2015 Retrospective: Top Ten Posts

I love a good list.

Here are the top ten posts of 2015, in terms of how many times they’ve been read. There were some surprises, even for an avid stats-page-watcher like me.

The oldest one is from three years ago, but eight of the ten are from this year. I like to think I’m going for quality over quantity in these two-small-children-in-the-house/infrequent-posting days.

#10 Co-sleeping with a Crawling Baby

This post, from aaaages ago (the baby in the pic has just turned four) is mostly found by parents desperately googling what to do when their baby who sleeps in their bed starts crawling.

Add your answer here!


Co-sleeping Converts


#9 Advent with Kids: Everything you need, all in one place

I’ve found (especially when working as a pastor) that the best time to plan for special seasonal stuff is right after the last one, when it’s fresh in your mind.

So if you’re not one of the thousands (whoop!) who have read this post already, you might like to take a look now and have some ideas ticking over in the background ahead of Advent next year.

It’s one of the coolest family things we do. Candles! Stories! Calendars! Fire hazards! What could be better?


Nativity Scenes and lots more ideas for Advent with Kids


#8 Getting My Complain On (+ Bonus Victory Dance)

The Advertising Standards Authority needs a rocket.

The process is weak and capricious and it is clear that many of the decision-makers don’t understand things┬álike sexual objectification (even though it’s mentioned in the Code), let alone the increasingly prominent and extremely relevant concept of┬árape culture.

Last year we tackled the Air New Zealand sexist safety video and this year dozens of you joined me in complaining about the horrific billboards implying that women’s bodies that were objects for men to gain access to. This time we won!

The text of my formal complaint is in 8th place among the most read posts on Sacraparental. Here it is, along with the semi-victory post, where I note that the complaints folks don’t seem to understand rape culture.

And for a slightly sour update: six weeks after the billboards were ruled to breach the Code, several are still up. There is, the ASA tells me, no formal process for getting them down and no deadline, just dialogue. If you’ve seen one lately, let me (and the ASA) know.


Apparently sexism is ok as long as it's funny | Sacraparental.com

Access Solutions billboard, in Hataitai, Wellington. Image credit LM.

Access Solutions billboard


#7 Hard Days with Little Kids

My little guy has had quite a year. We moved Wellington-Hamilton-Wellington-Thailand, he attended three different kindergartens, and he gained a little sister. Unsurprisingly, between the sleep deprivation and learning to parent two small children while living out of suitcases, I had some hard days – and so did he.

I wrote this post to try and work out for myself how to respond to him when we were both struggling.

I didn’t know if anyone would read it, or how I would feel about anything I wrote later on. It turned out to be one of the most widely read and shared posts on Sacraparental ever. I have re-read it myself dozens of times.

I reckon the holiday period might be a good time to take another look.


Hard days with little kids - 11 tips I'm trying to remember


#6 The Otago Daily Times Thinks Only Men Make History

There’s nothing like public, institutional sexism to get the words flowing.

When the ODT compiled a list of 17 influential Dunedinites and NOT A SINGLE ONE had ever been in possession of a uterus, many of us were not just angry but mystified.

Seriously, in 2015, a list like this can go through all the editing stages of feature publishing and no one stops to think there might be a gender problem?


Otago Daily Times front page notable resident


PS: Love a good rant.

PPS: I really enjoyed meeting and ‘meeting’ a lot of new people over this issue!

#5 The Maisy Test for Sexism in Kids’ Media

I think this is the post that I worked longest on in 2015. I had it as a draft for MONTHS, and refined it gradually, taking advice from a bunch of sources.

Can I just say: the idea that ‘boys won’t engage with stories that feature girls’ is bullshit? It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy with no evidence to back it up and we have got to demand better for our boys and girls. Everyone needs to see someone like them on screen.

Here’s a rant, some methodology, a test and ideas for action. All wrapped up with a non-verbal cartoon mouse.



#4 Gentle Parenting Tips: What to Say Instead of NO!

2015 was the year I spent more time thinking and writing about ‘gentle’ parenting than ‘attachment’ parenting themes. Same thing, different age group, is how it works for me.

If you need some help for your tired brain with just what to say to bring out the best in your little one when you are at your most frazzled – or if you want some resources to share with your family members who don’t quite get how you talk to your kids – this might be worth a look and a share.

Pleasingly, since this kind of stuff is at the core of what I focus on on this blog, late in 2015 this became the most popular post on Sacraparental (overtaking the ones that are still in positions 1, 2 and 3 overall for the year).


26 communication strategies for gentle parenting


#3 What on earth can we do in the Refugee Crisis?

It’s far from over. In fact, it is kind of the new normal.

It takes years for most people to go from seeking asylum to being resettled as refugees, so even if there is never another major war or famine or flood anywhere on the globe, the compassion and action of the global community is still going to be very much needed to resettle the 60 million people who are currently homeless and out of their home countries.

Please take another look at this list of practical ways we can all do our bit to give life and solace to some of the 60 million refugees currently in flux or flight.

And check in, too, with key Facebook activism pages like Doing our bit – Double NZ’s refugee quota or International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies or even the NGO my husband and I now work for,Partners Relief and Development.


What New Zealanders spend on beer, compared to the cost of supporting refugees. Image credit: Manu Caddie | Sacraparental.com

What New Zealanders spend on beer, compared to the cost of supporting refugees. Image credit: Manu Caddie

what NZ spends on beer


#2 They Do Not Contain Breastmilk

Are lactation cookies worth bothering with?

It turns out a LOT of people want to know the answer to that question, and they have often headed to my post, which is just a combination of evidence-based advice from sources like KellyMom.com, my favourite place for breastfeeding wisdom, and some easy, tasty recipes for cookies you can make to nourish a new mother you know.

(The short answer: yes, sort of.)


Lactation Cookies


(Drum roll, etc)

#1 Your Next (Feminist) Box Set

I watched a lot of TV this year. Not on TV, of course – but God bless Netflix and box sets, right? Breastfeeding mothers and others in need of some sedentary downtime, here is a handy list of some good things I discovered this year, all centring around women.

I would now add Homeland, The Good Wife and Jessica Jones to the list, by the way. What else would you add?

And yeah, I’m as surprised as you that this is the most popular post on my blog. It’s mostly people googling ‘shows with strong female leads’ which is nice!


13 tv shows You May Have Missed that Feature (1)



Thank you, lovely Sacraparental readers and chatters! I love, love, love this community and I am so pleased to be in conversation with you all.

If your favourite post of 2015 (and let’s be frank – there weren’t that many this year, due to baby-feeding and country-moving) isn’t in this list, I’d love to hear what it is. Please leave a comment below – even just to say hi!

As always, you can connect with Sacraparental conversation in other places too. You can follow the Facebook page, see what I’m squirrelling away on Pinterest, and exchange nerdy links and political rants on Twitter. Please say hi ­čÖé

And lastly, on a bit of a tangent, this video is a quick celebration of the 2015 achievements at my┬ánew workplace, Partners Relief & Development. It’s two joyous, fun minutes of how the people of Myanmar are rising, thanks to the help of people all around the world, just like you and me. Enjoy.

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