Family gap year

Family Gap Year vs Finding The Magic at home

Family gap year
Family travelling the world in a motorhome

With the big hairy northern one being made redundant, we’ve been talking about taking a year out as a family gap year; maybe 6 months in the states, home for my brothers wedding and 5 months in Australia and New Zealand.

Curly headed boy is 6yrs old, and having been to a private school is a bit ahead of our local state schools, so if we home school as we go, it will definitely not affect his education and he’ll be fine to return to a state school.  Plus I think he could do with some time out.  Little Dimples is nearly 2, so she would come back to a years pre-school before reception.

 

What I don’t want to do though is run away thinking that we can get something from the year away that we can’t get from staying and ignore the potential downsides.

So the question is what do I think I’ll get from it?

  1. Adventure and magic
  2. Self discovery for me and the big hairy one
  3. Time for the family to come back together and strengthen
  4. Time for us to think through what the big hairy one would like to do career wise in future
  5. Time out for Curly Headed Boy from 2yrs at a hard core school to rejuvenate
  6. Teach the kids how exciting and fun it can be to learn
  7. Expand the kids horizons, show them what else there is in the world
  8. Reduce the kids reliance on stuff and show them how lucky we are and what a ‘rich’ life really is
  9. Create stronger and more consistent rules and boundaries for the family
  10. See things I’ve never seen before

At the end of the day I’ve realised I want my children to have a ‘rich’ life, so if this will help them start on the road towards that, then great.

Realistically written down like that, there is no reason why we can’t do those things in ‘normal’ life.  But it will take a lot more focus, because it won’t be happening automatically from our environment.

The potential downsides are that we could nearly kill each other in the process of ‘self-discovery’, Little Dimples might not get important socialisation time, we could get sick or have an accident, if mis-managed it could end up costing us too much money and it could make it even more difficult for the hairy one to get a job on his return.

If we don’t go, the downsides are that we might not stay focussed on the changes that are needed, although there will definitely be a change, because we are going to change Curly Headed Boy’s school.  There’s no real way to replace experience though, because you just can’t be sure of what you would get, so it’s difficult to try and replace it.

But if we can managed to stay, plus achieve all of that list, that would be a really amazing achievement though.

It’s a bit of a conundrum and at the moment there are a lot of opportunities out there, I think that we need to do more research and follow a few of the options along to see if they give us a clue.  After all, if someone offered the big hairy one a fantastic job tomorrow, that might be a big hint to stay and just plan a great adventure for a holiday.

 

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! ……..

Do You Like My Shiny New Blog?

I’ve been a bit quiet over the last few months, but it’s all going to change!  I’ve been busy learning, creating, learning some more and sorting out my business, thanks to the very helpful advice I got when I posted ‘Help am I deluded‘ back in October.  Basically everyone was in agreement that although my products/services were good, I was a bit tosh at the whole sales and marketing thing.  (BTW, big apologies for not sending out information about the competition winner sooner, who is Rebecca: my ebook is winging it’s way to you now Rebecca!).

I’d basically been watching the X factor auditions and thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, is it possible that the reason I’ve not yet made a profit is because I’m c**p!’.  Some people may have been thinking I was, but they missed their chance to be rid of me ;o)  So off I went and signed up for a bootcamp program on creating and launching products.  Ironically, it was in the same online coaching system that I had just started to use (check it out if you are coach, I really recommend you think about using it, I’ve become an affiliate for it, because I love it), so I have had a taste of what it’s like to be a client of an online coaching program.

It’s been blinking hard work, when the creator  (Nicola Bird) said ‘bootcamp’ she meant it!  Very soon it did become blindingly obvious that my previous ‘launches’ were basically pitiful attempts.  I’d create a lovely workshop, book or service, pop it on my website and send a newsletter about it.  I always got some pick up, but never as much as maybe I thought the products deserved.

I’m using my Mummy Whisperer workshop as the basis of the program that I’ve created as that has been tried and tested over the last three years, but because there is a self-coaching package people can buy, I’ve added tonnes more information to it, and learnt more about videos, audios and lots more techie stuff.  If I say so myself, it’s looking really rather fab, I just have to stop polishing and adding to it sometime soon as otherwise the perfectionist in me will never finish!  I’m also learning about squeeze pages, email lists, teleseminars, joint ventures, oh and the list goes on and on and on.  Like I say, it’s now pretty obvious that I just wasn’t making sure people knew about my stuff.  If you want to see what the beta version looked like, have a look here on my youtube page.

With a baby I couldn’t do it all, so the gorgeous Violet Posy has helped me out with my blog (lucky thing I’d booked her in advance on a bit of a hunch as she gets booked up months in advance).  What do you reckon, isn’t it shiny?  It makes me a little hungry as it reminds me of raspberry ripple.  I’ve updated my main site to match, and am using my lovely new badges and headers everywhere, so I feel extremely posh!  I’m hoping that by having gone the self-hosted route, my blog will start to do better in the different lists etc (you are very welcome to recommend me to people in order to help out this process, pretty please).

Plus I now have a big PLAN!  I’ll be telling you more about it over the coming months, so keep in touch, especially as there is going to be a fab freebie as a present for you in January to kick your years off with a boost.

OOOH while I’m at it, if you subscribe to my blog via RSS, you might want to add this new feed (see the RSS button on the top right hand side).  I have added an automatic mover from my old site, but you wont see my new blogs otherwise.

So I’ve got another couple of weeks on the bootcamp, then more polishing of the program, and putting into practice everything I’ve learnt.  Wish me luck, because I’m hoping that my gorgeous shiny new blog is a sign of success to come in 2011.  But from now on, there will be lots more posts coming from me, as I love blogging and have put it high up on my priority list.  I’m also going to get the hang of the great theme that got installed and probably have a twiddle myself, so anything you would like to see added to the blog, please do let me know.  (Just seen that one of the menus gets cut off when viewing a post, but shows fine on the main page – so will be doing that sooner than expected!).

Have You Remembered To Ask Yourself?

When in the midst of attempting to make a decision or solve a problem there are a number of things that we often do:

  1. Worry & Panic!
  2. Ask Friends for advice
  3. Ask So called Specialists/Guru’s for advice
  4. Research ideas in books or the internet

But something we often forget to do is ask ourselves!  Do you know what, we are quite wise really, and one of the reasons why it is often a good idea to ask yourself, is because you are really the only person who knows you, your situation and the surrounding issues intimately.  I love a bit of brainstorming in order to sort the facts in my brain.  But ultimately, actually remembering to ask myself what I would say to me if I was a friend/client in the same situation is the beginnings of discovering a solution.

The wisest people balance learning from both outside sources and themselves.  Only listening to your own counsel would mean that you will happily ignore any concepts that are a little uncomfortable for you.  Plus there is no way that anyone can know every possible fact or option!  But only listening to other people, means that you are disempowering yourself and not believing in yourself.  So what you are looking for is a little bit of both as an ideal balance.

Now sometimes I know we literally can’t hear ourselves think, because of all the brain noise in our heads. If that is your current problem, have a quick look through my blogs, because the whole reason for the ‘Mummy whisperer’ is to help you clear all that noise, and I may have blogged already on your current issue, or something similar.  Meanwhile, find a pragmatic (grounded, down to earth & practical) friend, who will help you get a reality check on your fears and guilts.  I’d recommend avoiding the sympathetic ones, because although we need a little bit of support sometimes, it doesn’t tend to actually get us out of the pit we dug ourselves.

Or is it because you can’t see an option which works for you and your family?  Then quite likely you are in one of those situations where more time is needed, because you just don’t have all the necessary information yet.  Check out my blogs about decision making, because they may help you on how to identify the missing information.

So, what would you tell yourself today if you had a chance to chat to yourself?

If I was talking to myself today (whilst awaiting the arrival of No2), I would say:

– Have a cuppa and a cake, whilst enjoying watch some more back issues of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’.  But remember to drink lots of water as well.

– Don’t worry about all the well meaning ‘has she arrived yet’ messages – that doesn’t translate to ‘FFS don’t you know your own body well enough to know whether she is coming or not’!

– She just wants to make an grand entrance, plus after all the noise at that chaos/mayhem called a 4yr old’s soft play party at the weekend, she probably thought she was safer staying inside for a bit longer ;o)

– If your instinct is to stay in, be quiet and be a hermit for a while, then go for it; This is probably the last time you will have a baby in your tummy again or a chance to rest for about 4yrs, so try to make the most of it.

Decisions Made Easy

The problem with making decisions is that often they go round & round in our heads, and we come at them from the perspective of which is going to be the ‘better’ one.  Here is a new way of looking at making a decision, which is from the perspective that all the decisions are Ok, and have as many ‘good’ things to them as ‘bad’, i.e. pros and cons.

By looking at it in this way, you get a couple of big benefits:

1) You can make a plan for the potential downsides of what you do pick

2) You end up picking the one that works for you at the deepest level, by combining the logic of the head, with the instinct of the gut, to join together with the wisdom at the heart.re you wondering about whether to work or not?

3) You get everything written down and out of your head, and can feel that you have made the best effort to investigate all the options

So here are the steps:

– Take all the options
– Then start to list the Pro’s and Con’s for each one – look through all areas of life and how they might be affected e.g. Physical health, Family & Relationships, Social, Mental knowledge, Work, Financial, and Spiritual/View of Life.
– Make sure that you make them specific, rather than very general by drilling them down.  E.g. If I went back to work, I would earn more money, and with that money I could do x, and x, and x and x, which would help with paying for my child to go to nursery, where they could get different input and learn about art, crafts, water play, sand etc – anything that you don’t like doing.
– The difference to this process is that you then KEEP GOING until you have AS MANY Pro’s as you have Con’s for each one
– You are only finished once all the options are equally as good as they are bad, so it’s OK to take a few days over it.
– You then make the decision, because one just feels more right, it kind of ‘sparkles’, which means it suits yours & your families values better
– The key to this is that you are combining the head, with the instinct of the gut, to get the wiseness of the heart.
– Plus you already know what the potential downsides could be, so you can make a plan of action for them.

– Take all the options

– Then start to list the Pro’s and Con’s for each one – look through all areas of life and how they might be affected e.g. Physical health, Family & Relationships, Social, Mental knowledge, Work, Financial, and Spiritual/View of Life.

– Make sure that you make them specific, rather than very general by drilling them down.  E.g. If I went back to work, I would earn more money, and with that money I could do x, and x, and x and x, which would help with paying for my child to go to nursery, where they could get different input and learn about art, crafts, water play, sand etc – anything that you don’t like doing.

– The difference to this process is that you then KEEP GOING until you have AS MANY Pro’s as you have Con’s for each one

– You are only finished once all the options are equally as good as they are bad, so it’s OK to take a few days over it.

– You then make the decision, because one just feels more right, it kind of ‘sparkles’, which means it suits yours & your families values better

Let me know how you do with trying out this technique.  I promise you it works – there’s a large multi-national company in the USA which pays a coach trained in the same system as myself $3000 per day to take them through this process when making strategic decisions!