Why I Think Mummy Blogs Are Fabulous

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Pictures To Inspire You To Remember To Ask For Help

I realised something last week, which is that sometimes we actually have to bite the bullet and ask for help.  This might seem obvious for some people, but it’s been quite a new concept for me; so, I’ve spent the last 10 days very sick and finding all sorts of different ways of asking for help, and do you know what, it’s not so bad.  so I thought I’d post some pictures to inspire you to ask for help too.

If you feel guilty about asking for help, look at it from your family and the people you ask’s point of view.  Your family just want you happy and being yourself.  The people you ask will either earn money, or feel that they are worth something, because they have been asked.

When the in laws came to help out, it was brilliant for their bond with the kids.  My 4yr old son and his granddad really bonded, with his granddad appearing to come alive and become really fun.  Meanwhile, my baby girl was very comfy and secure on her grandma’s shoulder.  Grandparents are important to children, and it’s even more important that they themselves understand this, because it gives them a reason to be.  It might have been tiring for them, but having a ‘reason to be’, keeps us going, gives us purpose, and boosts our health.  They probably hadn’t realised until now how important they still are to the growing family.  Memories were created over the last couple of weeks, that will stay with my kids forever, thats a great thing and worth getting sick for.

So if it’s a family problem hows about asking a friend/ neighbour/ relative?  Is there someone you have helped in the past, who is really keen to get the opportunity to help back?  Is there an online forum or community that can give you some info?  There are many specialists out there on the net, who are happy to give quick and free help.  You can pay for help or for people training up e.g. there are Au Pairs, Au Pair Plus (older, more experienced, do more cleaning), Mothers Helps, Nannies, Child Minders, Day Nurseries, Cleaners, Dog Walkers.  There are even alternative and medical options, just to help you get through the day.

For instance, I’ve been complaining that I couldn’t find anyone to help out with the last couple of hours of the day (see previous post about feeling guilty about asking for help), but I wasn’t actually asking, because I hadn’t actually put an advert anywhere.  It seems I was weirdly expecting them to appear, just because I had thought about it, doh!  Now I’m inundated with options.

When the inlaws left, we asked a girl called Victoria to come and help us tidy the house.  She’d interviewed for the job as a part-time mothers help, which we sadly probably can’t give her, but she did get a generous bonus for coming at short notice.  Even better was that when my baby girl cried, she took one look at me (looking very lumpy and sick), and took her off me, popping her on her back: a truly amazing and lovely girl!  Look at this picture of Willow happily asleep, just gorgeous.

I’ve asked for advice on facebook and got over 40 comments, some incredibly comprehensive and time consuming for the people who filled them in.  Now people love to give advice, but they often give it inappropriately, especially in my business, as us healer/coach/therapist types tend to get very enthusiastic and want to share all our knowledge with the whole world.  But this was definitely a chance for extremely well received and appreciated information.

Asking for help has shown me how lucky I am, in my friends, family, resources, connections; just everywhere.  There are downsides or costs to everything, but if you think it through beforehand, you can manage them all.  You won’t always get the response that you hoped for, so do try asking without expecting the ‘ideal’ response, and remember that you can always ask again or ask someone else.  If I hadn’t have asked for help, I would definitely be sicker, and possibly in hospital as the only real fix has been lieing down.  Now the cost of a showing a bit of vulnerability, paying some money, and learning how to ask for the simplest things to be done for me, has paid off.

So don’t feel guilty about asking for help.  Think about the people you ask and your family will gain from it.  As they say ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’; so this isn’t rocket science, but I thought I would share anyway!

(p.s. remember to say ‘thank you’ though, and look for times to reciprocate in the future, otherwise, you might not get such helpful responses another time).

Another Question: Why Feel Guilty About Needing Some Help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re-igniting Sexual Desire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 3 – Make Time

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

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

Step 4- Finances

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

Step 5 – Be Caring

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

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

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

Coming soon:

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

Are There Ways To Tell If They Will Be Unfaithful Again?

So the media will be keeping a beady eye on Tiger Woods and John Terry from now on, but if you don’t have that option, then what guarantees do you have that your partner will not be unfaithful again?

Sorry – How Much Does That Mean?

There is no doubt that the ‘injured’ party will need to hear the word ‘sorry’ from their partner, along with huge piles of remorse and possibly some explanations.  Some people find going to counselling is helpful, because it gives an opportunity to get all the anger out in a ‘safe’ scenario, with a mediator.  I must admit this is not my favourite method of dealing with problems, but for some people it would definitely be a good starting point.  (At some stage though, it is likely to be necessary to go for something more practical or involved, like relationship coaching, or the methods that I am trained in: The Demartini Method).

However, ‘Sorry’ doesn’t mean ‘I won’t do it again’.  Being willing to say it, and to listen to the hurt of their partner, definitely is a step in the right direction.  But it mainly means ‘I’m making an initial effort’ or ‘Sorry I got caught’ or ‘I’m feeling really guilty’.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

It’s great if your unfaithful partner is saying all the right things, but more important that they are backing it up with actions.  For instance, being willing to listen to your hurts (not for 20yrs, but for a reasonable while).  Potentially cutting off all contact with the ‘other person’.  Maybe even going as far as changing mobile numbers, and blocking people from their email accounts.  They might need to invest time in some relationship coaching or counselling, to show how important a change is to them.

Be warned, that many people would love to be totally faithful, and definitely mean it when they say that they will be.  BUT, they may not know themselves very well, or have realistic expectations of themselves.  So they are not purposely misleading you, they are just falling foul of romantic conceptions of what they are capable of.  Hence, the importance of them managing to show with their actions, over a prolonged period of time, that there is a change in their psyche.  (Mind you there are some people who are very manipulative and will be purposely misleading you, but I’m assuming that you’ll know if you have one of those!).

Collapse of Infatuation

Many of us have never been taught how to tackle the ‘grass is greener’ temptation, or how to reduce an infatuation (I will blog about this when I get a chance) and give it a breath of reality.  Hence, we actually have to experience the infatuation, and then get threatened with the loss of what we weren’t appreciating, in order to regain our perspective.  you might think that this is very ‘stupid’, however, it is the way that many of us work.

So, are there obvious signs that your partner’s infatuation with being with someone else has been well and truly broken?  Can you now see that they had problems with taking responsibility for their lives and the bits that they didn’t like about it?  This often translates to thinking that it is the partner’s fault that they are in a job that they don’t like, or having to do boring jobs around the house.  Basically, they will blame everyone else and feel victimised for their ‘tough’ lives!  So have they gotten over it?  Do they now appreciate their lives more, and realise that no one else is making them do anything?

A Willingness To Wait For Trust To Be Rebuilt

The person who was unfaithful needs to have a reality check about how long it will take for their partner to rebuild their trust levels, plus the price that they will probably have to pay.  There will be instances when their partner will become insecure and need additional support.  Plus there maybe times when the infidelity will be thrown into their faces in arguments.  I recommend that their partner attempts to get assistance to work through their issues, so that this doesn’t go on for the rest of their lives, however it would be unreasonable to expect it to never happen.

However, there is another side to the story of trust.  We may trust our partners implicitly, but many of us have no idea of the amount of temptation out there, because it might just not be in our value or belief systems to consider getting involved in a relationship with someone else’s partner.  You don’t have to be Tiger Woods or John Terry to be attractive to another woman.  I’m going to write another blog as soon as I get a chance on the different reasons why the ‘other woman’ gets involved, but in the meantime, here is a little reality check; trusting your partner is fine and it avoids suffocating them.  However there is a fine line between ‘trusting’ and ‘taking for granted’.  Plus there is a fine line between reasonable and unreasonable expectations.  For example, put me in a room of chocolate for a day and you won’t be able to trust me not to eat some.  I’d probably be able to last 30 minutes, but not much longer!  I’m one of those people who need serious closeness with someone before I can get jiggy, so I’d be very trustworthy on a night out alone.  However, goodness knows what I would do if Hugh Jackman told me I was sexy and started stalking me!  Maybe it’s just a typical Leo’s reaction to protecting her family, but I wouldn’t be putting my husband into temptations way purposely.

How Long Can You Wait?

There is also another perspective.  How long can you wait, until they become trustworthy, and what kind of trustworthy are you looking for?  Have you got to know them so well, that you know that in their current job or at their current age, they are very unlikely to be able to resist temptation?  However, you know that you can trust them to love you, and wish to remain with you forever?  If you can manage to separate out the two sides to your partner, and maintain your confidence levels, then possibly it is worth considering waiting.  A great example of this is Sharon Osbourne, who is obviously loved deeply by Ozzy, and he is now definitely faithful, but she did have to wait a while!  Potentially, depending on who you are, and what kind of life you would love to have, it might be worth playing the waiting game.  A controversial thought I know, but if you would love to stay and are sure that you can count on their commitment to you (if not sexual faithfulness), then don’t cut off your nose to spite your face just because society says you should.

Note: Affairs are obviously a controversial and painful subject and this is just a quick blog post.  I recommend that if you are interested, you take some time to read my other posts, and subscribe to this blog, so that you know when I have written more.

Why Do Affairs Hurt Some People More Than Others?

We all assume that affairs hurt everyone, in exactly the same way, but in fact they don’t and it is NOT because one person loved their partner more than the other person did.  I remember when I lived in Lincolnshire there was a sudden flurry of partner’s being discovered to be unfaithful, followed by divorces.  I watched as some of the wives were so heart broken that their lives fell apart, whereas others seemed to have an ability to quickly find a new rythmn for their life.

There are a couple of reasons why this is so, and therefore even if you find yourself in the extremely distressed camp, you can switch to the less painful camp.

1) A Balanced Mix Of Interests In Different Areas Of Life

You can split life into 7 areas:

  • Spiritual – having a sense of purpose, bigger reason to be, or religious views
  • Mental – continuing to learn new things however old you are
  • Vocational – job or clear role in life
  • Financial – understanding of our financial value, even if we are not bringing in money
  • Social – having a strong, wide, network of people in different groups/places
  • Familial – our family and relationships
  • Physical – health, taking care of ourselves, exercising, eating well

A person who focusses on just a one or two areas of life, like their family and their physical appearance, will be hit terribly hard by the discovery of what they see as ‘betrayal’ from their partner.  Whereas, someone who has lots of interests and a perception of a degree of ability of power in more areas, will be less harshly affected.  This is the difference from feeling like the rug has been pulled out from your whole life, and feeling as though there is still a strong future for yourself.

So if your rug has been pulled, then there is something that you can do; get out there and start doing something about the other areas of your life.  I promise you that you are a valuable and fabulous human being.  I know you don’t feel it right now, but the beginning step is to fake it until you make it.

2) Having A Strong Belief/Value That Gets Hit

If you have a strong romantic streak, and belief that there will be ‘one’ person for you, it will be tremendously hard to handle affairs.  It’s amazing how many people I’ve had to help because of the new ‘Twilight’ series of books.  I love them too, but there is a significant downside with the message of love for eternity and lack of focus on the downside on that kind of incredible infatuation.  Also, people who have a tremendously strong belief in the strength of vows for either religious or moral reasons, will be not only shocked, but also deeply mortified by their partner’s unfaithfulness.

Sadly a lack of reality check is one of the biggest causes of pain for people.  We focus on how life ‘should’ be, rather on how humans actually behave.  We ignore reality, and have unrealistic expectations for the people that we love, which means that they are bound to let us down.  For instance, put a toddler in a room full of chocolate, and there is no doubt that some will be able to resist because they have a stronger people pleasing and rule awareness.  But put my son in there and he will come out with a face covered in chocolate and a VERY long story about how his invisible friend forced him to eat the chocolate because otherwise the world would have blown up!

I totally get your love of fantasy or these beliefs, but they are causing you pain.  Let them go.  The real world, really isn’t that bad, at least you won’t get shocked or distressed by it.  (Check out my free ebook on Values, which you get if you sign up for my email newsletter).

3) Seeing the Silver Lining

The whole premise behind the methods that I’ve trained in for the past 10yrs is to empower people, not leave them as ‘victims’ of their past pain.  It’s fine to get to the point where you are just ‘over it’ or indifferent.  Some therapies can even get you to the point of ‘acceptance’ or ‘forgiveness’.  But I am ambitious!  I get people to the point where they are free of their past, and it doesn’t affect their future, apart from the fact that they would never want their past to be any different and they are totally grateful for it.  ‘How the hell do you do that’ you maybe asking?  Well, it’s not easy, obviously, but it is totally possible, and it is totally possible very quickly.  Jo Wood is a particularly good example of the first step, which is to look for the silver lining, which is always there.  She admits that she would never have left her husband Ronnie, but that her life has taken off incredibly since he left her.

So literally, it’s about looking at our lives and looking over a period of time for what we have gained, how we benefited, or how we have come out better for the experience.  By keeping stacking them up, over and over again, we will really start to appreciate our lives, get stronger, and have a future filled with potential.  When we are full of hurt and pain, we unfortunately ignore and miss the opportunities that life offers us.  Whereas when we can see that there is tonnes of stuff in our lives to be grateful for, we will be not be held back by our past, but will ready for the rest of our lives with vigour.

In Conclusion (for now!)

Affairs are a complicated subject obviously, so I’ll be blogging lots about them over a period of time.  I recommend you check out my other blogs under the category of relationships or with a tag of affair.

(Also, please note, that in most of the things that I blog about, I’m nearly always stressing how capable we are of sorting our own lives out.  But affairs are one of the things that are considered so socially unacceptable that it can be very difficult to cope alone, especially if the couple are attempting to remain together.  If you would like to know more about how I work, or people trained similarly to myself, then feel free to contact me directly, and check out my other blogs and websites).

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.

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.

Realistic Expectations

I’ve been thinking about how unrealistic society’s expectations are on babies & children, and the fact that I think that there are some unpleasant consequences.  I mean how confusing is it, to expect a toddler to behave maturely as quickly as possible, but then to be outraged because at 10 they want to be adults!  There was all that hoo-hah about Holly on Britain’s Got Talent, because she was given a second chance at singing (which she rocked, plus the next night – proving that she was a little professional).  Some people seemed to think that at 10, she should have the emotional maturity to understand that ‘there are no second chances’, plus have all the experience of a 40yr old at handling stressful situations – phewy!  It is well known that as humans, we take a very long time to mature and grow physically, emotionally and mentally.  Initially weeks can make a big difference, then it is months, then it is quarters, then six months, eventually years, and finally, there is probably little difference between a 100yr old and a 120yr old!  So there is a big difference between 10, 11, 12 etc.  Plus, each child matures each bit of itself at a different speed.  We can’t expect them to all grow uniformly at the same rate.  Therefore we can’t expect them to all be able to handle the same things at the same age e.g. performing on BGT.

So when you are worrying about your child and what they are or are not doing.  Double check your expectations.

Are you expecting a 6 week old baby to sleep through the night?  Maybe you could do with checking the stats on how many don’t.  Are you irritated by the trantrums of your toddler?  Have you read up on how difficult it is to learn to manage our emotions and ways of helping them?  Is your child refusing to go to bed immediately you tell them too?  Have you explained it to them in terms of what they care about e.g. racing, adventures, reading, cuddles etc or in terms of what you care about i.e. getting them to bed in time to maintain their health and your sanity?  Are you infuriated by a teen who just growls?  Did you know that the wiring in their brain means that they are less capable of recognising emotions in faces than toddlers?

By the way, this rule works for other people as well!  Are you expecting your husband to understand the ramifications of having a baby in the early months?  Sorry, many take at least a year to really get their head around it.  Are you upset because your old friends don’t seem interested in hearing about Poo?  Poo conversations are for your new Mum friends, not the singles!

Having realistic expectations of yourself, your partner, your kids, your friends, your family and your work mates, will make your life so much easier, and much less painful!

How do you do it?

– Knowledge – The internet will tell you anything and be way more up to date than any book.  So if you want to find out about baby/child/teen development, it is there, right at your finger tips.

– Ask people! – Talk to other people and get a fair comparison – then you’ll realise there probably isn’t as much difference as you thought.

– Find out what those people/children value – I’ve just done a podcast about values (see http://www.Mummywhisperer.com), and am bound to blog about it really soon.  Find out what they like, where they like it, how, why and when.  When you understand someone’s values, you can have realistic expectations.  Because they will always be loyal to their values.