Being a Mum of a tween in 2017

One of my favourite memories of growing up was the notes my Mum used to write me.  I’d come home from school and there would be one on my pillow saying “I’m proud of you”  or “I love you.”  I’d roll my eyes and pretend not to care (as teenagers are prone to do) but I still have some of them in my memory box now.    Writing notesIt made such an impression on me that before I became a Mum I used to write my team at work notes when they had done a great job.  It amazed me when I met up with one of the grads I had once worked with (who was now a very successful business man in his own right) told me he still had one of the notes I wrote him saying I was proud of him after winning a pitch for a piece of new business.

And of course it wasn’t just my Mum – I have letters from my sister, my Grandma and cousins – I even have a letter my Grandma wrote to her Grandma in 1937…

letter from 1937
Communication has always been important.  And it always will be.

But the way we are communicating is changing and as a Mum of a tween in 2017 a note doesn’t always cut it.  Especially when you live in a blended family and they are not always at your house each night.

To make our foray into mobile life we started out with a “family phone” that all 3 girls had shared responsibility for.  They could use it to text their other parents and friends or to take out but it stayed at home.

Then Vodafone launched their new My First Phone bundle which matches well priced smart phones ($99) with a low monthly cost of $19.99 that adds on to your Vodafone Red Share plan.  The plan gives them unlimited calls and texts and gives you control over how much data they have to use as well as the ability to control some of their usage.  Win – win in my books.

So when Vodafone asked us if we would like to be part of their exciting launch we were in boots and all.  And the really great thing is we get to give away a phone to you guys too!  Just head over to our post here to see all the details.

My first Vodafone phone

So now we’ve got the phone we wanted to talk about the ways that me and my eldest daughter Bella (11 going on 17 and heading off to Intermediate school next year) have found to communicate to create memories that I hope she can still pull out when she is in her 40’s (and those external memory cards in the new Vodafone Smartphone she has sure is a lot easier to manage than my memory box!).


I work in communications and yet more and more I am finding that I find out things through Bella first and Bitmoji’s were definitely one of those things.

The official description of what they are is an “expressive cartoon avatar” but basically it’s a cartoon version of you that you can choose to make a little more skinny and less wrinkled if you choose.  I was maybe a bit too honest with mine and Bella asked me why I made myself so fat!

The great thing is that you can choose from hundreds of stickers that put your Bitmoji’s together and all of a sudden you’re communicating in their world without the cringeworthy lol’s.It’s a definite must download, although I haven’t quite got James on it yet….


I hate it when the kids are away.  Especially when they are away for a week during school holidays.  But living in a blended family you simply can’t have the kids all the time – you have to share.

But here’s the thing – they hate it when I call.  It makes them sad because they miss me.  So we’re kind of at an impasse.  I miss them, they miss me – but a phone call isn’t the answer.

Enter Snapchat.  

Easy to use and loads of fun it allows you to share fun, short 10 second videos with each other.  The great thing for the kids is that not only is it fun but they get to open them at a time when they are in a good space and ready to talk.  The great thing for me is that they love it so I get to see their cute little faces when they are away at their Dad’s (and vice versa when they are here).

Now Snapchat has had a bad rap in the past so we have some rules around it – no adding anyone without permission & don’t post anything you wouldn’t want the world to see.

Not getting lost

So we love getting lost but it’s not something we want our kids doing.  Sending them out in the world alone is scary but at the same time we want them to have the same experiences that we had growing up – playing in the bushes and creeks, going up to the dairy with friends or walking to friends houses.

We are 10 kinds of lucky that we have an epic backyard with a huge bush and our own creek.  It also backs onto an even huger council reserve filled with more trees and more creeks to explore.  

So armed with her new phone Bella set off to test how far she can go into the bush and still get signal – turns out pretty far!  Way further than we can can yell!  So it gives them freedom to explore without the worry.Win your own first phone

Don’t forget to head over here to find out how you can win your own Vodafone My First Phone and start exploring new ways to talk to your tweens.  

From time to time we are lucky enough to partner with some awesome brands and get a little financial support in bringing Getting Lost to you and sometimes even some cool stuff to give away.  This is one of these times and we would like to thank Vodafone for their support of Getting Lost.  As always the views are our own and we only ever partner with brands that we genuinely use and support.