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).

 

 

Great books for mums

Books That Can Help When You Feel Overwhelmed Or Are Depressed

Great books for mums dealing with depressionCan a book help you if you are stressed or overwhelmed or depressed?

Yes, it totally can.  BUT it’s always sensible to mix being self-reliant with a bit of involvement from other people; so reading a great book doesn’t mean that sometimes we might need someone else’s help as well; wether that’s a chat with a mate, or a session with a professional.

There are some amazing books out there based on both solid theory and practical testing, which really work when dealing with emotional or mental health.

There are also some shockingly awful ones, that might sound impressive, but should be avoided with a barge pole.

 

What to avoid

Anything that mentions the word ‘Happy‘ – it’s not possible to be happy all the time, you will drive yourself crazy.

Anything that mentions becoming more ‘Positive‘ – although balancing ‘negative’ thinking with some ‘positive’ is wise, you can’t be positive all the time

Anyone offering world peace – yep, that’s not going to happen either.  Philosophically speaking, true spirituality/religion will match science; and we will always have a duality in this world of ours.

Anyone mentioning the ‘Law of Attraction‘ – at least 90% of these people don’t understand the full law and think that by focussing on what you want you will only attract those positive things into your life.

Anyone suggesting they can quickly or completely fix you and that you’ll never have to do anything about it again – yep, that’s just not the way the world works; they are probably actually very well meaning, but naive.

Books that really helped me

I have a HUGE bookshelf full of books on health, personal development, therapy and spirituality even after several massive culls.  However, a small number of books have been crucial to my life.  I’m listing them in order of reading, rather than priority:

Dr Phil Mcgraw

Life Strategies – He might not suit everyone, but this short, pragmatic, straight talking book was a real help to me a long time ago and I think his ‘rules’ help us ‘romantics’ to get a firmer grip on reality and how life actually is.

Byron Katie

‘Loving What Is’ – Byron created a method called ‘The Work’ which is 4 simple questions and brilliant at dealing with some of the stresses about how people behave in our lives.  I find it particularly useful from a Mum’s perspective and having only read the book (I haven’t had sessions from practitioners of ‘The work’) I can apply what she calls the ‘turn around’ to probably 80% of irritations.

Dr John F Demartini

Many books – this guy is my mentor, and I’ve studied with him for 10yrs now.  He has studied more than anyone else in this field and created a great methodology for resolving stress and trauma.  The most important part of his philosophy is the power of gratitude.  The only problem with his work practically speaking is that if you are a busy mum juggling many things, his books might be a little too complex and challenging to start off with.  They are definitely a good place to end up though.  If you are into what makes people tick, then I would go for ‘The Heart of Love’.  For an introduction into gratitude ‘The Gratitude Effect’ is great.  For a full on introduction to his methodology go for ‘The Breakthrough Experience’ (but expect to find it challenging).

Rhonda Byrne

The Secret – I watched the DVD, which I think is better than the book.  I would add a HUGE health warning to it as it has loads of all the things that I said you should avoid.  However, it was a brilliant pick-me-up at a time when I really needed one, and being a DVD it really gets the message across that there is a lot we can control about how we think about life.

William Whitecloud

The Magicians Way – I love the simplicity of this book and the way that it is woven into a story, which makes it subtle and recommended to re-read.

Julia Cameron

The Artists Way – I’ve only just started doing this, but one aspect that she recommends I’d funnily enough also recommended in my book (she calls it the ‘morning pages’, whereas I had a section about writing our problems down).  It’s a 3 month course you do yourself and is both therapeutic and also great for anyone who wants to improve the creativity in their lives.  Personally I would do it in a group or with a mate and not on your own.  A friend of mine who studied counselling for years said that she got more from this course than everything she had done previously, which is a huge testimonial.

 

Can Depression Really Go Away?

When I say ‘help’, what do I mean?  Do I mean, ‘improve’, ‘change’ or ‘fix’?

I was involved in an interesting talk about this on a Facebook group the other day (which inspired me to at last write this post).  It’s an interesting quandary; to give depression enough importance for it to be tackled and dealt with effectively, without giving it too much power and suggesting that it has to rule our lives forever.  Remember that the stats suggest that 1 in 4 of us will at some point struggle with our emotional and mental health, but there is a huge range a difference in the types.

The difficultly is that the symptoms of depression make it tough for sufferers to have the energy to get help.  Then they have to find enough energy to get the right kind of help.  It does often feel like a lottery as to who does and doesn’t get good help and can be a hard slog.  It can be a lot quicker to get help privately than via the NHS, but it can be a minefield to find a good therapist privately and understand all the different options.

So can depression ever really go away?  Or is that only possible if you have a lighter form of it?

From my experience both personally in my life and having specialised for a many years with helping people with serious mental health issues I would say the answer is neither ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

For some people the depression might be a fleeting thing caused by life events, which once they have received some help, will recede probably never to return.

For others of us who succumb more frequently due to habits in the way that we think and see life, we might have to have considerable help in the beginning, but over the years become more and more capable of managing ourselves and the blips; therefore only having to touch in with external help every now and again.  So it’s more that we learn to make sure we stay above the red line and know the warning signs of trouble coming so can get help more quickly.

For those were it extends to chemical imbalances, it is still possible to get it under control, but practically speaking there is more work to be done, and I’m not sure that standard treatment for mental health will really get people as far as some alternative therapies, which of course have the downside of being private.

So yes, I think at the very least it can be managed and improved, it might even appear to ‘go away’.  But I for me it doesn’t feel as though I could now go off and forget to drink water, eat healthily, exercise, and manage my life and thoughts carefully.  I don’t mind having to do those things as they have other benefits to the quality of my life, but I couldn’t stop.  Maybe in another 10yrs it will be different; I hardly ever remember that I smoked for 10yrs having been ‘clean’ for over 15yrs now.  Perhaps I will gain greater trust in my system to maintain itself as the years go by.

Whatever your particular situation, just remember that you are not alone, there’s nothing to feel guilty for, look after yourself physically as much as you can, get some help and don’t put up with sub-standard help or prejudiced attitudes.

If you have a favourite book that has helped you, I’d love it if you would post it below, or a blog post about books that you enjoyed.

Or if you try any of these books, please do let me know and if you have any questions about them I’m always here.

 

 

Is it possible to have romance and kids?

One Thing I’m Totally Sure Of Is: Everyone wants to feel loved

One Thing I Am TOTALLY sure of is that ..

Everyone wants to be loved just as they are.

We don’t want to be loved, despite our less attractive bits.  We want to to be totally and unconditionally loved.  This is true of us all, from the poorest to the richest, from the kindest to the maniacs.

Ironically, a lot of our less attractive behaviour comes from this one truth, because our brain kind of mixes up what ‘Love’ is an what it feels like.

Let me do some science, (but don’t expect scientific language for me, and feel free to add it if you would like to).

This is how our brains work generally ….

  1. Something happened.  Hmmm, I wonder what I thought about it.  Yep, this is my view/perspective/judgment of it.  Right let’s store it under this category.
  2. Something else happened.  Hmmm, it’s a bit like the last thing, but not quite the same.  So let’s store it in the same place out of laziness because it’s sort of the same.
  3. Lots more things get stored in the same category.
  4. Several months later, something else hardly the same at all happens, but by then we’ve forgotten the first thing, so it appears to match the same category.

Get it?

So, a child child looking to feel more loved over a period of time can put these thoughts together: ‘I feel loved when my Mum gives me attention’ -> ‘When my mum looks at me she is giving me attention’ -> ‘Hmm, Mum is ignoring me, but if I do something naughty she will look at me and give me attention’ -> ‘Result, she shouted at me’!

Of course, there are other reasons for unpleasant or unsociable behaviour, after all some people just like being irritating etc, we don’t just want to be loved, we do want other things too which give us a pay off that we like.  But it’s always worth wondering what’s going on in your child’s head when they behave in a way which just doesn’t make sense.  Especially if the way that they react is quite extreme.  You’ll probably be able to ask them what it’s all about, if you wait until they have calmed down.

How do we make people feel loved?

So the next question is how on earth do we make people feel loved, because it’s not as easy at is seems?  I bet there are times that you’re loved ones don’t feel totally loved.  If you don’t believe me, ask them (I’m going to do another post about Curly Headed Boy soon, to show you that you aren’t the only one).

There are two sides to it:

  1. Really getting to know them so that you know what makes them tick, and what makes them feel cared for.
  2. Learning how to see them totally, and loving them just as they are.  It’s about aiming to love them totally including the ‘less attractive’ bits, rather than what we normally do, which is to love them despite those bits.

I can show you how to do understand what makes your loved ones tick (1) quite easily, and if you put a bit of effort in, then you can definitely do it.  Some of us naturally know what is important to our loved ones, but it’s much more likely that you don’t and just assumed that you did.

Loving people unconditionally (2) is more difficult, because it’s not about being infatuated/in love with them; it’s about unconditional love which is quite illusive.  I think that Mums often (but not always) feel this naturally for their children.  But eventually the stresses of life make it more and more difficult to love our children’s ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parts, without wishing there was less of the ‘bad’.  I learnt how to get to the point of totally someone or something by learning the Demartini Method from Dr John F Demartini (I’m one of the few Senior Certified facilitators globally).  I’ll post some blogs about it over the coming months in ways that will be really applicable to your lives; but to truly learn it, you really need to do a course, or go to a facilitator for a 1to1 session, it’s just one of those things that needs more than a blog post to learn in full.  There is a book if you are interested though, called ‘The Breakthrough Experience’.

So how to get to know someone better?

First find out more about them and their values/priorities, you’ll be surprised what you don’t know about your loved ones.  These questions will help and if you want more info then you can read Dr John F Demartini’s book ‘The Heart of Love’ where he shows the full Twelve Demartini Evaluation Method questions:

  • What do they tend to spend their time doing?  Why do they like it?
  • What do they like the house to be like?  Why?
  • What do they like to spend their money on? Why?
  • Who do they like being around.  Why?
  • Then try actually asking them!

What Makes Them Feel Loved?

I’ve found a book by a guy called Gary Chapman called ‘The 5 Love Languages’ to be very helpful with this on top of what I learnt about values from Demartini (he’s also written a pile of others and one for kids, but be warned he is very christian which might be off putting for some of you, and it shows up more in the other books).  He says that most people favour one or two of the five which are (I’ve translated them a bit):

  1. Compliments
  2. Quality Time/Conversation
  3. Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

The problem with these 5 options is that, if you don’t know your loved one very well, you could say the wrong things, buy the wrong things, do the wrong things, talk about the wrong things, and even touch them wrong!  That’s why it needs to be combined with the more practical general understanding from the first questions.  (If you want to see an example, I wrote a more specific post called ‘what to do if your wife won’t sleep with you‘).

So why am I writing about this?  Well someone popped me an email about their grand-daughter, and it was spookily similar to some problems that I’ve been having with Curly Headed Boy, but before I could launch into a blog post to answer it I needed to do some background stuff first … keep watching for the next post.

If you ever need some hints of ideas on how to do this, remember there is my question corner for anonymous questions/advice.

A Note For The Grumpy Old Man In Radlett: Don’t Tut At Me Mate!

This is a message for the grumpy old man and the younger male driver who yesterday took umbrage at me pulling over to the side of the road with my hazard lights on and making it a little difficult for them to get out of their road because they had to pull out more than usual to see what was coming.

Did you think that because I was a stressed Mum that you could Tut at me, shaking your head and get away with it?  I don’t think so!  I don’t need any rules or laws to stand up for myself mate.  Bet you wouldn’t have done it if it had been the Big Hairy Northern One parked there (partially because he is quite big and grumpy looking, and partially because you would have assumed that a man had a valid reason for parking there).

What is our world coming to when people see hazard lights and don’t think of helping, but instead choose to be irritated?

Clearly my hazard lights were on.

Clearly there was a problem.

When I pointed them out to you, and explained my baby daughter was puking, you said ‘but there’s no ambulance’.

Of course there wasn’t an ambulance you idiot.  That’s because I pulled over, and lifted her forward so that she didn’t choke on her puke.  That’s what I was doing when you were ‘tutting’ at me and shaking your head.

If she hadn’t still been puking, you would have had a big bag of puke thrown at you so that you could appreciate it yourself.

Word of warning: Don’t mess with a Leo Mum, because we are very protective of our children.

Then funnily enough, no, I didn’t drive off leaving her covered in big mounds of puke that she would have thrown over my car, and screamed about.  No, I took off her top, and put it in a plastic bag that I keep just in case (gold star to me for being organised), and I wiped the mounds of puke off her chair, so that they didn’t then also slip elsewhere in the car.  Lastly I wiped her hands, mouth and chest.

Do you know why?  Because I was taught a wonderful rule by my mentor Dr John Demartini called ‘The Law of Lesser Pissers’.  This rule means that if you are going to choose between pissing someone else off and pissing yourself off, then piss them off, as you will spend your life with yourself, and probably never see them again.

I wasn’t stopping the traffic, I’d gone as far as I could to park safely, and not put my baby in danger.  Then my priority was to help her, and then to reduce the SMELL.  (Luckily I also now travel with febreze in the car, following my tips for travelling with kids in a car).  If I had moved out of your way, I would then have had hours of cleaning to do, just to give you a couple of minutes extra because you could pull out more easily.  In my calculation I made the right choice.

By the way, when school starts again, and you are trying to get out of that road into a busy line of traffic, this is one car that won’t be letting you out!

Rant over!

On a more serious subject I was talking on twitter the other day about how sad it is that Mums often feel so powerless and lose their self-belief so much that they often lose their ability to hear their own intuition.  I’m trying to do my small part to help strengthen Mums, especially with my blog and my soon to be published book (working title: Six Weeks To A Sparkling You).  My big plan has always been to get my books well enough known that I then had enough clout to start some kind of group of well known Mums to focus on changing society’s view of the importance of Mums.  But maybe with the London Riots we need to do something sooner to empower families and bring us back to the centre of life in the UK?  Do you know of any groups already running with this sort of plan?  Please put a comment below if you are interested, and I will let you know when I find out more about what’s already out there or make a plan for making something new.

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.

A whirlwind of a week, would you like a second chance?

Wow, this week was a crazy week!  Children’s nappies leaked twice and whole beds and duvets needed washing, babies puked, I bumped my car (ouch!), and I daftly scheduled Little Dimples vaccinations.  In the meantime technology was not loving me, things kept going wrong and my computer was on a go slow.  I was only just ready for my Free Webinar on ‘Ensuring your children reach their potential’ a couple of hours beforehand.  But phew, I made it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so you can be expecting lots more Free Webinars in the future!  (I hope I hear a massive ‘yay’!).

Now, I’ve already been approached by a few Mums who missed the chance to attend the webinar; don’t worry guys, I was kind of expecting that, because we do have very busy lives as Mums.  So I have created you a special new page from which you can register to hear it.  Please do it this way, don’t try to sneak the URL for the recording from a mate, because then you will miss out on the FREE online course which helps you after the call!  Ignore the descriptions you may see on registering in gotowebinar, that’s now irrelevant as the webinar is over!

http://mummywhisperersecrets.com/missed-my-webinar-ensuring-children-reach-their-potential/

What would you like next?  Pop a comment below for your most ideal free webinar or what you find you struggle with the most, and you never know that might be what I pick.  If you don’t have any ideas, here are some of mine, what do you think of these?

  • Why looking after yourself and keeping your identity as a Mum is crucial – you might know this logically, but do you need a helping kick to do it?
  • How I tackled Curly Headed Boy’s problems with starting reception
  • Ideas on handling bullying

Looking forward to all your ideas!

Taking time or Rushing Ahead

I learnt something about myself the a few days ago.  I learnt why I have such a strong feeling about evolution of a person needing to follow a natural rhythm, rather than be forced or pushed.  Have you wondered where your beliefs come from sometimes?

There has always been one place where I differed from my main mentor; it wasn’t on philosophy or methodology, just about the timing of things.  He is always in a rush, there isn’t enough time, you can even tell by looking at him, as he has a slight tendency for his neck to be pushing forwards.  He wants to get rid of people’s pain and baggage RIGHT NOW.  He wants them to have more inspiring, fulfilled lives RIGHT NOW.  Whereas I’ve always had the belief that there is a time for everything, and sometimes it isn’t the right time for sorting stuff out.  It’s kind of a feminine intuition, roll with the natural cycle of things attitude.  But it is just a belief.  Neither of us are right or wrong, it’s just one of our values/priorities about life.

I’ve sometimes wondered where my perspective came from, but a few days ago I got an insight.

First, lets back track a little into the ‘science’ if you fancy it.   Your ‘values’, affect your priorities and your beliefs.  So they are what makes you tick, and why you do or don’t like different things.  They rule who you get on with and who you don’t.  They rule who you find easy to talk to and who you don’t.  They even rule who you love and who you don’t.  Understanding who you are, makes life a heck of a lot easier.  You can make decisions that suit you.  You know how to pick up your energy quickly.  You can understand the difference between your view of the world and your children and learn to talk to them in their language.  And you can even encourage yourself to do the things that you just aren’t getting around to do.  Being a bit of a human behaviour fanatic, I love values.  (If you want to learn more I’m offering a free online course at the moment, where you can learn about your values, if you sign up for my email newsletter before the end of Jan 2011).

Values come from all sorts of places, but some come from when you are very young, so they are often so core to your being that they affect you deeply in all areas of your life.  There have been a few conversations going on around me over the past few days about timing of projects, taking time out from work, timing of client sessions, relationships under stress and Africa (bear with me, there is a connection).  Suddenly the other night a little light bulb went on in my head (things like that happen in there, it’s a pretty weird place), and I worked out one of the reasons why I am the way I am.

I thought about how my value on timing affects me.  It is specifically in the evolution/development of people that I have this issue about following a natural sort of timing.  In other places I’m all for speed and just as impatient and frustrated with lack of progress as the next man.

My value on waiting for the ‘right’ or ‘natural’ time means that I don’t tend to chase up a client who could do with my services, but who doesn’t really feel to me like they are ready for it.  Which might be great from the perspective of integrity, but does often mean I miss out ,as others in my line of business are sometimes not so sensitive; i.e a hell of a lot more pushy.  So it works for the client who gets a chance to come back to me a few months later, but not necessarily for the client who ends up with someone who is likely to be less well experienced or well trained.

When it comes to relationships I always say ‘a relationship isn’t over until it’s over.  Don’t worry where the journey is going until you get there, as you still have to go through the journey’.  I see so many people jumping the gun and threatening to end things, when they really don’t know where the relationship could go with a little guidance.  That works for someone who wants to be sure they tried everything, but not attractive for someone who doesn’t want to put any effort into their relationship.

In my own life I have to be careful sometimes that my reasons for taking my time are to do with a natural instinct about going with the flow, rather than being stuck in a rut and not resolving problems.  It’s a question of listening to your heart, rather than holding back because of fear.  Not always easy to tell the difference.

So why?  There are so many memories that flooded over me, that patently I’m meant to be this way.  But one of the major ones that stood out was my huge love of Africa (Zimbabwe in particular) having gone yearly from a tiny baby, and how much it hurt to see it wrecked.  My memories of Zimbabwe were of gorgeous smiles, beautiful colours, amazing country side, and feeling taken care of.  Despite the wildness, which has a magical sense to it, I also felt immensely protected.  How my beliefs were formed I don’t know, as I don’t think that they had much to do with my parents view.  Plus being so young I didn’t (and still don’t) understand an incredibly complex culture and situation.  But some how I held the original settlers hugely to blame for rushing in and not thinking through the effects of massive change, with little breadth of education (i.e. more than academics) and an injection of western love of power along with the more obvious change in life.  In one paragraph I can’t cover why things went so pear-shaped in zimbabwe, just that I loved it, loved the people, and I can see now that I felt that such a sudden evolution destabilised the most magical country in the world.  Basically I felt I lost a magical place where I was protected and safe; no wonder I was pissed off, it epitomised what a lot of us feel as we grow up.  Such progress means that it will be decades before the stability returns, so what can appear quick has a downside, and that is that it can take longer on the long run.

Now this is just a one-sided perception, as there is always a silver-lining to everything, and now that I’m more aware of it I can look for it.  Immediately jumping to mind with little effort is the people for whom the progress was perfectly timed, as they did want to become doctors or scientists.  Plus the amazing opportunity it provided to people like myself to visit, or in the case of my god-father to start a farm over there.  Did you know we trained our pilots there in the second world war?  That’s how come my family have a connection with Zimbabwe, as my father was trained there and fell in love with it as I did later.  There will be more balancers, it might just take me some time and research to find, that is all.

Why bother to look to balance my viewpoint?  Well, this deeply, but quietly held belief has been affecting me without me knowing it for a long time.  There’s no problem with that, but I’d prefer to be able to use it, rather than it use me.  Does that make sense?  I’m unlikely to change my natural tendency to look to follow a more natural flow, as it is such an early and core belief in my making.  However, I’ll now be free to break from tradition where it is suitable for me, or my family and clients.

At the moment I can see it affecting a few concerns I have.

1) There is Curly Headed Boy’s school, where the education is amazing, but the ‘breadth’ is missing, and the competition is intense.

2) Having lost my last few days of work due to him getting sick, I will now struggle to hit my Jan 18th deadline for my free webinar and program launch.  Well, I can hit it, but as I say it will be forcing it to do so, and I will probably not have done enough ‘launch activities’ to get a reasonable result.

3) It’s also affected the depth of the program I have created, and the fact that I realise it is probably a six month self-coaching program.  The question is, am I giving too much?  Should I break it into two 3 month programs, or do people want and understand that real change will take them a while?

4) Then there is this blog.  It’s liked, but not liked tonnes.  Probably because I haven’t plugged it enough or been controversial enough.  I haven’t had the time for controversy, as it does take time to respond and deal with being disliked as much as liked!  But I’m in the mood for a little controversy in 2011, maybe the time is ripe?

So many questions for me to ponder in the hours in the middle of the night with Little Dimples and her teeth.  Can’t wait for the days when I can easily transpose straight from my brain to my blog, because I could blog a lot more then!

Is there anything that you do without thinking, that possibly could do with challenging?

What do you like to take your time over, or do quickly?  (keep it clean ladies!).

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.

Some Pictures To Inspire You To Remember To Ask For Help

I realised something last week, which is that sometimes we actually have to bite the bullet and ask for help.  This might seem obvious for some people, but it’s been quite a new concept for me; so, I’ve spent the last 10 days very sick and finding all sorts of different ways of asking for help, and do you know what, it’s not so bad.  so I thought I’d post some pictures to inspire you to ask for help too.

If you feel guilty about asking for help, look at it from your family and the people you ask’s point of view.  Your family just want you happy and being yourself.  The people you ask will either earn money, or feel that they are worth something, because they have been asked.

When the in laws came to help out, it was brilliant for their bond with the kids.  My 4yr old son and his granddad really bonded, with his granddad appearing to come alive and become really fun.  Meanwhile, my baby girl was very comfy and secure on her grandma’s shoulder.  Grandparents are important to children, and it’s even more important that they themselves understand this, because it gives them a reason to be.  It might have been tiring for them, but having a ‘reason to be’, keeps us going, gives us purpose, and boosts our health.  They probably hadn’t realised until now how important they still are to the growing family.  Memories were created over the last couple of weeks, that will stay with my kids forever, thats a great thing and worth getting sick for.

So if it’s a family problem hows about asking a friend/ neighbour/ relative?  Is there someone you have helped in the past, who is really keen to get the opportunity to help back?  Is there an online forum or community that can give you some info?  There are many specialists out there on the net, who are happy to give quick and free help.  You can pay for help or for people training up e.g. there are Au Pairs, Au Pair Plus (older, more experienced, do more cleaning), Mothers Helps, Nannies, Child Minders, Day Nurseries, Cleaners, Dog Walkers.  There are even alternative and medical options, just to help you get through the day.

For instance, I’ve been complaining that I couldn’t find anyone to help out with the last couple of hours of the day (see previous post about feeling guilty about asking for help), but I wasn’t actually asking, because I hadn’t actually put an advert anywhere.  It seems I was weirdly expecting them to appear, just because I had thought about it, doh!  Now I’m inundated with options.

When the inlaws left, we asked a girl called Victoria to come and help us tidy the house.  She’d interviewed for the job as a part-time mothers help, which we sadly probably can’t give her, but she did get a generous bonus for coming at short notice.  Even better was that when my baby girl cried, she took one look at me (looking very lumpy and sick), and took her off me, popping her on her back: a truly amazing and lovely girl!  Look at this picture of Willow happily asleep, just gorgeous.

I’ve asked for advice on facebook and got over 40 comments, some incredibly comprehensive and time consuming for the people who filled them in.  Now people love to give advice, but they often give it inappropriately, especially in my business, as us healer/coach/therapist types tend to get very enthusiastic and want to share all our knowledge with the whole world.  But this was definitely a chance for extremely well received and appreciated information.

Asking for help has shown me how lucky I am, in my friends, family, resources, connections; just everywhere.  There are downsides or costs to everything, but if you think it through beforehand, you can manage them all.  You won’t always get the response that you hoped for, so do try asking without expecting the ‘ideal’ response, and remember that you can always ask again or ask someone else.  If I hadn’t have asked for help, I would definitely be sicker, and possibly in hospital as the only real fix has been lieing down.  Now the cost of a showing a bit of vulnerability, paying some money, and learning how to ask for the simplest things to be done for me, has paid off.

So don’t feel guilty about asking for help.  Think about the people you ask and your family will gain from it.  As they say ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’; so this isn’t rocket science, but I thought I would share anyway!

(p.s. remember to say ‘thank you’ though, and look for times to reciprocate in the future, otherwise, you might not get such helpful responses another time).

Arrival Of Baby No2 – A Very Different Experience

Willow Phoebe Rose Pearson arrived on Saturday 13th February at 13.25, at a chubby 9lbs 3oz, at home in our lounge after a very relaxed 7hr labour, lots of chatting and a short dip in the birthing pool.  Hubby and 4yr old son were downstairs during the process, watching films or playing computer games, and popping up to see how I was doing every now and again with more tea for us.  So it all worked out to be a very calm and un-stressful experience.

Now, if you fancy more detailed info, here you go, but feel free to stop here; I know that some friends will be wanting the full monte, and others will be interested in the home birth side, but some of you won’t want to know ;o)

So Much More Relaxed

It was so different this time around, with her picking a daytime arrival (6.30am-1.25pm) versus Max’s evening one (6.30-10pm).  Max was really full on, with me going straight into ‘transition’ 24hrs after my waters broke, no pre-warning contractions, just straight into 1 min contractions every minute.  The rather scary (and noisy, because I’m not good with physical pain!) roller coaster 4hrs included a mad dash for hospital, finishing off in a birthing unit.

Instead, this was a relaxed affair, with the Doula (Nicola Wilson – like an old fashioned midwife who gives additional support during the birth and post-natally) arriving an hour in, and the community midwife (Sarah Loveday – very lovely and relaxed) an hour or two after that.  There was lots of chatting, which I found helped with the pain as it relaxes the jaw (which relaxes the pelvis), along with remembering to eat, drink water and breathe (which I forgot to do first time).  I can see now why those women on YouTube were singing during labour, which might not be my cup of tea, but I definitely recommend humming to music or chatting!

I mainly stood up and leaned on a leather chair, for 6.5hrs, by the french windows (curtains shut obviously!).  It was a beautiful day, and when I got a bit hot and flustered I could open the doors.  It wasn’t where I planned to be, as I thought I would use the big fit balls or a bean bag, but they were useful for the midwife and doula instead!

I also thought I’d go straight in the pool, but things were going so well, that we decided to keep it for when I really needed it, which was only the final 30 mins.  The pool was a blow up ECO small one, which was perfect.  I wouldn’t want bigger, it kept it’s heat all the way through from the beginning, was quick to fill, and very comfortable to be in (both leaning on the sides and kneeling).  Things really ramped up when I got in, which although painful, was NOTHING like the traumatic pain I remembered from before and totally bearable for that short time, especially as I had help from the Doula and Midwife.

Pain Levels

I suspect this is the difference in pain levels is down to some prior preparation about fear of pain, plus being in a much more relaxed environment, with no mad dash for Watford.  I didn’t do ‘hypnobirthing’, but did use some relaxation techniques in the 6 weeks prior (I’ll do another post with information about that), which meant I was well rested. I also did some practical looking at the value of the pain with some of my associates beforehand, which meant that I wasn’t worried about making noise or it hurting again.  Plus with a more gentle build up there was less shock, and I wasn’t lieing on a hospital bed or ‘sitting on her head’ as the midwife called it.  I couldn’t have done anything other than lie down first time round, but now I know a little more about these things, I could have been lieing on my side, rather than on my back.

First time round it felt like someone had a couple of hot pokers and were mixing my stomach with them (sorry for the gruesome details!), whereas this time the contractions were in my back (like period pains are).  It was fascinating as they moved down my back as she moved, which is quite an encouraging feeling.  Plus, we tried an old fashioned tip, which was to check my legs to see how dilated I was.  Apparently, your legs starting getting cold at the ankle, and the higher up towards your knees it goes, the more dilated you are.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not like that model recently who didn’t feel a thing.  That last 20 mins was very intense, but this time I managed to not scream (waste of energy) and keep the noises lower in the back of my throat (which is where you want them).  I didn’t even get heard by the neighbours, unlike last time when I couldn’t speak for a week and could have been heard miles away ;o)

I owe huge gratitude to the fact that I live in St Albans, where home births are pretty much matter of fact, and the midwives get plenty of leeway to make it the best possible experience for mums, that it can possibly be.  Plus in hertfordshire we have loads of Doula’s including really experienced ones like Nicola, which is definitely the answer to the problem of no local family, siblings that need taking care of, potential help after the birth, and additional support during the birth hence taking some pressure off hubby.

Her Arrival

I was leaning forwards at the end, so the funniest thing was as they popped her on my back, and I suddenly realised how come she had taken longer, because blimey she was heavy.  Max had been a little 6lb 10oz baby, and she is nearly 3lb’s heavier at 9lb’s 3oz!  She was also very cute looking as she was delivered in her waters bag, so her head was all cushioned throughout, with no funny squashed look.

As expected she has dark hair, dark eyes (slate grey at the moment, but likely to go brown), and dark skin.  In fact her skin is really dark at the moment, which is because of giving birth at home and having no rush to remove the cord, so she got a lot extra blood etc, than a baby whose cord is cut quickly in hospital.  Whereas Max was obviously red haired, pale skinned and blue eyed, right from the start.  He was whipped off quickly to be measured etc, given a quick feed, and then passed to Daddy while I had a couple of hours of stitching (don’t worry, gas and air is fabulous, it didn’t hurt a bit!).  This time, despite her being a ton bigger, there are no stitches, which is really good news.

The only similarity between the two was the lack of drugs.  Not my plan!  But first time round there wasn’t enough time for them to have taken effect, and this time, I didn’t really need anything until then end, and there wasn’t much point by then.  I was given some homeopathic remedies by the Doula in the pushing stage, which I did think helped me through the last bit.

It was weird to be so much more conscious and able to follow instructions at the end.  I’d seen women give birth on YouTube, and they had seemed so much more involved and able to understand the midwives, but I just couldn’t understand how that could be, as first time around, I was so incapable of understanding anything.  This time I could understand instructions, and move when told to (with a little bit of complaining!).

The Rest Of The Family

Max and David had fun playing computer games and watching films.  David did a fab job of keeping everyone fed and watered, meanwhile Max would pop up to check on us, announce something funny and then disappear back downstairs.  I did suggest that they go out near the end, but unbeknown to me the Doula counteracted that, which I am really grateful for.  I was worried I might make noise and scare Max, but in fact they hardly heard anything, and it meant that they arrived in the lounge, almost immediately after her entrance into the world.  Willow and I cuddled for a quite some time in the pool, with Max leaning over.  He was really chuffed, not bothered by the pool being a slightly bloody colour at all.  In fact it was only later on that he got slightly upset, but we discovered it was just because he insists that she should wear pink or cute stuff, and he didn’t like the outfit that we had picked!

The dogs got treated to a lovely long walk by our dog walker, so they were pretty exhausted that night.  However, the Labradoodle noticed her immediately, and is already watching over her with great concern if she issues the smallest of squeaks.  The Spaniel took 2 days to notice her, and is just a little annoyed that she tends to take up space on the sofa, but thinks that she smells nice.

Afterwards

Once the cord had stopped pulsing, we decided to get out, and were put in a lovely cocoon of towels, while I fed her.  An hour later, I popped off to the bathroom and the placenta arrived very quickly, so there was no need for an injection.  Then I had a lovely shower, and got all cleaned up.  Meanwhile the Doula and two midwives (the second midwife didn’t arrive until just after she was born, because once she decided it was time to push, she only took 20mins, so there wasn’t a lot of notice) had tidied everything, fed me, and the pool had already been emptied and disassembled by David and Max.

It’s a lovely feeling to be at home, in the peace and quiet and not have to go anywhere.  Despite it being pretty easy, I did feel a little shaky afterwards for a couple of days, so it’s lovely to be all snuggled on your own sofa, with your baby and family.

The Next Week

Willow ‘mewed’ her way through her first 24hrs, with lots of little squeaky noises whether she was asleep or awake.  She has a set of lungs on her, but her wail is gentle in comparison to Max’s, which would go from 0 to 100 decibels in a matter of 5 seconds.  She wasn’t impressed by bodily functions like puking (delicately of course!), or pooing, but has found that if she sucks my finger it is a much more lady like way of winding herself than burping.

Max is a little sensitive, but has been wonderful with her.  Having no younger siblings myself, I’m amazed at how genuinely he loved her immediately, and how gentle he is when he holds or touches her.  Although it is half-term, he has been attending drama camp this week (same days as nursery), which has given him some normalcy, plus he got invited out for a ‘play-date’ on his own, which he adored (thanks Clare!).  We are co-sleeping just as he planned, and at the moment he would prefer Willow and I to stay in the room, even if she is being a little fractious; we’ll see how that goes.

David has had a tough time, as the day after Willow was born, it was announced that his company were shutting down the division that he had moved to 14 days previously.  Despite him supposedly being on paternity leave, he has repeatedly had to work late into the night, and attend teleconferences during the day in order to help out the different factions.  It would definitely be kind of fun to get a chance to be locked in a room with his main boss at the moment, what with the hormonal soup that week1 after a baby is born can be.  But don’t worry about us, David was made redundant 6 weeks after Max was born, so if the worst possible scenario happens, it just means that he gets the same opportunity to spend time with Willow.  Meanwhile, the Mums at Max’s nursery have all kindly offered to help with the nursery runs next week, so I don’t have to handle the a total return to normalcy when David goes ‘back’ to work, or in his case, actually has to go into London to work.

David’s parents turned up excitedly the night that Willow was born, and the next day were joined briefly by his sister and her 2 teenage kids.  But since monday afternoon we have had a quieter time of it, and are gradually getting our heads around how a family works with an additional pink bundle (she is definitely a rather cute bundle, whereas Max was nick named ‘alien bug’ for the first few weeks of his life!).  Hopefully, one of my brothers will be able to make it to meet her next week.

With Max I remember the first two weeks being totally cocooned with him for the most blissful weeks of my life.  That’s not a possibility with paternity leaves being cancelled, and reappearing, and then cancelled again, along with the reality of already having a 4yr old.  But generally, just as with her birth, it’s a slower, more relaxed if less intense experience (so far, that is!).

Note: Every couple of months I’ll post another blog on our progress and the differences/similarities second time around (mainly as a diary for me, but it might be interesting for people thinking of having a second), so if you fancy keeping up to date with our journey you might want to subscribe.