Getting kids to do chores: little hands make light work

You’re down on your knees with a toothbrush cleaning the grout or outside picking up some of Fido’s finest gifts to your garden when you hear your kids call out “Mum, we’ve just poured you a cuppa of your favourite peppermint tea, why don’t you put your feet up and let us do that!” Right.

But even if this portrait of domestically inclined offspring is likely always going to remain a fantasy, it doesn’t mean you can’t – and shouldn’t – ask the kids to help around the house.


Pets make for a happier, healthier home

Approximately 60% of Australians have pets, and it’s with good reason they do. Pets make us – and our homes – happier and healthier.

Pet ownership has been found to correlate with both positive psychological and physical outcomes including lower blood pressure, physical fitness, improved sleep, less loneliness, decreased depression, higher conscientiousness, less fear, and better self-esteem. We also know that spending time with and stroking our pet increases oxytocin, the feel-good hormone associated with stress relief.


Tips to help housemates negotiate

I wonder if anyone else remembers the episode of American sitcom Happy Days when bickering roommates Ralph and Potsie follow the recommendation of an advice columnist who tells them to draw a line down the middle of their room and keep to their own side?

Regardless of the stage and age we’re at, sharing a home with other people means we get the potential benefits of cost-splitting and enjoying each other’s company.


Mourning loss at home

The loss of a cherished partner or loved one brings a host of feelings that are typical in the grieving process including sadness, feeling like it’s all a bad dream, guilt, anger, resentment, blame, shock, feelings you are going crazy, questions about long-held religious or spiritual beliefs, disbelief and fear.

Those feelings can seem even more acute as we move through the places and spaces we shared with that loved one – especially a home.


Finding the right obstetrician for your home

Is finding an agent like finding an obstetrician? There’s more similarities than you might think – and some illuminating lessons about the agent and buyer or seller relationship.

For those of you who are parents, cast your mind back to the first time you met your obstetrician. Depending on your circumstances, it’s likely you chose this marvellous creature because he or she had sufficient expertise in order to help bring your child(ren) safely into the world.


The long way home: The impact of a lengthy commute

When you’re fantasising about moving into your new home or imagining chatting to new-found friends in your new cubicle or office, it’s not uncommon to overlook the pros and cons of the commute. However travelling to and from work is an important part of our day that can contribute or contaminate to our overall wellbeing.

Happiness and wellbeing levels are usually higher in people who don’t feel that negative feelings dominate the annoying and irritating daily hassles we all have to deal with, including commuting. 


Tips for living as a blended family

Your marriage has ended, and you feel blessed to have finally found the kind of love again that fills you up. You ride the waves of excitement and anticipation that moving in with a new love brings, but this time, you now also need to consider your children, your partner’s children, and your respective ex-partners as you set up new living arrangements and routines as a blended or step-family.

If you’re playing the role of step-parent to your partner’s kids, give yourself permission to acknowledge the huge adjustment for both yourself, and your step-children...


Do introverts make better leaders?

There's a common belief that extroverts make better leaders. Bold, confident and blessed with the gift of the gab, they know how to win people over.

But the world is realising the strengths of the introvert. Reserved and cautious, they make excellent listeners and determined problem-solvers.

First published on the Canberra Times website.


How to cope with moving overseas

Making the very real decision to pack up life as you know it and move to Australia constitutes a major life transition in anyone’s language.

It’s one thing to admire dazzling footage of the Sydney Opera House or Great Barrier Reef, or to fantasise about running away with movie stars Nicole Kidman or Hugh Jackman. The journey may be filled with promising possibilities, but it can also result in feeling lonely, lost, out of control, resentful, anxious, and overwhelmed.


An empty nest & room: How to cope when kids leave home

You’ve spent years changing nappies, driving kids to dance classes and soccer training, tenderly wiping away the tears of unrequited teenage love, and absorbing the stresses of year 12 or university exams.

You may have even fantasised about what life would be like if you only had more time to yourself, or with your spouse, when your kids weren’t so dependent and in need of your emotional, physical, financial, and psychological resources.

Now, seemingly overnight, that stage has arrived and your last, or only, child is ready to depart home, leaving you either alone, or with your partner, to navigate a new stage of life as empty nesters.