What’s The Future for Generation Z?

Builder, Gen Y/Z Cusp, Gen X and total Gen Z.

Builder, Gen Y/Z Cusp, Gen X and total Gen Z.

Yesterday at soccer I overheard a young boy say to his team mates “I can’t wait to get home and have my steak sandwich with caramelised onion”. I didn’t make that up he specifically mentioned the onion was CARAMELISED. At the risk of sounding like a boring old fart, back in my day it was a sanger banged on a bit of bread with a squirt of tomato sauce on top, nobody even wanted onion, let alone caramelised onion. We are in a whole new world here folks.

They say each generation forms its own set of specific characteristics. Social researcher, Michael McQueen, defines the different generations thus:

The Builders (Early 1900′s to Mid 1940′s) – dutiful, frugal, stoic, proper.

The Boomers (Mid 1940′s to Mid 1960′s) – optimistic, stylish, career focused & prosperous, assertive, afraid of ageing.

Gen X (Mid 1960′s to Early 1980′s) – sceptical, cynical, flexible, independent, non-collective, committed to friends over family, pragmatic.

Gen Y (Early 1980′s to Late 1990′s) – high self-esteem & confidence, well-educated, ambitious, tolerant, tech savvy, socially aware.

Gen Z (Late 1990′s – to whenever) – tech savvy, prematurely mature, pampered, empowered, risk averse, protected.

I sometimes wonder how my essentially Generation Z children and their friends will turn out. Undoubtedly, they are far advanced in the culinary stakes, the kid at soccer with his caramelised onion, my own children with their love of smoked salmon, brie cheese and soft shell crab. I blame Masterchef.

I struggle to see them fitting into the demands of a 9-5 office life, although at some point settle down they must. I suspect they will be even more entrepreneurial than Gen X, crafting out their own working opportunities, scheduling flexibility ahead of pay, prestige and climbing the corporate ladder. In fact I don’t think many of them will even attempt the corporate ladder, which is going to make for an interesting working environment in future years. Perhaps they will be the ones to find out a way to turn all this technology into viable business models from the comfort of their own lounge rooms?

They are certainly socially aware, climate change worries them, from a young age a number of them became vegetarians in meat-eating families. I suspect they will be more accepting of difference, gay, straight, disabled, black, white I don’t think they are going to notice so much. Perhaps the influence of popular culture plays a part in that, Glee with multi-racial cast, a kid in a wheelchair and gay storylines, Modern Family with a gay couple going through the same trials and tribulations as any other parents.

There’s no doubt they are the most over-protected generation to have ever walked the earth. Their Generation X parents raised in a culture of benign neglect, the first generation of divorce and two parents working, we undoubtedly overcompensated with our children. Could we have been more INVOLVED? We also held our babies as we watched the towers collapse in New York, and bombs going off in Bali, and I think those days are part of defining our parenting of this generation. It just made everything seem that much more unsafe, travel seemed like a high risk proposition, even visiting popular landmarks in your own country took on an edge of danger, I remember seeing an increased presence of security guards patrolling the Sydney Opera House around that time.  High Alert became a term. I’m hoping they can overcome their bubblewrap childhoods to discover their resilience and ingenuity.

There’s many factors that define a generation, wars, depression, recession, pop culture, politics, major events they all combine to produce a certain “feel” to the group of individuals they produce. Undoubtedly parents have a big influence too.

What do you think is the future for Generation Z? How do you think our parenting has impacted on the generation we’ve produced?


Naming the Royal Baby

royal baby edit

Well in my temporary retirement I’m rapidly crossing potential careers off the list.  Apparently Royal Psychic is out of the question. I predicted a baby girl, born at 2.25 pm (London time) and weighing 2500 gram (5.5 pounds). Instead a boy arrived at 4.24pm with a weight of 8lbs 6oz.

However, we’ve still got the name to come. I’d voted for Alexandra Diana for a girl but as that’s shot, what name do you think is suitable for a future king?

The bookies are going with George, James or Alexander. A royal commentator put in a bid for Albert and another suggested Arthur. This is why I would have been a terribly unsuitable royal wife – I hate the traditional names!

Given that my eggs are rapidly reach their use-by date I’m happy to hand over what would have been my choices of male names should I have had a boy – Mitchell James or Cody Campbell (James was my Dad’s name and Campbell was a family name on my husband’s side). So there you go Kate happy to help out – I can’t wait for the coronation of King Cody.

I felt a terrible pressure in naming my children, and I only had to come up with a first and middle name! Poor Kate and Wills have to come up FOUR. William is officially William Arthur Philip Louis.

Given it took the couple three weeks to name their dog I reckon this could be a bit of challenge for them – so perhaps we should help out.

I’m hoping that Spencer might get a run as a bit of a tribute to the late Diana but it’s probably unlikely. I reckon Charles might get a look in or Micheal as a nod to Kate’s Dad. Also Diana’s middle name was Frances after her Mum and Kate’s Dad has the middle name Francis so I suppose that could be an option.  But it’s when you try to run four names together it all begins to sound a bit dodgy.

James Alexander Spencer Charles – see that’s awkward I don’t think you can have Spencer side-by-side with Charles.

James Francis Alexander Charles – not too bad I suppose.

Alexander James Spencer – I quiet like the sound of that but we’re still a name short.

Alexander James Michael Spencer – that’s OK – but is it regal enough?

Alexander Michael Charles Spencer – still got the problem of Charles/Spencer but I reckon it’s sounding good.

Do we need to google previous King Alexander’s just to make sure we aren’t naming the baby after some marauding tyrant who raped and pillaged his way through the countryside?

I’m not even going to try to sound out  the four-barrel moniker with the child’s official double-barrelled surname of Mountbatten-Windor – I don’t think we can make anything that lengthy flow smoothly off the tongue. Imagine the poor kid trying to fill out all those forms that have a set number of squares for your “full name”?

How did you go about naming your children? Any suggestions for Kate and Wills?


Not A Mother Of Boys

The last couple of weeks have been a dream run for ingrained sexism, misogyny and well just plain old-fashioned stupidity. We were treated to a “joke” menu referring to the PM’s genitalia, then a radio host hell-bent on quizzing that PM on the “rumours” of her partner’s homosexuality, the Army launched an investigation into “demeaning, explicit and profane” behaviour by Army members to women. Then there were the  images of celebrity chef, Nigella Lawson, engaged in “a tiff” with her husband, which involved him placing his hands around her neck (he says “a tiff” others say “domestic violence”).

So frankly by the end of it all you had to feel a bit like being born a woman isn’t exactly an advantage in this world.

I don’t have any sons. I’ve spent the last 17 years in the world of pink ponies, sparkle and glitter. I’ve never got to experience the thrill of the Tonka truck or the joy of collecting matchbox cars. So I have no idea of what it takes to raise a boy. But when I hear stories such as the Army sex scandal I want to scream “How did these men grow up to think that was an OK way to treat women? What if it was their sister?”

I desperately want the mothers of sons to be raising a generation of men who will be willing to break down the gender stereotypes, who will treat the women in their lives well, who will take in equal role in parenting their children, who will argue the case in the workplace for flexibility, who will consider their female colleagues as equal.

Somewhere out there two women are raising the men my daughters will marry or live-with, or whatever. (Unless of course they turn out to be gay and that will be a whole series of other blog posts). I am so hoping they are showing their boys the video of the Army Chief giving the death stare to the troops and sending a clear message that if you want to behave like that there is no place for you in the Australian Army.

I want them to let their sons read the John Birmingham piece “A Shameful Week To Be A Man”.  Just so they can see that it is OK to be a bloke and publicly support the women around them.

I want them to talk about respect and kindness and fairness and equality to their boys.

There have been times over the years of raising my daughters when I have held great hope for the next generation as being different to the ones who went before, then there have been moments of great despair as I witness and hear of behaviour that I hoped had been relegated to the past.

Despair attending an under 10′s football game and hearing the father’s on the sideline “stop crying, you’re not a girl”, “don’t be a mummy’s boy, toughen up”.

Hope when boys and girls played together in a soccer team and REALLY played as a team.

Despair when my daughter told me of the boy at school who wouldn’t let the girls play lunchtime soccer “‘because girls are crap and soccer” and then launched into racist abuse at an Asian boy on the sidelines.

Hope when another boy stood up to the offender and told him “you don’t talk to my mate that way, and the girls will play ’cause they are all better players than you anyway”.

Despair when Dads at soccer took their boys out of the club because they didn’t want another year of their sons having to play with girls (we were still in under 11′s at this stage).

Hope when the boys who stayed continued to treat the girls as equal team mates.

Hope when a teenage boy at a talk by Vietnam Veterans ignores the fun activities of dressing up in camouflage gear to instead sit and talk one-on-one with the quietest  veteran.

Hope when boys are confident enough to dance and sing at the school disco (or rave or whatever we are calling it now).

Hope when a young boy can take leading parts in amateur musicals AND play on the soccer team without ridicule.

Hope when men are confident enough to be stay-at-home dads and even carve out their own “daddy blogging” niche on the internet.

Hope when mothers of boys write these awesome blog posts about raising their sons – check out:

Meet Me At Mikes

Potty Mouth Mamma

Checks And Spots

Mrs Smith


Sadie and Lance

One Flew Over

Pigeon Pair

Mogan Tosh

Hugo and Elsa

Gourmet Girlfriend

As parents of boys and girls I hope all of us are making a difference. That the generation we send out into the world will be more confident in their choices, more comfortable to go against the stereotypes and more respectful of differences.

Are you raising boys? Please feel free to share your stories of being a mother to boys.







What I’m Reading This Week


Well I’ve made it to Sydney!

I left in the dark at 4.30am – and managed to waltz into the Curzon Hall at 9.30am – not a bad effort considering that involved almost an hour of standstill Sydney traffic – how do you people ever get anywhere?

The Digital Parent’s Conference is proving to be a mindfest of information and an overload of emotion – seriously Kleenex should be sponsoring! Loads of stuff I’m still processing and I’ve got a whole day tomorrow to go as well. Will give you an update later in the week.

In the meantime, for your reading enjoyment please check out the book reviews I’ve completed for a couple of other sites. I really liked both these books so do check them out.



Over at Creative Women’s Circle I have reviewed Susannah Conway’s book This I Know – Notes on Unraveling The Heart.

This I Know (notes on unraveling the heart) is a book which explores grief, creativity and growth in a thought-provoking series of essays. Read More






While over at The Modern Women’s Survival Guide I reviewed Dawn French’s book Oh Dear Silvia.

The roles we play, the choices we make, the secrets we keep. In ‘Oh Dear Silvia’ author/comedienne Dawn French explores how in a single lifetime we encounter situations which force us into making certain decisions sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse. Read More.

Animal Farm


Photo by Shake & Stir Theatre Company.

Yesterday here at Shambles Manor it was all butterflies and flowers as I wrote a lovely post to my eldest daughter in honour of her 16th birthday.

Today, well the atmosphere has grown decidedly icy, you could grow stalagmites.

You see, turns out I am an evil mother.

At the last-minute I purchased tickets to see a play, without consulting, the eldest if (a) she was available (b) she wanted to go.

Turns out she had other plans and no desire to see Animal Farm.

I brought the tickets because I remembered reading Orwell’s book at school and thought it might be useful for the Hippie Child to see it in action just in case it happened to be on a school reading list sometime in the next three years. I did attempt to see if it was on the curriculum at her school but couldn’t find a list of texts, checked on the department of education website and couldn’t see it listed on the HSC prescribed reading. But I didn’t let that stop me. No sir. This was an EDUCATIONAL opportunity not to be missed. One show only and we were booked in.

Look, with the benefit of hindsight I am prepared to concede that choosing an adaptation of an allegorical novel about the Russian Revolution and life in the Stalinist Soviet Union as our first theatre experience was probably not the most stellar of parenting decisions.

Somewhere in the deep recesses of my heart I imagined us watching the play together and afterwards enjoying a discussion on communism, the corruption of power and … oh all right, it’s easy for you people with no emotional involvement in this to judge the naivety! The eldest is my philosophical one, I had hopes.

The pragmatic child had scored herself a sleepover at a friend’s house and thus managed to avoid yet another of Mum’s mad educational/bonding family activities, she left with much joy.

Hippie Child’s attempts to win her father over to her side of the argument were met with steely resistance, we were standing side by side in this battle of  education.

Well actually he argued “kid you have got no idea how many crappy theatre shows your mum has dragged me to, if I’ve got to suffer so have you”.

Having cancelled her previously booked engagement the unhappy one traipsed glumly to the theatre. I thought it would be nice to have pre-show dinner in the newly opened restaurant at the theatre. Unfortunately so did half of the 300 strong audience, a situation which the operators hadn’t considered. Being a little short-staffed our meals arrived after the bell to take our seats had rung.

Something you should realise is that Hippie Child is the world’s slowest eater. We’ve had to ban her Nana from doing cooked breakfasts because we struggled to get her to school before recess if she was wading through bacon and eggs. As the clock ticked away and there was no sign of our dinner I morphed into a track & field coach, building my athlete up for the race ahead.

“Look, when dinner gets here, you are going to have to eat fast. And I mean really FAST. Like you have never eaten before. Don’t talk, don’t savour, just swallow, many times, very quickly”.

As the final call echoed over the microphones our meals were sat in front of us. I must say my chicken was delicious, what I managed to taste as I scoffed. Looking over at Hippie Child’s prawn linguine I knew we were in trouble. Admittedly attempting to wrestle the fork out of her hand and shovel the pasta into her mouth was going a step too far, I acknowledge that now.

“This is really nice, I want to EAT IT. I don’t want to see the show. You go to the show, I’ll stay here and enjoy my dinner.”

I had paid for tickets, she was seeing the show. I called for a doggy bag, and our nice, overworked waiter offered to keep it in the fridge for us until after the show. Hippie Child did puppy dog eyes as her meal was whisked away.

(Note to locals, it was the first night the restaurant was open, the food is really good, and reasonably priced and I’m sure they will sort out staffing better next time – but get there early just to be on the safe side).

We headed into the theatre to see a fantastic performance about which the Brisbane Times said:

But with its electric blend of breathless narration, physical virtuosity and cracking dialogue, Shake & Stir Theatre Co. do justice to Orwell’s dark, sometimes raucous, and always disturbingly confrontational text.


Suspension of disbelief is laughably easy. Though there are no animal costumes – just black jeans and grimy singlets – the transformation from actor to animal is convincing and complete. The audience is transported: to the barnyard, to the farm, to the unanticipated horrors of revolution gone wrong.

Each performer must switch frequently from one animal persona to another, adopting idiosyncrasies and vocalisations with surprising alacrity. The fine details make these performances magnificent: a horse’s head-toss and soft spontaneous nicker; the frightful inhaling squeal of a pig; the low chirrup of a quietly skeptical rooster.


Needless to say I thought it was great, the husband offered it was by no means the worst piece of theatre I’ve dragged him to and Hippie Child gave me a lecture on how I am not to make decisions without consulting her and that was an hour and half of her life she won’t get back.

So, have I destroyed any hope of my daughter loving the theatre by forcing it upon her? Or do you, as a parent, sometimes have to make your offspring go outside of their comfort zone and try something new in order to broaden their horizons?

Right now I’m just praying that in three years time sitting in the HSC English Exam there will be a question on Animal Farm and my visual learner will recall a dark theatre with young actors leaping over the stage pretending to be pigs and get TOP MARKS!

PS Animal Farm is on tour, including many regional areas check here for details. (Not a sponsored post just thought you might like to know).


Do You Need a Birth Plan?

tiana baby photos

Princess Child a couple of hours old.

I’m in the middle of flashbacks to childbirth.

My friend  had a baby.

She had a carefully constructed birth plan and a mix tape of zen-like music to help create a calming environment for her little one’s arrival.

Twenty two hours later the birth plan was shredded and NOBODY wanted to hear a sitar ever again.

I don’t recall having an actual birth plan, unless you count “drugs, early and often” as a plan.

However, I did have a bag packed with an assortment of items that were supposed to assist with getting you through labour. I can’t recall exactly what was in there, I think there was one of those wooden massage rollers (you know for my husband to lovingly run across my back between contractions),  there may have been some aromatherapy oil, there was possibly a music collection of my own, and knowing me there was chocolate and a magazine (cause you know it was going to take hours, obviously there would be time to enjoy some Lindt and grab a quick shot of fashion and features while I was waiting around).

We never opened the bag.

I know that part of the process of preparing yourself for birth is to come up with a “plan”. It’s that whole control thing we have going on. At work we strategise, outline, create a policy. So when it comes to birth we figure we can employ the same techniques. Unfortunately, child-birth comes with many more variables than a standard work project.

Planning for the great unknown is a useful exercise for your peace-of-mind in the lead up to the event, but ultimately you may need to embrace flexibility when the unknown gets real.

When birth doesn’t follow the agenda altering the strategy could be the only option.

It doesn’t mean you failed, it doesn’t mean you won’t bond with your baby (trust me there’s years of bonding ahead, sometimes you will adore ‘em, other days you will wonder who the hell this teenage alien is standing in front of you).  It just means circumstances changed and you had to go with a contingency.



I nag my children about how important breakfast is and make sure they eat something as I throw them out the door of a morning, tossing lost socks and forgotten homework after them.

Yet it is a case of do as I say, not as I do. I don’t normally eat breakfast. Unless it’s the full on “big” breakfast prepared by a lovely chef at a trendy cafe. Then I’ll go the sausages, bacon, tomato, hash brown, three times baked souffle, the works. Nothing like a Saturday or Sunday morning spent enjoy a leisurely breakfast someone else has prepared and will wash up!

Don’t write in, I know it’s bad. I would never have shared my guilty secret of skipping breakfast except for my giving myself this silly challenge of using Fat Mum Slim’s photo-a-day  as a writing prompt. Chantelle elected “breakfast” as today’s picture. So I had to go and make myself some breakfast to photograph.

I elected for the easy option of my usual coffee, and Vegemite on toast. Now the difficult part, explaining Vegemite to international readers. It’s a yeast extract (which sounds like something that requires antibiotics and a topical cream) but no, it’s made of yeast and apparently has a lot of vitamin B. It’s black and sort-of salty. Australian Children throughout the generations have been Vegemite kids, on toast for breakfast, on sandwiches for lunch on a Sao for a snack. Oh god there’s another one, Sao a “cracker” I guess. I’m thinking you may need to have been fed Vegemite from a very young age to have developed a liking for it.

Right, now I’ve photographed, filtered, shared and posted this darn breakfast I better go an eat it!

What did you have for breakfast this morning?