This is how come we haven’t gone anywhere by car for 9 months!

When Little Dimples was born I had a theory, that having had a rubbish sleeper who hated cars, I would most probably get a fabulous sleeper, who loved cars, but to balance it out was trickier during the day (curly headed boy was pretty easy, despite a wish to be held a lot).  But it didn’t work out that way!  She HATES the car, and is only a smidgen better at sleeping; probably because I went straight for co-sleeping this time.  This means that we have a pile of patient people out there who haven’t seen us for probably 10months or more, unless they were willing to travel.  I imagine that some think that we are exaggerating though, and if I hear one more time ‘Really, my child slept in the car!’.

So here is the reason why I eventually started to pay a lovely little old lady to look after Willow to reduce the car trips from 20 to 10 per week.  Yes, it does go on, and on, and on, and in fact this is not her at her worst, because after 5mins she also goes bright red and starts to sweat (no I did not purposely put her in the car to record this video).  Once started there is no way to get through to her.  We’ve tried toys, holding her hand, constant nursery rhymes, music, mirrors, different times of day, different car seats, a chiropractor, making it more comfy, making it less comfy, loads of things!

There are 2 rays of light though:

  • Curly Headed Boy was the same, but when we turned him round to the front facing seat at 9 months, he was fine.  Little Dimples should be big enough when she reaches 10 months, so not much longer to go.
  • Mickey Mouse and an Ipad have come to our rescue and at least 50% of the 10 remaining school trips are OK, because she can sometimes last 15 minutes!  This might sound like a bizzare or expensive option, but after many hours I promise you, you’d pay anything.  Goodness knows what it is about Mickey, but Little Dimples has loved him since the first moment she clapped eyes on him (yes, I am a bad mother, who watches Disney and Cbeebies with her kids).  On the iPad (which appeared for my birthday after we tested it out, lucky me!), he is incredibly clear, so he gets hung on a piece of string over the headrest in the car.

If you happen to come by this post because you too have a screaming baby in the car, then try all the things I mentioned, but if the worst comes to the worst, just remember that it will be over and try to reduce the numbers of times that your baby gets that stressed out, as it is not good for their brain development.  There are advantages to having to stay put sometimes.  It saved us tonnes of money because we couldn’t face travelling to Devon for a holiday, and couldn’t find anywhere abroad from the nearest airport by train.  I am really tired, especially after falling ill, so it reduces the stress levels as travelling with a baby is tough.  Plus, those ‘free’ weekends when we would have travelled to visit people, have instead been times that we have been consolidating, ebaying and freecyling our house; it’s beginning to look really sorted.

So a big ‘Thank you’ to all those family and friends who have been so kind as to visit us this year; just hold on, it’ll get better come 2011 and we’ll try to make it up to you!  To those in the same position, breathe and remember that ‘this too shall pass’.  To all those who hate TV and think it destroys children’s brains, my baby’s brain would be much more detrimentally affected without Mickey; there is never one rule for everyone and if you don’t recognise that there is a benefit to everything somewhere, then you are not trying to address the problem clearly.

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Exhaustion …. What it feels like

I’m writing this for three reasons.  (Well, I actually started writing it 14 days ago, but have been that exhausted that it has taken this long to finish!).

  • Firstly to share with non mums what it feels like.  I’m sorry to do the whole ‘you can’t understand what its like’ card, but seriously, I reckon that only Mums or people who have illnesses or who work shifts, can really understand the true meaning of ‘exhaustion’!
  • Secondly so that other mums know it is not just them.
  • And finally to remind me when these days are over, that my body really is too old to get broody again!

It starts with overwhelming sleepiness. I like the feeling of this stage as for years I was a rubbish sleeper. My eyelids get heavy, blinking takes twice as long, and it takes a huge effort to reopen my eyes. Suddenly I find myself asleep on whinnie the pooh. Max (4.5yrs) will either be shaking me awake or kindly putting a blanket over me, depending on his mood. But in a couple of months time this type if tiredness will be potentially dangerous when little Willow starts to crawl; there are stairs, small toys, so many potential problems. I remember waking up oneday with a start to find myself asleep on the floor and max nose to nose with one of our old dogs, who just woken up was trying to work out if max was a dog (who could be bitten) or a child. (We sadly found him a safer home very shortly after, which was extremely heartbreaking to do, but he was worried, let alone us).

Soon sleep becomes more difficult though as the worst stage kicks in. Your head hurts, there’s a dull ache constantly behind the eyes, your stomach feels like a washing machine, and all I want to eat is chocolate. After days of sleep torture, where you are dragged out of a heavy collapse several times, I then find myself incapable of getting back to sleep, which is just the worst kind of torture ever. The brain gets noisy and I get GRUMPY!

When we are grumpy, the ability to be nice to people, give them the benefit of the doubt, have endless patience with the children and be fun rather than shout, disappears in a puff of smoke. But no one appears to be willing to understand or let you be grumpy, or not as grumpy for as long as I’d like anyway! Expectations are high, children are disappointed, husbands snap back and ‘normal’ people either think you are stupid or a cow.  I suspect this is where many of the arguments in the blogosphere/twittersphere/facebooksphere originate from.

Soon perspective goes. That’s when there are tears hiding behind my eyes constantly all day long, and all I can see is an interminable long haul ahead with no hope of rescue. And frankly I’ve been tempted to throw both kids out of the window.  I hate the crying bit.  I hate the pathetic bit.  When I’m out of it, I can see how useful it can be (I’ll post about that in a few days, as I’m on my way out, cross fingers).  But when I’m in it, it feels like big dark sticky goo.

So don’t feel sorry for me, or be put off having kids, because it isn’t every day or forever, and I wouldn’t change a thing.  It’s not their fault that tonsilitus in one (mega puke city!), inevitably is passed to the other, and then other things go wrong like child-care etc.  But when you see a mum parking really badly or slowly, be patient.  She may very well be stupid, but she may also be operating on minimum brain cells due to the exhaustion.  Remember, it’s one of the most effective forms of torture, and lack of sleep can kill you!  When she snaps at you, hold your tongue and give her a hug instead. Most of all, have realistic expectations on what she can achieve and tell her how fabulous she is for managing it.  Finally remember, ‘this too shall pass’ (one of my mates favourite sayings, you know who you are SB!), and normal service will resume very soon, with a much cheerier version of me/your wife/mum/friend/workmate/neighbour.

To be continued …. Tips for picking up the pieces when exhausted.

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)

What Will Cause The Most ‘Pain’ If Not Done By The End Of Today?

In ‘ye olden days’, i.e. 2 months ago before the arrival of ‘little pink’, my second child, I used to ask myself what might seem a slightly dark question when sorting out my plan for work/life balance.  I would think about being elderly and sitting on my death bed, looking back over my life.  ‘What would I regret not doing?’.  Would I miss doing that piece of admin, writing that document, working with that client, or playing with my son.  In some cases, I really wanted to write, or the client session was going to be really interesting and couldn’t be at another time.  But in other cases, the sun would be out and it was definitely time to make a memory and go and have a picnic.

This would really help me to be clear on what I wanted to achieve, and how I wanted to do it.  I’m not the type to go pushing ahead with my business, and put the kids last.  It’s not wrong, it’s just not me, and most of all kids just want us to be ourselves.  I’m also not the type to not have another string to my bow; that is, I’d be a rubbish stay at home mum!

But now my life has changed, and is much more practical and much more short term.  My question is ‘What will cause me the most pain if I don’t get it done by the end of today?’.  It helps me with the juggling act (which frankly I’m not doing well at), because ‘little pink’ could wake up at any moment and then demand attention for the rest of the day.

Today, I needed the washing dry, but I also needed to write, just quickly, so that I felt that feeling I love for a moment.  I’ve also made myself a long glass of squash and got some snacks ready, as I’m conscious that her milk demands are increasing.  Which also means sod any thought of a diet for another week!

If I get a chance I’ll phone the two mates who left me a voicemail or text.  Max is at nursery today, so I might even get a chance to interview a ‘Mother’s help’, but most of all I need a little peace and quiet after the easter holidays, when I made a couple of fatal mistakes; I’ll blog about them later in the week, but they are all about feeling unappreciated because you do a pile of stuff ‘for’ people and forgot to work out your compensation package ;o)

A great question, can be worth it’s weight in gold.  What questions help you?

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)

Meeting Different Masters

So having met Philip Carr-Gomm the Chief Druid of Bards, Ovates & Druids on friday night, I was musing on the difference between him and Dr John F Demartini, who has been my mentor for the past 7 years.

Both masters, both the heads of global organisations, both studied a spiritual path and yet both have a business background as well.  Both definitely people who can inspire and affect you, just by their presence.  But there are some big differences as well.

Perhaps Philip isn’t aware of the value of spending time with him, or he is maybe not wanting to filter people financially, whereas John is totally aware that people would pay hundreds to spend an evening with him.  Instead perhaps Druidism is Philips filter, as only those interested in more ancient religions will appreciate the wisdom.  Both will undoubtedly be filtering unconsciously how many people they reach, as neither are going for a mass market approach of ‘follow me and I’ll make you happy’.

Philip is much more interested in creating a relationship with people, which he shows by his good internet presence, being on facebook, and his general comfort & demeanor in a social situation.  John would admit that social events are not his forte, and possibly because he has a larger organisation it is not possible for him to connect in the same way.  However, the power of technology would allow it, if it was in his value systems to do it some way, but his top values are teaching and learning.

John is almost obsessive in his work ethic, with very few sleep hours and hardly any downtime.  Whereas Philip walks the dog, and has a partner who sternly reminds him that it is time to come home when he has got too engulfed in the company of a pile of interesting people.  Both probably very difficult men to live with as a partner!  It’s totally working for John, with around a billion of people having heard of him now and thousands studying with him each year.  In comparison Philip’s organisation has around 12,000 members and probably a thousand studying each year.  So success for each, but a bit more smelling of the roses on Philip’s side and airplane travel on John’s side.

I really loved discussing themes, and brainstorming with Philip, and the only reason I could do that is because of the amazing depth and intensity of the training that I have received from John.

So it left me thinking about what I would love to achieve and be ‘masterful’ at.  With 650,000 babies born every year in the UK and about 3.5million in the US, I would certainly love to reach millions of Mums and feel that I had enabled them to love their lives just a little bit more, and have loads more sparkle & contentment.  From there, the families will have stronger foundations and the kids will grow stronger and truer, becoming my indirect ‘billions’.  But meeting Philip reminded me to set my expectations realistically, as relationships are also higher up on my values, and I do love fun, and smelling lovely flowers.  So I’m looking for an in between approach with lots of focus on work, but also with an equal focus on fun and family.

What Inspired Me To Blog?

So, what got me inspired to create a WordPress Blog, that I’ve been meaning to do for months?  A Dinner Party!  No deep spiritual or personal development exercises, but sitting round a table with a bunch of people I had never met, eating good food, drinking some wine, and swapping ideas.

Let’s go back to the beginning.  I’ve been on Ecademy for years, but it just hasn’t really worked for me.  I attempted to focus on it more and use it better for a few months, and I just seemed to get more and more contact requests from eastern europe or the far east!  Not that I’m not willing to be friendly to people from there, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.  So, I had just decided to leave it as more of a ‘gotta have, so that people can find me’ sort of thing, and then I got a message.  She very politely apologised for contacting without us knowing each other, but wondered if I might be interested in her ‘Dinner Party’ with the Chief Druid Philip Carr-Gomm as the guest speaker!  For once, Ecademy had delivered something interesting my way ;o)

So me, the 3yr old, 2 dogs, and later the big hairy husband, turned up in Sussex, to a lovely relaxed atmosphere and beautiful setting.  A little later the guests arrived, with very different backgrounds and interests, but a core thread of writing.  I think that is what worked for me so well, because we all had this love of writing (all sorts of different stuff), it was OK that we were all so different in other ways.  My husband had been very nervous as to what they would think of having someone from the banking industry in their midst, but he was welcomed warmly with no judgement.

Obviously a big plus was meeting Philip, and getting to talk to him – and I’m going to do another post specifically on my thoughts about him.  But there was also Liz Whiter ‘The Animal Healer’, a very direct and inspired woman, the hosts Gilly (a ‘creative writer’) and Jed (a journalist), and 6 other interesting people.

Conversations ranged from twitter, face book, why blog, is blogging good/bad quality writing, websites, lack of time, admin, how to write, where to write, deadlines or no deadlines to karma, can parents make a mistake, different faiths, Philip’s journey, serendipity, success, luck, the environment, the credit crunch and of course Magic …. oooh and so much more!

What got me so inspired?  Hmm, it’s difficult to put my finger on it.  I’ve been going through a transition in my business from focussing on ‘The Dance of Life‘ to ‘The Mummy Whisperer’ and it was as though the switch was made half way through dinner.  I went in introducing myself as ‘The 1st and most senior Demartini facilitator in the UK’, but I came out ‘The Mummy Whisperer’.  I always knew I was gradually going to change focus, but I didn’t expect it to be so soon or so large a shift.

So what made the magic of the night, and the ensuing inspiring and buzz filled days?  I do believe that being in a room with inspiring people has a dramatic effect, especially people who are masters in there area e.g. Philip and Liz.  Plus there was the opportunity to brainstorm ideas and consider my introduction and ‘who I really am’.  It wasn’t a ‘networking event’ in the broadest sense (you know where people ‘vomit’ their mission statements!), but connections were made, that I know will make a difference for everyone there.

So a big thankyou to Gilly & Jed for hosting the evening (plus cooking & taking care of us the next morning), to Philip & Liz for their wisdom, and everyone else for being there.  I would totally recommend you attend one of these evenings if you ever get the chance!

Check out these sites for more info: http://onbeingawriter.blogspot.com/