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Posted May 18, 2010
By Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
There are some stories that irk the soul so deeply that they demand an outcry. This is one of them, if ever there was.
While there are plenty of creative people out there who try and succeed in manipulating the unemployment insurance system (for fun, sport, whatever), there is the story of young mother Natalya Rougas who really needs government-paid sickness benefits as she faces a life and death struggle.
Rougas, a 37-year-old married mother of a one-year-old boy is grappling with stage 3 breast cancer, the reality of scheduled a double mastectomy, and the daily challenges of being a mom. She must now add to that daunting list - fighting the government.
To read the complete article in The Toronto Star by Health reporter Theresa Boyle: http://whereparentstalk.com/articles/just-for-moms/new-mom-breast-cancer...
We (parents and non-parents) can all be so politically-correct when we say "parenting is the most difficult job in the world" or "parenting is the only job that doesn't get paid" or whatever the popular phrase may be...but do we mean it when it really counts.
Will the federal government take the high road and give this poor woman the $6,000 she is seeking in sickness benefits as a result of being diagnosed with cancer just prior to her planned return to work after giving birth? OR will this poor woman have to battle beauraucracy as she fights for her life?
There must be some mistake here. It defies all logic.
The injustice is obvious. Hopefully sanity will prevail and the situation corrected for Natalya Rougas and her young family.
The larger issue is even more disturbing. How many thousands of women suffer from serious post-partum issues (physical, mental and other) that require them to apply for employment insurance sickness benefits, stemming from their maternity-parental leave.
The article notes that: "..sickness benefits don’t appear to be going to mothers who fall ill in the year following their deliveries, they say. Only expectant mothers who become ill about 15 weeks prior to their due dates seem to get the benefit."
Let's call it what it is.
Giving birth is a physical trauma (whether you have no contractions or a 35 hour labour). Giving birth is an emotional trauma (radical changes to the body, the family home, the couple relationship, sibling relationships, etc).
How in the world can anyone predict what will occur after a woman gives birth - how she's going to feel, how her will body heal, how she will react emotionally, hormonally, etc?
Studies have shown, for example that post-partum depression can occur up to and beyond ONE FULL YEAR after delivery. All of a sudden, one day the signs begin to show and a new mother who may have been happy to bits about her new addition is suddenly depressed or frustrated. Is this condition or situation not worthy of employment insurance sickness benefits? Who decides what post-partum condition truly is a sickness worthy of benefits and what isn't?
As a society, we need to focus in on what pushing a human being out of a body truly entails. Pregnancy, labour and delivery are all wonderful miracles occurring in a female body. That expectant woman, the mother-to-be, needs to be treated like a human being, not a machine. So too does that person's spouse, partner and other children.
Yes, there will be those who will abuse the system and get away with it. But there are many with legitimate reasons - like those of Natalya Rougas - where greater understanding and compassion are called for. We need to show it.
Posted May 16, 2010
By Andrea Howick www.whereparentstalk.com
Every year, a friend and I would do a massive clean-up of each of our houses. It occurred to us we could actually make a few dollars if we held a garage sale. And it seemed so much less daunting to do it with a friend. So for a few years, one of us hauled all of our junk over to the other’s house, got up the following Saturday at the crack of dawn and braced ourselves for the masses.
Now, back then, we both had somewhat corporate jobs. So much of the contents of the sale was clothing that no longer fit/or was out of style. I have to admit there was a fair amount of designer items to be had – more hers than mine I confess – but it was enough so that when our ad appeared in the local paper, there was a small contingent of shoppers that would turn up ready to buy our discarded designer wares.
Then over the years, something changed. We had babies. We stayed home. We didn’t buy designer duds. The bulk of our garage sales was now mainly tattered toys and outgrown baby clothes. I even remember one year, one of the bargain hunters used to the previous sales demanding “Where are all the good women’s clothes?” Gone, I’m afraid. Traded in for nursing bras and comfortable sweats.
I have to say, it’s a bit of a relief not to have the annual garage sale anymore. Of course the house still needs to be cleaned out regularly. Now the bags go to various charities. I hope someone can make use of their contents!
Share your garage sale stories with us. Do you have tips for making the most out of garage sales? Have you found great bargains? Become a member and let us know www.whereparentstalk.com
Posted May 11, 2010
By Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
My daily struggle as a parent is trying to figure out if what I'm asking my children is something they can understand for their respective ages. Is my request age-appropriate? Is a 12-year-old ready to handle the responsibility of using a cell phone (which was purchased for emergency purposes)? Can the 10-year-old comprehend putting away his clean laundry in a civilized fashion rather than rolling up various items and flinging them into his closet or piling them on his chair? Will the 6-year-old get it when I ask her to stop repeating or copying what her brothers say - especially the silly stuff?
On the one hand it's important to give anyone, especially kids the benefit of the doubt. In other words - make it a reasonable request and then throw it out there with consequences clearly stated and see what they do with it. It should teach them responsbility, accountability and problem-solving at a very basic level.
On the other hand, when they come back with something ridiculous, or illustrate their independence or defiance in a way that makes you cringe - then deal with it at that point. This is where the fun starts!!
My sister who is 4 years younger than me with 3 young boys, 2 years apart, once told me 3 simple words - DON'T ASK WHY. These are words to live by, believe me.
What she went on to explain made perfect sense and it's something both my husband and I try to follow - as hard as it can be.
When you ask you child WHY they did something or WHY they want something - what kind of answer are you truly expecting to get?
Whatever their answer is likely WON'T satisfy you - so DON'T ASK. For example - "Why did you take your sister's doll away from her?" The child responds. "Because she's funny when she gets mad and starts stomping her feet like a maniac." Hmm. Enraged button just went up a few notches. Problem is not solved. Irritation level is soaring. Questions about parenting failures start flooding the mind.
When you don't ask why you save everyone a lot of grief, especially yourself. Replace why with clearly stated consequences, followed by clearly stated repercussions and FOLLOW THROUGH. These are the hardest lessons to execute on as a parent, in my opinion, because kids can charm their way out of anything, and in the course of charming everyone forgets the original faux pas and suddenly there are no consequences and no accountability.
It may take a while to master, but once achieved it works like a charm.
Let your child ask the WHY questions of you - especially about things, people, places, actions - not the other way around, especially when they are very young. It will likely save you a ton of headache medication!!
Check out ParentTalk Radio for our podcast with Dr. Michael Ungar who talks about kids and responsibility: http://www.whereparentstalk.com/podcast/young-author-mission-nutrition-k...