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

 

 

Great Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day, 2015.


Today is Father’s Day, 2015.

I love Father’s Day – not just today – but every day, because I feel that every day is Father’s Day.  I don’t need a day where it’s forced, but I know that I am not in the majority when it comes to the father’s role in a household.

I am a huge fan of Mother’s Day! – Not for being the only day to celebrate and appreciate your mother and the mother of your children – but because of the pain and effort Mother’s went through to have their children, and then go through for the rest of their lives for their children.

In most cases, without Mothers there would be no Fathers.

Growing up, I never felt the need to go hardcore on either Mother’s Day or Father’s Day because I tried to express my appreciation for my parents every day of the year, or at least more often than once a year.  I still bought the cards, chocolates, flowers and whatever else was available for my parents but I never saw it for more than an opportunity for retail stores and the greeting card market to cash in.

Fast forward to today, in 2015, and as a super-involved parent of 3 fabulous children, I feel the same way about Father’s Day for me.  I don’t need a tie, or cufflinks, nor a store bought card they signed, or another mug touting me as the World’s Greatest Dad.   All I really need is a hug, kiss, and a hand-made gesture of their appreciation for anything that I’ve done during the year.

As a result, my Father’s Day this year was awesome and here are some of the reasons why;

My almost 6-year-old daughter had a soccer tournament through her North Toronto Soccer team, and I’m the coach!  She started out playing soccer quite timidly, not surprising as the youngest of 3 kids whose older siblings are boys, but she has been great as of late.

Ever since a classmate of hers knocked her on her ass on purpose, which proved to be a wake-up call from my daughter, who got up, didn’t cry, dusted herself off, and then started playing more physically, which resulted in her scoring 3 goals including the game winner!

In fact, as this was the last game of the season for the team, there was one girl who had not scored a single goal all season, and after my daughter sped through the middle with the ball, and blew past both defenders, she waited at the goal line, called for this girl to run over, and she let the girl score her first goal.

The girl cried.

Her parents cried.

I almost cried.

If that is not the more empathetic thing a 5-year-old can do without being told to do so by anyone on the team, I don’t know what is.  It made me realize that this child is special, and maybe… just maybe, the parenting is paying off.

This girls parents told us that their daughter is going to remember this day forever.

From there, we packed a lunch, grabbed some extra tissues in case of nose bleeds, and we headed north to Richmond Hill, to take child number 1 to a birthday party in Vaughan Mills.

We walked around the mall, and walked and walked and walked, and then when we could walk no more, we headed out for dinner to one of my favourite restaurants, Mezza Notte Trattoria, where I ate their super incredible appetizer of escargot on a Portobello mushroom in a cognac sauce, and I had a delicious piece of halibut with tomatoes, olives, and angel hair pasta.

I asked if anyone wanted to try the escargot, and because it was Father’s Day, my daughter stepped up to the plate.  She said she liked it, but she also said that she liked it better than the whale we tried while in Iceland.

I had coffee after everyone was in bed with my long-time friend and jazz musician, Dr. Andrew Scott, and then we packed up our belongings and went to the Rinx, for an 11pm ball hockey game.  I’ve been running my own team in the YCBHL since I was 19-years-old, called the Tasmaniacs.  I love the 11pm games, and it’s great working up a sweat and getting to be all aggressive for an hour.  At this particular game, we only had 2 defenseman which meant I got to play almost the entire game.

Then we all got changed, I dropped Dr. Scott off at home, and my neighbour and I went for another coffee at 1am.

I think we got home at 2:30am, so what else can I do at that hour with everyone sleeping but blog.

I blogged, did some paperwork, and hit the bed.

I am truly blessed!

Every day is Father’s Day.

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!

Happy 2nd Birthday to the cutest little girl in the world


Today, I want to wish my daughter, Berry, a very happy 2nd birthday.

Only 2, eh?  You seem so much older with that crazy vocabulary you have had for the past 6 months.  You’ve called me a “dumb dumb”, a “dumbass”, you have asked for things “right NOW”, and you call berries “bey beys”.  Straw-bey-bey’s, rasp-bey-bey’s… He he.

I love the way you say “Oh, my goodness” like you are imitating me in that deep, raspy hockey announcers voice. 

When you’re older I will tell you how we planned on having you at home, but had you in the hospital instead and how we had your grandparents go get your brothers for the birth.  After they arrived, while they were eating cookies and popsicles (after 10:30pm), you were born and Stewie looked at me and said, “Is that it?  Can I go home to sleep now?”… Ahhh Stewie. 

Because of you, we’re done having kids, and where on earth did you get that crazy curly hair?!?  Seriously!

You are quite a party in a package, like Stewie, but you’re a little goofy like Linus. 

You love Hello Kitty (or Hi Kitty, as you call her), and you know the names of all your dolls.  Hmmm. 

You look like your mummy did at that age, and really, after seeing a picture of mummy you thought it was you.  Thankfully, you and the boys all get your looks from your mother! 

Well, now you are two, people will actually believe us when we say that, as opposed to when you were one and people didn’t believe such a friendly, talkative little girl with so much hair could be one year old. 

Happy birthday sweet heart.