The Power of Perception to Cloud Your Views

You walk into a room with a pile of people, and what do you see?  An opportunity to meet and get to know people, or almost instantly a judgement description on each person in the room and a worry about what they will think about you?

There’s no getting away from it, we will all judge everyone we meet immediately we meet them.  However, where we go from there is up to us.  Your perception creates your reality, which doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with actuality.  What I mean is, what you think is going on, will affect how you behave and come across, so it will affect what happens, more than anything else.

We judge things according to our values (values are what we believe are important in our lives), and we all have a totally different set of values.  When we meet people who appear to match some of our values, we open up to them and feel all warm about them.  When we meet people who don’t match our values, then we tend to judge them as wrong and not be willing to get to know them or listen to what they may have to say.

The problem is that we let these perceptions rule our lives and affect our future.

Two people walk into a bank, which gets robbed and they both get shot in the arm.  One says ‘blimey that was lucky, we could have been shot somewhere much worse’.  The other one says ‘How unlucky are we, these things ALWAYS happen to me’.  Which are you?

Two people walk into a new group of women; a very intimidating experience!  One becomes painfully aware of what she doesn’t have and immediately assumes they wouldn’t be interested in her.  Eventually, her belief becomes reality.  Not because she wasn’t the same, but because she will have behaved in a way that is uncomfortable and unattractive to be around, especially if it is a habit of hers and she has that ‘chip on the shoulder’ kind of attitude.  The other woman takes some time to assess the situation and watches carefully.  Eventually, she will see that things are not always as they seem, and as she gains confidence, she will be able to connect to the group.

For example, is there a Mum in your school ground who appears to blank you and is a bit scary?  It’s quite possible, that she is actually very stressed, with a ‘difficult’ child that she can’t handle, and is therefore putting on a front in order to protect herself.  What about the gorgeous Mum, who is so well dressed and gorgeous that you think she wouldn’t be interested in you?  Well, actually, if she is totally confident in the way that she is, then she won’t worry about what you look like.  It’s only the Mums that are underneath worried that they don’t have the right clothes/shoes/sunglasses, that will judge you for also not having the right ones.

Let me give you a personal example.  I recently went back to the states to retake the advanced certification course in the Demartini Method (my background) as part of continuing professional development.  On the first day, I’m hormonal (pregnant) and jetlagged, and one of the first to be called upon to do a presentation to the group (no warning!).  I’d seen the woman before get pulled to pieces, and I was immediately nervous, plus I was a bit flummoxed by having to do something differently from the way I traditionally do it, and finally, I knew that my plans for my business might not be in my mentor’s (Dr John Demartini) ideal plans for me!  So I totally fluffed it, and ended up stamping my feet, crying and having a big argument with John.  Afterwards, I sat down and did some used my training to change my perception of him, me and the value that I had to give.  The next day I had my Senior certification interview with John, and passed with flying colours.  I had total clarity on what I was doing, why I was doing it, and why I was of value to his organisation.  Same person.  Just a different perception in my head.

Here’s another example that you will all have seen.  A woman starts to worry that her partner will leave her, because she isn’t good enough for him.  Despite his trying to show her that she is fab, she keeps on.  Eventually, she becomes such a pain in the neck, that he does leave.  It was nothing to do with the fact that she ‘wasn’t good enough’, but more because she became such a pain.  It was her lack of belief in herself that caused the problem, because that is what people pick up on.

When my son joined a new nursery a couple of months back, I was taken aback by the number of rather gorgeous Mums, with rather posh cars, and did feel a little nervous.  But, I realised that they didn’t know me at all, so they wouldn’t really know any particular reason why I wasn’t interesting to meet – I just had to pretend that I was interesting, that’s all ;o)  As time progressed, I realised that it wasn’t one big group of women, but there are about 4 groups.  Some Mums you never see, because they drop the children off early, so to meet them, I popped notes in their children’s bags to arrange play dates.  Some Mums were always late, and much less of the ‘yummy’ type, so to meet them I would pick a day where I didn’t have clients and make sure I hung around a little.  The other group of Mums were totally confident in how they looked, so they don’t mind about me not having the right sun glasses at all.  If I smiled at them and was friendly, they were totally friendly back.  Then the final group of Mums actually appeared less confident in themselves, so I looked for something that we would have in common and then started up a conversation when an opportunity arose.  I’m perfectly aware of the fact that in life only about 50% of people will like you, so I’m not attempting to be liked by everyone.  But heh, that leaves 50% to like me, not bad odds heh!

I know other Mums who have been faced with the same sort of situation, but because they believed that they didn’t have enough money and didn’t fit in, that’s basically what happened.  There might be a small number of mums who wouldn’t be interested for that reason.  But to generalise about a whole town or city, is just daft, it’s not possible for all of them to be only interested in rich friends.

I know several Mums who are from other countries e.g. America or Russia.  Some of them were always worried that they wouldn’t fit in, because they were not english.  They assumed that everyone already had friends, and no one would be interested in them.  The others realised that actually there are plenty of Mums who are a little isolated, and coming from a different country can actually make you interesting to be around.  The first set of Mums are lonely.  The second set of Mums have loads of friends.

What are you worrying about?  Is it affecting how you come across in that situation – work/home/socially?

Have a think about yourself.  Rather than thinking about what you don’t have, concentrate on what you do have?  For work, think about all your past jobs, projects, skills, qualifications, characteristics, and strengths.  Write a really detailed list, until you understand what you are good at and can value yourself more.  For home, think about everything that you do at home, and why you are fabulous to have around?  Socially, think about why people like being around you, is it because you are a good listener, or are you the life and soul of the party, what is it about you that people love?  I’m not suggesting you get big headed about yourself, because that can go the other way!  I’m just suggesting you learn to appreciate why you are wonderful and fantastic.

(Just adding a quick line to help me submit my blog to technorati JYY278WUKM2J)

Choosing Schools, School Assessments and Potential Rejections

So this is a blog very close to my heart at the moment, having just been through an incredibly stressful 2 weeks, with a few more to go!  So I can vouch for the exercises I am going to take you through, as I totally had to use them myself to clear the ‘brain noise’ out ;o)

First some background information.  Our original plan was to go for a state primary where we live, however, a baby boom means that we will not be able to get into any of our preferred schools, and the only option is not an option, if you know what I mean.  So the first thing we had to get our heads around was paying for school for a 4yr old.  Ironically, having paid for nursery over the past couple of years, so that I could work, it’s pretty much the same fees, so financially it isn’t such a stretch, until you look at their whole school life – ouch!  Plus of course there is another baby on the way, which at most will get us a 10% discount, heh ho!

Now around us, the good news is, that there are tonnes of private schools.  However, mistake number one on my part was to not understand the ‘game’ that is played between them all and the parents, plus to get pregnant and potentially have a baby arriving in Feb at one of the most crucial ‘game playing’ times!  So I had a look at all the schools, ruled out some immediately, then visited a few, and ended with a short list of ONE.  I assumed everyone picked their favourite school, and that on the assessment the school would see what all his nursery teachers have seen, and obviously want him – MISTAKE NUMBER ONE, oops ;o)  What actually happens, is Mums apply to loads of places, then get offered and keep the place, just incase they don’t get their preferred option a few months later (all the schools offer over a period of 6 months).  Plus, some apply to nursery, change their mind and then ‘defer’ the place until reception year.  So they have automatically got themselves a place, without any of this scary assessment stuff!

So if you are looking at choosing a school for your child, or are in the middle of assessments, then this blog is for you, with lots of hints and tips about how to deal with it.  For all of these, you could do with a notebook or a spreadsheet; there is a magic in writing stuff down, which gets it out of your head and into a manageable format.  So right from the start, get organised (even if you aren’t generally an organised type about these sorts of things!).

Step 1 – What would you ideally like?

So what are your key and secondary wishes for a school?  This is down to your values, and you aren’t ‘wrong’ in any of your choices, it’s just important to know.  Some Mums around me are most keen on the academics, others sport.  I’m looking for my son to love it, get the option to try lots of things, have lunch (some are packed), and swim from early on.  Academics are important, but not above ’roundedness’, because he is a fan of sport AND art AND reading.  Keep track of this list and compare to your assumptions below.  Plus, remember what your child would like.  My son is very sociable, loves telling stories, needs a lot of space around him and likes to go outside every day, so this is important for me to factor into the decision.

Step 2 – Keep a List of Your Assumptions

As you investigate your options, make sure that you list your assumptions.  You may have to come back and adjust some of these later!  Mine were mainly, that I would prefer Co-ed, that Steiner education was too risky as we might move before my son was taught to read at 7.  But sneaking in there were a lot of assumptions about the scary nature of the Mums at some of the schools!  Now this is where there was an important clash with my Sons values, as I had ruled out several schools, that in the recent months we have met the potential children for, and he adores them.  My current situation is going back through all of my assumptions and deciding which ones are ‘real reasons’ for ignoring a school.  I was just trying to simplify the decision, but now I’m going to broaden my horizons.

Step 3 – Pros and Cons List

For each school start writing the Pro’s and Con’s for each.  Now there is an important DIFFERENCE to how you have done this before.  This time, you are aiming to get as many Pro’s as Con’s for each school.  If you have more of either, then you do not have a balanced viewpoint of the school and something is going to catch you by surprise.  Plus you are looking for the same total number for each school.  If one has less, then there are lots of things that you don’t know about them.

I absolutely promise you that there ARE as many Pro’s as there are Con’s for each school.  By doing this, you will see each school clearly.  If your decision is still hazy, then you haven’t found all the pro’s and con’s yet.

The mistake I made, was not to continue with the list as I got more information – so look on it as an ongoing project.  Where you have unequal lists, move onto the next step.

Step 4 – Unknowns List

As you make assumptions and list pro’s and con’s, you will realise that there are things that you don’t know about each school.  Keep a list of these, and then you can start to fill in the blanks.

Step 5 – What to do in the case of rejections

So I have been refused jobs and all sorts of opportunities and generally been quite pragmatic about it.  But it is a totally different even when your son gets refused!  One Mum is terribly upset that her daughter was rejected from a school, even though she wouldn’t have picked that school!  The other Mum, still has assessments to go, but is panicing, because the first school have only offered a waiting list.  I’m ‘lucky’ in that my son has been offered a ‘waiting list’ (long) for one school and reserve list (short, but they over offer) for another.   However, I may not get the results until Feb, which is when babyno2 is due, so there is a big handful of hormonal worry going on ;o)

So if you are upset over the rejection, here are some ideas for tackling it, because the upset and brain noise associated with it, will drain you and get in the way of you making a plan as to what to do from now on.  I’m going to list some potential reasons why you might be upset and how to tackle it.  Even if you have a different situation, you will probably be able to get a clue from these examples, if not, feel free to contact me.

a) You are upset over the ‘rejection’.

This is a sign that you are really sensitive about the times that you have ‘rejected’ your child.  Now we ALL ‘reject’ them at some point, but you are feeling really guilty about it.  When I say ‘reject’, I mean things like when disciplining them, you stick to your guns, even though they are upset.  Or when you have to leave them for nursery or to so something important and have to ignore their cries.  Or when you are over tired and just can’t face any more.  There are loads of different times that we might have done it.

If this is how you feel, then there are 2 things that I would like you to look at.

How the ‘rejection’ from the school helps, benefits or works for your child?  For example, are there other children you are not keen on going there?  Is it very strict?  Is it a long way away?  Is there something missing from it?  What’s important to them, that the school doesn’t have?  What’s important to your family that the school doesn’t have?

How has it helped your child when you have so say ‘rejected’ them.  Ok, so they were upset at the time.  But, did they gain independence, learn that you would come back, or broaden their horizons about who they could turn to?  Why is that important in the long run for them?  What would happen if you didn’t do it?  Might they end up spoilt, clingy, or lacking in confidence?

b) You are upset because it didn’t work out straight away, even though you know there will probably be somewhere for them.

My ‘brain noise’ was.  ‘It would just be so much easier if rather than being put on a waiting list, he had been given a space immediately’.  So I had to keep thinking, ‘Why is it for the best that he didn’t get a place straight away’.  It took me some time.  Hubby mentioned that it had got him more involved in the whole decision, which started me off, and then I got a key insight.  I realised that it gave me more time to rethink my own decision, and to investigate a couple of options that I hadn’t looked at beforehand.  Otherwise I would have to hand over £500-£1000 to keep a spot, and then find out later that there was an option that would work better for Max.

c) You are worried that there will be no-where for your child.

So you need to double check this assumption.  Has anyone ever not got into a school?  Nope, even in my case, I could still send my son to the state school.  For me, this would mean taking more responsibility for teaching him, doing sport and consistently reminding him that swearing and inappropriate behaviour will not be allowed.  For you, it might mean a longer journey.  But there is an option, and you might then get a chance to get into the school of your choice later.  It’s not over until it’s over!  Go back over your assumptions, have you ignored a location or type of school?  If this happened, it would be time for me to look up the M25 potentially, or into town.  All the private schools near me, will have spaces in Feb, because the most academic school doesn’t offer until then.  Then there will be spaces in April, when some will give up their places because they did get the state school of their choice.

Write down whats the worst thing that could happen?  Face the fear, rather than keep letting it rattle around in your head.  At the very worst I could home educate, move, go to church or change religion (we have a lot of religious state schools in out area).  Even when you think there are no more options, I bet there are some.

By the way, if your child has some very specific problems which might get in the way, like aspergers, or a physical challenge, then you might need a great deal more assistance than just this blog.  But it will hopefully start you off.  It’s key to talk to people who have been in the same situation as you, and find out how they tackled it – so get on that internet and find the support groups with the info!  Feel free to get in touch.

Step 6 – Still Overwhelmed?

If you still feel terribly upset about the whole process, then you are probably over-tired and need a bit of time-out.  Get a friend round for a cuppa or a glass of wine, and ask them to help you brainstorm for some outside ideas.  Focus on some sleep (epsom salts in the bath helps), healthy food, fresh air and taking care of yourself.  Decide that you are going to put this ‘school issue’ into a box for a week, and literally not open the lid.  Each time it crops up, put it back in the box.  You need a rest, and after a good rest, things will not seem so bad and you will be able to cope better.

Let me know if this post has been helpful at all, and how you have experienced this whole school assessment process.

Bullying Pt 13 – Ideas on Strategies To Employ

So, I realised that I have talked a lot about what creates the whole bullying situation and how it can be addressed at home.  But I haven’t gone into lots of detail about how to identify what kind of strategies to teach your kids.  I am assuming that you have at least read my two summaries on Bullying before reading this one, so I’m not going to duplicate the details in there.

Bullying : Summary of What to Do

Bullying: Summary of Concepts

 

That means, that by the point you are reading this blog, you have worked through:

Step 1 – Deal with your issues first

Step 2 – Stand back & objectively have a look at the Support/Challenge

Step 3 – What are they getting from it on both sides?

Step 4 – Devise a strategy

a) Where can you help to re-balance the support/challenge in your child’s life?

b) Help your child learn directly, what they have been learning indirectly.

c) Involve the school

d) Create a plan of action & monitor it

Help your child learn directly, what they have been learning indirectly.

So you know how I look at bullying from a different perspective and suggest that the bullied child is being given a hint about the fact that there is an area of their life that needs strengthening or something they need to learn?  What I’m going to talk about is how to identify what your child needs to learn and then how to implement it.

There are seven areas of life, which if translated into a child/teenager’s world would look like this:

1) Spiritual – Views about what life means, religion, spirituality, ideas about a bigger picture.  For children, this is likely to be noticeable to other children by obvious differences like clothing or food choice, possibly colour, although that will depend on where they live.  When they get older, it will become more obvious, especially when views get expressed and discussed.

2) Mental – When younger is likely to be mainly to do with language and how vocal kids are.  Then as they got older it will change more towards how clever they are at different subjects.

3) Vocational – Now obviously a toddler doesn’t really have a ‘job’, so think instead of their purpose in life, do they feel as though they have a value.  Job’s may kick in as they get older, either as a badge of honour (working in a pub!), or as an embarrassment because of not being available.  Plus the parent’s jobs will have an effect.

4) Financial – Again a toddler doesn’t really have their own dosh, and I suspect that only a teeny tiny percentage will actually notice clothes/cars etc, but they will quickly become aware of who has what toys.  As they get older, this becomes very important, to teens because of clothes, phones and gadgets!

5) Family – is their relationships at home and later as teens, their romantic relationships.

6) Social – is their general understanding of social etiquette, handling different male/female different situations and how confident or over-confident they are in a group situation.  This is incredibly important to all kids and teens in most cases, as often from a very young age, seeing their friends is a priority to them.

7) Physical – Finally, this is all about strength, looks, health, comparisons etc.

 

What happens in the case of a child being bullied, is that they are weak in one of these areas of life.  Ironically, being strong or weak in an area of life, is not actually anything to do with ‘reality’, but instead perception i.e. how we feel or view about ourselves.  A girl can be beautiful, but just not appreciate herself (or in the case of my school, vice versa!).  Someone can be fabulous at maths, but desperately unhappy because they are not so good at english.  Some could be terribly aware of their differences to the other children and others, just walk in totally unaware and oblivious.

I’m going to blog about perception in a different post (so I definitely recommend you checking that one out as well), but here we are going to focus on how to help your child become stronger.

Firstly, why would you bother?  After all, your child is really bright, why does it matter that they feel physically weak?  The reason is because you are looking (I assume!), to give your child a safe and bright future.  Have you ever wondered how come one person gets made redundant and their life falls apart, whereas someone else is hardly effected?  Same for divorce or relationship issues, and all sorts of problems?  One reason is because if someone has varied interests across all areas of life (I’m not talking about being a star in all of them, just that there is something going on in each area), then when a key area of life gets tackled by a trauma or tragedy, they have all the other areas to keep them going and give them a reason for being.  Whereas someone who only focusses on two areas, will be devastated if something goes wrong in one of those areas.

Now, there are hundreds of potential strategies, and I am not going to go into detail into each and everyone, because you and your family are unique.  But if you have been following all my other guides, you will be feeling pretty calm about the whole issue, so you will easily be able to find the strategy that will work for you.

The most important thing to NOT do, is tell them that the bully is bad, and that they are the victim of the whole scenario, because that will just weaken them even more.  Plus you don’t want to sit there and say ‘what did you do?’, as though it is their fault, as that won’t work either.

Let’s ignore ‘fault’ for a moment and instead come up with a strategy to make a difference:

Spiritual:

everyone needs to learn when to speak up about their views and when not too.  Young kids can be very self-righteous about beliefs, so it might be an idea to teach them discernment.  If they are being bullied due to religious issues etc, then have a look for children with families who would not behave in that manner, or maybe focus on teaching them a thicker skin, where it really doesn’t matter what some kids think.

Mental:

Where are they really brilliant?  Focus on that, I bet there is somewhere.  You may want to help them out with some additional assistance at home, or an extra class in something that would interest them (e.g. drama).

Financial:

It can undoubtedly be tough if a child feels inadequate because they don’t ‘have’ the same things that other kids have.  But stick with it and be certain.  Find them stories of famous people in the same situation, show them how it will benefit them in the long run.  There are literally hundreds of examples of situations where spoilt kids end up financially broke, because they never learn to handle money.

Vocational:

Where could they be given a sense of purpose and importance within the family?  Is there a little job that they could be doing in order to earn their pocket money or improve their financial status?

Familial:

Focus on why they are lucky to have the family structure that they have.  Does it mean that they get more quality time separately with each parent?  Does it mean the grand parents are more involved?  Look at the families that are so called ‘ideal’, I bet you that with a little close inspection, they are not ideal at all.  Help your child be sure of how lucky they are to have what they have.  With relationships, well that’s a whole kettle of trouble for them as they grow up, so lots of preparation with talking about relationships in the early years, will help you keep tabs on things as they age.

Social:

Use books, DVD’s, role playing, games, talking, or maybe extra-curricular classes to help your child gain confidence socially.  What is their value?  What is special about them?  Do they know how to handle social situations?  Social confidence will pretty much overcome any other problem that they face, because if they know that they have a value socially, then they know their purpose in their social group!  Remind them that it is an odd situation to have to get on with other kids purely because of their age; whereas when they go to work it will be more down to interest.

Physical:

If they are rubbish at sport as I was, try a broader perspective because now a days there are HUGE numbers of different activities available.  Remember, they maybe slow to learn, but given a chance, they can still learn to tackle something, somewhere.  There was a wonderful story on pride of britain this year, about a Mum who took her daughter to martial arts classes, after she was bullied at school due to her artificial legs; Fantastic approach!  I know a gorgeous girl with no hair, who is so strong and so confident, that having wigs has never appeared to cause her problems.  However impossible it appears, keep your eyes open for places that they can gain some confidence.  Remember, many people are amazingly attractive, even though their physical appearance is not gorgeous.  (Cases such as anorexia are obviously much more complicated, and when I get a chance, I’ll give some ideas for them as well).

So in summary, you are going to help your child empower and strengthen the area of life, that the bully has highlighted to you could do with some strengthening.  I’ve written 2 blogs on my own sons experiences so far, and will continue to do so as he grows and faces different types of bullying.


Bullying Pt 12 – The Bully returns for my son

So, if you’ve read my other posts, you’ll know that I was originally inspired to write all these ‘bullying’ posts by my little 3yr old being ‘bullied’ at his nursery.  It was a situation with a little boy, who I suspect (but I never got a chance to help the parents, which I would have loved to do) was feeling powerless at home due to having one very dominating parent, and another not giving clear rules/controls.  He would also get suddenly bored, which is how come it was difficult for the nursery to predict when the problem would occur, because it was as though he would suddenly switch for no reason.

I applied some changes to the support/challenge in my son’s life at home (i.e where life goes his way and doesn’t) and did puppet role play shows on how to walk away from a situation, and the problem appeared to go away.

However, new nursery, new problem!  This one has less of a problem with boredom as it is more structured, and they are stricter, so there isn’t really obvious physical bullying.  Instead, we have the more subtle feminine side of bullying, with the use of WORDS and power over who does and doesn’t belong!  The kids are brighter, older and much cleverer, so it is a totally different kettle of fish.  Now I don’t know them well enough to know exactly what their backgrounds are which is creating their behaviour, but they are definitely looking to create more ‘support’ for themselves at nursery, by creating a ‘gang’ that they can belong in.  (Remember, bullies are not ‘bad’ – we all bully somewhere – they are just attempting to fill a need).  There are quite a lot of girls, so they are all attempting to work out the hierarchy and displaying signs of ‘power’ and who would be most valuable to ‘belong’ to!

Why has it occurred for Curly Headed Boy again?  Well, we have just come back from holiday, where I worked for 5 days and he got thoroughly spoilt.  Plus he arrived 2 weeks after everyone else, so isn’t automatically fitting in.  He probably walked in a little cocky, expecting it to be like his old nursery where the shouts of his name would be everywhere as he arrived.  He needs to learn to adapt to a bigger environment, where he isn’t such a big fish.  Plus, he needs for life to be going slightly less the way he always wants it at home!  (Remember, I’ve talked about the ‘challenge’ of bullying occurring when there is too much ‘support’ elsewhere in their lives).

 

Now, although I don’t get really ‘upset’ about bullies etc, it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to take some action.  So here is what I’ve done so far:

1) Alert the nursery to the fact that I’m totally aware of the situation, and am not willing for it to continue for too long.  In my view it is their job to ensure that the kids all understand that it is not acceptable behaviour at school to refuse to play with someone because of their gender/size/race/background etc.  If they don’t do that, then they aren’t helping the ‘bullies’ who need to learn some safe boundaries.  If they get caught with that sort of behaviour at the up and coming assessments for primary schools, they will be in big trouble!  However, of course, they can’t force a child to play with another child, and that’s not what I’m attempting to make them do.

Update: the nursery were great, and admitted that there was a slight problem in the room.  They are now being much more consistent and certain about the behaviour expected at nursery.  They have also had a whole week concentrating on ‘friendly behaviour’ at circle time, and have even asked Max to share his strategies (see below).

2) Started to suss out the Mums in the playground and found another Mum in the same situation.  So we can set up a ‘play date’ where are kids gain some ‘power’ by getting to know each other.  I’m going to keep looking and help Curly Headed Boy learn how to look for potential friends and remember names (challenging in a larger class of 16 with 2 teachers!).

Update: This very quickly helped both him and another child facing a similar problem.  They immediately understood that it wasn’t personal, and that there were potential allies in the room, so it had an almost overnight affect.  Got lots more booked up as well; gonna have to buy him a diary to keep track ;o)

3) Talked Curly Headed Boy through the 4 alternatives to what to do (at his age) when a child doesn’t want to play with him (they told him he was a boy, so he couldn’t play with the girls).

Firstly, clearly say that if they don’t want to play with him, it’s not a problem, because he’ll find someone better to play with (maintain his power).

Secondly, to check around the playground for someone else who is alone and play with them (Look for opportunities).

Thirdly, look for something fun to do on his own (show initiative & confidence).

And Finally, in the situation that they want to play with him, but not do what he wants to do, then he can either give in and play what they want, or create a new idea, or make a ‘deal’ to play their game and then his (he is good at deals!).

Update: Not only did he apply these strategies, but I also saw him apply them in a park a few days later.  There was a group of boys, with a ‘leader’ who was very clever at manipulating situations.  They systematically spat at, kicked, pushed and called him names.  During which time, I clung to the park bench, knowing that I needed to let him handle the situation himself.  He was amazing, I was so proud of him,  He tried every strategy I had given him (I’m going to blog more about strategies soon), and eventually actually started to create allies int he group.  I’m now very grateful to those little girls at his nursery, for their very gentle introduction into a much more severe world of child-power-play.

 

I have no doubt that the social lessons he is learning here will set him in good stead for when he goes to primary school next year.  Plus although the game has upped in intensity/complication a bit, he is also capable of understanding more complicated social situations now.  Finally, he is beginning to get his head around the fact that I’ve been telling him that there will always be people both loving and disliking him in life, and that is OK.  If he can learn to understand that, it will save him a world of pain in the future, and instead he will automatically just look around for who does like him, rather than worry about who doesn’t.

It’s ironic that I have picked a co-ed school for Curly Headed Boy, rather than single sex, which would have a much simpler version of bullying for him!  But heh, that is real life, so, and I think that he is capable of dealing with it, even at this age (others might not) and therefore it will stand him in good stead for life.  Bear this in mind when considering single/co-ed schools – what would suit your child and their current social maturity levels?

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!

 

Bullying – Summary of what to do

I’ve been blogging about bullying for ages, but it’s a complicated subject and I realised that you might be needing a quick summary on how to start tackling the issue.  Please bear in mind that you will probably need to read my other blogs to get the background situation and examples, plus you will definitely need to read the Bullying Summary of the concepts.

So this is a ‘quick’ summary.  With the proviso, that it is ‘quick’, not thorough, and there are different degrees of bullying, some of which are quickly resolved and some of which you might need some assistance with.

 
Step 1 – Deal with your issues first so you can be objective

This is an emotional subject and you are likely to either be upset because you are remembering what it was like to be bullied yourself, feeling terribly protective, or really mortified because you feel guilty that your child has been doing the bullying.  So in order for you to deal with this, you first need to be able to see the situation clearly.

 

Step 2 – Stand back and have a look at the Support/Challenge

If your child is being ‘bullied’, where is the support/ease/life going the way they like it?  Where are they ‘popular’?  Where are they getting their own way?  Are they ‘over-protected’ somewhere?

If you child is the ‘bully’, where is the challenge/difficulty/unease in their lives?  Are they feeling insecure, lacking in power, bored, or needing more freedom?

 
Step 3 – What are they getting from it on both sides?

 
What is your ‘bullied’ child getting from being bullied?  Why do their so called ‘persecutors’ need to do it?
What is your ‘bullying’ child getting from the bullying?  What are their so called ‘victims’ getting from it?
What do they all need to learn?
What is it directing them to do or not do?

 
Step 4 – Devise a strategy

 
1) Where can you help to re-balance the support/challenge in your child’s life? Does the bully need something to give them more security, or more clear guidelines/boundaries, or for a parent to back off, or for a parent to stand up for themselves more?
Does the bullied child need more responsibility at home, less spoiling, or more consistency and rules.

 
2) Help your child learn directly, what they have been learning indirectly.
Now my son is nearly 4, so I can have chats with him, but I also need to use things like role playing with puppets to get the point across.  If your child doesn’t understand chats, then you might want to look for a media that they will understand for example a story/book/film/TV program that will initiate a conversation.  If they are bullying they may need to understand the consequences of their actions, either with a form of punishment or a look at how it will affect them detrimentally in the future.  How can you teach them the social interaction lessons that they are learning from the episodes?

 
3) Involve the school
Just because I don’t think that bullies are bad kids, doesn’t mean that I don’t think that the school should get involved.  I don’t think that vilifying the bullies will help, or rescuing the bullied.  However, clear signals an rules as to what is expected and allowed in behaviour at school is definitely necessary.
 

4) Create a plan of action & monitor it
Remember you can’t remove bullying from your child’s life, but you can rejig where it displays.  So create a plan of action, and then monitor it over a period of time to see where it is and isn’t working.  Get in touch with me on my fan page or via my website if you require any assistance.
 
 

Bullying Summary of the Concepts

I thought it might be useful to summarise all the concepts that I have covered in my Bullying Blogs for you guys.

(See my other blogs for the background information for these, you’ll probably need explanations to explain why these concepts work):

 

1) Labels are not useful and don’t fix anything.  In fact in some way everyone is a Bully, just as much as each other; it’s just that the majority of us do it in subtle or more socially acceptable ways.

 

2) Bullying can not be destroyed as it is a part of human nature, so trying to remove it is naive and will just move it to more subtle or difficult places to monitor; that doesn’t mean that it can’t be dealt with though.  It is therefore in all of our lives, the problem is when it is in a place or focussed so strongly that it causes distress or when the parents don’t know about it.

 

3) The objective instead is to understand the bullying and learn from it, so that it becomes something our kids don’t notice or that just goes over their heads.

 

4) A child who is being bullied will be being overly supported / protected / liked somewhere in their lives.  There is always a balance in our lives (although it’s often not easy to see) of ease/difficulty and support/challenge.  It can help with the resolution of the problem to look at the other side of the picture.

 

5) Everyone is both liked and disliked to an equal degree, it is impossible to be liked by everyone, but also more comfortingly we will never be disliked by everyone either!

 

6) The ‘bullied’ child will gain benefits from being bullied (the silver-lining), and if we can help them understand, appreciate and learn from this and the concepts above, then they do not need to feel victimised & powerless.

 

7) The ‘bullying’ child also requires some assistance (although I’m not against consequences and punishment either), as the reason that they are ‘bullying’ is to gain a supportive/enjoyable experience in order to deal with something else in their lives that they are finding challenging or because they need someone to put their foot down and give them boundaries that are lacking elsewhere.

 

8) An example of what the ‘Bullied’ child can gain from the experience is to learn to stand up for themselves, or to mix with other children who might be a ‘better influence’ or more suitable for them.

 

9) An example of why a ‘Bullying’ child does it, is because they need Power, Freedom, Belonging or Fun, i.e. they feel powerless at home due to under-dominating parents, or have lack of choice due to dominating parents, or are insecure about belong loved or belonging, or are bored.

 

10) The ‘Bully’ is not ‘horrid’ or ‘evil’ and the ‘Bullied’ is not an ‘angel’.  Thinking of them like that will cloud the issues and stop them from being resolved, which is the most important thing.

 

Now, if any of this pushes some buttons (and I would totally understand if it does, as bullying is a very emotional subject), please read my other blogs before jumping to conclusions.  I’m not just saying all this for no apparent reason and with no background.  It has come from 10yrs of studying, a 40yr lifetime of experience, plus being a Mum myself.  So bear with me, I’m attempting to help us all resolve the growing problems of bullying in the UK.

What can we expect from our Men?

Fay Weldon has just written what some people are seeing as a shocking article from a feminist, where she is telling women to pick up men’s socks.  But I salute her, for her realism and I’m going to explain why, but maybe in less shocking terms!  (She is making a distinct difference between home and work – with work where she stresses that we shouldn’t pick up the socks! i.e. make coffee)

I’ve talked before about having realistic expectations of your children, rather than expecting a 2week old to sleep through the night, or a 3yr old to be able to articulate clearly, or a teenager to manager their emotions.  Every child will mature at their own unique speed, with some areas that they excel at and some that they are slower at.  Every child is just as great and clever as the next child, it’s just that they do it in different ways, that’s all.

The same rule applies to all ‘humans’.  We are all great at some stuff and rubbish at other stuff.  Not all men are rubbish at picking up socks, but there probably is a healthy majority, which doesn’t have it as a key skill.  Just as not all women are great at looking after a house, but we do have a tendency to be better at it than the men.  It’s all down to what we value in life, because if we value it, we will do it automatically and better than the things that we don’t value.  Everyone has different values, which affects how we see the world that we live in.  Some Mums will have a huge value on being a SAHM and will therefore judge others for not doing it.  Some Mums will have a huge value on eco-living and judge any mum using a disposable, even if it is eco-friendly (believe me, I’ve been at the receiving end of ‘nappy-date’ in our local NCT! – but thats another story!).  The eco Mums will wonder how come the other Mums can’t manage to wash nappies.  The disposable nappy mums will probably be thinking that they’d go mad if they attempted to do that as well, which is because it isn’t in their values, so it doesn’t come easy to them.

So we all have different values, and the man in your life will have very different values from your own.  They are MEANT TO BE DIFFERENT!!  There’s no need to us all being the same, that would make us unnecessary, so everyone has a different combination and hierarchy of values.  Everyone is totally committed to their OWN values.  They might say that they are interested in yours, in an attempt to appease, but it’s what they do that counts.  Everyone has skills according to their values.

So it is unreasonable to expect yourself to be anything other than yourself, and it is unreasonable to expect the man in your life to be anything other than who they are.  There are times in our life when we have to do things that we don’t want to, especially as a Mum.  But it probably wouldn’t work for us if the house was a total disaster area, so even if we don’t find it the most fulfilling job (and I’m jealous of those who do enjoy it), we still do it.  Now your bloke probably doesn’t notice or care as much when the house is in a state, because they have totally different values filtered eyes to you.  (Like the fact that my hubby can see a Ferrari on the opposite side of the motorway going past at 100 miles an hour, but can’t find the tomato ketchup sitting stock still in the cupboard).

We are ‘equally’ as valueable to society as men.  But that doesn’t mean that we all have to be the same.  It’s more about embracing our differences and who we are, just as we are.  You maybe an exception and much more interested in typical ‘male’ activities – that’s great, that’s who you are.  Or you maybe the extreme opposite, loving baking and home making – perfect, that’s who you are.  And the same applies to our men.

So what to do, if it’s winding you up about the socks?!  Well, one thing definitely won’t work; shouting at him that he ‘should do it, and is unappreciative of what you do!  Here are a number of options, let me know if none of them work and I’ll come up with some more:

1) If you can afford it, get some outside assistance – my hubby likes the house clean, is not so good at doing it himself consistently (can do it in an emergency), but as I’m part-time working, there is no way he expects me to do it.  So I employ a cleaner.  I probably only just cover the costs of the cleaner, nursery, and a few other bits & pieces, but I’d prefer to be working part-time than not.  If I clean all the house, it doesn’t suit me, and I get overstressed, and my self-esteem drops.  So this is a good compromise for us.

2) If there is a chance that you can persuade your other half to help out then learn the art of negotiation – have a think about what your other half values and enjoys in life.  Then have a think about the things that you would like to delegate to him.  Which suit him best?  For example, bins is great for mine, because it’s not every day.  Emptying the dish washer was our agreement for getting one, because I’ve always hated doing that for some reason.  None are too ‘heavy’.  Then have a think about how you can sell it to him in a way that works for him.  It worked for me to say that doing the bins was tricky because were I am it takes ages to sort out the recycling and that would lead to a stressed and frantic child.  I’ve also asked for help in getting my little boy into his pj’s, because if hubby gets home before DS is in bed, it will delay things, and then if I do everything, we won’t get much chance to sit together in the evening before I’m shattered and off to bed.  If he helps, it gives us 10 more precious minutes together.  Now these might not work for your bloke, but something will.

3) If there is a task that you know would be totally pointless to delegate, but you hate it, then sit down with a nice cuppa one night and have a think about how it helps you with what you value, the people you love and the things that you would love to achieve.  For example, I used to get stressed about being in a 3 storey townhouse and trying to be ‘efficient’ in always thinking of what needed to go up/downstairs before heading off.  It was a bit retentive!  Instead I realised that if I was less efficient, then I would be getting valuable exercise if I was less organised; and exercise is something that I have problems with fitting into my schedule of family/work.  It went from something that made me stressed and freaky, to just another thing that easily fitted into life.

So, what I’m saying is, forget what society says men should be doing at home.  Comparing your other half, to a fantasy picture of what he should be like, will just cause trouble between the two of you, and mean that you aren’t appreciating what you have.  In the meantime, you won’t be much fun to live with either!  Instead, work with the reality, make it work for you, not against you.

If you would like a starting hint at looking at values, there is a free audio on my website here: http://www.mummywhisperer.com/Pods_Vods.html

Let me know how you do!

Update

Had lots of comments about this one on my facebook fan page!  Many mums pointed out that sometimes when you are trying to sell helping out with things like the socks as I mentioned, that it doesn’t always have to be selling by offering a reward.  With some people offering a consequence or cost instead!  The great options were, anything left on the floor ending up in the bin, or only what is in the washing basket getting washed.

Remember, I’m not suggesting that you attempt to do EVERYTHING!  I’m just suggesting you be realistic about what you can and can’t expect from your other half.  Plus be appreciative of what they do do, rather than always complain about what they don’t do.

This works the other way as well of course, for any men reading!  Don’t expect your other female half to do things that they don’t have the skills or motivation to do.  Luckily my husband doesn’t expect me to be a cordon bleu cook, because he’d be really disappointed, just as he would be if he wanted me to be toned, tanned and a size 10 ;o)

Dangers of positive thinking

The Dangers of Positive Thinking

Dangers of positive thinkingPositive Thinking has been a popular catch phrase for sometime now, so it might surprise you to find that I’m not a fan.  Recently, there has even been scientific research into the fact that it can be detrimental to people of low self-esteem in particular.

The reason I’m not a fan is because to be Positive all the time is an impossible task, and therefore both pointless and soul destroying.  The world we live in is made of North/South, Light/Dark, Electrons/Positrons i.e. a mixture of both, and we are both happy/sad, positive and negative.  I know a really retentive guy who about 25yrs ago was really trying to be positive all the time, so he decided to record how he felt (using a scale) every 2hrs every day for 2 YEARS!  Madness!  Anyway, at the end of the 2yrs, do you know what he found out?  It all balanced out; he’d been as positive as he was negative all the way through.

If you try to be positive all the time, you are ignoring a whole aspect to yourself that is really useful, just as if you try to be nice all the time, you are not using all your skills to the fullest.  You’ll probably find the following will happen:

1) You’ll keep feeling secretly guilty because you know that you are not really being positive all the time, but just don’t want to admit it.

2) You’ll every now and again explode with repressed irritation and anger at all the people that you have been gritting your teeth around.

3) You’re kids will be behaving in a really angry/aggressive manner for no apparent reason; basically living out the frustration that you are repressing.

4) People will take you for granted because you are being ‘nice’ all the time and it will be difficult to discipline the kids.

So what do I recommend then, being negative and miserable all the time?!!  No, of course not!

What I’m suggesting is to be firstly honest with yourself about how you feel.  Be open about it, before it all comes bursting out at an inappropriate time.  If you are feeling rubbish, then have a look for the positive things in your life to balance it out.  If you are feeling positive, then have a look for the not so good things in your life, so that the universe doesn’t need to do it for you.  Plus, use your ‘less positive’ aspects ‘for good’!  What I mean is for example, embrace your mean side when you have to keep your child safe and therefore not let them go somewhere dangerous.  If you don’t feel guilty about it, you will make a much better job of it, and they will accept what you say much more easily.  It’s when we feel guilty or uncertain that things tend to go wrong.  So, think about why it is helpful to them for you to be ‘mean’?  Does it help them appreciate what they do get, or what they have?  Does it make them appreciate when you are happy?  Does it help them to understand that they will still be loved, even after someone is angry with them?  Does it give them a healthy respect for you?  Does it teach them to express how they feel as well?

When it comes to being ‘positive’, instead think of it as being ‘factual’ or ‘truthful’.  There are some negative thinking traps, which help to spiral you into feeling worse and worse about your life, plus they are plain untrue!  So have a look for these tendencies:

  1. Dwelling on the negative predominantly
  2. Jumping to conclusions
  3. Mind Reading
  4. Fortune Telling
  5. Over-Generalising
  6. Saying ‘Should’
  7. Saying ‘Must’
  8. Awfulisation
  9. Down Playing the Positive
  10. Blaming yourself for everything
  11. All or nothing thinking

Most of all, don’t feel guilty for being who you are.  I promise you will always be both good and bad, extraordinary and boring, nice and mean, kind and horrid.  That’s who you are, that’s who we all are!

Rubbish Mummy Cook

Am I a ‘Bad’ Mummy Cook?

Rubbish Mummy Cook
Rubbish Cook in ‘real life’ action

 

I’ve been looking at the Amazon top sellers for parenting books and Annabel Karmel hits the top spot over and over again.

I remember seeing her cooking on TV one day, with her perfect grooming (to be expected on TV), and her supposedly simple recipes, that she was cooking ALONE.  No baby demanding to be held.  No toddler wanting attention.

At that point I realised it wasn’t for me ;o)

Now admittedly, my little monster is now 3.5yrs old, and in the past few months there has been more space for me to cook.  But 3 days a week there is also more pressure; I pick him up at 6pm from nursery and aim for him to be in bed enroute to sleep by 7pm.  Plus, in a very few months there will be another mouth to feed and I’ll probably be back to square one!.

I didn’t puree organic stuff for little monster when he was being weaned.  It would have taken me hours, while he was unhappy, wanting me to be with him, and then he probably wouldn’t have eaten it.

He tried baby rice first, then got a stomach bug and refused anything glupey, so I ended up ‘baby led weaning’, without really knowing it existed.  I was nearly pulling my hair out, when a Mum popped a strawberry in his mouth, and I realised he just wanted to go straight onto solids (ok so maybe a strawberry wasn’t such a good idea in hindsight – but he didn’t tend to have allergies – phew!).

It was tough, because obviously he couldn’t get large quantities of food in him, and he hated the basics – banana, potatoes & avocado!  But as the months progressed, I was beginning to have an easier life and my friends were having a more difficult time with lumps and progressing onto ‘normal food’.  A couple of local restaurants with lovely pasta or rice dishes, were my options for igniting his appetite every now and again, and then at 18 months he started nursery, and peer pressure sorted the rest out!

They give you the impression that weaning is over after a few months – but it actually takes ages and ages and AGES and AGES!!!!

I got over the guilt of being a ‘rubbish cook’ early on.  Now I do understand that what you say about yourself, does tend to become true.  But I view my assessment of my cooking skills as a fair view of what I am good and not good at!  I can cook pasta, and rice, and stir fry chicken with an added tomatoe (Tinned tomatoes) or creamy (creme fraiche) sauce.  Curly Headed Boy isn’t keen on lots of veg, but we tend to manage to negotiate on a few peas or sweetcorn, and I haven’t gone to the lengths of pureeing up veg into a sauce for him.  He eats fruit, and doesn’t have sweets/crisps every day.  So I reckon all in all, he’s not got the best diet, but it’s not awful either.

Other Mums are undoubtedly better than me.  They know how to make gravy, ommlettes and stews and can even bake cakes!

But when you look at my history with cooking, I realise that actually I’m doing pretty well.  I’ve definitely improved on my background, and that’s not bad at all!!

To start with my own attempts at cooking have not worked well for me.  There was the time that I ran the whole household at 10yrs old when my Mum was on one of her numerous trips to hospital.  I’m talking full sunday dinners for Dad and my 3 older brothers; I was the business!  On her return home, I was unceremoniously sacked.  Now as a Mum I can understand she was just wanting to reduce the responsibilities on my small shoulders.  But at the time I vowed ‘never to cook again’, and that appears to have stuck!

For a bright girl, cookery classes were the trauma of my life, especially during my General studies A level, as they were followed by double Maths and triple Physics practical; not good mondays (thank God I was doing English too!).  I was just incapable of following a recipe, things would always go wrong, and the more stressed I got, the worse it got!

I struggled through Uni, and then met a bloke who could cook, how fabulous!  About 13 years later we decided to go for a ‘quality’ life in a country cottage and I became all domesticated, with a friend teaching me how to cook and garden.  But what sounded like a good idea at the time, decimated our relationship.  I realised, we are loads better off when I’m a rubbish cook!

But am I really so ‘rubbish’?  Lets look at the genes that I came from.  At other points in history when Mum was in hospital, I existed on toad in the hole and her hospital dinners (poor woman must have been starving, I hope they gave her extra!), so it wasn’t Dad’s key skill either.

And then there was Mum.  Her cooking was notorious!  Let me give you some examples …

  • There was the ‘stock pot’, which looked like Alien growing in one of those vision (cook proof glass) pots, all week on the stove.
  • Hows about the fact that ham was fine as long as it wasn’t green
  • An mold is very conveniently scraped off
  • Or the time I cleaned out her cupboards to find tins in shillings and pence – there was no best before date according to her on a tin!  Bless her, she was a hoarder, and always had to have about a years supply of food.
  • Or another time she went on holiday and I cleaned the kitchen walls to discover they were white, under the thick layer of yellow greece & tobacco.
  • Or when I found that she was buying cold cooked ham and putting it in the freezer, to be defrosted and eaten later.
  • But the best was the discovery of a mouse cooked with the roast potatoes, and Mums solution to pick it out and bring them back – after all, the germs would have been removed in the oven!!

When I went to Uni, I did notice that on arriving home during the holidays, it appeared to take me some time to settle back into the food routines of home, i.e. rebuild my immunity.  As I left home and grew older, I would actually bring my own can of coke, and refuse her kind offers of coffee, just incase.  Bless her, she had managed to raise 3 boys and me without killing us.

I went to one of my brother’s houses a few years ago and found his wife struggling with the same problem ‘but the ham’s fine, it’s not green’ he said!

So after all, I’m not doing so badly.  I’m not doing so well either, but heh ho ;o)

Are you comparing yourself unfairly with people who are naturally domestic goddesses?  Take a closer look, with a strong pinch of humour, and I bet you’ll fine you’re not so bad after all.

Are you a domestic goddess who seriously can’t understand why us bad mummies don’t cook perfectly for our little broods every day?  Before you get too smug, remember, that we might be better at something else that you are rubbish at – we are all rubbish at something ;o)