Federal Budget: Paternity Leave, The Urban Daddy on CTV!


Yesterday was the 3rd Federal Liberal budget and if you paid any attention to the news leading up to the budget, you would have heard that this was going to be a “gender” budget, as our Prime Minister and Finance Minister hope to save Canadian “Peoplekind”,

What made it a “gender” budget was the inclusion of policies aimed to equalize pay between men and women and adopting a paternity leave benefit program which was implemented in Quebec just over 10-years-ago.

As a father of 3 children, I was lucky to have the opportunity to take parental leave with 2 of my three kids.  I was working for the Canada Revenue Agency, and the CRA topped up my salary from the 66% which I would have received while on EI, to 93% of my salary.

Who wouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity to support his spouse, bond with his children and help out with everything that comes with children, which is why I took 9-months with our first child, 4-months with our second child, and by the time our third child rolled around, I was in the private sector and took just one day.

So who better to speak on the government’s policy than me, right?

I was on the CTV News Network, live, in the morning with Marcia McMillan, and then in the evening, CTV Alberta Bureau Chief Janet Dirks interviewed my wife and I for a well done piece on what worked and what didn’t with regard to paternity benefits.

Watch the clip here; CTV Parental Leave The Urban Daddy

It was my first foray into TV – I have been on the radio quite a lot to discuss tax-issues – and I really liked it (except for the way I looked in the evening interview – exhausted!)

Here is how I feel about the Liberals intention vs plan of action; They talk a great game but always seem to fall short, with an ultimate cost to the taxpayers, for their plans.

They said that providing fathers to take 5-weeks off would lure more women into the workforce.

???

There were no new day care spots made available, nor any changes to the Live-In Caregiver program, so it left my wife and I puzzled as to how this was going to lure women into the work force.

Is it possible that behind this message was a belief that men don’t do anything around the household and that if, in 5-weeks – with them being home, changing diapers, cooking meals and keeping the house clean – men will realize they can help out at home, thus lessening the burden on women?

I think that’s a stretch, to say the least, but for $1.2 billion dollars – and starting in June 2019 – men will be able to take 5-weeks off with their partners to help, support and bond.  It’s certainly better than nothing.

It doesn’t change the stereotype that men don’t do paternity leave.

It doesn’t change the hesitation of some firms to hire woman who are in their child-bearing years.

It does make the Liberals look hip, and cool.

I just hope the last point wasn’t the motivation behind this initiative…

 

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Fun Video Shoot with Pediatric Nutritionist Danielle Binns


Danielle BinnsThis past weekend, we had the wonderful opportunity to take part in a video shoot with Danielle Binns a Pediatric Nutritionist and Health Coach for parents.

Danielle needed the assistance of our youngest child – Boo – who helped to prepare some delicious green pancakes – inspired through the Green Eggs and Ham book – and some super healthy and easy to make cookies.

Danielle’s story is absolutely incredible.  Reading her story on her website after having met her brought tears to my eyes.  I’m not going to re-tell her story.  You just need to go read it yourself.  You will be emotional, then inspired, and then understand why the services that Danielle offers are so incredibly valuable.

As the parent in our family who cooks breakfast and makes lunches for our kids – one child who has become very picky with food – I found immense value in just learning 2 simple food options from Danielle which we are going to cook at home.  Sorry, which Boo is going to cook at home!

Danielle is more than a mother who is incredibly passionate about providing the BEST natural and holistic solutions for other moms (and dads) and babies.  She has obtained credentials/certification in the following:

  • Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP)
  • “Naturally Designed Pregnancy and Postnatal Nutrition”
  • “SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) Approach to Feeding”
  • “Feeding Matters”

Danielle can be found on Facebook through her Facebook Group: Holistic Solutions for Moms & Little Ones.

Her Facebook page is @ daniellebinnsnutrition

On Twitter and Instagram @daniellebinns4

Her Website is http://www.daniellebinns.com and her email is info@daniellebinns.com

 

 

My kid’s got a ‘weird’ name – How I’ve helped him embrace it (read: how HE’S helped me learn to love it!)


In my culture, kids tend to be named after loved ones who have passed away after living long fulfilled lives. My husband’s tradition is to give the first born grandson the same name as the LIVING paternal grandfather. When hubby first told me this I’m pretty sure my word-for-word response was something along the lines of “Not a f@#%ing chance is that happening.”

Fast forward 6 years and I’m preggo with boy/girl twins. During those 6 years I went though a lot of heart break – I lost my grandmother, grandfather and uncle, all of whom basically helped raise me. So when I peed on that stick, later confirmed at the fertility clinic (another post for another time), I knew right away that my kids would be named after my dearly departed family… In pipes hubby reminding me about his family tradition.

My hubby’s traditions are important to me, but my feeling goes like this: if I’m the person growing these tiny humans inside me, puking my guts out for 3 months, not sleeping for 4 months and having major surgery to have said tiny humans removed then you better damn well believe I’m making the final decision on what I’m going to call the little monsters.

I spent the next 35 weeks and 6 days going back and forth about what I’d name my son. It was like mental tug-of-war. Who’s gonna be offended? Is it really a bad omen? Do I really want my kid going through life having his name mispronounced? Back and forth, back and forth.

D-day comes and I still haven’t made a final decision. We arrive at the hospital, still no decision. Prepped for my c-section, still no decision. Getting sewn up, still no decision. Puking my guts out in recovery and still no decision. Finally I get to the ward and hold my son for the first time. Instinctively I look at my hubby, who’s fighting back tears of love, joy and fear and behind all of it, I see pride, so much pride. In that split second I gave my little man the same name as his grandpa. When my father-in-law found out my son’s name he cried tears of joy and the same pride I saw in my husband – like father like son.

Even after naming him, I wasn’t so sure about my decision. I was worried he wouldn’t like his name as he got older and went to school and heard all the other kids with ‘normal’ names and decided he didn’t want his name. Mostly, I wasn’t sure how to instill pride about a name I was still iffy on.

At about 4am, after feeding the kids and wanting to scratch my eyes out I went online (because isn’t that the normal thing to do when you’re sleep deprived?) and saw an ad for a book called “The little boy who lost his name”. The books weren’t cheap but I figured it was worth a shot if it would help my son embrace his name, so I bought one for him and of course one for my daughter (twins and all). The books arrived and they were absolutely incredible, and worth every penny. The kids were too little for the books at that point but both loved their books when we first read it to them and still love them 2 years later! It’s not really a book they grow out of until much later, and then it becomes a keepsake.

So, when the company contacted me a couple months ago about their new book “Kingdom of You” I figured I’d give it shot (nothing to loose since they were sending the book free for me to review). My concern was that having twins meant needing 2 books, and while they offered to send 1 book for review, I couldn’t get one kid a book and not the other. Once they found out about the twin situation they graciously sent one book for each kid – now that’s great customer service! The Kingdom of You books are just as well written and beautifully illustrated as the Lost My Name books. The kids get lost in their own personal fairy tale – isn’t that what every kid wants? Anyway, back to my son’s name…

In the end, it isn’t a book that gives my son pride in his name, it’s the fact that our family takes such pride in the history of his name, we tell him about all of the men in the family with the same name and what incredible people they were and still are. Sharing a name with his grandpa gives my little man such pride, you should see the look on his face when he tells people “Me and Grandpa have a the same name!” I love his name because HE loves his name, its history and what it represents. It doesn’t hurt that he’s growing up to be quite an incredible little person.

What’s in a name? I guess that depends who you’re asking…

Until next time,

Your fav Urban Twin Mommy

P.S. Stay tuned for the company’s upcoming book which will feature the option of multiple kids in 1 book!

 

 

Disclosure: I was provided this product to share my honest opinion and believe me, I’m gonna tell you the truth, be it good, bad or ugly!

Did you know: You can find me here too… Daddy101 @ www.pinkandbluebaby.com


Did you know that you can find me in other places around the web?  Try this URL below, for Pink and Blue Baby, a baby and parenting magazine which has an incredible discussion forum on Facebook.

http://pinkandbluebaby.com/category/daddy-101/

Aptly billed as providing “EXPERT ADVICE FOR FABULOUS MOMS & SAVVY DADS”, Pink & Blue Baby is an online magazine that is unique because it is the first online magazine to feature experts who interacts with parents and parents-to-be by sharing information and advice.

When you check out the magazine you will see that it features experts in their fields on a variety of topics such as; music classes, prenatal, postnatal, nutrition, recipes, child care options, advice from Doctors of all kinds,   holistic remedies, baby names, charity, coupons & deals, sleep, registries, breast-feeding, financial topics, local events, family fun, birthday party ideas and gifts and anything else related to making parents’ fabulous with expert advice and bloggers, and you can write in and ask questions to our experts and ask “Miss Pink & Mr. Blue” all the questions you are curious about.  No boundaries.

The site also has been doing product give aways – which is a bonus – so as a reader you also have an opportunity to win some great swag while getting the inside goods.

Check out the Facebook group, hit them up on Twitter or follow the URL and come say hello. 

So how did this magazine start, you ask?

The concept came about to fill a niche in the Mommy / Daddy marketplace for those of us who have not always had that group of friends since school who we could turn to in order to ask questions, get advice and seek support.  When you’re a new parent or a 3-time parent such as myself, having support, a network, or someone to turn to is critical to raising sane children (or to stay sane as a parent).  In the case of this magazine, one of the sites creators, Nicole Bloomberg, had a baby girl and moved from Florida to Toronto and wanted to have a network to connect with local mothers and help other mothers connect. Since one did not exist, she created one with Robyn Zeldin, the owner of Wee Care & In a Pinch – which happens to be our nanny agency of choice, I might throw in). 

Viola, out came Pink and Blue Baby.

Here are some links to the rest of the site;

Make sure to check them out and please come by the Daddy101, say hello, post a comment, ask a question and see some of my material done up a little nicer and with pictures!

Hey! I have a 7-year-old.


I’m not going to start with the old adage; “Boy time sure flies” because it’s been a LONG, tiring 7 years, but Tuesday marked our oldest son, Linus’, 7th birthday. 

I sat with him last night, reflecting on the first 6 year of his life – I mistakenly referred to him as being 7 when he corrected me.  “Dad, I’m not seven.  From when I was born until I turned 1 was one year.  I’m already 7.  This is my 8th year being alive”.

Right you are… Smart ass. 

So I went further hoping in my pathetic way to get a good quote from him to tweet.  His brother and sister are destroying him with tweetable quotes and here’s what I got;

On growing older and being a leader: “Respect is the most important thing in the world”.  Not bad, eh?  All this brainwashing is rubbing off, until this came out; “Actually, respect is the second most important thing in the entire world.  Not dying before you are born is the most important”.

Who can argue that point.

So to my 7-year-old (or 8-year-old, whatever you want to call yourself) when you are reflecting back on this post down the road and you want to know what kind of child you were by this age I can tell you this.  Before you I had hair.  It was black, not grey.  You have the best smile in the world, but not the goofy one, the real one.  It is not correct that you “do not care” about absolutely everything, but instead you don’t mind, or are not concerned.  Saying you do not care means all the cool stuff we buy you and all the trips we’ve gone on as a family are a waste of time and I know that is not correct. 

It’s fun being the class clown, isn’t it.  I was one too until I awoke one day to realize I was a joke with crappy grades.  I turned it around and fast.  Please don’t wait until grade 9 like I did.

If only you would practice… Anything.  Karate, piano, swimming, then your brother would not be catching up to you and passing you.  On the bright side while he may be your equal in these areas, you destroyed him at potty training and night-time diaper training and your math skills are off the charts.   

You are hesitant to try anything new or different but trust me that will change when you realize what a rush it is.  Then you’ll be looking for adventure in all the wrong places.

You love the cold.  Aside from me, you are the only person I have met who does not get cold outside.  No hat, no gloves, jacket undone, even at the coldest of temperatures.  You look at me, I look back at you and we silently nod an understanding to each other than it’s Canada.  It gets cold.  We’re tough (and a little cool).

You are starting to like Star Wars.  YAY.  All I need is get you to practice baseball and hockey more, or dodge ball, then you will better fit in with all the boys.  The ones you don’t get along with should respect your karate skills and the girls will continue to dig your awesome smile.  Your parents… They want to see a more focussed son with greater patience.  

Yeah, good luck.  I told your mother that too.

Happy birthday son.  I cannot wait to work with you and plan your year.