content

8 Top Tips For Having Wonderful Summer Holidays With The Kids On A Budget

content
content

Here are my Top Tips for finding things to do in the holidays to keep those kids of yours busy without breaking the bank!

 

1) The Library

There is a summer challenge every year.  This year is the ‘Creepy House Challenge‘ where the kids read 6 books by the end of the summer holidays and they get loads of encouragment from the librarians with stickers and the chance to tell them about each book.

This is a great activity.  It’s Free.  It takes time going to the library.  You can do it when it rains!  Plus it’s a gentle way of keeping them going on reading.

 

2) Forests

I’m an ambassador for The Forestry Commission and love Wendover Forest.  They have a Forest Fairy Tale activity going on at the moment, which is a great way of getting our kids involved in being outside.

Take a picnic, make dens, let their imagination run free!

 

3) Festivals

I LOVE going to small or family festivals.  I’m off to Folk by the oak this weekend and Folk Stock in September.  Check out my top tips for first timers.

Take your own food and drink to keep the cost down and give the kids a purse with their money in it so that they understand there is a limit and can choose what they would like to do, but that it’s not an endless supply.

 

4) Simple Things are good for the kids

Don’t worry about a lack of money, it’s good for the kids to enjoy the simple things in life.

Don’t try to fill all their time, it’s good for them to get a little bored, or to learn to occupy themselves (although you may need to give them a bit of direction or make it easy for them to think about it).

 

5) How to keep the house together and yourself from going crazy

Check out my Top 7 Tips For the Summer Holidays , with ideas on how to keep the kids occupied and help the house to survive!

 

6) When You Are Exhausted

Read these top tips for cheap games to play when you are tired:  so that when you are exhausted, or if you get sick, you have some simple things that take little energy for you to do, or that they will be happy doing over and over.

Take some time out.  Swap with another mum.  Ask relatives to give you a day off.  Or pop the kids into a day’s camp if you can afford it.  You’ll come back revitalised and fun to be with, so it’s a win-win for the whole family!

 

7) Don’t Do Things You Can’t Afford

Don’t put yourself in debt in order to survive the holidays.  Your kids don’t need that.  A simple rule of thumb is that if it’s going to take you more than 3 months to pay off (i.e. a season), then you can’t afford it.

They won’t be ruined forever if they don’t get to go to Disney World or an adventure park.  Look at the free things available instead like museums or community events.

 

8) Don’t Feel Guilty About Working

It’s a fact of life, some of us have to work full or part-time during the holidays.  I’m particularly aware of this as things are going to be really busy this summer with the preparations for my new Salon and Spa as it opens in October.

With the time that you have, be present with them.  Create Memories.  Have fun.

 

What are your top tips?  (Feel free to add your blog post if you have written one, I don’t mind people adding links).

 

 

Why I Think Mummy Blogs Are Fabulous

There’s tonnes of reasons why I think Mummy Blogs are fab.  I think of a ‘mummy blog’ as one written by a Mum, rather than any other type of person.  They may not even be about mummy stuff, but they will still have a particular slant, which other blogs won’t have.  You can get blogs about babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, children, teenagers, single mums, divorced mums, married mums, stay at home mums (SAHM), work from home mums (WFH), and going out to work mums.

But the main reason I recommend Mums check them out is because they can give a REALITY CHECK, something we all could do with sometimes.  The more honest the blog, the better the reality check.  (How can you tell if it is honest?  If it has both happy and sad, coping and struggling, good and bad days discussed in it).  Reality checks help us to see that the grass is different, but not always greener on the other side, and to appreciate our particular lawn.

So if you are a Mum, and haven’t gotten into Mummy blogs yet, I really recommend you have a go.  They are easy to fit into a Mum’s life, for a quick 2-5min read, and will often give you a much needed giggle.

You can just keep all the URL’s but it’s tricky to keep up to date, so the best option is to either subscribe by email or an RSS reader.  You can do both of those by clicking on the little orange square thingy on the RHS of my blog.

(By the way, if you are subscribed to my blog, you might want to re-do it, as I have just updated my blog to use a different feedburner).  I use google reader, which means I can read the blogs on my macbook air, iphone or ipad (geeky apple household here we come): http://www.google.com/reader/

If you would like a list of places to start, then there have been a couple of lists of the top British Mummy Bloggers and awards recently (all measured in totally different ways!):

Tots 100: http://www.whosthemummy.co.uk/parent-blog-index/

Make sure you add Sally who hosts the Tots 100, as she is hysterical, but not listed in the list anymore: http://www.whosthemummy.co.uk/

Wikio’s Top 20: http://www.wikio.co.uk/blogs/top

The Gurgle Blog Awards: http://www.gurgle.com/articles/Lifestyle/36776/Top_20_mummy_blogs_on_the_web.aspx

Alpha Mummy Top 10: http://timesonline.typepad.com/alphamummy/2006/12/10_great_blogs_.html

Cision top 10 Mummy Blogs (also check out Daddy & Parenting): http://uk.cision.com/Resources/Social-Media-Index/Top-UK-Social-Media/Top-10-UK-Mummy-Blogs/

For people already really into blogs, what are your favourites, or do you have lists you can recommend to my readers?  Are there any other tips you would give people?

Oooh by the way, I’ve never been up for an award for any blog list, sob sob.  I once got listed as in the top 50 mummy bloggers on twitter, but that was ages ago.  So if you ever see any competitions going, feel free to recommend me, plug, plug!

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.

Another Question: Why Feel Guilty About Needing Some Help

You might have guessed, that my theme this week is questions!  Plus, my blogs have changed a little, as I used to blog when I had resolved a problem of mine, or for someone else’s situation.  Whereas now I’m blogging in the midst of a problem.  I’d be interested to know what you think about the change, as the blogs develop!

My question today is ‘Howcome do I feel guilty, that I really could do with some help for the last 2 hours of the day before the kids go to bed?’.

These hours tend to consist of the baby deciding she would like to be permanently held (but not in a sling, obviously, because that would be too easy!), whilst the generally well behaved 4yr old, gets tired and cranky, thus losing all ability to think rationally.  Recently, the dogs have helped out with a weeks worth of puking, and now the odd pee incident, for no apparent reason.  My husband’s job suddenly changed the day after the baby was born, and he now doesn’t get home at the time he used to, which means he can’t even help with the juggling a windy screamy baby, whilst reading a story and putting a bedtime nappy on the 4yr old.  So the task of cooking a quick meal, feeding the dogs, tidying the house, putting the washing away, and getting everyone ready for bed, has become a new form of very noisy torture ;o)

So howcome, do I feel guilty, when I realise that I could do with some help?  I didn’t feel guilty about getting a cleaner, because I could feel I deserved one as I was working.  I didn’t feel guilty about her being expensive, because otherwise I had to clean after the cleaner went, which kind of defeated the object.  I didn’t feel guilty about buying myself some clothes.  But for some reason, there is a tinge of guilt that suggests that I ‘should be able to cope’, especially as I’m a born coper!

One of the reasons that my stress levels are exasperated is because I don’t have a Mum to complain to daily in order to let off steam (this is my fantasy of what a Mum would be willing to put up with!), and there isn’t any family locally to help out.  All the Mums nearby are of course very supportive, but also going through the same thing, or just escaped the same problem.  The difference is, that I don’t have the carrot of a regular potential visit from a Mum, who would put a duvet on me and take away my responsibilities for an hour (again another TOTAL fantasy, as loads of people don’t have Mums or Mums with duvets).

Now the importance of the question, is because when you ask it, you can face it and see it’s basically daft, whereas before it was an internal niggle that wasn’t getting me anywhere.  What’s the worst thing that could happen?

Well, people will find out that I’m not perfect, and that my only solution was to bring in an extra pair of hands.  That’s not so bad.  After all, I’m luckily not selling myself as a perfect Mum, so it shouldn’t put people off.

Potentially, people could dislike me because they don’t like to be reminded of their fallibility.  This is very likely, and could affect friendships and work.  However, in life, there are always going to be as many people liking you as disliking you, so it will be balanced out.

Some people will criticise me for having the money to be able to do it, and throw at me the fact that they don’t have family, or a partner, and they can manage.  But in fact what I’m doing is swapping my cleaner (that I didn’t feel guilty about), for more hours with a mother’s help, so ironically it would be purely how I was spending my money that was the issue.  Plus this way, I’m going to be helping out another local mother/grandmother financially, which is I think a very sensible way to spend my money.  However, they would be right, because I’m not great at these last 2hrs of the day.  I LOVE being a Mum, but notice that I do also work part-time because I couldn’t be a full-time mum.  If I was advising me, I would remind myself that we are all great at some things, and not so great at others and that there is a reason that I work part-time.

Some people might criticise me and ask how can I help other mums with my blog and business, if the only solution I could find to this problem, was to pay for help?  Which would be a valid comment too.  But, it wasn’t the only solution.  Actually, I’ve been tackling this issue for 9 weeks now, bit by little bit.  I’ve helped the 4yr old with his insecurities, and added in a star chart, which is really helping him.  I’ve taken the baby to a chiropractor to reduce the screaming in the car and enable her to sit comfortably in a bouncy chair.  I’ve changed my priorities, so that there is as little as possible to do in the evening.  There have been lots of little steps.  In fact last night, I interviewed someone for the job, and the house seemed calm, so I wondered ‘maybe I don’t really need help?’.  But just as she walked out the door I discovered the dog pee in a corner, realised I hadn’t emptied the tumble dryer, was shouted at for not playing by the 4yr old, the baby woke up and screamed, then the internet shopping arrived late, and I still had dinner to cook, a 4yr old to get to bed, and then a sick husband walked through the door!

So what I need to do is remind myself that I’m a great Mum in my own way, and my little boy would prefer I spend the money on someone to be an extra pair of hands, so that I can give myself totally to the job of being the best that I’m able to be.  Meanwhile, I got an email today from a master practitioner of the methodology that trained in, asking for help with finishing a self-session.  It’s made me feel great to be asked, and in no way have I judged her.  In fact it made me realise, that I could then swap a session with her, and pay the mother’s help to cover me, in that way making me even more fun for my son to have around.

If you are feeling guilty today, try these questions out too, because they might make you feel better …

  • What are you feeling guilty for doing/not doing?
  • Why do you feel guilty for it, is there really reason to feel guilty about it when you look at it?
  • What’s the worst thing that could happen: face the fear and guilt, it might not be so bad.
  • How could you and your family gain or benefit from it?
  • If you are judging yourself for being rubbish at something, what are you great at, and why does it suit your family that you are the way you are.

Thanks for listening, it helps to sort my squashy brain out when I write it all down! I’m also not going to feel guilty about the fact that I’m going to eat a chocolate bar now, because since I ate one yesterday my milk has been back on form ;o)

Re-igniting Sexual Desire

I read a couple of heart-rending mummy blogs recently, where two Mums were asking for advice about their lack of sex life and wondering how come their partners appeared not to be interested.  They were distressed because society gives off the impression that men only think about sex, so now they are wondering why their partner’s are not thinking about sex with them.  I also read a fascinating article in the Daily Mail by a sex therapist, which offered some really simple start off advice, like just trying to hold hands and spend time together for a bit <click here for more>.  Of course there are also many Mums out there who have totally lost interest in having sex themselves, either due to giving birth, or the stress of general family life.

Now, this is just a quick blog with some ideas to help out.  I probably won’t be able to cover the whole subject in one go, especially as I have a 2 week old baby sitting next to me, who is bound to wake up very soon!  So bear with me, and if I haven’t covered a particular scenario, just pop a comment at the bottom and I’ll cover it next time ;o)

Step 1 – What’s your priority on what to fix?

One of the blogs was from a lovely Mum, who has two little girls, and has been looking at loads of ‘problems’ like her weight, getting her inner sparkle back, going back to work, and of course her sex life.  Having thought about her situation and how my clients like to tackle things, my advice is to remember that sometimes we can only sort out one problem at a time.  It was a very wise actress/writer client of mine who one day halted my enthusiasm for her coming on another workshop of mine, by saying ‘give me a chance Lisa, I’m just sorting out this other area of life at the moment’!  She was sooooo right.  I might have workshops and services for any problem, but that to attempt to fix everything in a couple of months would be very disorientating for my clients.

So I also advise people generally to take their ‘fixing’ gently and just focus on one or two areas at a time.  Little steps, will still get you there.

So list all the ‘problems’ you have, and then prioritise them; not in the order that you ‘should’ tackle them, but into the order of the amount of ‘brain noise’ they create for you.  Also, look at the potential dangers from them not being fixed in the next 2 months, and then reconsider the order.  For instance, if you are looking at going back to work now, then tackle that one first.  But if there is a chance that your relationship is about to break up any minute, then put work on the back burner and tackle the sex issue.

Step 2 – Is the issue the lack of sex, or something else creating stress?

Now, from Step 1 you have a list of problems or issues.  Have a look at them.  Is it possible that one of them is the actual cause of the stress and lack of intimacy between the two of you?  In which case, tackle that first and you might well ‘kill two birds with one stone’!

For instance, are you lacking in confidence due to your body image?  Hows about going out and finding yourself a FUN exercise class.  (Combining fun and exercise is much more effective, than just exercise).  For instance, I recommend belly dancing, pole dancing, any kind of general dancing, walking with other mums.  Do you need a hair cut?  Do you remember to cleanse & moisturise your face every day?  Do your clothes make you feel rubbish?  Do you drink water every day?

Is it your husband worrying about his body image?  Then hows about getting him into a hobby that will just take up a couple of hours a week, and help him to feel more masculine?  My husband needs some time to himself every week, otherwise he will feel suffocated.  Bike riding works for him.  Others might like martial arts, or to go to the gym or to play football with some mates.

Is your balance of work/life/rest/play out of whack?  That is, do you have any rest or play, not do you have as much time resting and playing?  If you don’t get 1hr for a bath a week, then of course you aren’t going to feel relaxed enough for sex.  Do you have any fun?  We are not talking about quantity, but quality?  Does your partner have any fun during the week?

Whatever you think the problem is, create an action plan for tackling it, and put a time scale to it.  Now double the time scale to make sure it is achievable!  Then it’s time to start, and each week have a look back and adjust your action plans if things change.

Step 3 – Make Time

Take your time, and make time is another good hint.  Little things like saying ‘thank you’ or ‘you look great today’ or giving them a kiss goodnight can help.  With the stress of the family, do you forget to look at each other in the eye when you talk to each other, because you are barking orders, whilst keeping an eye on the kids (don’t feel guilty, we’ve all done it!).

Is there a chance you could go out for dinner and just talk; don’t put pressure on to have sex, you are just aiming to chat and reconnect with each other.  If not, hows about lunch?  If not, hows about a take away and a bottle of wine?  I know you are tired, but will 1hr really make a difference?  Hows about getting a film and sitting on the sofa together holding hands, with some pop corn?

Step 4- Finances

FINANCES arrgghh, they are so often the cause behind lack of intimacy.  The reason is because it creates stress, but also, it they are used as secret power weapons in the relationship.  Now, I’m going to give you a big secret weapon in another blog, but there is some preparatory work for that, so if it is money that is causing your problem, then make sure that you have signed up for my free newsletter (don’t worry, I don’t send out lots of spam) and read the ebooks on values and finances, and listen to the audios.

Step 5 – Be Caring

This also needs a much bigger blog, and again if you really want to know how to switch on your partner’s buttons, then you totally need to understand how they tick and how you can press their buttons.  But first, you need to get my introduction to values, which arrives free when you join my email list.

Here’s a couple of things to think about – being caring is not about doing things for people, it is about doing things that they like!  BOTH women and men are easily turned on by appealing to their values, it’s a mental thing for both of them, not just men, and it’s a piece of cake if you know them well.  But we don’t know our partner’s very well, we often just make huge assumptions (again, this is just the way that we are, so no criticism is meant).

Right, got to go, little pink is waking up.  Feel free to ask questions for more information, but please don’t leave comments about what is missing from the blog, because there is bound to be stuff missing as it isn’t a book ;o)

Coming soon:

  • The secret weapon to stopping money getting in the way of sex
  • What ‘creates’ sexual desire – it’s not what you think.
  • How to tackle more indepth sexual issues
Money Saving Tips

Are You Struggling Financially? Tips For Appreciating What We Have Got And Worrying Less

Money Saving TipsWith the recession, there are some winners, but in general most people seem to be down 10-30% if they are lucky, and then there are those people who have lost even more.  Of course, it appears even more difficult for parents, because there are so many ‘necessities’ for the family.

Getting stressed about money makes lots of ‘brain noise’, which means we miss potential opportunities.  Plus we end up spending a lot of time worrying about what is, versus appreciating what we have.

At the very least, I hope that this blog will help you to appreciate the things that you do have and worry less about money.  Remember to check out all my other money saving and cost cutting tips.

Three Aspects To Money

Money is undoubtedly a complicated and emotional subject.  I ran a ‘Financial Breakthrough’ workshop for a few years before the kids came along.  It was not about becoming a millionaire; just about becoming financially healthy and looked at 3 aspects:

1) Firstly is you and your relationship with money

Do you know how to actually manage it practically in a way that will bring more in, rather than let more out?

2) Secondly is your relationship with your financial heroes

Who you think have been really successful? Which means that you think that they are better than you, which means you are not seeing your own potential.  The number of who people wanted to be as rich as Richard Branson, but didn’t want his problems, hair, teeth, children who think he is a wombat for trying to kill himself in a balloon going to space, and having to sell his most loved business.

3) Thirdly is you and your relationship with your financial anti-heroes

Who told you that money was bad or rich people were horrid, or that you didn’t deserve it?  It is important to understand that money is just an energy that you can quickly transfer into any area of life, nothing more, nothing less.  So, if you can see how money would help everything you love in life, and why you deserve it, then you are more likely to attract it.

Tip For Appreciating Life

Here is a tip for you, to improve your weekend, and help you love your life more, about appreciating what you have got:

When you give your kids something and they are really grateful, isn’t it enjoyable?  Don’t you just want to give them more?  When you do something or give something, and in the next moment they are moaning about something else that they don’t have or want, isn’t it unpleasant?  Doesn’t it make you want to automatically refuse?

The world works like this too.  It doesn’t matter whether you look at it from a spiritual perspective of ‘attracting’ energy, or a scientific energy of matching vibrations (a thought is a vibration), or a psychological one of a self-fulfilling prophecy, it still works.

I’ll give you a couple of real life examples, so that you can understand the difference.

Someone attended my financial workshop, and a few weeks later angrily told me that she hadn’t got any more money despite following my tips.  Now, firstly I do focus on having more VALUE in your life, as much as MONEY, because money is meaningless and can easily just disappear out the door again.  But secondly I asked her about her new clients.  Her attitude was that she was going to get them anyway.  However, her lack of appreciation later affected the client relationships, quickly losing her some of them.

Or there was the client running a business, who complained that her revenue hadn’t gone up.  However, when I pointed out that her costs where less, and therefore over-all she was making more, PLUS she wasn’t DOWN like most people in her business, she was chuffed.

There is a lovely writer I know, who exudes a feeling of ‘richness’, even though it is obviously not in financial wealth.  She has a wealth of knowledge, and fascinating people that she has met, plus a great eccentric husband and two gorgeous daughters.  She never whinged about how to get her house fixed, and sure enough an insurance windfall looks like it’s going to enable her to do a complete rebuild.

I made a HUGE decision when I was pregnant with Little Dimples to ONLY focus on my Mummy Whisperer business, and not the more lucrative personal development business. It gave me more time with my son before he started school, less stress, and now I would never go back because I’ve discovered a love of writing, won awards for my blog and got a best-selling book!

How To Look For What We Have Got

What do you have in your life today?  A house?  Children?  Family members?  What are those kids like, what do you get from them, what do they give you (apart from the headaches!)?  I may not have parents, but I do have a brother who attempts to fill the gap, plus a son I was told was impossible when I was 19, and a house and car.

What do you do?  Do you work, part-time work, stay at home, have any hobbies?  What do you get from it?  I couldn’t not work for my own sanity, but I’m blinking lucky to be able to work part-time, even if it isn’t currently the most lucrative job in the world.

How is your health and body doing?  Look around you, why are you lucky for the body you have?  Mine has miraculously got me pregnant again at 40, which is pretty good going considering it’s not meant to have a fertile bone in it’s body!  I might be on the ‘curvy’ side, but it all works and is pretty sturdy ;o)

Where is your wealth?  Is it your friends?  Your knowledge?  Your skills and abilities?  Your family?  Your spirituality?  Your potential finances when your business idea gets off the starter blocks?  Your enjoyment of your job?

Go on, get a cuppa and sit down tonight before bed and have a think about what you HAVE got, versus what you haven’t got.  At the very least you will wake up a more content person.  At best, I might be right and over the next couple of months you’ll improve financially as well!

Let me know how you do!

 

Feeling Disempowered?

Do You Sometimes Feel Disempowered?

It’s easy as a Mum to feel disempowered. Maybe you’re not quite as fit as you once were, or don’t go out socially as much, or don’t get as much ‘quality’ time with your other half. Perhaps you are worried that you are not bringing in as much money because you are a SAHM or working part-time, or you feel that your work has been affected. Are you unsure about what makes up ‘You’ and feel that your brain has become sluggish?

It’s important to remember that how we feel is just a reaction to a thought that went through our head, which then led our body to release chemicals to create a corresponding emotional feeling. Put simply, how you see yourself, will affect how you feel about yourself.

Step 1 – Kick the Habit!

If you would like to kick the habit, then firstly you need to stop feeling guilty for not feeling fab and work out what you are getting from it. Did you know that we get something out of feeling rubbish?! We do! Sometimes, it’s just nice to whinge. Sometimes it helps us fit in with other people who are also whinging. It gets us attention and care from people. It can just feel good to wallow a bit! Do you need some time out from being capable, which being a bit ‘down’ can give you? Are you always ‘nice’ to people and feeling drained or full of resentment or unappreciated? Sit down with a nice cuppa or glass of wine and have a think about what you are getting from it. Don’t waste time thinking that you aren’t, because I promise you that you wouldn’t be doing it, if you were’nt getting something!

Step 2 – Find Where you are Fab!

Now, have a look at yourself and find out where you are brilliant, skilled, and very good at what you do. Is it making sure the children are clothed & fed? (You get added brownie points for organic, home cooked!). Can you make a fabulous glittering picture? Are you patient when playing hide & seek? Do you do the cleaning, ironing, cooking, gardening and keeping the house together? Are you a great friend? Do you manage to live within a budget? What do other people say about you?

Check out my other blog ‘Pregnant & Feeling Disempowered’, written for pregnant women, but it will work for you too, to get ideas about different areas of life where you are wonderful:

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

Worrying About Losing Your Identity?

I spent the afternoon with one of my favourite people, who is also very heavily pregnant.  From being a pragmatic, grounded, sensible girl the ‘Mummy Worries’ are beginning to creep in (it happens to the best of us!).  This one was all around ‘being out of the loop’ and ‘not getting back to life’ or basically losing your sense of identity. 

Now it is easy for an existing Mum, who is a little bit further on to say ‘Don’t worry, you’ll make it through, and out the other side, and do you know it isn’t that bad!’, however, logically she’s not daft, so she knows that.  But it isn’t going to make her FEEL any better.

Do you worry about never getting your ‘old life back’ etc?  If so, here are some quick ideas to help you really feel that you will be OK.  You might need a mate to give you some objective ideas to work through it, or you can always ask me for some assistance.

First some bits of information for you to think about:

Info 1 – Break the Myth – Life is not ‘better’ or ‘worse’ after a baby or any life-changing event.  It’s just different.  Just as good.  Just as bad.  So don’t fall for the myth that life is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ afterwards, because that will cause you pain and discomfort.

Info 2 – Identity can’t disappear – Nothing disappears – try making water disappear, you are only going to get steam or ice, but not nothingness.  It can change.  It just can’t disappear.  So you will still have a network, just made up of different people (and not everyone talks about puree and nappies all the time!).  You will still be sexy, but for some it will change from a Kate Moss kind of sexy to a Nigella Lawson kind.  You’ll still be able to work/party, but it is likely to be slightly different.  But then think about it this way – wouldn’t life be boring if everything stayed the same for the rest of your life?

Info 3 – Don’t get scared about stereotypes about Mums.  Yes, even the most ‘sensible’ can get excited about poo, but that doesn’t mean it is the only thing they think about.  It’s just like normal life, there is a broad spectrum of mums, and you are bound to meet someone you click with.  

Here are the steps to work through in order to calm those worries, they may take a couple of hours, but you don’t have to do them in 1 fail swoop.

Step 1 – List where your network/role/identity/loop is now – whatever you are scared about losing.  E.g. work mates, partying mates, body shape etc

Step 2 – List where it could go e.g. baby classes, Mums groups, gym, coffee shops, church, online (e.g. netmums, mumsnet, twittermums – loads!), seeing more of your family, maybe neighbours.  Keep going until you can see there is ‘as much’ of the new identity/loop etc as there was before.

Step 3 – What are the downsides to the way that life is now, or just before you were pregnant?  Did you get hung over lots?!  Is there a lot of pressure to deliver at work?  Were you at times feeling dissatisfied?  Were you broody?  Do you not actually know many people near by?  Were you always to-ing and fro-ing?  Are you beginning to feel it might not be such a bad idea for a change?  If so, go on to the next step.

Step 4 – What would the benefits of the new network/identity/loop/way of life be?  You’ll know what you are doing every day.  Just having a shower can be a major achievement!  You appreciate the small things in life, like having 30 mins to yourself.  It’s a brilliant way to learn about life, you and people in general.  It can mean a change of work.  And of course there is the baby!

Tip – Join LOTS of Mums groups e.g. anti-natal swimming, yoga, NCT, local Mums & Babies, music classes, baby swimming, everything you can.  Plus, my most successful place to meet mums was Starbucks!  As the time goes by, people go back to work, people move, some Mums become unpleasant (hey, they are just human), and some you just won’t click with.  So start with a big network, to give yourself plenty of space for pruning over the first 18 months!!

I hope this helps for any mums worried or worrying about life having changed or being about to change.  Let me know if you have any feedback.

We are the same but different

One of the things that I feel would enormously transform our world today, is if as women, especially Mums, we stood together, allowing and embracing our differences, rather than pulling each other apart.  Becoming a Mum has been the one where I most felt the judgement from around me, and most astonishingly much of it came from the Mums.  Now, I know that whilst some were judging, others were appreciating, and that is the way of the world.  However, I see ahead a potential where Mums learn in their security with each other to hear the wisdom of their own hearts, thus creating a strong foundation for their families to grow from.  And here’s why ….

Whatever happens, we will always have different values.  Thats the point to life, because nature would see no need for us to all be the same.  It’s not wrong to be an attachment parent or a gina ford lover.  They are just a matter of choices.  The most important thing is that we as Mums pick options that work for us (and our families), rather than forcing ourselves to live the way that we ‘should’ do.  There are going to be as many benefits and downsides to all of our strategies, so there really isn’t any need for us to feel better than the next mum.

Plus, if you think that a Mum is disconnected and uncaring because she uses Gina Ford, and it really bothers you, then check out the other areas of your life.  You might not be a Gina Ford with your kids, but you are somewhere.  Perhaps you are a tough boss, who follows a strict schedule and has clear boundaries with your staff.  Or are you sometimes not present with your partner? 

If you think that your local friendly attachment parent, is just weird and freaky and will produce a clinging child, then where are you creating the same thing?  Do you have friends who are always texting or facebooking you?  Do you find that your clients need to be in touch with you all the time and won’t let go?

I have followed attachment parenting, but not because I planned to do so, just because that’s what worked.  I so planned on Max being in his cot and own room by 3 months, it’s just not the way we ended up.  If however, I was a single Mum, having to go back to a full time job, I would totally have relied on a much more scheduled routine.

So what would I love?  I would love to see Mums being true to themselves and what matters to them.  And other Mums backing them up.  Because we are a powerhouse that is needed in this world, and currently we aren’t doing ourselves any favours.  Yes, we don’t currently have much power in society.  However, if we change our own perception of ourselves and our value, then society will change the way that it sees us.

I’ve got loads more to say about this!!!  Keep in touch.