Agony Aunt for Mums

Problem Corner: Should I let my partner have a baby with someone else?

Agony Aunt for Mums
Agony Aunt for Mums

I received this very sad message from a Mum the other day.

Here is her question (you might want to not read this with anything in your mouth that you could spit out when choking).

Good day Lisa,

hope all is well with you and your family.

I just have a small problem?

My significant other wants to have a baby with another wommen, and wants all three of us to raise it.

You know that I’ve had chemo and radiation and six more months of preventive chemo, so what ever the treatments did took away my eggs and my menstrual.

I’m so weak in that department of men that I’m a little weak to throw him out! Im very upset and stressing about it, will u give me some advice? I know.I’m not on your pay roll and I apologize for that but will u please.


My Answer (first the rant)

I hope and pray that me saying this will help you and that you will hear me.


Only a bully would suggest this to you at your lowest.

He is attempting to make you feel even worse.

He is NOT helping with your recovery.

There is something so twisted about this suggestion that he is very lucky that he lives in a different country to me, because quite frankly I would like to go out and buy an extra specially large frying pan and take it to him so many times that he is scared of kitchens for the rest of his life.

Although cancer has it’s causes in the environment and chemicals that we eat, there is undoubtedly a part to play with stress.  You have just had the all clear.  But seriously, how long do you think you would stay ‘all clear’ with this scenario?


My Second Answer (sorry got to be honest)

I’m pretty sure that this man is the reason why you lost contact with your daughters?  Am I right?

In that case he SHOULD NOT BE HAVING CHILDREN anyway.

Children are vulnerable and are there for us to protect.  In anyway helping this man bring a child into the world is just plain wrong.

You told me that you desperately wanted to get closer to your daughters and from what I’ve seen that is improving?  Does that make you feel better?

How do you think they will react to this idea?

I suggest that if you don’t throw him out, they are likely to throw you out.

If he was a decent man, who desperately suddenly realised he wanted children, he would now be suggesting adoption or surrogacy, not ANOTHER WOMAN.

Picture this:

At the end of your life, do you want your children there with you, loving you and wishing you would stay, or do you want him?  A man who has bullied, mistreated and abused you?

If you can get to the end of your life having broken the pattern of abuse, then you will have the right to be VERY proud of yourself, whatever else you do or don’t do with your life.  You will know that YOU did it.  You.  The scared and frightened YOU.  Managed something very difficult.


My Third Answer (being more practical)

Saying that, there are probably millions of women in your position, and it is not easy to leave or kick an abuser out.  I totally appreciate that.

However, you have friends, and you have family.  They will help you.

I’m afraid I don’t know much about the states, but I know that in the UK there are places that vulnerable women can go for shelter and help in your situation.  There must be something similar in the states.  All you have to do is ask, and I know that your twin will get onto google and find you somewhere.


My Fourth Answer (how to do it)

Right, lets give you some things to do to help you get in the right state of mind.

1) FACE THE FEAR: write down all the worst possible things that could happen.  At the moment you are just paralysed by the fear, you haven’t actually thought through what you think will happen if you leave him or kick him out.  You need to dig down into the fear and think ‘Ok, so this might happen, and that would lead to this and that would lead to this etc etc’.

2) Tackle your assumptions: for all the worst things have a look at them and think ‘will this really happen?’ (lots won’t), ‘if it does, will it be so bad, after all at least I will be free’.

3) Write 250 reasons why you are strong enough and will have a better life without him.  Again dig deep think ‘without him it means that <abc> will happen, which will mean that <qpr> will happen, which will mean that <xyz> will happen.

4) Write 250 reasons why you deserve to have a good life and BE ON YOUR OWN FOR A BIT.  You have very low self-esteem and a lot of guilt going on.  You need to look at this in more depth at some point and tackle your issues.  But in the meantime think about all the things you have managed, achieved and the people who love you.  Think about what you could do with your life.  Open your eyes lovely to the lives around you and realise that you could have such a life too.  You have good genes in you lovely; it’s time to make the most of them and get your gorgeousness out into the world!

5) I suspect that you think that he has done things for you, so you ‘owe’ him; he will make you feel as guilty as he can.  When he does that remember that he is MANIPULATING THE HELL OUT OF YOU!  For everything that you think he did/gave you, write down what he got in return from you, until you can see that you don’t owe him anything.

6) BEWARE jumping into a situation were you are reliant on someone else.  We aren’t looking for you to jump into any kind of ‘helpful’ or ‘rescuing’ relationship with someone else.  The objective is to build a strong, new you.



I know it is very easy to say all this.  But I hope with all my heart that you will hear it and believe me.

I’m sending you all the strength I can.

If you find the exercises difficult, then I know a certain person who looks just like you, with the same gorgeous freckles, who can get you through them on skype!

Keep in touch and let me know how you do.

(ooh and these books will help get you strong and deal with feeling down/depressed, plus you have my book don’t you – keep up the daily exercises)






Frustration and anger

Doctor’s Receptionists – Arghhh!

Frustration with doctors receptionists

One thing sure to make me rant is bl**dy doctor’s receptionists and crazy rules about when you can or can’t book appointments.


‘Please make sure to only discuss one problem at a time with the doctor’ they say.  But Oh no, you couldn’t possibly book two appointments if you inconveniently have two things wrong with you.

Because of the whole school run thing, we happen to be a touch busy as everyone else is queueing up outside so when I get to phone: ‘Sorry all the appointments have gone for today’.

‘You CAN book 48hrs in advance’; which is of course always when I’m working.  No I couldn’t possibly book 72hrs in advance.  And all the appointments for a week in advance have gone.

I want to take my son in to check something, but it’s not urgent enough to keep him off school and I don’t want to make a big deal of it.  I’ve tried two days running and still can’t get a bloody appointment.

Last time I went for my back the doctor gave me pain killers, but forgot to put any kind of description as to what to do afterwards, so I have to try and book another appointment, which I’ve been lucky enough to get.  But of course I can’t talk about anything else at that appointment, I’ll have to phone tomorrow morning for another appointment.  Which I wont get because I’ll be too late, and the 48hr one will be when I’m working.  Argggh.

One day someone will die because they miss something serious because they couldn’t book a bl**dy appointment.

Is it so unreasonable to JUST WANT TO SEE A DOCTOR?

I’ve paid my dues.  I hardly ever go.  I don’t take up much time.  I just need a couple of little appointments for me and one for my son.

Last time I saw the doctor he even commented that he hadn’t seen me for a long time.  But whenever I mention how difficult it is to book, they just look powerless; who on earth is running their practice, the receptionist/practice manager or the doctor.

All I can say is Bl**dy ridiculous rules and where the h*ll is the common sense?


The 4 types of help: Be careful who you ask for advice

It’s easy to feel warm and fluffy when we talk to people about our problems, but does it sometimes require some discernment about who we talk to?  I reckon there are four types of advice …

1) Sympathetic Ear

Sometimes we just want a sympathetic ear; fair enough it can be therapeutic to offload and not keep it all inside.  That means we will pick someone who will either agree with us and think that the other people involved in our problem are ‘bad’, or maybe if we are lucky they will just listen and let us offload.  Which do you prefer?  I think that some of us prefer it when our friends see us as the ‘good guy’ and want to protect us from anyone who isn’t being ‘nice’ to us.  But I suspect that it’s more helpful if our friends don’t offer an opinion, but just let us offload in a kind, safe and unjudgmental space.  I suppose this is why some people need to go to a counsellor who is trained in helping people to offload and dig into their emotions, but I’m lucky to have some very wise friends who are willing to be a sounding board (for a little while at least until they kick my butt).

2) Similar Experience

Then there is the opportunity to talk to people who have some kind of similar experience because they are either going through it or have been through it.  But again it can go one of two ways.  It can be great to brainstorm with someone experiencing the same issues and share learnings, plus talking to someone who has come out the other side can give valuable perspective.  But what about their biases, and that they might naturally focus on one perspective?  I’ve heard how useful weight loss groups can be to keep people motivated, but I’ve also seen how groups of women can get together and complain about their lack of weight loss and that is what keeps them together; complaining, not acting.  At the moment I’ve been heavily relying on a couple of friends recently with similar experiences, but luckily none of them are bitter enough for it to turn into a bitch fest.

3) Pragmatic Approach

After a while, many of us move onto wanting a more pragmatic approach with the devils advocate.  This can be uncomfortable, but is it maybe the most honest approach?  Does it help us to see that there are two sides to the story?  It can do, but I’ve experienced how people can jump to conclusions about what the other side is and get it terribly wrong.  This is more like my background in the Demartini Method, where we look to help people gain a balanced perspective on their lives, so again I’m lucky to have friends in my life who do this as a job.  But all you are really looking for is people who can say things like ‘Do you think that is totally true?’ or ‘Could it be worse?’ or ‘What do you think they are thinking?’ or ‘Do you think it’s possible that it wouldn’t work for you as much as you think if it was different?’.

4) Problem Fixer

Then you get the problem fixer, who once you’ve offloaded, brainstormed, and gained perspective, will want to help you come up with an action plan to address it.  Great, progress at last you might feel!  But can they keep their own opinions and biases out of the way long enough to find an action plan that works for you?  Plus it can be infuriating if we have to jump straight to problem solving without the other steps (lots of us probably find our men do this).  Life Coaches tend to be really good at making plans of action for the future, and I tend to add this part in at the end of a session (but only once the pain and hurt are resolved and we can see the situation more clearly).

At the end of the day ….

I’m a big fan of talking to friends/family/professionals and getting problems in our lives resolved.  But there is always a downside to everything.  Sometimes it’s the cost, the amount of time it takes, or that we feel vulnerable when we share.  But even worse can be having a lack of discernment when we talk to people.  I’m not suggesting that our friends should be expected to do all 4 roles for us, but it’s important to be aware of which role they are playing and what they are capable of playing with their experience, wisdom, intuition and knowledge.  Everyone has their limitations, plus some will have agendas which we might be ignoring; no one is ever as innocent as they seem!

Eventually it will be time to move onto the next stage and not keep using an older role in the process.  That sounds harsh doesn’t it, ‘use your friend and move on’.  I don’t quite mean it in that way.  What I mean is, keep the friend, but if you are over the problem or past the way that they can help, then make sure you don’t keep dragging yourself backwards.  But then that’s my bias isn’t it; to eventually resolve it and not keep feeling sorry for myself, even if it sometimes takes me longer than expected?

2010 what a year! Gifts and Challenges all round.

I normally write a letter about my year and send it out with Christmas cards, but this year I’m too late, so instead I thought I’d write a blog post.  Hopefully some of my friends will get to see it.  I like writing this sort of thing, its probably very selfish, but it gives me a great perspective on the year past, before I look to the year ahead.

I was thinking about gifts, as it’s that time of year.  This christmas the focus of the gifts has obviously been on the kiddies.  Curly Headed Boy is 5yrs old and his excitement knew no bounds!  Little Dimples (10 months), got the idea, but tended to cry each time a present was opened, as though each one was almost too good.  The big hits of the year were Kinectimals on the xbox kinect which Santa gave to the family (we’ve been a very good family this year), and the Little Mover pram for Little Dimples, which has had her up and walking instantaneously.  Whilst I was worrying whether Curly Headed Boy would understand that there was more to Christmas than just getting gifts, I decided to think about what I have been given this year instead.

This year has been a big gift and a big challenge, as all years are.  I know that for many it will appear to have been more of a challenge than a gift, but I encourage you to look for as many gifts as possible, as it will start your 2011 better than being desperately glad that 2010 is over (that might sound easy, but I promise it is possible, although tricky on your own sometimes).

The best gift of all was the arrival of Little Dimples to complete our family.  She had a very relaxed arrival in a pool in our lounge, while Big Hairy Northern Hubby and Curly Haired Boy played computer games downstairs.  She lights up the life of everyone who comes into contact with her, and has a bad habit of making people terribly broody.  She is almost irresistable because she is so cute.  I’m amazed that I can definitely love another baby AS MUCH as my first, but how different it is.  With her, she is my ‘sweetheart’, to cuddle close, and enjoy; it’s a very light hearted feeling.  Whereas with Curly Headed Boy he feels like a ‘soul mate’, sometimes so beautiful that he is erie; a bit ‘fey’ my irish friends would say.  How I and Big Hairy Northern Hubby could create such beautiful kids is beyond me.  I am truly lucky, and truly lucky that it happened after such a long wait at 36 and 40.  They are definitely a package, and it wouldn’t be complete without both of them.

Following soon after her birth was the obligatory blip in Big Hairy Northern Hubby’s job.  After Curly Headed Boy was born, hubby was made redundant and was off work for a year.  We almost thought it was going to happen again, but instead his paternity leave was cancelled, and he has been through 3 jobs (same company) and a change of several bosses.  At the moment they want him in the states every other week.  I won’t say what I think of them and their bright idea here, incase I ever have to meet the boss and be polite ;o)

To balance that out, Curly Headed Boy was very settled into his nursery (I moved him for the last year, which was risky), and got an acceptance into a school for reception just before Little Dimples was born (it’s very competitive around here, and a stressful experience choosing schools).  The Mums at his nursery there were amazing in the run up to and after the birth of Little Dimples, and I was inundated by offers of help, so although it’s tricky without any family of my own, I was lucky to have such support.

The next major challenge was me falling big time ill, having to ask for help LOTs, and worrying as they checked me for cancer over several months.  Thankfully it all worked out, which left me realising how lucky I was in comparison to many other Mums.  It’s probably because Little Dimple’s birth was so easy, and with the cancellation of Hairy Hubby’s paternity, I was up and running on school runs within 5 days.  No relaxed bubble with Little Dimples, like I had when Curly Headed Boy arrived.  Definitely a case of ‘don’t do as I did, be a lot more sensible’!

I realised that if I was going to continue to work (it’s tricky when your business is up and running, to take a long time out), then I would need some help with childcare.  After a few false starts and finding someone who turned out to be incredibly unreliable, I really hit the jackpot.  I’ve always said there should be a ‘rent a granny’ site; well that’s what I found, the most amazing irish 73yr old.  She’s be wonderful for Little Dimples, Curly Headed Boy and myself.  She must be the second best gift I got this year, after getting Little Dimples.

I also had help from someone taking care of my other business, as with Little Dimples there hasn’t been space to work that as well as my Mummy Coaching.  I always expected one child to change my priorities and values, but it’s amazing how much a second has done so as well.  I have been pruning, decluttering, and prioritising all year.  With work I have cut back and back, to just focus on what is most important to me, which has been difficult as I was the first person in the UK trained in the Demartini Method many years ago, and I have always felt a sense of responsibility for it.  You are never in-dispensible though, and there are plenty of people to step into the breach now a days.  At home I’ve been ebaying and freecycling like mad.  I’m very lucky to have had someone to help take some of the responsibility, and clients who’ve been patient with us as we tried to improve the communication and my role over-seeing/mentoring her.

All this decluttering, gave me the space to find an online coaching system, which has completely reshaped the way I’m working, and I’ve got a shiny new blog as well.

September was the time for a big change, my hair got a massive make-over, Curly Headed Boy started school, and Little Dimples turned 6 months, which makes things much easier.  Starting reception is such a major thing, maybe for Mums more than the kids; with parties every weekend, letters and words to learn, and new friends to meet.  It’s been more difficult to do play dates as the local soft play shut down, but my new years resolution is to try and fit in at least one per week from now on, as he is still not as settled as he was at his previous nursery.  It is really cute though when they go on their first school trip and do their christmas play, which does help to assuage the sense of loss as they go through this rite of passage to growing up.

I’m going to write a whole other blog about how David Tennant made my day; just to give you something to look forward to!

I have a feeling that 2011 is going to be very different, which we probably all need.  Maybe less intense?  It’s started with me having another declutter, I reckon it might be time for a light detox as well.

Brainstorming with a mate

We all get stressed, especially at this time of year.  Life’s great don’t get me wrong, but I’ve also found the last few weeks stressful, with hairy northern hubby away in america every other week, a tired and tantrumy Curly Headed Boy (coming up for end of first term at primary school), and a teething/cold ridden Little Dimples, and trying to get everything done for my launch in January before the holidays.

Clearly me being stressed was not making the situation with Curly Headed Boy any better, so I’ve been taking a little of my own medicine, i.e. talking to myself to sort things out.  But sometimes I’m the kind of person who needs a sounding board.  I’m not sure if this is a very female trait, or just something some of us like to do, it certainly isn’t something that the hairy northern one is keen on.  But brainstorming has always been one of my favourite methods of getting my head clear.  It’s as though when I’m talking to someone I’m decluttering and re-organising my brain, working out which bits/assumptions to throw out, and popping in a few new items/ideas to make the space a prettier place.

Yesterday morning was one of those days.  I called an old friend on the way out of the car park at school; OMG I’m so going to have to tell you about this blinking car park and some of the mums, but that’s another story!  She happens to be trained in something similar to me, which is very balanced, pragmatic and practical, so we bounce off of each other very easily.  By the time I’d got to my door, I’d had enough of a reorg to be able to take it from there.  I’ll let you know over the next week or so how my ideas worked.

Do you remember to have a chat with a mate sometimes and drop the ‘coping’ facade enough to take a good clear look at yourself and your life?  I know so many mums that have ‘I’m fine’ through gritted teeth as their automatic answer to everything, but their eyes and mouths say a completely different message.

So if you are in a bit of a tizwaz with christmas etc coming up, see if you can have a chat with a mate (preferably over a glass of wine, or cuppa and cake).  What you want is not someone who will fill you up with sympathy, or tell you what to do, But someone who will listen and then gently give you a few ideas to think about.

I know you are busy, but when you are stressed everything will take about 3 times as long, if not more.  I’ve been struggling with some irritating technical problems for a few days, but the minute I got home yesterday it got sorted in a flash.  That’s because I was more present and my brain was working better.  So making a little time for yourself, will heap a big reward.

Right, back to that techie stuff! ……..