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).

To do list

What Will Cause The Most ‘Pain’ If Not Done By The End Of Today?

To do list
To do list

In ‘ye olden days’, i.e. 2 months ago before the arrival of ‘little dimples’, my second child, I used to ask myself what might seem a slightly dark question when sorting out my plan for work/life balance.

I would think about being elderly and sitting on my death bed, looking back over my life.  ‘What would I regret not doing?’.  Would I miss doing that piece of admin, writing that document, working with that client, or playing with my son.

In some cases, I really wanted to write, or the client session was going to be really interesting and couldn’t be at another time.  But in other cases, the sun would be out and it was definitely time to make a memory and go and have a picnic.

This would really help me to be clear on what I wanted to achieve, and how I wanted to do it.  I’m not the type to go pushing ahead with my business, and put the kids last.  It’s not wrong, it’s just not me, and most of all kids just want us to be ourselves.  I’m also not the type to not have another string to my bow; that is, I’d be a rubbish stay at home mum!

But now my life has changed, and is much more practical and much more short term.  My question is ‘What will cause me the most pain if I don’t get it done by the end of today?‘.  It helps me with the juggling act (which frankly I’m not doing well at), because ‘little pink’ could wake up at any moment and then demand attention for the rest of the day.

Today, I needed the washing dry, but I also needed to write, just quickly, so that I felt that feeling I love for a moment.  I’ve also made myself a long glass of squash and got some snacks ready, as I’m conscious that her milk demands are increasing.  Which also means sod any thought of a diet for another week!

If I get a chance I’ll phone the two mates who left me a voicemail or text.  Max is at nursery today, so I might even get a chance to interview a ‘Mother’s help’, but most of all I need a little peace and quiet after the easter holidays, when I made a couple of fatal mistakes; I’ll blog about them later in the week, but they are all about feeling unappreciated because you do a pile of stuff ‘for’ people and forgot to work out your compensation package ;o)

A great question, can be worth it’s weight in gold.  What questions help you?

Pregnant and Feeling Disempowered?

Mums often feel disempowered, especially when pregnant.  I’m amazed how quickly it has hit me again, being only a couple of month’s pregnant.

The key to empowerment/disempowerment, is to understand that it is all in the mind!  But how ever imaginary, it can have a drastic effect on your life.  I’m going to concentrate on being pregnant in particular for this post, however the same holds true for any situation, and I’ll write again about it in more depth.

I was shocked first time round by how disempowered I suddenly felt when I became pregnant.  Of course one of the problems can be that our hormones go a bit haywire, so any ‘normal’ worries are also accentuated.  Let’s look at the 7 areas of life and why it happens …

Spiritual – this is all about knowing where you are going and what your greater purpose is in life.  Now if you are worried at all about your options being limited, then you are bound to worry about this.

Mental – well, the brain just goes to jelly doesn’t it!  I’ve just got back from attempting to pick up pills at my homeopath, to find they were shut – I thought I heard open from 10am-1pm, infact they aren’t open until 1pm!

Financial – it is true that it is very likely that our financial health will be affected by becoming pregnant.  It is bound to affect our earning capability, at a minimum for 2 months, but for most of us it could be years.  Plus there is the expense of having a baby/toddler/child/teenager!

Vocational – the ideal appears to be able to work part-time.  But there are many Mums who find their type of job incompatible with becoming a Mum, so have to take a career break, or alternatively are not able to take time off, so they have to work full-time.  It’s true that many workplaces view Mums as unreliable, because we have to look after our kids when they are sick, and we can’t do the long hours we might have done before.

Social – this was the biggest shocker to me when I first became pregnant!  I found myself treated almost as if I didn’t exist, and often totally ignored.  In particular, there was the male nurse telling me that I wasn’t experiencing contractions, but braxton hicks – I was 3 cms dilated!!!

Physical – it’s the whale comparison that is the problem!  First we just feel fat, then there is the pregnant like on the TV shows stage, and then there is the ‘my god I didn’t know it was possible to get so huge’ stage!  There’s the additional exhaustion and so called morning sickness, and the fact that there is a baby in our tummies sucking everything good out of our food for themselves!  So it’s not difficult to see why we take it badly!

Family/Relationships – Our relationship may suffer a bit if we are worried about Sex.  But apart from that, here is the one good piece of news, as family becomes much more important, so we do tend to gain in our perceived power here.  Although, it is obviously more difficult for single Mums etc.

Put all that together, and we can feel quite rubbish about being pregnant!  If you let it get you down too much, then other people will pick up on it as well.  They feel it subconsciously, but it then affects the way that they treat us.  For example, if your boss doesn’t feel that you value yourself, they may then think that they shouldn’t either.  Plus if you feel unimportant, then people are more likely to ignore you.  In the worst cases, this is one of the reasons for father’s having affairs whilst their wife is pregnant, because their power structure has changed so dramatically.  I’m not blaming either the wife or husband for this, it kind of creeps up on the father without them expecting it, or understanding how come they are less attracted to their wives.  Meanwhile the fact that it is so taboo to be unfaithful to a pregnant woman, makes them ignore the potential for it, and get caught unawares.  So, don’t let yourself feel disempowered, because you don’t need to!

Here’s a beginning view of why you are a powerful, fantastic woman!

Spiritual – the great thing about kids, is that they give you certainty of what you will be doing.  Maybe it’s unclear as to how soon you will be back on track for something else.  But you can be sure that each morning, you will know what you have to do – mainly attempt to get dressed, feed the baby, sort out the rest of the family if there is more, change nappies, feed the baby, and then go back to bed.  You will have an incredibly clear purpose for a period of time.

Mental – whilst forgetting the simple things that we always remembered before, like petrol, keys, coats etc, our bodies are building a new brain.  That brain is learning to beat a heart, move fingers & toes and do all sorts of things.  Plus our brains are focussed on new things – scans, weeks, folic acid.

Financial – instead of thinking of money as an exact amount, think of it as the amount of value in your life.  If you can sit down and look sensibly at your budget & needs, then you can actually increase the amount of value in your life.  You wont need the same amount of money, because things change.  (Check out my free podcast on money and values on my website http://www.MummyWhisperer.com).  You can feel rich without money, or without the same amount of money.  Also, remember, even if you decide to be a stay at home mum, you are actually saving money.  I saw an article recently that put the price of a SAHM at £35k, and to be honest I think that is low!  Try listing what you are worth!

Vocational – think of the project management & multi-tasking skills that you have gained as a Mum!  Plus a company could view Mums as their most loyal and steady employees, because they do tend to be more grateful for the opportunity to work, especially part-time.  For many mums, it actually creates a new career, which is a scary, but exciting option.  Realistically, all sorts of things can go wrong in a Man’s career as well, so they may have to take a step back at some point.  Perhaps, it isn’t the drawback that we think it is.

Social – ok, so this might seem a bit cheeky, but you need to learn the power of the ‘pregnant card’.  This requires not holding back & going for full on pregnant tantrums – they won’t ignore a CRYING pregnant woman!  It got members of my family into action following the death of my Mum, and got me seen by a midwife when I knew I was in labour ;o)  It’ll get you a seat, which you need on a train/bus – it’s not a weakness, it’s a sensible thing to do, to take care of yourself & the family.  Remember, you are creating the new society, we have the power in the end!

Physical – there are women who love being pregnant, so it is totally possible!  The pregnant form was the earliest goddess symbol, and is inherent as a picture of growth and potential.  If you encounter people who find it unattractive, remember, it is not because of you, but something to do with their upbringing, because it is not ‘normal’ to dislike it (i.e. they have some ‘issues’!).  Check out the books that show you what you are growing each week.  Enjoying aqua-natal classes, or yoga for mums and learn about this new body (with great boobs!), that you have got.  It will connect you to something primeval that you didn’t have before, and not everyone is able to do it, so that makes you special.  Plus, your baby will think that you are beautiful.  Max is 3.5yrs old and tells me every morning that I’m beautiful, despite the muffin top & cellulite ;o)

Family/Relationships – they do take time to adjust and grow, but be patient and your family will blossom over the coming year.  This is a time for you to create your own family, and you are the heart of it.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a partner, or grand-parents.  People will arrive to fill those boots, and you will still create the family that works for you.

So now you have got some ideas, think about each area of life and look at what you have got, gained, and the value that you bring because you are pregnant.  Keep listing things until you realise that you are truly powerful in all areas.  Because you are. Rose Kennedy’s mission was to create a family of world leaders, and she did that with the kennedy boys.  You are about to create the future.  I may have learnt loads about personal development, but Max was my greatest teacher in my life, and if you go into it feeling empowered, rather than worrisome, you will be able to make the most of the opportunities your child is offering you.

Be you, the beautiful you xxxx

Even Kids Need a Purpose

I wrote this a year or so ago –

I was watching my little 2 and a bit year old today filling the washing basket full of washing to be cleaned, and realised that the same truths for adults apply to babies, toddlers and children. 

We all need a ‘Purpose’. When we feel ‘purposeful’, we feel a sense of confidence and settlement with our lives, which spreads out into all other areas of life. 

So if you find your little one appears to be going through a dissatisfied period, one tip is to see if they have a ‘place’ in the family, a little responsibility, something to feel they are contributing to the world with. Maybe it is stirring a pot of dry pasta while you cook, so that they are included, or maybe they like to feed the dogs, or maybe empty and fill the washing machine. Max loves to ‘rescue’ people in trouble with hugs – he loves to pretend he is a superhero like ‘Sportacus’! He is rubbish at spreading butter on bread, but really enjoys doing it ;o) So it can be a made up purpose, anything that suits them and what they love to do.

It is amazing what a child can be responsible for, and undoubtedly there is a balance to maintain to ensure that they do not become overwhelmed with adult type worries. However, if there is no choice, and your child becomes one of those young carers, do not worry. They will regain their childhood at a later time, because nothing is ever lost forever. Plus, it will definitely teach them skills which they will be able to use at a later date.

Looking at my childhood, I would not be the same, and loving my life so much if I hadn’t been left with my very sick Mum at 5yrs old, and worked out how to call an ambulance when she collapsed. Later, I expanded to running the whole household at 10 when she had one of her numerous trips to hospital. Ironically, the hardest time was as a teenager when I was nursing my parents just after my ‘O’ levels – that was when I started to rebel and suggest they get a nurse so that I could go party! But do not fear for my ‘lost’ childhood, in my case I regained some of it in my 20’s, and the rest is steadily returning with the arrival of Max, my little boy.

If you would prefer to not include your little ones in the household tasks because it takes 3 times longer, just think of the potential downside of them not being included; In a few years you might be regretting that choice when they refuse! I did just that, when my Mum returned from hospital and kicked me out of the kitchen at 10yrs old – I vowed strongly to never cook again, and the power of that belief turned me from a 10yr old who could cook a full roast dinner, to someone who struggles with scrambled egg! I know many a 16 yr old who appears to be incapable of doing their own washing, or using the dish washer.

If you think that a baby doesn’t have a purpose, then I’m not so sure. Max was never happier than when he was making me learn to ‘Be’, by spending hours being cuddled on my lap. Maybe your baby’s greatest purpose is to teach you about yourself by giving you strong hints as to what makes them feel contented or loudly dissatisfied?

What do you think? Need any hints on finding a purpose for your family members? Let me know, I would love to hear your thoughts.