Fall of a hero

How does it feel when your hero falls off their pedestal?

Fall of a hero
image from BBC.co.uk

 

Oh Lance Armstrong, how gutted am I; you were the ultimate in marketing/hope story dreams.  The cancer recovery, the seven wins of the Tour De France (my husband is a fan, and I like the bums), the amazing record.

We’ve been listening for years about the fact that it was all a lie, but I admit that I really didn’t want it to be true.  I’m still a lover of a romantic story, despite my admitting that the ‘Cinderella complex‘ has not done me any good.

Hubby isn’t too upset, he still feels that it was an amazing story.

But for me it’s a worry about the fabric of our society, because it raises a big question: ‘Is it only possible to succeed in this world by ‘cheating’ or being willing to ‘do everything needed to succeed’?

All those people who weren’t willing to cheat, who will never know if they could have won.  Isn’t that true of lots of our world?

Am I worried because I’m not willing to do everything in order to succeed?  Yes, sadly I am.  I would dearly love to be able to reach millions of Mums and explain to them that they are perfect by being themselves, and not to listen to parenting gurus.  But, I’m not willing to leave my kids at home and go off to america as the Baby Whisperer did.  Or work all the hours that God sends as some of my coaching associates do, in order to earn more money.  There is the possibility that this will get in the way.

 

Jerome Flynn
Image from BBC/Tiger Aspect

In the world of personal development there are many hero’s or guru’s who end up (after many years and lots of their followers money) falling off their high horses.  Look at the story of Jerome Flynn (remember him from Robson and Jerome?) who disappeared in to a spiritual sect for 8 years that is run by Andrew Cohen.  Jerome looks like a pretty sensible guy, who had already done plenty of study, but even he got dragged into something based on untruths.

My teacher is a guy called Dr John F Demartini, who is very strict on saying that he’s not a guru, and that no one should ever be infatuated with anyone, or consider them better than themselves.  But even he has a habit of encouraging his students to follow his priorities, rather than their own.  I think it is always difficult when you are around a charismatic, strong charactered person, to not end up comparing yourself and thinking that what they want is what you want too.  But down that route is confusion, loss of identity and a very uncomfortable journey back to who we are.

 

Do you remember the first time you realised your parents weren’t perfect?  I do, especially for my Dad, but it was pretty obvious because he used to drink a lot.  However, with my Mum it was a sudden, awful and over night realisation, which took me years to recover from.  She had totally misused the position of Mum, which I can kind of understand now, but at the time it felt like the ultimate betrayal.

My kids already know I’m not perfect, especially as my cooking has very few skills!  But I need to make sure in the years to come that I gradually dish out the truth of how imperfect I am, so that I don’t have a long way to fall from that ‘Mummy Pedestal’ one day.

 

I think that the lesson to be learnt is:

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

If it’s a built up romantic story, there is a hidden ugly sister that isn’t showing up.

If they don’t take their responsibility to stop you from thinking that they are as perfect as can be, then they are stinkers.

No one is better than you or worse than you.

If you sense yourself looking up at them, you are ignoring some less attractive bits of them or wonderful bits of you.

If you sense yourself looking down at them, you are either ignoring your crappier side, or not seeing what they’ve got going for them.

 

I might not be as ‘successful’ as the people who are willing to ‘do what it takes’ to succeed.  But that doesn’t mean that I can’t be as focussed and motivated.  It just means that my first priority is that my kids feel loved, and my second is that I’m strong and sure of myself.  At the end of the day, I’d be gutted lieing on my death bed with millions of book sales, but miserable kids, rubbish health (I know I’d be dieing, but you can die quick or slow), and no idea of who I am.

UpdateBen Richards who has recently recovered from cancer (and lives near me, so locally we all think he is fab), made a valid point that I ignored when I first wrote this post: He said that he found Lance’s recovery from cancer inspiring, and there is no doubting that even with the cheating, he also cheated death, and maybe that’s a time we would all want to be a cheat?

Have you had someone fall off a pedestal big time?  It can be rough heh?

When is it OK to cheat?

Are you willing to do what it takes?  What have you sacrificed or done that was slightly ‘dodgy’ to get there (you can always comment anonymously).

 

 

I’ve been accused of being a ‘Yummy Mummy’; Is that bad?

So a few weeks ago someone made a very pointed comment about not liking a children’s farm that I like because it’s so ‘yummy mummy’.

Clearly I was being accused of being a ‘yummy mummy’ and not in a good way.

To be honest, I was kind of ‘why would you bother to let me know that you don’t approve of my choices’, but it made me think.

Me a Yummy Mummy?  Really?  Is it bad if I am?

Here is the Wikipedia description:

Yummy mummy is a slang term used in the United Kingdom to describe young, attractive and wealthy mothers. The term developed in the 2000s, and was often applied to celebrity mothers such as Liz Hurley[1] or Victoria Beckham,[2] who appeared to quickly regain their pre-pregnancy figures after giving birth, and would continue to lead carefree and affluent lifestyles.

The stereotypical yummy mummy was described by Nirpal Dhaliwal in The Times as having an existence “bankrolled by a husband working himself to death in the City, (dressing) in designer outfits… carries the latest must-have bag (and) whose hair and nails are perfectly groomed”.[1] A yummy mummy would have several children and yet remain a “girl-about-town”, dressing fashionably and appearing well-groomed and carefree.[3]

It was reported in 2008 that celebrity yummy mummys were contributing to levels of depression in young mothers, making new mothers feel “saggy, baggy and depressed” about their own bodies.[2

Family fun

Let’s see …

‘young’ – hardly – I’m 42.

‘attractive’ – ooooh thankyou, I’m not worried about someone calling me that, but suspect you haven’t seen me in the morning.

‘wealthy’ – seriously you don’t know what wealthy is if you think I’m wealthy.

‘regained their pre-pregnancy figures’ – nope got a whole dress size to go for that, and really can’t be bothered to get into a size 10 jean, so it’s not going to happen.

‘bankrolled … husband working to death in london’ – actually it’s the hairy northerners choice to work there, I’d be happy to go back to Bristol and chill out a bit more.

‘designer outfits’ … do New Look, Next and Joe Browns count?

‘must-have bag’ – that would be an Alexa mulberry – nope, not in my wardrobe; but I am a BIG fan of handbags and got a lovely one in Accessorize last weekend to try to reduce my back pain.

‘hair and nails perfectly groomed’ – I’ve got curly hair, so there’s no chance of perfect grooming and my nails are glued on by me, because otherwise I find my real ones too tasty.

‘contributing to levels of depression’ – I would be GUTTED to know I’d made things worse for mums as the WHOLE POINT to what I do is to try and help them enjoy being exactly who they are.

Oh and no mentions of children’s farms with lots of simple indoor and outdoor fun for the kids – hmmmm.

 

I decided that I am definitely NOT yummy.

I live in St Albans.  I’ve met yummy, and I am not dedicated enough to the gym to be yummy.  I’d put me down to more ‘middle of the road’; neither yummy or scummy.

 

Then I had another thought …

I think it’s a really bad thing to give the impression that being a ‘Yummy Mummy’ is a bad thing.

 

After all, they are looking after their bodies and their health, and although there are bound to be a few selfish shallow women who put material stuff above their kids and husbands needs, I very much doubt that they are in the majority.  Plus they might be ‘yummy’, but they are still human, with stresses, worries and feelings.  Maybe different from ours, but I know that EVERYONE has problems in their lives.

So those against ‘yummy mummies’ are suggesting that it’s not good to take care of ourselves, eat healthily and do some exercise?  Plus that we shouldn’t care what we look like or consider our self-esteem in any way.  Aren’t all of us stay at home mums being ‘bank rolled’, in our own way, and why should we be made to feel guilty for it?  Is it only right if we drudge away every day and never have a cuppa with a mate?

A lot of the celebs mentioned HAVE to lose the baby weight quickly due to work pressures.  We should just count our lucky stars that we aren’t under that pressure.  There are  few with ridiculous ideas that the express in the media, but just as many who say balanced things.  There are hardly any saying ‘you should do what I do and look like I do’; so isn’t it our fault if we are daft enough (oh yes I’ve done it too) to compare ourselves to them and feel bad about ourselves.

 

What do you think?  Am I yummy?  Have I made you feel bad about yourself?

Or are you yummy and proud?  Scummy and proud?  Or middle of the road and proud?

Is it all the fault of yummy mummy’s that we feel bad about ourselves, or do we need to work on our self-esteem?

 

 

Agony Aunt for Mums

Problem Corner: Lost Myself and Can’t Find My Feet

Agony Aunt for MumsThe Problem

I received an email from a Mum a week or so ago that reminded me so much of what many of us feel at times in our lives:

I feel like I’ve lost myself and really can’t do anything, be a good mum, work or even decorate our house which we moved in last year. I don’t really think I’m depressed, but just can’t find my feet. 

 

I got a little more information from her, and here are the cliff notes, which I bet many of you can relate to as well:

  • 2.5yr old daughter who is not a good sleeper and goes to nursery two days per week
  • started her own consultancy business that her husband joined, but stopped working when had daughter and now feels unneeded in the business, although does some admin for it.  Can’t think of what to start instead and doesn’t have the confidence in herself as feels she is out of date now.
  • about a stone heavier than before having baby, size 14, doesn’t drink enough enough water, doesn’t priorities exercise each week
  • does wear makeup, but doesn’t spend much on self
  • organising building work on house
  • no nearby family support, a few friends
  • closeness is lacking with husband and intimacy is limited

 

Such a classic situation don’t you think bless her heart?

 

My Answer

Don’t feel bad lovely, this is such a normal way to feel and place to be, it doesn’t mean you have done something wrong or aren’t a good mother.  For a start having children changes our priorities and values, which can be very discombobulating.  It means that things that were once important to us aren’t anymore, so we have a bit of an identity crisis. We also lose power in our relationships because we often feel like we are contributing less.  Plus we have to do a pile of stuff that is just plain boring and doesn’t light our fires.  Then we add to that whole mess by not taking care of ourselves, and so the spiral continues down and down.

I like to work within our limitations, rather than rage against them.  So the idea is to find you ways of improving how you feel whilst you are still the major caretaker of your daughter, as things naturally shift when they start school.

 

There are several issues here, and this is the priority that I would look at them in:

1) Health and Fitness

2) Beginning to research ideas for work that can blossom when your daughter goes to school

3) Spend more time with husband

4) Sort out intimacy

 

The reason I’ve put them in that order is because if you gain confidence in yourself, the relationship will improve, if not disappear altogether.  The key is to start with yourself, even if all/some of the problems seem to be ‘out there’.  The key to when we are feeling so low is to give ourselves a fighting chance by strengthening the body; it’s amazing how that can help with how we feel emotionally and mentally.

When you says you are not ‘depressed’; hmmm who knows where the thin line between being down and being depressed really is.  I would warn you that you are close to that line.  I’m going to assume that you are well enough to be able to sort it out yourself when given clear action steps to follow.  HOWEVER, if this doesn’t work, please come back to me and I’ll give you a way of motivating yourself.  If that doesn’t work then I’ll know what to do, so don’t worry; it just means we need to tackle a few confidence issues directly.

 

Action Steps

 

1) Supplements

You are that tired that I think you might need some supplements.  Pop to a health food shop with a shop assistant who knows lots about it.  Also read my posts about getting more energy and supplements.

 

My favourite immediate energy boosters are:

  • Blueberries – magic little creatures!
  • 2xcup Epsom salts in bath – buy a BIG bag from health food shop when you are there.
  • Floradix – magic in a bottle
  • Omega 3,6 & 9 – otherwise my brain doesn’t work

 

2) Hydration

Your body can’t take in all those lovely vitamins and minerals unless you drink enough liquid.  It’s like trying to run a car without oil.  So you need to reduce the coffee by 1 or 2 cups, and not drink after late afternoon and drink more water.  Check out my post about why hydration is so important.

My top tips for adding water into your day is:

  • Drink water when you and your daughter brush your teeth – that’s three extra glasses.
  • Have a bottle of water in the car for when you go on the nursery run or to the shops.
  • Have a specific time of day mid-morning where you have a glass of water.

 

3) Nutrition

It doesn’t sound like you need to lose weight, but I reckon your eating isn’t helping the situation.  There is lots more information in my section called ‘Healthy Eating For Rubbish Cooks‘, but here are the most important points:

  • Eat 5 fruit and vegetables a day (one with breakfast, one for snack mid morning and mid afternoon, then one or two with dinner and/or lunch)
  • Use a good fruit juice not from concentrate (counts as 1x5aday)
  • Eat different colours of fruit and vegetables
  • Eat something for breakfast however small
  • Eat a balanced meal with Protein AND Carbs AND half a plate of vegetables/salad (or fruit for dessert)
  • Cut back on the sugar – it’s a big downer (I’d say the same for alcohol if you were drinking much)

 

4) Exercise

A certain amount of exercise will get you healthier, a bit more will get you fit.  I know that you are running around with your daughter, but that won’t give you the endorphins or fun that exercise can give you.

  • On the days when she is at nursery your FIRST priority is to go to the gym or somewhere and do a fun class like dance/zumba or something that will calm your worries like yoga.  No cleaning or admin for the company until this is done!
  • EVERY day go outside for a 15 minute walk – even with your daughter

 

5) Ideas To Blossom

You aren’t ready to ‘find something to do’ yet.  So let’s get realistic and let’s get you researching ideas as your confidence improves.

  • Get yourself a notebook and write in it every idea you’ve ever had on what you could do.  DO NOT discount any ideas, even if you think you are unqualified now or you think they are pipe dreams.  Then keep adding ideas.
  • For each idea write the Pro’s and Con’s down.  There should be the SAME number of Pro’s as Con’s.  If not, you need to think a bit more about that idea to find more.
  • Also write what qualifications, skills or experience you have that might help and the additional training or experience needed that you don’t have.
  • Get into the habit of counting 3 blessings every night, even on a bad day there might have been a lovely rainbow, or good cup of coffee or hug from your daughter.  You can write them down if you like.
  • Get some of the rubbish out of your head and onto paper 1-5 times per week by writing all your worries and stresses down.  3 pages minimum.  Do it at least once per week.
  • I’m really not keen on you doing the ‘admin’ for your company, considering you started it initially and a virtual assistant is £20ph.  I see the logic in your doing it, but I don’t think that it’s good for your psychology.  We’ll chat more about this next time!

 

Then

Come back and let me know how you are doing regularly (you can comment on this blog anonymously).  Once you are feeling stronger in yourself, we are going to look at subtly shifting the power in your relationship with a clever trick that I know and getting you more sparkly.  Then we can look at your relationship itself – I have a few blog posts scheduled that you are going to like, so make sure that you have subscribed to my blog by email as well!

You might want in a week or two to buy my book ‘Six Steps To A Sparkling You And Enjoying Being A Mum‘.  I’m in the middle of writing version 2 (with just a few minor changes and tweaks) which will also be out in paperback.  Once that comes out I’m raising the price from 89p!  (Remember you can read a kindle book without a kindle).

What do you think?

I’d love to know what you think, whether you are the originator of the question or not?

Have you felt like this too?  Can you let her know that it’s normal and only temporary, especially if she starts to take care of herself more as I suggested?

Or do you disagree and think she should go straight for sorting out her work and relationship?

Got a problem of your own?  Submit it to my problem corner.

cinderella complex

#DoSomethingYummy: A Warning From My Childhood: The Cinderella Complex

cinderella complexThis post is being written as part of the blog prompt for #DoSomethingYummy  from Typecast which is the campaign for CLIC Sargent Charity for children with cancer.  I’ve picked the prompt ‘What kind of family did you grow up in? ‘

I did some research into CLIC and found this info on their site ….. As the UK’s leading children’s cancer charity, CLIC Sargent is the only organisation to offer them all round care and support. That’s because we’re there every step of the way:  During treatment – providing specialist nurses, play specialists, Homes from Home  In hospital & at home – offering specialist social care and support in the community – services for young people, holidays, grants  After treatment – helping survivors, supporting those bereaved

 

I have what I call a ‘juicy’ family history.  Ironically, it’s not some of the more difficult or shocking things that happened in my past that causes me trouble sometimes; I’ve been there, dealt with most of them and forgotten more than I can remember.  No, at the moment I’ve realised that I’m still haunted by the ‘Cinderella complex’.  I was reminded of it when I read Claire Macnaughton’s post.

I’m writing about it as a warning to all Mums of young daughters, who like Little Dimples, might like watching Snow White or any of the other hundreds of disney films available.

So cut to my teenage; ailing elderly parents,and many an afternoon watching subtly brainwashing black and white movies to make sure I stayed chaste and ‘saved myself’ for ‘the one’.  This was a very clever move on behalf of my mother, who was never going to do ‘the talk’ with me.

I was a thorough romantic and loved any type of romantic film.  But it birthed a belief in me that there would be ‘ONE’ person that I could rely on for ever and for everything, who would be totally and persistently reliable.  This belief has haunted me ever since in many different formats, and I’m still trying to shake it.  It is a truly dangerous believe, because it is totally impossible for it to be true and I’d held it as a basic fabric of my existence.

The truth is that everyone is reliable, if you understand them well enough to be able to predict their behaviour.  However, they won’t always be able to be there for you, do what you want them to do or want to be there for you.  Plus if you don’t know them deeply it can appear that they are very unpredictable.  Problem is; no one told me that.

At about 20 I suddenly realised that my mother (nick named the ‘wicked witch of the west’) wasn’t that all encompassing ‘would love me whatever I did’ person and quickly put the crown of responsibility on the big hairy northern husband’s head.  We are obviously still together 23yrs later, but that crown well and truly fell off.  I didn’t mind the crown falling off his head, but my problem was that I realised that no one else was going to pick it up.  It broke my heart and made me question the worth of the world for a scary while.

I thought I’d cracked it, but I actually replaced it with therapy; specifically the very complicated one that I’ve trained in.  This let me down as a Mum, as it was totally impractical in the life of a mum.  You can see where I was motivated to create the ‘Mummy Whisperer’ from now can’t you ; to create that reliable presence on the internet or in a book that a Mum could just pick up whenever she needed it?

I thought I had cracked it again.  But in my recent tiredness, I realised that I had sneakily replaced it with a slightly different belief; that I could be sure of what I was getting from people I paid.  Hence I employed a cleaner, and little old irish granny and would often choose to throw money at a problem, whether it was needing some energy (reflexology) or getting some DIY done.

It’s not so dangerous a belief any more, just uncomfortable to discover with hubby being made redundant, so a lot of the support systems I had built up are no longer there.  I’m tired.

Time to look for a new option maybe?  Or time to break the myth so that it doesn’t cause me trouble any more?  I know that there are predictable things in the world, but none of them are sufficient for me; even the weather seems unreliable now a days!  Perhaps I should look at why I wouldn’t want one reliable source of support; it would actually be very suffocating after all?

In the meantime, I don’t think that ‘Twilight’, ‘Disney’ or ‘Gone with the wind’ have ruined my life.  But as a Mum of a little girl, I plan to just whisper a few realities in her ear so that she doesn’t grow up to face the harsh lessons that I did.  It’s a fine balance between allowing her to see and feel the magic in the world, but also have two feet grounded on the realities of the world.

Isn’t it ironic that what seemed like one of the easiest parts of my childhood has actually caused one of the biggest problems?

Have you found that some of the best times of your childhood have made your adulthood difficult?

Did you fall for the Cinderella complex?  Does it affect what you let your children watch?

I’d love to know what you think.

Happy Mum

How To Be A Good Mother: I have the answer

How to be a happy mum

I reckon I know ‘How to be a good mother’.

Mind you I don’t reckon I get it right all the time.

But I do think I know what I did when I don’t get it right.

Ironically, I was approached for that Channel 4 program with Sharon Horgan on ‘How to be a good mother’.  I was hesitant initially, and then they decided that I didn’t match the bill.  I can see why I didn’t match it as none of my ideas would be extreme enough for them, which is what I expected initially.  But it’s irritating too as I’m sure I do know how, and so I question whether Sharon (or her producers) really wanted to find out.

How can I be that arrogant you might ask?  Dunno, but I am, so heh ho!

This picture holds the key.  I look pretty happy and contented don’t I?  Little Dimples is too.  I’m at a work event, so I’m not just being a Mum at the time either.  The key is; I’m being me.

That’s how to be a good mother; be yourself, because that’s who your kids want and that’s who they chose.

Don’t eat placenta’s because someone else told you to, unless it’s something you feel in your heart you want to do.  Don’t breast-feed or formula feed unless it’s in your heart.  Don’t home school if you’d hate it.  Don’t stay at home if you’d go crazy.  Don’t do crafts if you and your kids don’t enjoy it.  Don’t cook using Annabel Karmel’s cook book if it makes your baby cry because it takes ages and then they aren’t interested.  Basically, don’t be a freak who worries about what everyone else is doing, and makes decisions based from the worry/fear of the gut or the logic of the brain.

Follow your heart, that’s where your wisdom is.  It’s a kind of balanced, centred place (not a sentimental gushy place).  It’s there in us all, but the worry, guilt, fear and ‘grrrrrrrr’ means that we don’t hear it.  You can get to it though ….

  1. Instead look after yourself, so that you are strong, contented, and know yourself.
  2. Spend enough time with your kids to really know them well too.
  3. Then you’ll be able to hear your own intuition and balance and juggle your needs AND theirs (not just theirs)
  4. Stop worrying about how other people do it and how much better their lives or their mothering is, and remember that the grass is never greener.
  5. Do a bit of research and get a bit of knowledge, but not too much; use discernment about what suits you and suits your kids
  6. Think about why you are lucky to have your life and appreciate what you have, rather than wasting time on what ifs.

That’s my answer anyway.  What do you reckon?  Do you really think your kids want someone else as a Mum, or someone trying to be someone else?

 

An Alternative to New Years Resolutions: Your Top 3 Life Priorities


I’m not a fan of New Years Resolutions, I think it’s a time for a detox, clear out and rest.

Goals can just add to the weight of things we don’t achieve as Mums.

What I use are ‘Life Priorities’

 

Life Priorities help you to organise your time, energy and money spends for the year ahead and only focus on what is important to you.

 

Imagine a year where you can finish it feeling satisfied that you covered all the most important bases (not everything, just the important stuff); it’s a good feeling!


To do it ..

  1. Get an hour to yourself (if possible, otherwise do it on the fly)
  2. Get a piece of paper and put on some music that relaxes or inspires you
  3. Think about everything that happened recently or in the last year that you can feel really grateful for  (this means the ideas come from the heart, not the logic of the mind or emotion of the gut).
  4. Now think about looking back at the end of your life
  5. What do you most want to be sure you have achieved?  What would you be gutted not to have?
  6. Pick 3.

I know three isn’t many, and that you will actually have lots of other priorities, and you are welcome to write down the others as well.  But what I do want you to just pick 3.  You’ll want to refine and polish them as time goes by, so don’t worry about making them perfect.

YOU CAN”T GET THIS WRONG!

Just Change It Later On If You Realise that other things are more important.

Mine are:

  1. That my kids feel loved from top to bottom by me and love me in return
  2. My books become ‘THE pick me up books for all Mums’
  3. That I stay strong in myself physically and emotionally

There are reasons behind all of these, and reasons why they take the top rankings, and they are in no way a judgement on the fact that I know already that yours will be different.

For example, for some parents the top priority is to provide every academic opportunity towards a secure future career for their children, or to ensure they make a great marriage, or to make sure they have amazing experiences, or to nurture them.  Some Mums might not have a potential career option, or not at the moment, or not feel it’s in the top 3.  Some might not have their health anywhere near the top 3 (I would really recommend that you consider how much it will help your kids if it is at least in your top 5 though).  Others might have providing financially, or spiritually as the top priority.  Maybe yours is maintaining your relationship (note to the hairy one: the reason our relationship is No4 is because me being strong has always been an important aspect to the success of our relationship).

Why bother?  Because we all get tired, overwhelmed, stressed, overloaded, exhausted, knackered, unfocussed and end up fire fighting and headless chicken running around at some point.

If every morning you remind yourself what your top 3 priorities are, you will be able to make sure that AT LEAST those are done, and then the rest.  Plus loads of things you’ll just not bother to do, saving you time, energy and money.

Plus you can manage your weekly To Do’s and make sure that you at least make time for these three.

What it means is that:

  • I make time to hug my kids, because otherwise I get unhappy.
  • I exercise 3 times a week, and eat pretty healthily.
  • When work opportunities come up and I’m busy, I pick the ones that help me to spread my books

In my book, I talk more about how to pick your top priorities and find out more about you as a person and what you love to do, or have or who you love to spend time with, so if you’d like to find out more, remember you can read a kindle book without a kindle.

Fancy finding your Top 3 Life Priorities?  Pop your top 3 priorities below when you’ve done it or come over to my Pinterest board and add them there..  If you blog about it you are very welcome to add a link in a comment to any blog posts you write about it, so that other Mums can get ideas for how it helps or what affect it has on you.

Here’s a summary for you as a picture, I can’t wait to hear what you pick!

I realised I’m lost without my iPhone!

So I thought I was doing pretty well to go on holiday for 2 weeks and hardly touch my phone at all.  I kept thinking about how well I was doing ‘unplugged’.

I was ignoring the quick check of my iPhone in the evenings.  Plus the growing sense of desperation as the button on my iPhone got worse and worse, so that I couldn’t change between applications or use it properly.

I at last had to admit that my iPhone was totally broken.  The button wasn’t working at all really and I had to switch it on and off (not a quick thing to do), if I wanted to change from messages to phone to apps etc.  You’d see me like some mad crazy woman desperately pressing the button over and over in the hope that it would suddenly work, as it did sporadically kick back into action.  So I went into my O2 shop, and realised I had a problem with my phone addiction when I considered buying a new one to cover the potential fortnight without!

Instead I went back to a ‘normal’ phone for the past 10 days.  OMG I’d totally forgotten how to text.  Plus, I’ve realised that my iPhone has taken on such a big part of my life, that it’s become ‘more than a phone’.

I literally couldn’t sleep well without it, because there was an app I use to clarify my thoughts before bed time.  The apps for twitter and facebook don’t work as well on my ipad, so that was tricky.  Plus I wanted to check the weather, and play music, and play videos to keep the Little Dimples busy or games for Curly Headed Boy when we were in queues.  Where was my life before my iphone!  I couldn’t do my food shop in the car on the way home and now have a house with no food in it.

Problem is I don’t really want to break my addiction, because I love my iPhone.  Is that sad?

What I have promised to do is make the most of what I learnt, which is to ‘PUT THE PHONE DOWN’ and be present with my kids more.  So I’m going to have twitter/facebook times of the day and ignore it more.  I’d already banned the phone during the key crunch times like getting dressed, breakfast and the whole bedtime routine period from dinner onwards as focus was definitely needed.  But I’m going to be even stricter from now on.  You wouldn’t believe how many parents I saw on their phones at the festival that I went to at the weekend, or the numbers of times I saw the kids trying to talk to parents who were focussing on a phone.  It’s sad really and definitely makes for frustrated, irritated kids who feel that a phone is more important than them.

So wish me luck in my journey to control my iPhone addiction and only use it’s power for good ;o)

Do You Choose To Not Inconvenience Your Family?

I’ve made a massive shift recently and am now listening to myself a lot more.  I’ve decided that talking to myself might be a sign of madness, however as it works when I recommend things to my clients, it would probably work for me too!  So big in the Mummy Whisperer manifesto is for Mums to think about themselves FIRST (you know how they tell you to put the mask on yourself first to make sure that you survive and can help your kids).  But we can be sneaky things and hide where we aren’t looking after ourselves.

Now the first reason I overcame a habit of ‘not wanting to inconvenience the family’ was because of a sneaky and very clever trick by the people over at Blog Camp UK.  They got us to ‘pre-register’ for the London Mummy Bloggers Conference.  What a fab thing, because I didn’t think about all about the logistics and whether I could do it, I just thought it ‘sounded like a nice idea’.  When the invite came, I suddenly realised that I had no excuse not to go.  After all, it was just a day in London.  My lovely irish granny could come with me so that I could feed Little Dimples at lunch time, and they could have an adventure.  Meanwhile, Curly Headed Boy loved the idea of going to school with a gorgeous Mum who lives on the way to the train station (I’m going to miss you next year K, because you are fab, but also because he loves you!), and having a play date with his mate who lives round the corner (thank you so much C!).  I had a wonderful day, learnt tonnes, got the little grey brain cells going, gossiped a touch, and got very inspired about my blog and work.

So if you are thinking about one of the other blog camp UK days, do what I did; register and then work it out later!

This had an amazing effect on me.  My background is in something called the Demartini Method, and we have to regularly keep our continuing professional development up to keep our certification (I’m one of the only senior certified people globally; which is probably means I’m a bit of a teachers pet because I like doing exams/certification processes).  So normally I have to go to the states for to attend the advanced certification course, but as it happened the normal certification course was in the UK for the first time ever, a couple of days after blog camp.  I’d discounted it because of the expense, because it was 5 days, and because Little Dimples was so young and it would be difficult for the family.  Suddenly, I looked at it with new eyes.  By going now, I could save us a tonne of money, plus give us probably another 2 yrs before we had to go to the states again for it.  Plus due to my experience I managed to negotiate to only go for 3 days and pay a much smaller refresher fee.  So it was all change!

We all went in on the Saturday, and the kids had lots of fun with Big Hairy Northern Hubby and my lovely Irish granny.  Sunday and monday were a more chilled affair with the boys staying at home, and the Mums from school helping me out again (The gorgeous K, and this time E taking him to gymnastics in the very exciting car already full of 4 other kids).  I had a thoroughly lovely time; I got to meet a couple of old friends, lots of new people, and remind myself a little more about who I am underneath the Mummy outer shell.  Plus ironically, going for the ‘normal’ course, rather than the advanced one reminded my why I love doing what I do so much, and where I came from.  If I’d gone to the states my ego would have thoroughly gotten in the way and I would have gone in the advanced room, not the main room (there is only an advanced room in the states, not other countries), and missed out on this reminder of where it all started..

The only thing I didn’t quite manage is to explain the change of behaviour to the Big Hairy Northern hubby, who maybe needed a bit more explanation about how come I suddenly thought attending the course was a good idea.  It’s not that he wasn’t up for me doing it, but it seemed to confuse him a bit.  I think that sometimes we unreasonably think that the men will keep up with us when we change our plans and understand it as well as another woman might.  So next time I will remember to translate it better.

Meanwhile, the whole ‘inconvenience’ thing?  Well, yes, we were a bit knackered for a bit, but we got over it.  Curly Headed boy loved the adventure and time on his own with Daddy on the Sunday, plus has more confidence being with out Mummy (although I did get lots of cuddles on the Tuesday).  Little Dimples is now much happier on the trains, having disliked them on the first morning, and my lovely little irish granny has seen a pile of things in London that she had never seen before.

So I can really recommend inconveniencing your family once in a while; go on, what would do you good that you haven’t even considered doing?  We even experienced a package being exploded and a bomb threat with equanimity.  Which is weird, because there seems to be very little in the press about the amount of these going on in London at the moment?  But thats a whole other story.

The Mummy Whisperer Blog is now available on Amazon Kindle!!!!

Oooooh, I’m a ‘proper’ writer, I’m a ‘proper’ writer!!!  Can you tell I’m a little excited?

Many years ago I did Maths, Physics and English ‘A’ levels, because as a girl if they saw any sign you could possibly do science, they heavily ‘encouraged’ you to do it in my school (there were still only a few of us though).  I loved English, but I would revise the other two more, because I felt guilty about doing the thing that I love.  How daft is that!  Now, I don’t regret the Maths and Physics, as that is what got me a 13yr career in IT as a computer programmer.  But even then I’ve been constantly writing.  I got an award from IBM for my thesis during my degree, and feel in love with the feeling of being on a roll when you are writing something.  All through my career I was always the one put in charge of writing training courses, or articles.  Then when I went all ‘tree huggy’, I would always write a workshop or something as soon as I’d learnt a new technique, so that I could share it.  Then along came the children, the arrival of ‘Mummy blogging’ and I discover that I love to write.  I might not be the best writer, as I didn’t go on to do a journalism or english degree, but I still LOVE it, and I’m pretty good I think at making things simple to understand.  This year, I decided that although I had recently understood the importance of having proper product launches and improving my sales/marketing techniques, I was going to put as a priority writing my blog for myself and my enjoyment, and now it’s paid off.

I read an article by Nickie from the Typecast blog on british mummy bloggers about the fact that you can now list your blog on Amazon Kindle.  Here is the article if you fancy having a go <click here>.  As I’m a bit bored/overwhelmed by my humungous list of blogs on the RSS google reader, this sounded like a fab idea, so I thought I’d have a go.  The article warned to be really careful you were happy with the result before pressing [submit], and that it might take a few days to be accepted.  Plus, it is Amazon that decides how much your monthly fee is going to be.  So last night at 8pm I pressed submit, and you’ll never guess what?  ‘What, what?’ I hear you ask!  They had accepted my blog by 10pm and put it up for the grand price of £1.99 (You’d probably guess that by the photo heh?  The big hairy northern hubby took this at the airport this morning where he found a Kindle).

So here it is.  Do you have a Kindle?  You get a 14 day free trial, so I’d love it if you would try it out.

There is one slight downside, in that it is only available for the Kindle at the moment.  However, it will be available for the iphone and ipad soon I’m sure, it’s probably just a matter of them encouraging Kindle sales and improving the formatting.  To be honest, it’s not really about whether I might make any money from it.  It’s just that I suddenly feel like a ‘proper’ writer, and like someone has said ‘yes, you are going in the right direction, keep at it with the blogging’.

I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a little favour?

I am passionate about making a difference for Mums, and I really think that I can, whether it is via my blog, or my programs.  But I can’t do it, unless Mums know about me and have heard about me in a way that means that they trust me.  So if you get a chance to check out my Kindle blog (even if you don’t have a kindle), and you like my stuff, could you leave a review, pretty please?  Or let your friends know about this blog?  Or let them know about my facebook fan page?  Or my twitter account, if they want to see my general ramblings?  Or encourage them to sign up for my newsletter.  I’ve got a big announcement coming on Feb 3rd, and it might just be the perfect thing for your friends, or for you (and it’s going to be FREE).

Oooh and ‘Thank you’ to all the lovely friends and Mums who have already been supporting this blog, I really appreciate it.  Right, I’m off to take Little Dimples to play with some baby friends for a couple of hours.  I’ll probably be floating on an excited cloud the whole way!

Seriously, Why Am I Crying, He’s Just Starting School?!!!

  • I cried the last morning morning I dropped curly headed boy at nursery 8 weeks ago.
  • I cried when I picked him up.
  • I cried when I bought his school uniform 3 weeks ago.
  • I cried when I cuddled him last night.
  • And I cried when I dropped him off this morning at primary school.

Seriously, what a sap!  Luckily he didn’t notice apart from last night when he said ‘but mummy, there are actually tears in your eyes’, said in his best scientific experimenting voice.  Then he started wondering whether aliens had put them there and off he went on one of his little chats with me before bed time.  As you can see from his picture above, he was fine this morning, if a little serious at times.

You know how you walk out of the house and know you’ve forgotten something, but can’t remember what?  That’s how I feel.  Some of the Mums today were looking sad.  I didn’t see any other tears, but then we were going at different times.  Some Mums where old hats at it, as they already have several kids at school.  A few looked like they were skipping down the path on their way back from the class room!

So I drove home thinking, what on earth it was that makes my heart feel like it’s breaking.  The good news is how fast the last 5yrs has gone.  A very wise man once told me that the faster time feels, the more you must be doing what you love, and I really do love being a Mum.  But the problem is that means that the next 5yrs will go fast, and the next, and the next, and he’ll be off away, followed nearly 5yrs later by Little Dimples.  I can’t grab the time, I can’t hold it.  When I got sick a few months back I realised that one day I would have to leave my kiddies behind, and it was a horrible feeling.

But how lucky am I.  Despite not sleeping through the night for the past 5yrs (Little dimples took over where curly headed boy left off on the sleep stakes), a stone in weight I’d rather be without, lots of new grey hairs, struggling to juggle working and being a Mummy, I know I am just the luckiest ever.  This life works for me, it suits me.  It was blinking hard to come by and a bit of a surprise having been told so young that I’d never have kids.  All my troubles (people don’t go into my line of business without some ‘life experiences’ to encourage them) paid off with a great big pay off.  So, I’m lucky that I’ll be looking forward to picking him up from school.  Some Mums are not so lucky.  The pressures of what the world says they should be like get the better of them, and can create such a problem for their own identity that all the sparkle and love in the world literally gets sucked out.  So these are ‘lucky tears’ really.  OK, now I’m crying because I feel grateful that I was crying, seriously!

This afternoon, Curly Headed boy will be pleased to see me, and hug me just that little bit more tightly.  A bit of distance can bring you together sometimes.  I’ll remember that each time I drop him off and savour the chats in the car on the way to school, and the ability to listen to music on the way home all on my own for 15 minutes (little dimples still screams in the car, so she stays at home; post to come about that!).  Even when he’s big, there will still be a little bit of him that is the baby, toddler or pre-schooler that I’m so desperate to hold onto today.  I know this, because there are days that I would dearly love to have a parent to cuddle me.

Meanwhile, I reckon I’ve found a way to juggle work and mummydom much more easily;  Oooohhh I have so much to tell you from the summer holidays, I’ve got lots of exciting news!  So it’s time for me to wipe my eyes and catch up on emails and plans for the next two weeks.  (Can you imagine what I’m going to be like when Little Dimples starts primary school in 4yrs time, I’ll need a whole box of tissues, not just one!).