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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Myths of motherhood and maternal misadventures – Pamela Power’s Ms Conception launched at The Book Lounge

Pamela Power

Pamela Power and Karina M SzczurekMs ConceptionNothing in life comes easy. Not publishing your first book, not attending your book launch and lastly, but most definitely, not motherhood. However, at the launch of Pamela Power’s debut novel Ms Conception these facts were trumped by one simple truth – the author’s resolve to face problems laughing.

The event was a joyous celebration from start to finish, and could not be hindered by a forgotten manicure, a car crash or SONA 2016 rehearsals. Power’s friend and fellow author Karina M Szczurek made it to the launch in the nick of time to host a lively discussion of a book that “reminded me why I am not a mother”.

Unbeknown to the audience, she was not almost late due to traffic caused by road closures around Parliament for the 2016 State of the Nation Address, but due to having just survived an accident on the N2. Fortunately she was unscathed and in good spirits, ready to roll on with a fascinating interview.

Gathered in The Book Lounge were old and new friends, blood and bookish family and, of course, fans of Power’s work. With the sounds of a marching band practicing in the background, Power shared the story of her long journey to being an author published in paperback. Having started her novel as a reaction to motherhood and her husband doing his MBA, she faced challenges getting it published. In 2012, Louis Greenberg took a chance on her, publishing Ms Conception in digital format. Three years later the manuscript caught Penguin’s attention, with Fourie Botha signing Power on to their roll.

Ms Conception is a hilariously twisted and very realistic take on being a mother – from the pain of childbirth to the yearning for a time before the constant smell of vomit. Power insists that the story is all fiction, but admitted to being heavily influenced by her own experiences of being a mom.

We were sold that myth that you can have it all and do it all, and in actual fact you can’t. You can, but not all at the same time. I think that’s what people are realising more and more, that you are not going to have a fabulous career at the same time as spending time with your children. It’s just not going to happen …

It’s only once you’ve had the baby that you realise that you are going to be in a milk and vomit stained dressing gown, 10 kg overweight, possibly weeping, having had no sleep – you are not going to be going to a meeting!

Dark humour and dialogue was highlighted as two strengths of the novel and the author alike. Power said that her sense of humour often gets her into trouble and that the challenge was to tone it down at certain points. The jokes and dialogue come naturally to her, as she earns a living by writing and editing television scripts. “If I could write an entire novel in dialogue I would!” Power said, admitting to struggling with the narrative parts.

Not that the narrative of Ms Conception is lacking. The story sweeps readers along, rushing them to turn page after page as they read about Jo de Villiers’s maternal misadventures. Despite what it might sound like, this book is not just for woman. On the contrary, Penguin Random House MD Steve Connolly pointed out in the Q&A session, “It’s the funniest book I read last year!”

What’s next for Power? A psychological thriller, very different to Ms Conception, will see the light later this year, and then readers can expect another domestic suspense novel, in a similar vein to her first book, next year.

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Helené Prinsloo (@helenayp) tweeted live from the launch, using the hashtag #MsC:



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Lauren Liebenberg: Survival Tricks for Mothers of Sons Out of the “Bad Mommy Memoirs”

Cry BabyLauren Liebenberg, the author of the novel Cry Baby, has posted a blog entry called “Your Pocket Sibling Warfare Survival Guide” in The (Very Bad) Advice Column for Parents on her website.

In this post, she gives her advice for handling sibling antagonism in four steps – with a bonus step included.

Liebenberg’s advice is thoroughly practical, as being a mother of young boys disallows rose-tinted idealism when it comes to parenting.

Read the blog entry:

Step 1: Swear, on mute

I stumbled upon this life line years ago when I found myself stranded in the check-out aisle at Woollies with someone thrashing around on the floor at my feet wailing, “But it’s myyyy turn to push the trolley!” while someone else repeatedly rammed the trolley against my shins.

I’d gone in promising myself that this time it would be different: I’d go in for the toilet paper and two Chicken Noodle Doo’s and leave with the toilet paper and two Chicken Noodle Doo’s without tears, from any of us. Yet the trolley that was now being used as a battering ram contained a half-eaten a packet of Ghost Pops which Russell had stolen and a Kinder Surprise with which I’d bought William off. I’d left him snivelling “But whyyy can’t I have Ghost Pops? You’re so mean. You’re the meanest mom in the world,” somewhere down the tinned foods aisle whose shelves Russell was mounting, and as I’d hurried, slightly, around the next corner and checked back to make sure they hadn’t been abducted by child traffickers, I was greeted with the sight of Russell sprawled on top of William on the filthy floor who was throttling Russell with his bare hands as Russell banged his head on the tiles. I will never forget the look on the face of the mother who witnessed the scene with her two innocent little girls. It reminded me of the last line in Heart Of Darkness:

The horror. The horror.

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Bruce Clark Credits the Love of Women in His Life for His Emotional Openness

Love, Sex, Fleas, GodBruce Clark, author of Love, Sex, Fleas, God was interviewed by Media Club South Africa, where he discussed his rather deprived upbringing, with only his desperately poor grandmother to care for him. He talks about the process of being surrounded by women early in his life, including his sister and grandmother, which enabled him to be open with his emotions and talk about his troubled childhood.

As a stay-at-home dad, his story is unusual, but what is clear is that his book is written from a place of love and humility.

Bruce Clark is one of those unusual things – a stay-at-home dad. In his uplifting memoir Love Sex Fleas God, aptly subtitled “Confessions of a stay-at-home dad”, he talks about his troubled childhood and his ultimately successful search for direction in life.

The captivating title came out of a paragraph Clark wrote in response to publisher Umuzi’s request to describe the book – “Love sex fleas God” appeared, and the publisher said to him: “That’s the title!”

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Bruce Clark Reflects on the Process of Writing His First Book Love, Sex, Fleas, God

Love, Sex, Fleas, GodBruce Clark, author of Love, Sex, Fleas, God: Confessions of a stay-at-home dad, was interviewed by The Citizen‘s Bruce Dennill.

Clark spoke about the process of writing the book and what he would do differently next time. He also talked about growing up under Scientology and how this has shaped his feelings towards religion today:

Love Sex Fleas God – some of which is about being a retrenched, stay-at-home dad, some of which is about being raised by a Scientology-obsessed mother and some of which is about a lean period in between there somewhere where he was a hobo – is not the book Bruce Clark planned to write, but it became one of which he’s rightfully proud.

“It stemmed from me being aware that my kids and I were on divergent paths,” he says.

“There are times that you need to impart whatever wisdom you have. I’m 55 and I didn’t want to leave it too late.

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Extract from Bruce Clark's Love, Sex, Fleas, God (Plus: Win a Copy!)

Love, Sex, Fleas, GodParent24 has published an extract from Love, Sex, Fleas, God: Confessions of a stay-at-home dad by Bruce Clark and are also offering two lucky readers the chance to win a copy of the book.

In the following passage, Clark describes his daily routine as a stay-at-home dad and questions women’s attraction to men with babies:

The men in the house quickly established a routine. After our morning poetry recital we settled down with a picture book. I propped Angus up on my knee and flipped through 100 Animals. I turned the pages but waited for him to put his finger on a specific animal, at which point I was required to say the name and produce the sound effect. He would go directly to the lion and I was expected to ‘ROAR!’ again and again until he got tired of it. He made a husky little attempt to ‘roar’ but was put immediately in place by my big, booming alpha ‘ROAR!’ in return; it’s never too early to establish who’s the boss.

To stand a chance to win a copy of Love, Sex, Fleas, God, simply prepare your answer to the following question before entering online (competition closes 2 September 2012):

What’s the answer Bruce gets to “What is the turn-on about men with babies?”

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Podcast: Bruce Clark Talks About the Origins of Love, Sex, Fleas, God on Chai FM

Love, Sex, Fleas, GodBruce Clark talks about how love is “about letting go”, in an interview with Chai FM. He shares how he started writing Love, Sex, Fleas, God, and that he’d had the book percolating inside him for many years before he wrote anything substantial.

Listen to the podcast:

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Extract from Raising Talent by Tim Goodenough and Michael Cooper

Raising TalentPenguin have published an extract from Raising Talent: How to Fast-track Potential into Performance by Tim Goodenough and Michael Cooper on their website.

In this extract the authors talk about the importance of parent’s involvement in developing their children’s potential:

The world of sport and high performance is becoming more and more competitive and the age of champions and world class performers is in general becoming younger and younger. Today’s parents and coaches of talented youngsters are in a very challenging position. They know they need to do something if they want their child to reach his or her full potential, for their child to be the next Tiger Woods or Serena Williams. Even if they want their child just to achieve what Mom or Dad couldn’t or didn’t have the opportunity to, they are not sure what to do to enable him or her to do so – and if they are sure, many are not aware of the pitfalls of their particular strategy until it’s too late. Parents intuitively know that they need something to develop their child’s potential, and oftentimes LOTS of something.

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Raising Talent: Tim Goodenough Shows How to Turn Potential into Performance

Raising TalentHigh performance in general, and in sport in particular, is becoming more and more competitive. Today’s parents and the coaches of talented youngsters face many challenges. They know intuitively that they need to do something to help their children achieve their full potential – but what is that something?

Executive coaches Tim Goodenough and Michael Cooper are highly experienced at working with people who want to develop that elusive balance between work and life, while at the same time trying to develop their potential to get the most out of both. In Raising Talent they set about discovering, understanding and learning what the key dynamics and challenges are for developing talent, especially that of children.

As their thinking became sharper and their principles better defined, several models and techniques emerged and this book explains their context and how they may apply in your home. They provide an accessible and quality self-coaching programme and a solid foundation of high performance theory for fast-tracking development. This unique system of accelerating performance means that the hard-working individual now has access to many of the mental coaching techniques and benefits that normally only a highly skilled professional would be able to provide.

Although aimed at parents more than any other group, the principles and techniques in Raising Talent can be applied to the development of performance, regardless of the level of talent, at any age. In fact, these same models and principles have been successfully used to accelerate the performance of Olympians, executives, international athletes and performers in multiple sports and contexts.

“Delighted to have read this book before my next expedition. Insightful, practical and powerful. Highly recommended.” – Lewis Pugh, author of Achieving the Impossible

About the authors

Over the last 10 years Tim Goodenough has worked with business leaders and corporate teams, as well as elite athletes and sports teams, to help them discover their balance, and their edge. He and his Coaching Unity International business partner Michael Cooper have collaborated extensively in the fields of high performance and executive coaching.

Goodenough was the full-time mental coach of the 2008 Super 14 Sharks rugby team and, together with Cooper, has worked with both the South African and Irish men’s and women’s hockey teams. Coaching Unity International is also contracted to SA Cricket as a high performance consultant. Goodenough is the resident mental toughness coach and lecturer at the Investec International Rugby Academy, and is also a member of the Neuro-Semantic Global Leadership team, leading over 1400 Meta-Coaches and 300 NLP and NS Trainers in more than 35 countries.

Tim Goodenough and Michael Cooper are also the authors of the bestselling book In the Zone with South Africa’s Sports Heroes.

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Introducing Bruce Clark's Memoir of a Stay-at-home Dad: Love, Sex, Fleas, God

Love, Sex, Fleas, GodBruce Clark, the world’s best dad, had a nightmare childhood that spewed him out onto the streets at age 16, uneducated and livid. Deep into adulthood he remained pretty much like that, until the love of a good woman grounded him. They got married and, at age 47, he was a father. His story begins there.

Love, Sex, Fleas, God is Clark’s terrifically sad and funny account of parenthood seen through the eyes of one who knows about vulnerability. A father who would do anything to protect his children and rear them well and a man who feels a stab every day as his wife leaves for work. Tending to infants, gently nudging their ascendancy, becoming barely more than their launch pad into life, Clark’s story is What Women Want turned on its feet.

This book makes you laugh and cry. It grips your heart and shows both the adult and child in you how frail and glorious a human life is.

About the author

Bruce Clark lives with his wife, son and daughter in Johannesburg. He is a stay-at-home dad.

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Making a Mom’s Life Easier: An Interview with Megan Faure

Jou nuwe babaYour Sensory BabyPenguin Books South Africa recently spoke to bestselling author, Megan Faure, whose essential parenting guide, Your Sensory Baby, was published in Afrikaans as Jou nuwe baba last month.

Faure, an Occupational Therapist and founder of Baby Sense, reveals the inspiration behind her books, saying she loves knowing that they “make a mom’s life easier”:

What, or who, inspired you to write this book?

I would have to say my children, James (13), Alexandra (11) and Emily (6). I had studied infants’ neurological development and treated babies but until I had my own I had no idea how hard being a mom would be. James was a challenge as a little baby and I really needed to understand why he was crying and how to settle him and get him to sleep well. By the time Alex came along, I really had a firm grasp of soothing techniques and establishing good sleep habits. I wanted to share this knowledge. My books are based on both my studies into infant behaviour and practical experience as a therapist and mom. I love knowing that my books make a mom’s life easier, because there truly is no harder or more important work in the world than being a parent.

My earliest memory is…

Of a family dinner at my grandparents’ home. I remember being allowed a Coke and drinking it straight out of the little glass bottle – this was such a treat. My grandmother used to ring the bell for dinner to be served and we felt terribly grown up.

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