleven year old child murdered by his father in cold blood. A child who began life in a two parent household, whose mother then made the tough decision to go it alone, thereby creating a safe and secure environment for her son, only to have the father who was mentally deranged murder him in front of her and many of the Tyabb community. Might I add, Luke’s mother Rosie has shown enormous courage in the face of unbelievable tragedy, with this to say:
“No one loved Luke more than Greg, his father. No one loved Luke more than me. We both loved him,” she said. ”It was a tragic situation that no one could see was going to happen. I’m still dealing with disbelief. I’m here right now because I know you have a job to do, and I want to tell everybody that family violence happens to everybody, no matter how nice your house is, no matter how intelligent you are.”
My God, what an amazing woman. What an amazing parent. Such dignity in the face of such an unbelievable situation. The fact she even allowed contact at all is a credit to the kind of woman she is. Obviously one with values and beliefs that believed her child should be allowed a relationship with his father. Bravo Rosie. Bravo.
I would like to suggest something, let’s get rid of the label ‘single mother’ and just call her ‘parent’ because that’s what she is and does whether she is in a relationship or not. She is the parent picking up her child from school at the end of the day. She is the parent you see walking hand in hand with her child around the lake. She is the parent you see dropping her child to dance lessons. She is the parent you see playing tea party in the front yard. She is the parent doing the work of raising her child the best way she knows how. I’ve lost count of my partnered friends who tell me ‘I’m really a single parent because (insert hubby’s name) is constantly away with work!’. Um, yeah you’re not love, but anyway. I’ll stick to the point. Does this family situation also make Bolt feel uncomfortable? The family that has one parent work away so much so that one of the parents feels they are single? Or is this okay because it fits the stereotype of how a family should be. How does Bolt feel about parents who stay together in abusive, angry households for the sake of the children? Is this a better option than removing the child and putting them into a single parent house? One that is safe and bereft of anxiety and drama?
Let’s discuss the notion of parents and who should be parents. Because according to people like Bolt it should be a man and a woman living together as husband and wife equalling ‘normal’. Well in my opinion parents are the people who raise children in their care, whether they are a foster parent or an aunt and uncle who have taken on their deceased siblings children or Grandparents who have taken over where there children have failed or even two Dads or two Mums. It doesn’t really matter because all these parental situations as long as they are safe and secure are perfectly fine when there is a loving and nurtering environment for children to grow. It’s parents raising children, not single mothers or single dads or two parent families. And let’s keep in mind that in ALL situations, some do a good job and some do a really crap job. Can I point out the partnered pair in the USA recently sentenced to sixty years jail for the neglect of their baby whom was starving to death while they played video games. I can give you many more cases of two parent unions really stuffing up when it comes to the parent stakes. But I guess it gets Andrew Bolt more hits or more likes or comments as Google seemed to reveal to make stupid biased statements like:
‘unmarried motherhood has become something of a profession’
Well thanks Bolt at least you acknowledge that women do work in the home. Oh, sorry you were having a dig not implying that the work women do in the home is a job.
You see, it’s pieces like the Bolt one that make it seem like all single mothers chose to be single mothers, that they said, oh hey – look I can get $600 a fortnight from the government (because that’s a fortune – right?) and live off the fat of the land and get myself a big screen TV. WRONG! He seems to be forgetting all the single mothers who fled to women’s shelters, and left abusive narcissistic men, who were dumped when they were pregnant and decided abortion was not the answer, all the women who lost partners to horrible accidents or who were simply left for another woman, or another life, or something people like to call ‘freedom’.
And it’s not just women, it’s men raising children on their own too, and men who end up in the same situation. I’ve even heard of men who have partnered with a single mother, loved her children as his own, only to have her pass away and he be left the father of her children. Did he walk away! No he did not, he raised those children the best way he could. I guess the good news stories like this don’t really make the headlines, because when you’re doing a good job – well who wants to know really – no one! But when you stuff up and you do a bad job, well that’s when everyone wants to make sure you feel like you are the reason our jail’s are full, children are committing crimes and probably responsible for genocide as well. Clearly I am being sarcastic. My point is this. Being a single mother is not a crime. It does not make you a terrible person. I would actually say it makes you a kind of super hero, because you are the one who stuck it out, who took on the responsibility and didn’t walk away. Single Mothers have raised some amazing people! Barrack Obama, Angelina Jolie, Orlando Bloom, Christina Aguilera, Halle Berry, Bill Clinton, John Lennon and the list goes on!
Single parents have and will continue to raise amazing human beings who contribute to this world. I know MANY amazing single mothers myself! One runs her own PR business and has a slew of successful clients and companies, many you will have heard of and possibly purchase from your supermarket on a daily basis! Another is a successful Interior Designer and runs a catering business on the side! Another is on TV regularly in commercials. Another is a Psychologist. Another a Professor. Another recently launched her 3rd book to great success sharing her tips on parenting and eating well. Another is a lawyer who gets paid to travel the world giving legal advice to huge corporations. Another is my own mum, who took herself back to University as a mature age student and became a Psychologist, Counsellor and Social Worker! Amazing not just single mothers but WOMEN! How about we put our hands together for these single mothers, kicking goals, being amazing and raising wonderful human beings in an environment that provides, love, safety and security. Because let me tell you Andrew Bolt that’s actually all a child needs whether it is provided by 1, 2, 3 or even 6 parents!
You’ll hear more about this from me. Why? Because I’m a single mother!It’s the whole reason I wrote My Super Single Mum – because I saw a gap and realised our children needed to feel loved and valued even in literature. And I’m passionate about this topic. And all I can say is this. I am single mother, hear me roar and I will not be tarred by the same brush that biased journo’s like Andrew Bolt like to tar us all with.
Adele’s album ‘21’ is one of the highest selling albums ever released. Her songs ‘Rolling In The Deep’ and ‘Someone Like You’ remain on radio playlists years after they were released and the world is eagerly awaiting her third record in 2014. Many people have heard about Adele’s heartbreak but not as much about her childhood being raised by single mum Penny Adkins.
Penny was 18 and a half when she gave birth to Adele in Tottenham. Penny held three jobs to support her daughter whilst also finding the time to encourage Adele to explore her creativity. She took Adele to her first concert, The Cure, when she was 3 and enrolled her at the prestigious BRITS school to study the music industry. Penny and Adele were supported by Penny’s family, with Adele describing them as “… Massive. All brilliant. Dominated by women and all really helping each other out, so even though she brought me up on her own, it was kind of a team effort.”
Adele’s relationship with her father, Mark Evans, is not as brilliant. Adele had a distant yet consistent relationship with Mark in her youth, spending summer vacations with him. When Mark became an alcoholic, their relationship completely disintegrated. When she eventually made it big, Mark started selling stories about her to the press, causing Adele to respond “If I ever see him I will spit in his face”. Consequently, they have not spoken in a number of years.
Adele has since found love and had a baby boy, but still considers her mum to be her closest friend and ally, “She’s the calmest person, really strong and clever and beautiful.’ When Adele won an incredible 6 Grammys in one night, she was quick to thank Penny: “”I just want to say, Mum, your girl did good!”
For our third Super Parents Celebrity Edition, we’ve decided to look at the fascinating story of Charlize Theron and her mum Gerda.
Charlize was initially raised near Johannesburg by her parents Charles and Gerda. Talented even at a young age, she was firmly entranced in the dance world whilst at boarding school. Back at home though, Charles had become an abusive alcoholic, frequently assaulting Gerda. One day, whilst Charlize was on a weekend visit, Charles went to shoot Charlize in a drunk stupor. To protect herself and her daughter, Gerda fatally shot Charles before he could hurt his daughter.
Before you think that we’re supporting the use of guns, keep in mind that in South Africa it is considered normal to carry firearms at all times. Whilst the action itself was terrible, we don’t think there is any mother who wouldn’t do the same for her child. Being a parent is more than just providing food and shelter, it is about being a protector, regardless of the cost.
In the year following his death, Gerda strongly pushed Charlize into modelling as a distraction of sorts and the rest, as they say, is history. Charlize has since won numerous awards, including an Oscar for her starring role in 2003’s ‘Monster’. Her most prized possession though would have to be her two year old son Jackson.
Charlize and Gerda remain incredibly close. Charlize does not talk about the incident regularly, but has said “Those are the sacrifices… that I think you do for your children, and she always did that. She always put me first.” As any other parent should.
Following last week’s blog about Justin Timberlake and his mum Lynn, we’ve decided to look at another modern family. This week is all about Logie winning actress Brenna Harding and her mums Vicki and Jackie!
Brenna may be known nowadays for her role as Sue in ‘Puberty Blues’, but ten years ago she was making headlines for a very different reason. Brenna and her mums featured on a controversial episode of the classic ABC Children’s show ‘Play School’. Now it wasn’t controversial because it featured a happy young girl with her two supportive mothers but because our then Prime Minister John Howard called this inclusion ‘foolish’. Within the government it was suggested that the show was deliberately making a political statement and (GASP) ‘exposing children to same sex marriage’ as though it would destroy their innocence. Scarily this thought process was still in place only a mere ten years ago!
Even though it would be easy for Brenna to fall into the cliché ‘child star’ pattern, parents Vickie and Jackie have been careful to make sure that Brenna prioritizes her education as well. Last year, Brenna completed Year 11 at Sydney’s St George Girls High School whilst also working on the second season of ‘Puberty Blues.’ In fact, Brenna has more than proven to be a poster child for a well-adjusted teenager raised by a gay couple – she’s co-authored kids’ books that normalise the concept, campaigned for gay rights and recently contributed a long essay about her family in support of gay marriage to the Griffith Journal Of Law and Human Dignity.
Biological mother Vicki also specifically chose a known sperm donor so Harding could meet him later in life if she wanted to. Of course she did: “It was another person in my life who was loving,” Brenna says. They still see each other every three weeks. “I don’t refer to him as my dad. My donor is what I call him. He’s a bit like an uncle.”
It’s no surprise then that when Brenna won her Best New Female Talent Logie in 2013, she was quick to thank “two women, my beautiful mothers’ during her acceptance speech. What’s even more exciting is that the mention caused little to no fuss in the press room afterwards. Our society is slowly coming around to the idea that same sex families can be just as happy as opposite sex ones!
(Credit and quotes from News Online)
To celebrate the upcoming release of My Super Single Dad, we have decided to commence regular blogs about famous celebrities raised by modern families! This week, we look at Justin Timberlake and his Mum, Lynn Harless
Justin grew up near Memphis, Tennessee with mum Lynn and step-dad Paul Harless. Justin describes himself as a ‘terror’ growing up with big musical ambitions. Hard work found Justin in the Mickey Mouse Club and later in boy band *NSYNC. He was just 14 when he joined the band and a musical career would mean no regular high school-just tutors. Lynn refused to let him give up his education though. “You’re going to finish high school if we have to go handcuffed together,” she says she told him.
Despite his mum and did divorcing when he was young, Justin still had a great relationship with his dad. When Justin was struggling emotionally after touring his first solo album ‘Justified’ back in 2003, his dad Randall told him: ‘You’re a workaholic. And take it from me, I’m almost 50, do the things that you can do while you are in your 20s. Enjoy your life. Enjoy what you’ve worked so hard for ” Justin didn’t grasp it right away, “… because the thing that I cared about most was work — music — and I had done it for 10 years. Longer than that if you count [‘The Mickey Mouse Club’] when I was a kid. So the first month I was like, ‘I’ll try that out,’ ’cause my dad is pretty wise.”
Justin is definitely a mumma’s boy though! She is one of his managers, and he says he tells her everything and she is his best friend. “My mother has been there so much for me, and has helped me level things out when things got crazy,” he said.
Justin even has a tattoo on his back showing an angel holding a banner with his mother’s initials.
Justin’s story illustrates that children of single parents are just as capable of achieving their dreams as children whose parents are still together. Additionally, it also exemplifies how a child can have a meaningful relationship with both parents after a divorce. All a child needs to prosper is love!
Bronny is delighted to announce that her My Family series of Children’s Books will be featured in a number of book fairs around the globe as we excitedly add book #4 ‘My Super Single Dad’ to the series! Check out our lovable families at the following fairs:
London Book Fair, London, UK
8 – 10 April 2014
The London Book Fair is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. Taking place in the world’s premier publishing and cultural capital, it is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and capitalise on the innovations shaping the publishing world. The London Book Fair brings direct access to customers, content and emerging markets.
Beijing International Book Fair, Beijing, China
27 – 31 August 2014
The Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF), now held over twenty five times since its inception in 1986, continues to uphold its principle of “introducing excellent books from around the world into China and leading Chinese books to the world”. Over the past twenty years, the BIBF has been an event of the utmost importance to publishers, and has received major support and participation from domestic and overseas book and publishing industries, turning it into a major international publishing event incorporating copyright trade, book trade, cultural events, displays, consultation services and professional networking.
Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt, Germany
8 – 12 October 2014
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s largest and longest running trade fair for books, based on the number of publishing companies represented, as well as the number of visitors.
Representatives from book publishing and multimedia companies from all over the world come to the Frankfurt Book Fair in order to negotiate international publishing rights and licensing fees. For five days more than 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries and more than 286,000 visitors take part. The Frankfurt Book Fair is considered to be the most important book fair in the world for international deals and trading.
We can’t wait to present our books at these great Fairs and look forward to sharing our future success with you!
My Super Single Dad will be out soon! It REALLY is nearly ready, it’s only a year late but better late than never!
Hey guys! We are so excited to announce that Bronny is set to speak at an upcoming Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (or ”SCBWI’) event in Melbourne. Bronny and her ‘My Single Family’ children’s book series have been a triumph for families of various non-traditional backgrounds. As a self-publisher, Bronny feels privileged to give advise to fellow writers about forging their own path, just as many of her characters do!
SCBWI is the only professional organization specifically for those individuals writing and illustrating for children and young adults in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. They provide awards, scholarships, grants and also provide advice for new writers about publishing their own books! SCBWI has chapters all over the world and in Australia they hold a Major Conference and Illustrator Showcase in Sydney every two years as well as frequent Master C
Bronny will speak at their Melbourne event later in 2014.
Welcome to the Fourth edition of Bronny’s Bookshelf. In these posts I’ll be picking a handful of children’s books from my home bookshelf and sharing my thoughts on them. Today I’ll be discussing three books, a couple of which are very near and dear to mine an my child’s heart.
Horton Hears a Who! – Dr. Seuss
Horton Hears a Who! is a story about an elephant named Horton who overhears the echo of voices on a little red clover. Upon closer inspection he discovers that there is a whole town of Who’s, human-like creatures small almost to the point of being invisible, and who live on this particular clover. Horton then makes it his mission to protect the clover and its inhabitants, particularly from the threat of other animals in the jungle who mock him and disbelieve in the existence of the Who’s before stealing the clover and trying to hide it.
At the end of the book, after a great deal of anguish and persistence, Horton manages to save the red clover as well as the Who’s which live upon it. The core message of the book is repeated like a mantra throughout it: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” This is a theme which teaches children the importance of treating and respecting others equally despite their size or appearance.
What is most distinctive about Horton Hears a Who! is, like most Dr. Seuss books, both the imagination of the world created and the style of the language. From the rhyming couplets of the words to the kooky cartoon animals, Horton Hears a Who! is sure to leave you and your child entertained.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a story which follows a little caterpillar from its life as an egg, its brief life as a caterpillar devouring whatever food it can find, its even briefer life in a cocoon and right through to its emergence as a beautiful butterfly at the end.
Since its publication in 1969 The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold over 30 million copies, becoming a staple for children’s early reading all around the world. The story is accentuated with little pop up flaps on some pages which can be pulled aside to reveal holes in the fruit which the caterpillar has eaten on different days of the week, and these particular illustrations of food serve as very lush and appetizing pictures and include cakes, ice creams, cheeses, sausages, cupcakes, a slice of watermelon and a lollipop – each with little holes. This creates the sense that the caterpillar has eaten through your own book. On the whole it’s a particularly short though thoroughly enjoyable read.
Mr. Happy – by Roger Hargreaves
Mr. Happy is just one of over 40 books in the Mr. Men series which began in the 1970’s. The story of Mr. Happy takes place in Happyland – where the sun shines hotter and the trees are a hundred feet tall. Everything from all the flowers and all the animals and even the worms smile in this land. It is in a small cottage by a lake in this serene paradise that Mr. Happy lives.
One day during one of his walks Mr. Happy explores an underground house and finds a man. This man is very similar to Mr. Happy, he is small and round and yellow, but unlike Mr. Happy, this man is miserable, in fact his name is Mr. Miserable.
After escorting his new friend out of his tree home and up into Happyland, Mr. Miserable finds himself unable to fend off the simmering happiness that burns in the cores of all who dwell in Happyland, and his frown quickly turns into a smile. This segues into the final message of the story which addresses the reader, it states: if you ever feel as miserable as Mr. Miserable, all you need to do is turn your mouth up at the corners and smile.
These books are available at:
Horton Hears a Who!: http://www.bookdepository.com/Horton-Hears-Who%21-Dr-Seuss/9780394800783
Hungry Caterpillar: http://www.bookdepository.com/Very-Hungry-Caterpillar-Eric-Carle/9780241003008
Welcome to the Third edition of Bronny’s Bookshelf. In these posts I’ll be picking a handful of children’s books from my home bookshelf and sharing my thoughts on them. Today I’ll be discussing three books, a couple of which are very near and dear to mine an my child’s heart.
May We Sleep Here Tonight – Written by Tan Koide & illustrated by Yasuko Koide
May We Sleep Here Tonight is a story that begins with three mice who are hiking in the woods and get lost in the developing fog around nightfall. They soon come upon a cabin, and after wondering if it would be okay to seek shelter there, they step inside to find it uninhabited and settle in. Soon after, while the three mice are tucked into bed, two rabbits who had similarly gotten lost in the fog drop in to join them. Furthermore, this little group is soon added to by the presence of three lost raccoons who knock on the cabin door. The story hits its peak when a big scary monster descends from the fog and enters into the cabin, frightening all of the animals who are cozy in bed, but it happily turns out to be Mr. Bear, the friendly bear who lives in the cabin and often hosts lost animals before feeding them hearty stew. Unlike a lot of other children’s books which are illustrated in water colour, this one is drawn in pencil which some great use of shading and soft colouring. This book was quite scary as the bear entered, however, the happy ending ultimately teaches our children about perception and how our minds can play tricks on us.
Laurence’s Water Wings – Written by Leone Peguero & illustrated by David Pearson
Laurence’s Water Wings is a story about children and their individuality. It begins with Laurence waking up and realizing that he is on school holidays. As his two brothers, sister and parents begin to pack their things to go on a family holiday, Laurence puts on a pair of water wings despite being politely told that they are going to the bush and he will therefore not be requiring them. Throughout their entire trip, despite suggestions from his brothers and sister to remove the water wings, he keeps them on. When they arrive home his parents surprise him with the swimming pool they had constructed while on holiday, and still wearing his water wings, Laurence is the first one in the pool. I like this book not just because of the soft water colour illustrations in which colours smoothly bleed into each other, but because it teaches our children that it’s okay to be different. If Laurence wants to wear water wings, let him wear water wings.
Paddington Bear: In the Garden – By Michael Bond & illustrated by Michael Bond
Paddington’s Garden in one of the many stories in the Paddington Bear series. This particular story was published in 2002, but various Paddington Bear stories date as far back as the early 1950’s, and the longevity of this character is testament to the strength of stories such as this. Paddington’s Garden is set in an affluent residence in London, and after Mrs. Brown, the mother of the house, spies Mr. Brown working very hard to maintain their large garden, she suggests that he delegate sections of the garden to their two children and Paddington. After feeling a little tired and overwhelmed with the initial gardening, Paddington uses his allowance to purchase some gardening supplies. However, on his way home he leaves his jar of marmalade at a construction site and after returning he finds that in its place rests a large pile of concrete. After, convincing the site manage to dig up the concrete and recover his jar, they find it was not there but rather on a wooden platform that had been elevated. Unhappy that his now dried concrete is wasted, Paddington saves the day by buying the dried pieces of concrete off him and using them in his garden display.
What I love about this book in particular is that there is lots of text that guides the story, and it doesn’t just rely on the images to look nice and engage your child. This particular edition of Paddington Bear teaches children about being creative in order to solve problems, and is a story best suited to children who have mastered basic reading and are ready to move onto more in depth stories.
Stay tuned for the fourth edition of Bronny’s Bookshelf!
You can purchase these books at:
May We Sleep Here Tonight – http://www.bookdepository.com/May-We-Sleep-Here-Tonight-Tan-Koide/9780689832888