Organising with a computer

Five Tips For Working Out How To Change What You Are Doing With Your Life

Radio Verulam's Drive Time With Danny SmithI was over at Radio Verulam with the gorgeous Dapper Danny Smith last month – sorry but I forgot to download the audio, so no dulcet tones this time!

Loads of people have been asking me about making a big life change, so I thought I would give some tips.  It could be any big change job, relationship, house, country, anything.

I’ve made several BIG job changes in my life.  I spent 13yrs working in IT.  When I say ‘IT’, I’m not talking doing a little bit of light computing stuff.  I’m talking proper full on programming and heavy duty stuff.  I was even a ‘software engineer’ at one point – this requires wearing sandals and being REALLY geeky!

But then I started thinking I wanted to do something ‘more important’ with my life and eventually made the crazy decision to give up an extremely well paid job to be a tree hugging hippy and heal people.  When I got more ambitious in the problems I wanted to heal, I moved towards more complicated therapy type techniques.

Suddenly I fell pregnant – as you know this was a big shock at 36, having spent 16 years thinking I was barren.  After Little Dimples I found it harder to work, and wanted to shift my focus to just mums, and so was born ‘The Mummy Whisperer’ and this blog.  Within a year, I was pretty much more of a writer than a therapist and loving it.  (Don’t forget 2nd edition of my book ‘Six steps to a sparkling you’ is out now).

Of course now I’m going into very new waters with the opening of my hairdressing salon and spa in Battlers Green Farm, Radlett in October!  This is not as random as you may think …. so read the hints below to see how I got here …

 

TIP 1 – Nature Never Throws Anything Away

Organising with a computer
Start them young!

So you want to make a change, but don’t know where to start?  Look back.  There are clues in your past.

Look for what you enjoyed, what you were good at, projects you did, qualifications, experiences, adventures.

If you are looking to move, think about all the places you have lived, or visited, or dreamed of.  Where did you feel energised?  Where did you feel calm?  Where did you feel suffocated?

For example, I’m Bristol born and bred, and must admit to missing it sometimes.  When we bought our house in St Albans, the view from my window is very similar to the view of the downs that I had as a child, so it was very comforting.

Draw a big squiggly line and plot all the big events and your ages, and look for patterns and clues.

Think about what you never thought there was enough of, or what you always felt was missing?  That’s probably a clue to a passion of yours.

I was a ‘young carer’, so I was pretty much always going to work as a nurse/healer.  My escape came from books, hence the writing.  With older parents, I was often a bit lonely and watched people for hours from our balcony, hence being fascinated by human behaviour.  My mum was a bit of a witch …. ;o)

Here you can have a bit of a reality check.  Yes, there are people who are suddenly discovered at 25 to have the voice of an angel – but I don’t trust most of those stories!  You actually do have to have an ability in what it is that you would love to do.  So just because you sang a lot as a 3yo, doesn’t mean that you are going to be the next success story on the X-factor.

I’m not a hairdresser (although I clearly see the link between hairdressers and therapists), but our business partner is, and between us we have all the skills needed.

 

TIP 2 – There’s a pattern in your ideas

notebook
I love a notebook

I got this tip from Oprah Winfrey 20yrs ago.

Get a notebook (I like pretty ones!).  Whenever you get an idea you fancy write it in the book, then write all the Pro’s and Con’s – there should be as many pro’s as con’s if you have researched it properly.

Eventually you will see that there is a pattern in the things that you are looking at.

For example, maybe you are always looking at careers that are creative, or something with a bigger challenge?  Perhaps all the houses you look at have big gardens and no neighbours, or do you love the idea of being surrounded by a community?

I chose to become a Reiki Master, because I didn’t want to go back to do a degree, but I wanted something with the potential to keep learning, teach others and work on animals too.  I chose Resonance Repatterning (Kinesiology based therapy) because I needed something stronger when I started to specialise in mental health issues.  Then I chose the Demartini Method because I felt fragmented and needed to bring my scientific side in to help with my tree hugging side.  Now I’m embracing my more feminine, intuitive, creative side.

 

 

Tip 3 – Once you are enroute you can settle down

Family gap year
Travelling the world in a motorhome

It’s horrid being unhappy.  I totally get that.  But DO NOT just jump out of it.  That’s not the way to leave (apart from in extreme circumstances obviously).

Now that you are doing something about it, you know you are enroute, so something will definitely change.

Once you are looking, does it really matter if it takes 1yr, 5yrs or 10yrs?

Normally it is better to work through your issues with a situation, and come to terms with it before leaving.  It means you are less likely to jump out of the frying pan into the fire!

Try not to jump to conclusions.

Just because you learn’t Reiki doesn’t mean you are going to become a healer – it could just be that you are going to use it to de-stress yourself and find something else.  Plus there are all sorts of ways of incorporating your ideas.  For example, I will be able to bring ‘healing’ to thousands of people with the hairdressing salon – I don’t have to actually heal each person personally.  Just because you just bought a sewing machine, doesn’t mean you need to start up a business making stuff.  Just because you write a blog, doesn’t mean you have to make money from it or sell a book.

Remember, some things in life are purely for your enjoyment, not to be turned into a career.

It’s frustrating when you know you are going but you don’t know when it will happen.  But give the universe a chance to help you out, rather than pushing it – I missed out on a very helpful redundancy package because I pushed!

 

Tip 4 – Vision Board

content
content

I’ve been ‘revising’ all the stuff I learnt 13yrs ago and one of the most fun things has been creating a vision board with Melanie at Therap Healing.  These are great for inspiring you with ideas, and then focussing you on getting them.

Basically, I spent a couple of weeks printing off pretty pictures of things and quotes that interested/inspired me.  I knew it was likely to be something to do with my book/work, kids and getting healthier.  So that was where I focussed.

Then it was off to Mel’s.  We did a little meditation to help us connect to our wiser intuitive side (logic will only get you so far).

Then it’s time to stick pictures on our vision board, eat cake, and gossip!  FUN!

Stick the vision board up somewhere for you to keep reminding yourself about.

This helps you to focus on what you want to achieve and can give some really amazing insights – like the fact that somehow or other I would like to have a place by the sea one day.

I remember 8yrs ago doing one of these to help me finish my weight loss off.  I drew a picture of boots (you know how you can’t fit into normal boots when you are over weight) and also a pole, because I really fancied learning to pole dance.  SIX WEEKS LATER a pole dancing class started up at my gym.  Maybe not that spooky, but if I hadn’t put it on my board I might not have had the courage to try it (btw I believe all women should do a 12 week pole dancing class – it’s fabulous for the spirit!).

 

Tip 5 – Cosmic Ordering

Full moon is magic
Full moon is magic

Action is important.  But sometimes worrying about HOW on earth you are going to achieve something, will just get in the way.

When you are clear what it is that you would love, you can literally ‘order’ it from the universe.

There is a great book by Barbara Mohr on Cosmic Ordering, which was made famous by ‘Noel Tidy Beard’ as my friend calls him (Edmonds) in his book ‘Positively happy’.

There are some thoughts which when I have them feel really ‘heavy’, they sort of bounce – I know those ones are automatically ‘ordered’.  But you can make up any method you like to ‘order’ stuff.

You could write a letter to the universe and post it.  Or ask the new moon for it.

No, I don’t think that ordering £1million or a Ferrari will work.  It’s got to be something heart-felt.

 

But remember to enjoy today

Change is stressful.

Not changing is stressful.

Remember, it’s not about where you were, or where you will be, but the fact that it is all one long journey.  Don’t miss today because you are worrying about yesterday or tomorrow.

What’s your favourite tip for making a change in your life?

 

 

 

My Big Secret Project Is …….

I’m at last going to tell you what my ‘Big Secret Project’ is!

It might seem a bit random, but I’ll explain myself in my next vlog, as it’s a really interesting story of how things all add up together sometimes.

So drum roll please …….

(Oh yes and as you can see Little Dimples was REALLY helpful with the whole videoing process – not!).

 

 

Agony Aunt for Mums

Problem Corner: When the Mum is supporting the family.

Agony Aunt for MumsSo many people I know have been affected by redundancy like us.

It is now a FACT OF LIFE and something that no one should be ashamed of (easier said than done).

This guest post is from a lovely blogging friend of mine Muddling Mummy.  I’m sure many Mums who are having to work at the moment feel the pressure, especially when they are the only income.  Maybe this is how many Dads feel too?

I’m going to put some ideas to help her out at the bottom, but I would love you to include your tips too or stories to show her that she’s not on her own.

 

Redundancy – 11 months on

This isn’t a post I thought I would ever write – both of us had assumed that, even though the jobs market is super grim, that he would find another job – he had a few leads, people were making positive noises and all in all it didn’t look too bad really

Roll life on another 6 months and it doesn’t look terribly rosy – whilst we can talk a good talk in front of family and friends there isn’t another job on the horizon and we are looking at going into another year with this hanging over us

People are interested in what is happening with him – they say how well he looks, ask after what’s he is up to and worry about how he is coping about this whole thing.  Nobody ever asks me if I am ok, nobody ever notices the pressure that this situation has created for me

We are lucky that I kept on working after the girls arrived – partly because I wanted to carry on with my career, partly because we knew that two of us working in the same, vulnerable industry meant that having two earners gave us flexibility and the chance that we’d have at least one income if things got sticky.   My income is ok, we can manage ok on it but we are seriously considering that I move back to a full time contract – the hard won 80% seems like too great a luxury at this stage and the money would definitely come in handy

I’m also having to face head on that it is my career now that needs to be pushed ahead – I’m having to have difficult conversations about promotion and starting to have to really push onto the career ladder.  I don’t mind, in fact a small part of me relishes the chance, but I do regret that I am being forced into doing something that I am not quite ready for.

Again, nobody has mentioned that they notice that I am working longer and harder and that I am the breadwinner keeping my family together – I feel as if I get zero credit for this and all the stick from not fitting in with the largely stay-at-home mummy group at my daughter’s school.

All of this is made harder by my husband not having really picked up terribly much on the home front.  Following Lisa’s tips for helping to deal with redundancy we spent a few evenings in the first grim week writing down ideas for things he could do in this unexpected break – we have tried to view this time as a sabbatical and a chance for him to spend time doing fun things.  Again I am beginning to feel that whilst he has had an extended period of doing what he wants to, I find myself still picking up a lot of things on the home front and having to work harder – I can feel resentment starting to bubble up and his blank lack of understanding of the small, boring things that make up running a household doesn’t help

I honestly don’t know how to fix things – I feel as if we are on different sides of a widening chasm and I don’t know how to build bridges across – another part of me is upset that it has to be me that notices that things aren’t right and that has to fix this.  That has to fix this on top of everything else.

Who knows how long we could go on like this – the job market looks worse not better than a year ago – I can see a future where I have to embrace being the sole earner, I have to really work at my career and I will be the one supporting the family but I’m not sure I can see a world where my husband changes his spots and starts supporting me emotionally and practically through that.  That expectation gap worries me because I can see it slowly pulling us further apart

I just wish that someone, anyone acknowledged that this is hard for me too and gave me some credit for all I have done and am doing – it sounds selfish, it probably is but the bottom line is I don’t think we can carry on like this and I don’t want to be another statistic of a marriage that failed when a job fell away

 

My Answer

Oh honey I know you were worried that you were being too self-centred.  No of course I don’t think that.  I just think that you are feeling unappreciated and stressed.

I’m so glad that you contacted me, it’s time to do something about this, because the resentment is bad news for your health and relationships.  Sorting it out now before it all goes pear shaped is a good plan.

BUT, because I love you, I’m going to give you some tough love.

You need to stop being so blinking competent!  You need to stop giving the impression that you can handle everything.  I know you talk more honestly on your blog, but I’m less convinced about how ‘honest’ your mask is in real life?

I’m a good example of what happens when you ‘keep on keeping on’ and I promise you, you don’t want my Fibromyalgia as an eye opener to how much you need to take care of yourself more.

I wonder how many men feel like this all the time?

I bet loads of other women are feeling exactly like you at the moment; forced by the recession, debt, bills, divorce or redundancy in their other half to work more than they want to.  You are not alone.

The good news is that we had exactly the same problem with the length of time before a job came along the first time that the Big Hairy Northern One was made redundant.  This time round the search for a new job was a lot quicker, but that was down to a couple of things:

1) Our previous experience of how long it can take, so how important it was to get over the wallowing stage more quickly

2) The Hairy one’s openness to new ideas landing him a fabulous 4 day pw contract that is giving that ‘time out’ option at the same time as providing for the family.

So the ideas I have for you are to help you:

1) Reduce the resentment so that you can talk openly with hubby

2) Get the ball rolling on the job front.

To reduce your resentment:

Is it possible to have romance and kids?

1) Write 50 (that’s FIFTY!) reasons why there is some kind of benefit, silver lining, upside or something you are getting from the fact that you are the only earner and may potentially have to go back to work full-time. (Go deep, each time you find a benefit then ask yourself ‘and because of that I get’ or ‘and that means that’).

2) If you get too excited about working full time, then write 50 downsides to the fact that you are having to work, I want you balanced, not one way or the other.

3) Think long and hard (maybe chat with a mate too) before considering giving up your part-time status.  It will be difficult to get back.  If you are considering a 3rd child I would be very wary to give this up.  Easier to cut back on spends and have a tight budget, than to give this up.  At the same point in time having a career is important to you, and if you decide this is your opportunity to have an ‘excuse’ to go back to work full-time with a focus on your ambition, then go for it.

Chat with hubby:

1) Write a list of the things that you would like help with around the house or with the family.  Facts work with men, so keep it as factual as possible.  Avoid all statements like ‘You have done xxx or You have not done xxx’.

2) Tell hubby that you really need a chat about how things are going and ask him when and where he would like it within the next week.  (Go out for coffee or somewhere else, not at home if possible).

3) Explain that you are overwhelmed, and how you feel.  Not using the word ‘You’ in the conversation, i.e. not loaded at him for putting you in this position, just sharing whats going on with you.

4) The plan is that he listens, and you can then share your list of what he can do to help.

5) Then you guys come up with a plan of action of something that he does every day to progress the job search: contacting people, updating CV’s, thinking out of the box about options etc.

Next Chat with hubby:

Book to then have a weekly chat with him once a week in an evening, to see how things are going, how you are feeling and how he is progressing.

If at this point he doesn’t pull his socks up, then it’s time to get the frying pan out.  No, I’m joking!

But it is time to do an ‘intervention’ and explain to him that he needs to get his act together and get a job.  Sometimes being ‘nice’ doesn’t help people.  Sometimes they need to be told sort their act out.  Even if he is suffering for depression or lack of confidence, that’s understandable, but he needs to DO SOMETHING about it.

After Christmas

If there is no increase in support, and no change in his behaviour, then find a local relationship counsellor (I would pick someone with experience in CBT too and go private rather than wait for Relate).

I am not a fan of counselling, but it has it’s place.  One thing is that it gives a safe place for you guys to talk about how you are both feeling, and the other is that it can help people HEAR things that they don’t hear when their other half says it.  It won’t cost lots, probably only £30-£50 per session.

Tell me and we’ll come up with another plan!

But hopefully you’ll be all sorted and much happier by then!

 

Readers Ideas/Stories

Anyone else with a similar story to share or ideas for MuddlingAlong Mummy, we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Mum putting herself first

Should Mums put themselves first a Lot, a Little, or somewhere in between?

 

Chance for a cuppaHow important is it for us Mums to maintain a self of our identity after having kids do you think?

How much should we be doing purely for ourselves every day or every week?

Lots, a Little, or somewhere in between?

I had a ‘discussion’ with a mate about it (thank goodness she is a good mate and doesn’t mind it when things get a bit heated).  We very much disagreed on the answer.

She was all for Mums really keeping a sense of them self as a separate identity and doing things for themselves.  She really disliked the idea that I encourage Mums to look after themselves because it’s good for the children and the family.  My argument that once they got used to it, they would then do it for themselves wasn’t good enough she reckoned, because they weren’t doing it explicitly.

I said that that in reality it depends on the age of the kids, because as our hormones settle and the kids get older, we naturally start to separate more and ‘remember’ who we were.

I reckon that you can tell the Mums at the school gate who no longer have babies/toddlers/pre-schoolers, because they noticeably look after themselves more.

Plus, I worry that a Mum desperate to keep hold of ‘who she was’ can develop problems with connecting with her children, because it’s frankly not possible.

 

We aren’t the same after children.  

We aren’t totally different either.

 

You know how I love to encourage Mums to ‘sparkle‘!  But I’m realistic.  I just think it’s important that they don’t forget to keep ‘sparkling’ and do a little bit, but the amount of sparkling kind of depends on the age of our kids, our finances and our circumstances i.e. how much support we have to give us time to look after ourselves.

There’s a huge time factor to it; little ones take more time, big ones take as much input, but less time I reckon?
Mum putting herself firstI have created a totally unscientific chart to highlight the difference (notice the quality of drawing – I haven’t skimped a thing on it, apart from money and skill!).

 

So when we’ve just had a baby its a massive achievement to have a shower every day in the first few months.

Then it’s about going out for a walk and maybe meeting up with other Mums.

Some Mums will be back at work pretty quick, which can be a good bit of ‘time out’ and a chance to start to make ourselves look more presentable, but it’s a lot to fit in ‘me time’ too.

I’m not keen on worrying about weight loss for at least 9 months, or more likely 1-2yrs, but eventually we tend to have a look at what our bodies are doing.

Mind you, I’m finding having two kids much harder, so that is a factor too.

Reality is that ‘we can’t have it all’, in my opinion.

 

How much are you doing EACH WEEK to look after yourself?  Nothing?  30 mins? 1hr?  15 minutes a day?

Are you naturally a ‘yummy mummy‘ so you have it in your mindset to take care of yourself?

Are you making the most of the support you have for baby sitting or getting the chores done?

What do you reckon is the VERY LEAST that you could be doing for yourself every week?

MumsandMe

 

There’s a fab new linky on the Mums and Me site, which I bet you’ll love to read or blog about each week with ideas for having a bit of ‘Me time’.  Go and check it out, apart from the fact that they have great taste (they quote me!), I think it’s a lovely simple idea.

Can Mums have everything they want

Can Mums Have It All

Can Mums have everything they wantI haven’t blogged about this, despite Cherie-gate etc etc etc.  But this morning I’m grumpy, so I thought I’d let lose and have some fun with it.

Can Mums Have It All?

This is the big question loads of people spend hours, days and months talking about.  Why on earth are they talking about something so ridiculous and wasting so much time on it I don’t know, but I’m now going to add my twopennyworth.

NO Mums can’t have it all.

Because NO ONE can ‘HAVE IT ALL’

There is a price/cost for everything we deem ‘good’.

There is always a trade-off.

 

Anyone who encourages Mums to work full time without explaining the downsides so that they can prepare for them is irresponsible.

The same goes for anyone who doesn’t explain to stay at home or work from home Mums that it’s not going to be the perfect picture of heaven that you imagined.

 

None of the options are ‘better’ than the others.

If you work full-time, you won’t see your kids as much as you would if you were staying at home and the guilt is tough, along with juggling holidays and sickness and it can affect some parts of your relationship with them (e.g. sharing them with the nanny can be hard).

If you are a stay at home mum, you won’t have the same amount of money as you would have done working full time (unless child-care costs more than you would earn!), and it can be harder on your self-esteem and sense of independence.

If you decide to work from home on your own business, you will likely  pay for the freedom to do school pick ups by never getting a lunch break or go to the gym and look back on reliable wage packets with wistfulness.

You can’t work full-time, do all the housework and chores, and not end up knackered if you don’t get some help.

If you ask the grand-parents to help, they will likely expect a say in your life and become too involved; but it’s cheaper than paying for it.

Even being married to a footballer won’t give you it all; they will either have big ears, a funny voice, or be sh*gging everyone else.

Try being married to a high powered banker instead; bet they have a downside too, probably that they are over-controlling and you can’t tell friends what your husband does.

Be high powered yourself, but you’ll need to be really good at interviewing and managing cleaners and nannies; not as easy as it sounds.

Eat everything you want, and you’ll become huge and be really unhealthy.

Drink alcohol constantly and wreck your liver and likely get a very red nose.

You won’t earn as much money stacking shelves as being an accountant or doctor.

But, ironically, the better paid you are, the longer hours you will probably work.

Not even the kids can actually be perfect (even if you love them unconditionally); No one has perfectly behaved, beautiful, clever, athletic, artistic, musical kids who excel at everything.

We leave our home towns for the best jobs, but then have no family support.

So we turn to twitter for an online community and get addicted!

The big question is;

Which prices are you willing and happy to pay?

The good news is:

You CAN Have what is most important to you.

So decide what your top 3 priorities are so that:

1) You can make sure that you can at least get them

2) You can be contented with what you have.

 

I love the freedom of being able to work from home and need to work for my sanity.  But I’m constantly having to improve my time mgmt to deal with the demands from so many different directions, and I could have earn’t loads more if I’d stayed as a computer programmer, rather than going all tree hugging.  We’ve got a great house we can afford, but the price for the affordability is a postage stamp garden.  I have the lovely Nanny Bets helping me out with childcare, but she is 74, so she is often unreliable, so I’m now going to split it between her and a more expensive nursery.  Then I’ll have reliable childcare, but also the worry about paying for it.  I don’t have parents sticking their nose in my life and causing havoc, but I also don’t have someone to call on the best/worst days.  There are lots of compromises in my life, as in everyones.

And ignore all that rubbish about ‘Mums having it all’.  They don’t.

They either have worked out what is most important to them and focussed on that, whilst ignoring the rest.  Or they are struggling to ‘have it all’ and hiding all the emotional/mental fall out behind a mask of valium/wine.

oooh grump over; that feels better!

What is most important to you, what did you give up for it?  Are you happy with the balance right now, or is it not working for you?

p.s. reading these posts from the Bearded Iris (very funny) and Claire Macnaughton, both on In the powder room were some of the inspiration to get writing about this at last!

 

Dealing With Being Made Redundant When You Are A Parent

So the big northern hubby got made redundant on monday, perfect timing with Curly Headed Boy’s birthday coming up, followed by Christmas and then Little Dimple’s birthday.  Poor guy, this is the second time he’s been made redundant, last time it was when Curly Headed Boy was 6 weeks old, just after Christmas.  Lovely!

So I thought I might as well start a series about what to do when you get made redundant, so that we can share how we deal with it and hopefully help all the other parents facing the same problem at the moment.

The great thing about my tips is that having experienced this situation before we really know the mistakes that you can make when being made redundant or when your partner is made redundant.  This time it’s going to be really different, and hopefully by sharing I can make sure that it’s going to be different for you to.  The plan is to save you time, heartache and money, and get you back working, where you would like to be asap.

First, it’s important for you to understand that it’s very easy to take this personally, but in reality if you work in London you are going to be made redundant at least once in your life, probably more, and if you work elsewhere then expect it to happen once.  Maybe the a ‘job for life’ is over, but perhaps it will make ‘interesting job lives’ instead?

 

I’m not going to rant today.  But I will say these two things:

  • What comes around goes around
  • Diversity is the name of the game when it comes to a companies survival and any company that doesn’t get that is stupid
  • Wise companies will look at long term costs and find that retraining (skills or personal development) is cheaper than redundancies and hiring costs.
  • Options are not always black and white.  Sometimes it’s worth discussing with your staff what ideas they have.  Maybe they would be willing to work less hours or be more flexible.

There we go, Onwards and Upwards!  Here are the initial steps in the first week after the redundancy hits:

Step 1: Wallow

Go on feel rubbish for a bit.  It’s important not to suppress it or ignore it.  Just limit it to a few glasses of wine/beer and don’t consider actually taking any action against the people concerned.  Also don’t accept any offers from people to sort out the people concerned!

Step 2: Put a specific time deadline on how long you are going to wallow.

If you are the partner, I recommend making sure that this is between 1-7 days and no longer.  Listen to how they feel and don’t offer solutions until you are really sure.  If they are willing to talk, help them to express how scared they are, before you start with the ‘there there, it’s going to be OK’ routine.

Step 3: Start thinking about all the things that didn’t work for you in the past job.

Write them down.  (Writing is magic, you MUST write them down).  Keep going with the list, as this will help you when deciding what you can or can’t face again in your next job.  Plus it will reduce the feeling of upset.  Be very specific, so don’t just say ‘the commute’, say ‘being squashed with loads of people, spending xhrs, smelling of london, miserable people’ etc etc.

Step 4: Write down all the things that you haven’t been able to do because you’ve been working:

E.g. exercise, eat healthily, talk to friends, read a book, watch a film, paint the house, tidy your paper work, DIY, write a book, sort out your photos, make something, play with the kids, read to the kids, spend time with your partner.  This is the list for you to keep referring back to whenever you are down and to use to make sure that you get up off your butt and make the most of the redundancy.  It is quite possible to not make the most of it and have weeks, months or years go by.

Ok, so that should keep you going for a while, more tips next week!

Remember, that if you fancy using this as a way of turning your life around, that my book ‘Six Steps To A Sparkling You’ is out on Amazon and is already a bestseller and ONLY 99p!  Currently it is available as a kindle book which you can read on a Computer, phone, iPad or Kindle.  But by the end of 2012 it will be in paperback too.  It will help you to see life differently, become more contented, have more time, get more energy, sort out your house, manage your money and get more sparkle in your life.  Maybe this is the perfect time for you to have a life makeover?

 

Help, Am I Deluded?

I’ve met my fair share of coach/therapist/healer types who were extremely deluded about either their grandiose plans, their skills or their market actually wanting them. There have also been a fair amount if people with a great deal less training and experience than me, who were a load better at marketing and therefore a hell of a lot more financially successful. So the question is, am I deluded too, or is it just a matter of my marketing skills needing a polish?

The thing is, I’ve spent nearly 11yrs in this business in one form or another, and although I’ve enjoyed it, and it’s enriched my life with less stress, 2 miracle kids, a lasting relationship and a feeling of contentment, it hasn’t done so financially. I’ve got to ‘that time’, it’s ‘make or break’. I’ve decided to focus on mums as it is a subject close to my heart. I’ve got a fab new way of doing my coaching online, which makes it more accessible and affordable for mums. Lastly, I’ve signed up for a ‘bootcamp’ to help me launch my new product. But is it doomed to failure, because no one wants it or me?

Let’s back track a bit. When I became a mum, I realised that the training I had received was brilliant, and saved me many hours of angst. But it was also inappropriate for a mums time and resource limitations, so I created the mummy whisperer program. I saw all these mums talking/blogging about losing their identity, having problems with conflict or lack of communication in their families, and getting stressed out because they thought they/their kids/partners/life should be different. My thought process was that they ‘needed’ all these things I could do to help them be more contented with their lives and grow strong families. But, do mums really want it? That is, it might sound nice, and a few might sign up, but are there enough who REALLY want it? And would they want me? And would they pay enough to make them appreciate it and give me a fair level of earnings?

Apparently, I am meant to focus on a smaller niche than just mums, one where I have experience, credibility and contacts. The idea is if I focus on a niche, my message will be clearer and will get more mums signing up. So that has made me decide to focus on mums with kids starting nursery or school. Not new mums of babies, because my longer term plan is to provide them with a book, and not mums of teens because I don’t have teenagers yet. But if there is a market, the next question I’m facing is wether I need to cut it down even smaller to: working mums, work from home mums, or stay at home mums. Now I reckon that my program would help them all, especially as they all face guilt and work/life/rest/play balance in some way shape or form. But I can also see several potential problems, especially that working mums don’t have enough time left over to make their lives easier, and SAHM’s wouldn’t want to spend the money on themselves. By creating a program that can be worked through online, I was hoping that mums could fit it into their lives more easily, and by giving a payment option over 3 months with a 14 day free trial it would make it more affordable. But that might not be enough, or is that where marketing comes in?

There is an even bigger problem as well! What I’m offering is a way for a mum to be more sure of themselves and listen to their own natural instinct and knowledge of their family, instead of a one-size fits all parenting technique. But do mums want an answer tailored to their own family, which leaves them in the driving seat, or would they prefer to be told what to do according to a set of rules, even if it’s pretty much impossible to create? If there are mums who like the idea of what I offer, does that mean that they are already going that way and so don’t need my help?

In the past I have specialised in mental health issues, relationship problems and small business owners. Perhaps a mum facing the loss of her marriage, mental health or business would be more likely to ask for help. But if that is the case, then I’m going to have to take more time off work, because I don’t currently have the time to support these more extreme demands; I was planning on tackling them later.

What do you reckon? I’d really appreciate any feedback (be gentle please!; so I’m going to offer a copy of my book ‘getting the hang of gratitude’ to one of the people who leave a comment (I’ll use some random fair way of selecting!).

It’s All Change On The Western Front

It’s been a weird 6 months, I appear to have been in mega ‘declutter your life’ mode.

You would have thought that giving birth to little dimples, and curly headed boy going to primary school would have been enough really, plus getting really sick.  But I appear to have been on a mission.

Maybe it’s because now I have two kids, there really isn’t any space for anything that is irrelevant or takes up time/space I can’t afford?  Did anyone else find a similar thing happened to them after having a second child?

I’m also much more aware of my age (41), and am having no problem in remembering to eat healthily or take vitamins and minerals that I probably wouldn’t have been reliable about beforehand.  I realised that if I’m to see my grandchildren, then some serious work needs to be done to get it into working order.  Perhaps it’s a big reality check that happens in your forties?

Or is it because it’s my ‘saturn return’ in astrological terms or ‘mid-life crisis’ in psychobabble terms?  My lovely astrologer (seriously, if you ever wanted to try it, he’s a lovely guy, brilliant value, very good at it and it doesn’t matter where you live) did say that it was hitting me this year.

I’ve found a wonderful woman locally who will take all the stuff  you just haven’t managed to get round to selling on ebay and do it for you (if you near St Albans and want her name, feel free to leave a comment below).  Although she takes a fee, I reckon that she makes more on the sale anyway, so it’s well worth it.  She took a car load, plus sold a bike and a dog kennel that got picked up from our home.  Then even better was the discovery of freegle (used to be called freecyle), which is a yahoo group where you can offer ANYTHING for free and within 24hrs it’s gone; FANTASTIC!

We had a flood from the shower, so downstairs is going to be refloored (we have holes in the floor from the dog scratching) and the walls painted in industrial child proof stuff!  So the house is getting a make over too.

I even in a fit of madness went from this, to this (plus yesterday I had all the grey dyed out!):

 

Meanwhile big northern hairy hubby is also at it, with a sudden fitness regime and a success at losing weight that he hasn’t had in 10yrs.  I think that we would both admit that our relationship needs a bit of polishing after all these years (21, how scary!), so there is change afoot there too.

The biggest change came as I decided what to do about my work.  I found it increasingly hard to work out how things would work with the second baby.  Now that I’m just focussing on Mums and am just overseeing my more general therapy business, it was easier, but also I realised that coordinating our schedules was almost impossible.  Plus for Mums I really needed to be able to provide incredible value for service for a really affordable price, but without making it pointless me working.  I was seriously considering just giving up work.  After all, I could be a stay at home mum (SAHM), and in the time I would normally work, I could get fit, look fab, and then when the kids leave school I’ll be about 60, so pretty much ready to retire.  There would be a hell of a lot less juggling to do.  But there would of course be the downside that I lose my sparkle when I don’t work at all, so I might look better, but I wouldn’t be much fun.

By the way, you might not know what I actually do?  I’ve updated by about page and background, just incase you are interested as to where I came from, and what my qualifications are.  But basically, I’m not a parenting coach.  I call myself a ‘mummy whisperer’, because I’m just here to help the mum to be clear on who they are, become more contented, get more sparkle in their lives, and create a strong family with less conflict and stress.  (There’s lots more information on this blog about the ‘fun creation equation’ and my services, plus on my main site).

Then out of the blue I found my solution!  It’s so exciting, I’ve kept quiet about it all summer, because I wanted to show you what it would look like before I mentioned it.  I’ve found a way, that I can provide help for Mums ANYWHERE, at ANY TIME of the day, 24×7, ANY DAY of the week, for ANY LENGTH of time.  Plus the amount of stuff I’ve put in the package is well worth about £7000, but I can sell it from £379, with the option to pay by paypal/credit card over 3 months, so it is really affordable.  Plus, it will be there for the Mums FOREVER, to reuse over and over again, for that one price.  Plus, for anyone who can’t afford it initially, I’ve got a FREE INTRODUCTION, and will be adding a £27 product to help people sort out their finances.  It’s way better than just 1to1’s because all the information is there to be referred back to at any time, and better than workshops, because no one can slip through the cracks and pretend that they understand. (Please forgive me for the shouting in capitals, but I’ve been keeping quiet about this all summer, so I’m kind of over-excited!!).

‘So what on earth is it?’, I hear you ask (hopefully?!).  It’s using a product called **jigsawbox, funnily enough created by another Mum who must have been in the same situation as me.  It means that I can put my workbooks or workshops online into packages.  When you login, there will be different modules, inside of which will be videos, audios, and text explaining that particular subject.  Then to help you learn it properly there are exercises for you to fill out.  But the best bit is, when you press [send to coach], I can then add my own feedback, so we can interact online.  There will also be the option for free webinars, or to add 15min skype chats or longer 1to1 sessions for some Mums who need more assistance (for example, if there are relationship issues, PND, or past abusive relationships).

Now I haven’t done a video to show you properly yet, but I will do, so keep a look out for it.  But in the meantime, you can get a free introduction to this fab system, plus start to have a look at your own identity and how your family is working at the moment, by signing up for free email list (see RHS).  I’d love to know what you think, so please do leave comments below.

So how come has all this come about?  Well, it might sound a bit tree hugging, but I’m sure there is a vibe of change in the air.  I was too late to get involved in *** Josie’s (a well known mummy bloggerwriting workshop about change last week, but there seems to be a lot of it about.  It’s the jewish new year, and schools always start at this time of the year, so maybe we are all programmed to be thinking about it around now.  There are days when it feels exciting, and others when it feels very scary, and almost like I’m grieving for something being over.  I cried buckets on the last night of big brother, and when curly headed boy started school, but in a way they were just opportunities for a few tears to do with something deeper.  As my mentor says ‘the greatest transformation happens at the border of order and chaos’, i.e. nothing gets changed without some discomfort!  So onwards and upwards, one step at a time, is my motto at the moment.

Is life changing for you too, or is it just those of us in the mid-life crisis?

** I am now an affiliate of jigsawbox as well; of course, because I think it is fab, I want to share it with other coaches/therapist/trainers out there.  If you decide you like it after hearing from me, feel free to email me for more info, and I’d really appreciate you using my affiliate link.  I haven’t found anything else that even matches it a little, it has been going for over a year, so the kinks have been sorted out, and there is tonnes of support.

*** Josie is one of the 3 mummy bloggers who recently went to bangladesh with Save the Children, and have started a Press for Change campaign to push Nick Clegg to commit to making the huge rates of child mortality in third world countries a thing of the past.

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!).

Who am I, Who was I, Who will I be?

Have you ever wondered what happened to the girl you used to be, or who you will become, or who on earth you have ended up becoming?  I suddenly started wondering about this at the weekend as I watched one of my favourite films ‘Practical Magic’ with Sandra Bullock.  I felt a tinge of sadness, as though it reminded me that there is a little part of me that I’m ignoring right now.  Realistically that is a choice I have made because I’m unable to fit in everything, and focussing mainly on the practicalities of life, helps everything flow more smoothly.  But it was a timely reminder to not ignore my needs for too long, otherwise unfulfillment will sneak into my daily life.

So who am I right now? I am everything that I choose to do because I love it, or do because I have let some ‘authority’ convince me I ‘should’ do.  I am everything and everyone that I have in my life, the people, the house, the stuff I do buy and the stuff I don’t.  These things that I value doing and having are what give me a reason to be, what get me up in the morning, and fill my plans for the future.  I am what I ‘be, do and have’, and what I value.  There is no point in complaining about what I think I don’t want in my life, because today it is there, so as at today it is me and what works.  Now tomorrow I may shift what I choose, so things may change, but this is who I am today.  The great thing about being a Mum, is that we have a clear sense of purpose each day (i.e dress, feed, bath and play with the kids!), plus because our time tends to feel more restricted it really highlights what our top most values are.  Of course it also feels restrictive sometimes, but that is just part of the package ;o)

Nature never throws anything away, so I am also what I was yesterday, and 40yrs ago.  Here lie the secrets as to why I make the choices I make today and what I value today.  Life is just like economics, where if demand is greater than supply the value of the product increases.  So where I thought something was missing or hard to come by when I was younger, it became something of importance as I grew older.  The younger the void, the more likely that it feels like a ‘core’ value of mine, which is always likely to direct my future and current reason for being or purpose.  The later the void appeared, the more likely it is just something that I was told ‘should be’ important, and doesn’t create that feeling of fulfilment when I listen to it that one of my own core voids do.

This is why I’m fascinated by people and connections, and why I love twitter, learning about human behaviour, and sharing what I learn.  It creates the need for a little sparkle or magic in my life, wether having fun with the kids or wearing necklaces.  It’s why I’m drawn to help people, and why I’ve chosen to learn therapies that empower people, rather than those that sympathise with the awfulness of their stories.  It’s why a week focussed on cleaning and routines leaves me feeling rubbish inside, and why I’m drawn to work from home.  It’s why everyday is important to me (often the result of people who experience the death of a loved one when young), and I’m so focussed on helping Mums with their daily lives, rather than concentrating more on spiritual evolution.  It doesn’t mean that other choices are wrong.  In fact, if I was the same as my associates who have had the same training as me, there would be no need for me.  That’s the point, that’s why we all value different things; to make the space for us to have the potential to know that there is a special reason and space for all of us, we just need to identify it.

So who will I become?  I would love to become a household name, teaching Mums how to listen to their own instincts, rather than be overwhelmed by people telling them what to do.  I had the most lovely comment on my last blog saying how fab I would be on daytime TV.  Who knows wether I will be that successful (it’s one way of measuring success, but there are many of other ways).  Maybe I will just continue to love being a Mum and instead concentrate on helping local Mums.  Maybe I’ll decide that the vaguaries of working for myself are too tough and return to the workforce.  But one thing is definitely true; the secrets to where I am going, come from where I was.  So I can be sure that I’m not going to suddenly become an overnight sensation as a singer, as there is no sign of skill, practice or any time spent on that activity!  I will definitely be a Mum, with a slightly romantic side, part tree-hugger, part computer geek, who learns and shares what she learns, and loves chocolate!

In the meantime, with a young baby and a 4yr old, I am mainly focussed on just being a Mum, with the standard voids that all mums have.  Time is like gold dust, and we all worry about the lack of resources in the future for our kids.  But how I choose to tackle these things will come from my top most biases and value systems, as having so little time really helps to show what your top values are. So my priorities are on what to me appears to be a ‘better’ use of my time, and they make up my current purpose of being who I am today.  As my kids get older, I will be less identified by these role based voids and there will be space for some new and old ones to appear.  In fact, in the nursery car park, you can pretty much tell who has younger or older kids by how they dress at nursery.  To look fabulous with a toddler early in the morning, requires what we look like to be very high on our list of priorities, and most Mums will totally fail at that.  However, as the toddler becomes a pre-schooler, you see the return of mascara and something other than jeans or track suit bottoms.

So today, I am me, but some days I find that more fulfilling than others, depending on whether I’m listening to myself or others more.

If you fancy learning more about values to help you find out more about yourself and your family, then you can sign up for my newsletter on my main site and get 2 free audios and ebooks.   If you fancy learning loads about values, then get in touch and I’ll point you in the direction of some books.