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You can navigate the everyday challenges of motherhood with a little reassurance and advice from one mother to another. As celebrities share their secrets  behind closed doors, with advice on navigating everyday parenting struggles.

While celebrities may share the glamour and fortune of their Hollywood lifestyles, their parenting styles  differ vastly.  With more access than ever into the lives of celebs behind closed doors, we have gathered their best advice on how to tackle the everyday challenges, as well as the everyday rewards of motherhood. There’s no handbook for successful mothering, but from Chrissy Teigen‘s bath time hacks to Beyonce teaching by example, these mothers have a few tips and advice to make everyday a little easier for all.

Chrissy Teigen (35 yo)

Children: Luna Simone Stephens (5yo), Miles Theodore Stephens (3yo)

@chrissyteigen

Chrissy Teigen isn’t one to shy away from the spotlight. Her Twitter escapades in particular, have made her infamous for her controversial and unfiltered nature. However, it’s Chrissy’s relatable and transparent parenting, or as she likes to call it, “de-motivational” speaking that offers lasting impression and inspiration to mothers everywhere. 

A bath time trick shared by Chrissy offers help to eliminate the shock and trouble of cleaning up. Chrissy shared that gently wrapping your baby (swaddled to your chest) and lowering them into the water while you enter as well, will provide the comfort and eliminate the bath time struggle for both mum and bub.

Teigen also shared some of her everyday advice with  SheKnows stating,

It’s important for us to come together and understand that there’s no perfect way to do something, There’s a million different ways to raise a child, and that’s fine.”

 

Chrissy Twitter Share:

8:00 PM · Jun 27, 2018·Twitter for iPhone

“only I can understand my kid. she’s like “BDIDKDKODKDHJXUDHEJSLOSJDHDUSJMSOZUZUSJSIXOJ”  and I’m like “ok I will get you a piece of sausage in just a minute”

 

Reese Witherspoon (45 yo)

Children: Ava Elizabeth Philippe (22yo), Tennessee James Toth (9yo), Deacon Reese Philippe (17yo)

@reesewitherspoon

Reese Witherspoon knows there’s no such thing as perfection in motherhood, and all mothers can share in the reassurance that not even Hollywood’s leading ladies always know how to navigate the unknown.

She states, “No one’s really doing it perfectly. I think you love your kids with your whole heart, and you do the best you possibly can.”

Reese places emphasis on finding a strong support network stating, “I depend on the kindness and support of my mom friends…It’s really about your support system, your family structure.”

 

Beyonce (40 yo)

Children: Blue Ivy Carter (9yo), Rumi Carter (4yo), Sir Carter (4yo)

@beyonce

Fierce and bold, Beyonce utilises her distinctive persona in her everyday parenting practices. Offering some of the most powerful advice on parenting in the contemporary age she states,

I let my children know that they are never too young to contribute to changing the world. I never underestimate their thoughts and feelings, and I check in with them to understand how this is affecting them.”

Helping her children feel empowered to change the world and modelling that same behaviour herself.

 

Blake Lively (34 yo)

Children: James Reynolds (6yo), Inez Reynolds (5yo), Betty Reynolds (12 months)

@blakelively

One of Hollywood’s Golden Couples, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are renowned for their reasonably confidential parenting style.  Lively however, took to instagram to share advice on the importance of CPR for parents stating, “All mamas and daddies out there—I can’t recommend this enough. I took a CPR class with a focus on babies and toddlers, for those of you who haven’t done it, you will love it. It’s so helpful by giving you knowledge, tools, and some peace of mind.”

However, even when prepared, Lively knows to expect the unexpected. She states in an interview with The Los Angeles Times,

Having a baby is just living in the constant unexpected. You never know when you’re gonna get crapped on or when you’re gonna get a big smile or when that smile immediately turns into hysterics.”

 

Angelina Jolie (46  yo)

Children: Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt (20yo) adopted in 2002, Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt (17yo) adopted 2007, Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt (16yo) adopted 2005, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt (15yo), Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt (13yo)

@angelinajolie

Although no longer married,  Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were one of the most iconic Hollywood couples of the past two decades. Pitt and Jolie have six kids, three biological children and three who are adopted.

Jolie shares tips about parenting throughout the pandemic stating, “Like most parents, I focus on staying calm so my children don’t feel anxiety from me on top of all the worrying about.”

Jolie shares her worldly wisdom and advice as a reminder to mothers that even in the chaos of life, it’s the simple moments and time spent with your children that matter most. Stating,

Sometimes, when I want to take on the world, I try to remember that it’s just as important to sit down and ask my son how he’s feeling or talk to him about life.”

 

Dianne Keaton (75 yo)

Children: Dexter Keaton (26yo) adopted in 1996,  Duke Keaton (21yo) adopted in 2001

@diane_keaton

Motherhood comes in all different shapes, sizes and ages.  Dianne Keaton is just one example, at the age of 50 adopting her daughter Dexter, and five years later adopting her son Duke.

The now 75 year old, is renowned for her matriarch roles on the big screen, and that ripples into her everyday lifestyle. She states, “I had a career and I came to motherhood late and am not married and have never had such a trusting relationship with a man – and trust is where the real power of love comes from. A sense of freedom is something that, happily, comes with age and life experience.”

Motherhood has completely changed me. It’s just about like the most completely humbling experience that I’ve ever had. I think that it puts you in your place because it really forces you to address the issues that you claim to believe in and if you can’t stand up to those principles when you’re raising a child, forget it.”

Jlo (52 yo)

Children: Emme Maribel Muñiz (13yo), Maximilian David Muñiz (13yo)

@jlo

Multi-talented and determined mother of two, Jennifer Lopez shares on her socials it was her mother that ingrained in her the power of believing in yourself.  She took to instagram on Mothers Day stating, “It was my mom who instilled in us at a very young age that we could do anything. This was something that has really stayed with me. Being a mom is my greatest joy, and today I think about my mommy and all the moms out there. This is your day, and I hope you are surrounded by love, gratitude and appreciation… enjoy it!”

Jlo also knows that it’s experience that drives wisdom stating,

You cannot imagine what it’s like to be a mom until you are a mom. I used to give my friends who have kids advice all the time, and they would look at me like I had three heads. And then, when I had you two, the minute I had you two, I literally apologized to all my friends.”

 

Nicole Kidman (54 yo)

Children: Isabella Jane Cruise (28yo), Connor Cruise (26yo), Suri Cruise (15yo), Sunday Rose Kidman Urban (13yo)

@nicolekidman

Australian golden girl, Nicole Kidman knows that motherhood can be a struggle of instinct and experience.

She states,

My instinct is to protect my children from pain. But adversity is often the thing that gives us character and backbone. It’s always been a struggle for me to back off and let my children go through difficult experiences.”

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the 54-year-old states a rule that has made her “unpopular” with Sunday Rose, 10  and Faith Margaret, eight, “They don’t have a phone and I don’t allow them to have an Instagram,” she told the magazine. “I try to keep some sort of boundaries.”  Kidman also states she raises her children in a very religious household.

 

Kate Hudson (42 yo)

Children: Ryder Robinson (17 yo),Bingham Hawn Bellamy (10 yo), Rani Rose Hudson Fujikawa (2 yo) 

@katehudson

Following in her mothers footsteps, Kate Hudson rose to the big screen acting predominantly in rom-coms.  However, raised by the free-spirited Goldie Hawn, many are surprised by Kate’s motherhood method of discipline. 

In an interview with PEOPLE, she states,“Where I am strict is that there are certain rules that I put down. I don’t negotiate with my kids about certain things.” 

She states, “What I realised about that is that when you set that standard in your home, you don’t end up in long-winded negotiations. When I say no, it’s done.” Adding that she is “very, very strict about manners”.  For Kate there is no tolerance whatsoever for untruths. “I have no tolerance for lying,” she shares. “The tiny lies or the big ones.” 

And while Kate’s no nonsense approach might seem tough, that it doesn’t mean she doesn’t let her kids make mistakes. “When it comes to your feelings or emotions … I’m very open, I give my children a lot of space to make mistakes.” 

“Parenting shifts as your kids shift. The best thing for me has been throwing any kind of parenting manual out of the window.”

 

Kim Kardashian (41 yo)

Children: North West (8yo), Saint West (5yo), Chicago West (3yo), Psalm West (2yo)

@kimkardashian

American personality, socialite, model and businesswoman Kim Kardashian is not shy of the public eye. Sharing her family life on screen and now her family through her socials Kim’s open lifestyle includes sharing her greatest attributions of motherhood.

Kim’s breastfeeding hack offers mums a solution to sibling rivalry. When her son Saint was born, Kim explains her daughter North was extremely jealous explaining on the Ellen Degeneres show she would slip a milk box with straw into her bra for North whilst breastfeeding Saint.

The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star shares she relies and recommends on leaning on your family, stating she often turns to her four sisters for support.

“I have such unconditional love for my kids. No matter what, I will always love them and support them in anything they choose to do in life. My family was so close growing up; now that I’m a mom, I understand the bond my mom and dad felt with us,”

Outspoken body-positivity activist Jameela Jamil calls for change by addressing the harmful behaviours of reality stars and the media on our body image and self-esteem.

The tide is changing when it comes to body positivity. Where low self-esteem once dominated and allowed for the media to spread messages of weight loss, there are now many people challenging these ideas and calling for the removal of body shaming.

British actor and star of The Good Place Jameela Jamil is an increasingly loud and insistent voice when it comes to challenging the standards of physical beauty perpetuated by the media and entertainment industry.

Jamil is outspoken on social media when it comes to body positivity and calling out celebrities who encourage unhealthy body image ideals.

She recently shared an image to Instagram showing off the stretch marks on her breasts, announcing that she would now call them ‘Babe Marks’.

Jamil is outspoken on social media when it comes to body positivity and calling out celebrities who encourage unhealthy body image ideals.

“Boob stretch marks are a normal, beautiful thing,” she captioned her post. “I have stretch marks all over my body and I hereby rename them all Babe Marks. They are a sign my body dared to take up extra space in a society that demands our eternal thinness.”

These comments are a welcome dose of honesty and frankness in a world where women are conditioned to be ashamed of such things.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bvt4ccCBbdr/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

“[Stretch marks] are a sign my body dared to take up extra space in a society that demands our eternal thinness.”

Her tweets about Photoshop and airbrushing advertising campaigns in the media, calling for them to become illegal also went viral. She banned the use of Photoshop on herself, explaining that the practice is not only harmful for the audience, but also for her own self-image.

She banned the use of Photoshop on herself, explaining that the practice is not only harmful for the audience, but also for her own self-image.

Recently, Jamil called out Khloe Kardashian on social media after the reality star promoted weight loss products to her millions of followers on Instagram.

“It’s incredibly awful that this industry bullied you until you became this fixated on your appearance,” wrote Jamil. “But now please don’t put that back into the world and hurt other girls the way you have been hurt. You’re a smart woman. Be smarter than this.”

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Jamil is adamant in the fight against body shaming, which comes from her own personal experiences of body dysmorphia, eating disorders and incessant bullying she received as a teenager.

Jamil recently launched her “I Weigh” campaign, a social media movement where she encourages women to describe their qualities and accomplishments rather than their appearances.

Jamil is adamant in the fight against body shaming.

Beginning as a single powerful message shared on Instagram, it has since turned into a movement after thousands of other women also began sharing their own powerful messages after becoming sick and tired of their worth being measured by their weight.

What’s wrong with a father concerned about his daughter’s virginity? 

Rapper T.I has been in the news recently for comments involving his 18-year-old daughter, Deyjah Harris.

T.I, aged 39 and born Clifford Joseph Harris, has been a rapper and actor for decades, cementing his position as a R&B superstar in the early 2000’s.

The scandal gained traction in early November after T.I was a guest on the podcast  Ladies Like Us with Nazanin and Nadia for their episode titled ‘Life Hacks’.

In the episode, T.I discusses his daughter and how every birthday he takes her to the gynaecologist to check if her hymen is intact. Throughout the podcast hosts Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham laugh as T.I describes his obsession with Deyjah’s virginity.

The hymen is a thin membrane that covers the opening of the vagina, with the tearing of the hymen typically associated with the loss of virginity. In reality there are many ways a hymen can break that has nothing to do with sex (such as horse riding and tampon use).

“Look, doc, she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports, man. Just check the hymen please and give me back my results, expeditiously” said T.I. in the now infamous interview.

Since the worldwide discussion of her virginity, Deyjah Harris has deleted all her social media, including her Instagram @princess_of_da_south that boasts a following of 1.5 million.

T.I’s daughter rose to fame through his family’s long time running reality television program T.I & Tiny: Family Hustle that followed the rapper and his family’s life after T.I’s prison sentence ended.

T.I’s comments sparked worldwide discussion over the construct of virginity, which is the idea that virginity is a construct created by society and the patriarchy, with patriarchal ideals as the foundation. The construct placing a large focus on commoditising women’s bodies and women losing their purity after sex.

T.I’s comments are problematic for multiple reasons, one of the most unsettling being how the rapper seems to believe he owns his daughter’s virginity.

This is still a common practice, with the concept of virginity stemmed in the idea that women’s bodies are not their own, they belong to their fathers and then are passed to their husbands.

The loss of virginity has also always been associated with heterosexual sex, with the loss of virginity for members of the LGBTI community having always been blurry.

As a society, sex, sexuality and virginity need to be discussed openly and regularly with young people. It is a pivotal part of a child’s growth and teaching children how to respect sexual partners and how to understand consent from an early age is crucial.

In Australia our sex education is heterosexual orientated and starts when children are aged 11 or 12 (depending on the state). The Victorian Government’s health advice and services focused website, Better Channel health offers advice for parents of young children for discussing sex and sexuality.

Parents should aim to be approachable to their children so they don’t seek sex education from other sources, such as their peers or the internet, states Better Channel Health.

In the Netherlands children as young as four are taught about sexuality, a sexual education program that is recognised worldwide.

The Netherlands has some of the best results of sex education, low teen pregnancy rates, high rates of contraception use and high rates of young people losing their virginity in a safe, fun and wanted way.

The T.I scandal raises many issues that in society we seem scared to raise and discuss, is it that over- protective fathers are a symptom of the patriarchy, or some would argue is this just feminism gone too far.

The Resilience Project holds speaking events and is a curriculum that is aimed at using gratitude, empathy and mindfulness to fight mental illness, with the program implemented in hundreds of schools Australia wide.

“If this book wasn’t written, my sister and I would have never actually sat down and had a conversation about our relationship,” says Hugh Van Cuylenburg, creator of The Resilience Project.

At three years of age, Georgia Van Cuylenburg had been playing alongside her brother, Hugh, when a man picked her up, took her out of sight, and sexually assaulted her.
Her innocence of childhood taken in one fell swoop, and a wound that bleed into many facets of her life for decades, was brought to life. This trauma explaining why the darkness of anorexia had chosen her as it’s host, stripping her down to skin and bones.
“I remembered it happening and when my sister told us as a family I went ‘oh right really’ I didn’t even say I remembered it, she continued to feel alone through that trauma, we never talked about it,” says her brother, Hugh.
Hugh was inspired to create The Resilience Project and write The Resilience Project: Finding happiness through gratitude empathy & mindfulness.   
During his time researching his book, Hugh read a lot about vulnerability and shame. “Shame is what locks us up, and really makes it hard for us to be happy and feel well.”
“My shame lied in my relationship with my sister,” said Hugh.
As Hugh showed his family the first copies of his book, he eagerly awaited their opinions and critiques. Georgia was devastated at what her brother had written about her. “She said, ‘when am I going to get that vulnerable side of you?.'”

For Hugh, his book became much more than helping millions of Australians who struggle with mental illness, it became a tool for healing his broken relationship with his sister, a shame he had carried for many years.

Hugh changed his book last minute and worked on his relationship with his sister, deciding that his novel was to focus on human connection and the people that have moved him.
Today mental illness has become an epidemic, taking our youth one by one – an insidious disease that has crept into our society and been given the freedom to flourish, due to stigma, lack of resources and communication. Even today mental illness is not treated the same way that other life threatening illnesses are.
Mental illness is very common in Australia, with one in five Australians experiencing mental illness in a year, meaning that 20 per cent of the population is battling a disease that their family, partner and employer cannot see and might not even believe.

Further statistics show indicates that 45 per cent of Australians will experience a mental illness at some stage in their life.

In 2008, educator Hugh had been teaching young teens in Melbourne when his then girlfriend asked him to accompany her on a trip to India. In India, Hugh taught at an under-privileged school in the Himalayan desert area and with approximately 150 children enrolled, his job was to teach English.
As he began to know his students better, many of whom were living in extreme poverty, Hugh became inspired by his student’s happiness, gratitude and lack of mental health issues that had become so prevalent in the Australian schools where Hugh taught. Returning to Australia, Hugh took with him the local children’s insights, practices and wisdom, and he slowly created The Resilience Project.
The Resilience Project began as a talk that outlined Hugh’s research and experiences with mental illness. Today, it is a school program and curriculum that reaches schools, sporting clubs and workplaces all over Australia and now New Zealand.
In The Resilience Project curriculum and speaking events, Hugh explains how incorporating gratitude, empathy and mindfulness (shortened to GEM in his book) can prevent mental illness and provide happiness.
As many parents know, the most influential years of a person’s life is their childhood,with studies showing that 50 per cent of all mental health conditions a person experiences in their life will have started by age 14.

During his time in India, Hugh noticed how the children were very grateful to be at school and practiced mindfulness every morning before their classes began, incorporating all this into his program for schools and youth, with the feedback having been phenomenally positive so far.
After years of implementing this program, Hugh wrote The Resilience Project: Finding happiness through gratitude empathy & mindfulness,releasing the book in November 2019.
Since the book’s release Hugh has had an influx of positive feedback, and is still as humble as ever; with a warm energy and healing nature, it is easy to see why thousands flock to hear him speak and line up afterwards, telling Hugh their troubles and how his words have helped them to heal.
“We have had incredible feedback, I just saw this morning that it is Number One on audio books, which I can’t believe.”
“I’ve had a few really beautiful personal messages from people.”
Hugh recalls one recent message he’d received from a reader who had been feeling suicidal and after reading the book felt so grateful and positive about his life, telling Hugh how his words had saved his life.

“Honestly if he is the only person that reads this book and that’s the only feedback I get, that’s a worthwhile six months writing,” Hugh says.

On a mission to promote gratitude, empathy and mindfulness, Hugh tackles the tricky topic of social media and parenting in his book, describing the rise of social media as only showing ‘the greatest hits’ of life, and how damaging this can be for young minds.
The Resilience Project: Finding happiness through gratitude empathy & mindfulness includes a lot of tips and ideas for parents, who have found themselves with children inundated with technology and social media that teaches them validation is found through a screen.

“The best way to help your kids is to start modelling better behaviour, you can’t say to your kids ‘stop being on your phone all the time’ then turn around and check your emails,” he says.

The book is full of strategies to help parents put their phone down with one of the easiest to grasp, yet hardest to implement, simply being to leave their phone at home.
Hugh states that this simple task can leave us more focused on others around us, increasing feelings of connection and togetherness, which are two big ways to fight loneliness and mental illness in this increasingly busy and digital world.
Hugh believes that the less a child is on a device the more aware they are to their surroundings and community, leaving more time to be grateful for the society we are lucky enough to have in Australia.
As for fostering GEM into daily life, Hugh says it’s all down to practice and implementing these small practises into your families every day.
For mindfulness, Hugh suggests going for a walk around the block and focusing on what you can hear, an exercise parents can easily make into family time. Hugh also suggests at the dinner table to reflect on the good in each family member’s day and to share what they are grateful for and looking forward to.
“Look out for opportunities to be kind to people, you watch how happy that makes you and if you do it in front of your kids, that’s the most powerful thing of all,” says Hugh.
“You will have an enormous impact on them because they’ll start to copy you, they will start to be someone who is kind to other people.”

Does a woman of privilege and power ever have the right to complain?

 

The world has growing consciousness over the difficulties mental health presents, and yet, it appears there is still progress to be made before everyone is permitted to speak up and say how they truly feel.

Meghan Markle was at the centre of a social media storm following the controversial documentary ‘Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.’

Many were outraged, remarking the Duchess was audacious in complaining about her privileged position within the British Royal Family, while on a tour of Africa, around those who are, arguably, some of the world’s poorest.

In contrast, many were impressed with Meghan’s honesty and for highlighting the fact many new parents find it difficult to cope even with a privileged social and financial position.

Some felt this statement was ill timed, given their documentary was to highlight their tour of Africa; however Meghan raises an important point of discussion: regardless of a person’s socio-economic background, hormonal ups and downs caused by pregnancy and life with a newborn can impact on a person’s mental health. Once the initial euphoria subsides, overwhelming emotions can be hard, for anyone, to process.

Statistics for anxiety and depression in parents are alarmingly high, with up to 1 in 10 women experiencing antenatal anxiety and depression and more than 1 in 7 experiencing postnatal depression, as reported by PANDA.

 

Men do not escape unharmed from the effects of pregnancy either, with research from PANDA stating 1 in 20 men will experience antenatal anxiety and depression and up to 1 in 10 new dads are likely to experience postnatal depression.

Having a new baby creates multiple changes, many of which are overwhelming: concern about parenting ‘correctly’; the sleep deprivation; breastfeeding challenges; hormonal changes; relationship changes; financial strain and career concerns, all come into play.

Some assume Meghan has no rights to complain. For instance, she has no money worries, appears to be in a happy, devoted marriage and has a large team of staff supporting her within the prestigious British Royal Family, how can she be struggling?

However, Meghan is talking about mental health, which we are continually reminded, does not discriminate. Mental health affects our favourite movie stars, singers, TV personalities and athletes.

It is easy to assume those in privileged positions are vaccinated against any form of sadness, anxiety or depression. But in reality, could it be the assumption they are coping, which ignites their predisposition to mental health struggles?

 

Whether you love or loathe the Duchess of Sussex, she raises an important point about the internal damage that can be caused by keeping quiet about the state of your mental health.

In conclusion, asking someone if they are ok is a question everyone should be asked. It is a question that could potentially lead to that person asking for the help they desperately need.

If you or someone you know is struggling please reach out, speak to your medical professional or seek support from organisations, such as Beyond Blue and PANDA.

High school teacher and mum of two, Kristy Do, hits the Insta-generation with a truth bomb: fame isn’t everything.

Arshad Khan, Lee Minwei, Pietro Bosselli, Irvin Randle are some of the many people who have become famous overnight – and not for reasons that one might expect. For these celebs, it was the sheer luck of having a photographer capture them in a mundane moment, followed by their image posted on social media, ensuing a viral frenzy. Like many overnight sensations, luck dances its magic wand over the careers of certain people and promotes them to instant stardom. Whilst there is no judgment for those who have the limelight thrust upon them, there is an alarming message sent to young people: fame is easily attainable and the cost of that lifestyle is minimal. If only life were that simple.

As a teacher I often get students who claim their aspiration is to be ‘Insta-famous’ or some sort of public figure. My first response is to roll my eyes and ask ‘why?’

As a teacher I often get students who claim their aspiration is to be ‘Insta-famous’ or some sort of public figure. My first response is to roll my eyes and ask ‘why?’ Please don’t get me wrong. I love Iggy Azalea, I love Drake, I love (some) insta-famous models, but teens today now believe that butt implants and fast cars are the shiz as a result of these celebs. To the young, one million likes on an Instagram photo means you’ve truly made it in life (it’s a life us peasants could only dream of). When students allude to this as an aspiration with no understanding of the work involved, it’s enough to make any teacher lol.

We’ve all dreamed of being publicly acknowledged in some form or capacity – but desiring fame at the expense of pursuing one’s passions is a dangerous path to follow.

Craving fame is a stark reflection of one’s dissatisfaction with life and the desire to want to be noticed in the crowd. We’ve all dreamed of being publicly acknowledged in some form or capacity – but desiring fame at the expense of pursuing one’s passions is a dangerous path to follow. It’s important adolescents are encouraged to pursue careers that align with their skills and passions, regardless of whether that leads to fame. The notion that fame leads to happiness is a dismal one. One can only look at the lives of many celebrities today and see the countless men and women who are turning to alcohol and drugs because they can’t hack life in the spotlight. Being famous comes at a high cost to families, and one’s mental health. Teens need to know this.

No teacher wants to stifle the idealistic idea of following one’s dreams, but they do have a responsibility to lead students to realistic pathways and highlight where students might need a plan to follow that dream.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here waiting for instant fame as a Freelance Writer.

Kristy is a Secondary Teacher, Freelance Writer and mum to two kids. She’s passionate about inspiring young minds, story-telling, and double shot coffee.

Offspring Editor, Kate Durack, talks to Spiritual mentor and medium, Oscar de Souza, on what it means to be an empath and how to nurture this important gift.

An Empath has an ability to form deep connections with people as they can understand and relate to their emotions, however it can become overwhelming and painful, so learning to manage this influx of emotions is vital.

Everyone likes to feel understood, cared for and treated with compassion. This is empathy, a wonderful gift to help develop connection, love and understanding between people and to aid in healing. It is a quality we hope to instil in our children.

As a parent, having empathy helps our children feel loved and supported, and teaches them to have consideration for other people’s feelings. It is important for bonding.

But what about someone who has empathy at the far end of the spectrum, where they are highly sensitive to emotions and energy, who feels the emotions of others regardless of physical and psychological interactions?

This is known as being an empath.

The Oxford Dictionary describes an empath as someone who has a “paranormal ability to perceive the mental or emotional state of another individual”.

Parents who are empaths can benefit from knowing how to channel this energy, so we don’t feel overwhelmed. Also, it is more common for them to have empath children. It’s helpful to be able to identify this gift in our children, so we can help support them with their special talent, which can sometimes lead to them feeling overwhelmed.

Spiritual medium, healer and educator, Oscar de Souza, of the Spirit Energy Centre, says there is an increasing number of people who are identifying with their ability to be able to “feel” other people.

“Through social media, TV and society, others who have previously thought they had ‘something wrong with them’ are starting to realise that it’s actually a gift and not a burden,” says Oscar.

“A profound spiritual surge is occurring within many people worldwide through many different faith systems. The empath is just one of them who better deals with the emotions and energy people feel, rather than what people may think, portray or say.”

Oscar believes our purpose in life is to “acquire emotions”, so someone who is an empath, who has a profound ability to sense emotions and energy in others, has a special gift and an important role to play.

“I believe empaths have come to this earth to help people open up their mind’s eye to the emotions that resonate within their body, to help people tune into their spirit and purpose.”

Oscar says people who have this ability are generally very old souls.

“They have acquired many experiences and emotions throughout their incarnations, hence their ability of understanding the emotions and energy in others.”

There are two types of empaths: The Emotional empath who feels deeply what another person is feeling and can often have psychic and telepathic abilities; and the Somatic empath who physically reacts by mirroring, such as playing with their hair if you are, or becoming angry at someone if you’re angry with that person.

Signs you are an empath include, “being able to see through people’s facades and actions” or you might “feel the world is impacting on you”.

The difference between an empath and someone who is just feeling empathy for another is that the empath has that ability functioning continuously, while the latter would be just a passing experience.

“Empaths feel a constant stream of these emotions day and night. It can be virtually impossible to switch off from these as they feel the emotions and energy from external sources within their magnetic field or chakras,” says Oscar.

Empaths can feel many people’s emotions at once and take on the energy of animals and nature, with some able to feel the residual energy in the air.

“They are able to walk into a room and feel the energy of the previous occupants of that space and some even feel tectonic activity and natural or man-made disasters.”

Untrained, an empath can become confused and overwhelmed by feeling a multitude of emotions simultaneously from various sources.

Decoding and dealing with these emotions can be difficult, especially if they haven’t identified where the feelings are coming from and how to deal with them.

“At times they can be convinced that sudden random variable emotions fluctuating within them are their own emotions, and the mind can potentially be entrapped into trying to decipher and understand them,” Oscar warns. “They can get lost in what they are feeling or lost in the feelings of others.”

Without adequate skills,

empaths can find it difficult to cope emotionally, and can even be susceptible to self-harm, addictions, anxiety and depression, as they try to diminish the intensity of the emotions they feel through self-medicating

and generally just ‘trying to feel better’.

While emotions may have psychological and chemical relativity, they are the language of our energy/spirit working through the chakras in the body, says Oscar.

“Each chakra has a resonance/emotion, it emits and absorbs energy. The general emotions a person feels are made up of all the seven different emotions resonating in each chakra.

“The empath’s chakras, if unmanaged, continually absorb energy at a higher frequency than what they may emit. This can cause a feeling of being overwhelming and being subjugated to unwanted emotions and energy.”

Oscar is conducting the first ever Empath Courses in Australia, accredited by IICT (international Institute for Complementary Therapists), and will be touring the country in 2019, which will enable someone to use these gifts as an Empath therapist, so they can help others understand their emotions and how they work within the chakras.

During the workshop, Oscar discusses how Empaths can manage and control this gift, talk about how to enhance and preserve it, and access the antidote to what they are sensing, which is the opposite polarity of an excessive emotion.

For example, Oscar teaches how an empath who is in the presence of someone who has a lot of pride energy emitting from the crown chakra, can emit the opposite emotion/energy being humility from their own crown chakra into the other person, rather than be a confrontational or uncomfortable situation; or emit the strength and resilience from their heart chakra into someone who is heart-broken, for example. Or, if someone feels unable to cope, the empath can help them by emitting energy from their naval chakra.

A parent can help a child who is having a panic attack, by calming the solar plexus chakra and the crown chakra, or if a child is feeling anger, the parent can help the child calm the heart and navel chakra.

Parents can learn how to understand and locate the energy and emotions in their children’s chakras and learn how to direct their own energy from the relative chakra into the child or help guide the child into being more tuned into their own selves and their emotions.

Oscar says toddlers and pre-teens often act out physically or verbally the emotions of those around them, so as parents we can learn to be attentive to that source, and then emit into the child the necessary emotion from the relative chakra, to keep the child from being completely subjugated to external influences.

As parents, we should not undermine how wise and sensitive empath children are and speak sincerely with them, as it helps them feel at ease.

Oscar adds, empaths at any age should avoid superficial friendships that lack sincerity and support.

“When an empathic child is in the presence of someone who doesn’t have their guard up, and are being open and sincere, these kids find them exciting and fun to be around.”

Oscar says if a child is given an evasive answer after asking how the parent is, the child can feel upset and distant from the parent.

He says these children might naturally avoid interacting in a social setting.

“Some kids may also be afraid of interacting with adult or children their own age and prefer to be on their own (talking to themselves as some would say) and playing with animals, nature or games.

“Speaking to older kids about emotions, chakras and energy helps the child be able to learn how to articulate their feelings and sensitivity, rather than be lost for words and unable to communicate.”

Creative arts, activities and musical instruments are great for helping children find a channel of expression, and release.

Oscar says some teenagers and young adults who are Empaths may find it difficult to concentrate at school and can be easily distracted by people around them. “They can be more concerned with the state of people around them rather than their own self or they may be the quiet one who doesn’t say or do much.”

“Other signs to look out for is if the young adults are looking to suppress their sensitivity using toxins like alcohol or drugs. Some may have severe levels of depression, anxiety and self-harm or suicidal thoughts, in which case seeking medical and mental health care is imperative.”

To learn more about Oscar and his work, check out https://spiritinsight.com.au/oscar-de-sousa/

 

Madonna’s ex-nanny, Perth-based Angela Jacobsen, chats to Offspring about the challenges and benefits of working for high profile families.

When Angela Jacobson decided to swap her dream of flying planes for a living for a career in childcare, she couldn’t have foreseen she’d end up dancing with her boss, Madonna, for the royal family in India, as a kind of cobbled-together entertainment. The down to earth thirty-three-year old laughingly describes the experience as her, “most bizarre nanny moment,” yet.

“When I was in India with Madonna on her family vacation, we were staying with a king and queen in a palace and all the women were forced to dance for the king, and the princes around them actually, because of the sexist world that they live in,” she explains.

“Madonna made me dance, and she made me wear a sari. That was my weirdest boss moment…I just had to. All the women had to get up and dance for the men. We were in the palace…so I, very begrudgingly, danced around in a sari.”

It was one of many strange celebrity encounters Angela experienced in her 18 months working for the Material Girl who, during her tenure, acrimoniously divorced film director Guy Ritchie. As the sole carer of Madonna’s adopted son, David Banda, Angela joined the singer’s entourage and toured with her, as well as jetting to far-flung locations from her New York base.

Madonna, famed for her discipline and work ethic, is also notorious for demanding her staff work equally punishing hours. According to media reports, the gruelling lifestyle eventually took its toll on Angela and, when she handed in her notice after a year and a half, the furious pop star told her to leave immediately.

“All Madonna’s employees work incredibly long hours, so it’s no surprise that Angela had had enough,” a source told a newspaper, at the time.

“If you work for Madonna you are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There’s no such thing as a weekend.”

Angela later refuted rumours of a rift with her famous employer, saying, “She was a great boss and I mean it was obviously quite a full-on experience. She was fantastic to work for and a big motivation for me…She’s very much a loving mother.”

Melbourne-born Angela’s experience as Madonna’s nanny was a far cry from her childhood goal of being a pilot. It was a dream she was forced to jettison after her parents divorced when she was seventeen, and she was left in charge of her brother and the family home.

“I didn’t foresee this path,” she says. “I wanted to be a pilot and I was in the Air Force Cadets…It wasn’t as though I set out to do this, it chose me. And as much as I’ve tried to move away at different times, it’s brought me back. It seems that’s what I am now. I’m a carer, and that’s what I do.”

“If you work for Madonna you are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There’s no such thing as a weekend.”

Nannies inhabit a rarefied space in families. They’re privy to the day-to-day interactions between spouses and parents and children, while being required to maintain a discreet distance from the inner workings of a family. It can be an uneasy mix, this intimacy with strangers.

“You learn a lot,” says Angela, diplomatically, of the trusted position most nannies hold.

“You learn how to treat your husband, how not to treat your husband, what to do with your kids, what not to do with your kids. It’s trial and error for everybody but you learn so much just by being in someone else’s family…I’ve got kids, now, all over the world so to speak…A lot of them are teenagers now and I’ve got them on Facebook…There’s so many positive rewards to come out of it.”

Indeed, Angela, who studied childcare, and has worked as a nanny for average families as well as elite sports people, royalty and celebrities, believes that working overseas as a nanny is one of the best options for young, travel-loving Australians, who might otherwise earn their keep toiling in a cafe or a pub.

“If you’re a nanny you get to live in a beautiful house, you eat lovely food, you go on lovely holidays…it’s hard work but everything in life is hard work. I think that for a young girl, it’s the best way to see the world and also save money. It can set you up for later in life.”

While Angela has used her earnings to invest wisely for her future, she reveals that working for a celebrity boss doesn’t necessarily mean getting paid a celebrity salary. Payment for working for a ‘civilian’ family is on a par with, for example, working for royalty in an Asian country.

“You generally get paid a weekly rate as a nanny,” she explains. “The saving side of it is just incredible. I’ve got two properties. One overseas, and one here in Australia in the city. They were from two different jobs…I basically just set a budget for both jobs.

You don’t pay for anything. You don’t pay for accommodation, or travel. I had a driver in Asia and I had a driver in America too. Or you have a taxi account. All the food is cooked by chefs and all the housekeepers are buying your food, and what have you, and they give you a phone and the internet, all that sort of stuff, so it’s a great way to save some cash. It definitely beats working in a pub!”

Not everyone is cut out for looking after other people’s children, however Angela cites flexibility and patience as the key qualities for being an effective nanny.

“She was a great boss and I mean it was obviously quite a full-on experience. She was fantastic to work for and a big motivation for me…She’s very much a loving mother.”

“You need to be very hard working, as all women do, and all mothers need to be. You need to be flexible, patient, obviously loving and caring. The upside is that it’s a job, so you can leave at the end of the day, or have the weekend free to yourself, and still have your own life, whereas mothers don’t get that break.”

The downside to the job that can offer worldwide travel, a luxurious lifestyle, numerous perks and a window into the cocooned world of the super wealthy, is leaving the children you have become so attached to.

“They’re not your actual children and leaving them would be the hardest part of being a nanny,” Angela says.

“I now put a two year maximum, because I stayed with a family in England for about three years and it just is so hard on me and the children. The baby had grown up just with me. She didn’t know anything else so it was really difficult for me to leave.

 

There becomes a lot of emotional blackmail with the parents as well, at that point, because you are going to upset their children and you are going to upset their life if you move on but, also, you’re a young person that needs their own life. So there’s a fine line.

So, now I like to go in and go ‘okay, I’m doing this for eighteen months or I’m doing this for two years’. It can’t be too short either because that’s not fair on the children to go in and only work for a few months and move on. So to have an outline of how long you’re going to stay for makes it easier…you can see a finish, because sometimes things aren’t that great. So… you…set a goal and say, ‘okay I’m going to work this long and I’m going to earn this amount’. ”

“The upside is that it’s a job, so you can leave at the end of the day, or have the weekend free to yourself, and still have your own life, whereas mothers don’t get that break.”

That focus and determination have seen Angela use her years of professional experience to develop a burgeoning, nanny-related, media career, as well as a number of side businesses. She has written two books, Baby Love and Baby Food, and is just about to start filming a new television show Family 360 (working title) in Singapore.

The show, which Angela describes as having a different focus to the phenomenally successful Super Nanny program, will see her work with local Singaporean families on any problems they may have.

“We go in at the top level, being the parents, and work out the issues that are going on there, because they obviously stem through to the kids,” she states.

“So whether it be nutrition or fitness, or what have you, we tackle it as a whole family and not just go in and put a band aid on and leave. We’ll do eight episodes with one family…and really make it more educational than drama.”

Family 360 is a concept she has discussed with Australian media personality, Steve Vizard, and Profile Talent Management, in the hope the show will be developed in Australia. It’s early days but, so far, the feedback on her idea has been encouraging. Along with her TV show, a project with Google and an interactive Nanny/Babysitting site, utilising Facebook, are also in the works.

Despite her budding media and business careers, Angela is keeping her hand in with the work she knows best and, this time, she’s staying close to home. She recently turned down a job working for the royal family in the Middle East, for a stint as a nanny for an ordinary family in suburban Noranda, Perth.

“I’ve been there and done that with the celebrities and that kind of lifestyle,” she explains, cheerfully.

“I’d much prefer to work in the suburbs of Perth…Everything’s just normal. The kids muck in and help you with the dishwasher unstacking. There’s no maids running around, and all that sort of stuff that I’d got used to.

She pauses for a moment, then laughs. “It’s kind of refreshing to be working back in Australia.”