Help, Am I Deluded?

I’ve met my fair share of coach/therapist/healer types who were extremely deluded about either their grandiose plans, their skills or their market actually wanting them. There have also been a fair amount if people with a great deal less training and experience than me, who were a load better at marketing and therefore a hell of a lot more financially successful. So the question is, am I deluded too, or is it just a matter of my marketing skills needing a polish?

The thing is, I’ve spent nearly 11yrs in this business in one form or another, and although I’ve enjoyed it, and it’s enriched my life with less stress, 2 miracle kids, a lasting relationship and a feeling of contentment, it hasn’t done so financially. I’ve got to ‘that time’, it’s ‘make or break’. I’ve decided to focus on mums as it is a subject close to my heart. I’ve got a fab new way of doing my coaching online, which makes it more accessible and affordable for mums. Lastly, I’ve signed up for a ‘bootcamp’ to help me launch my new product. But is it doomed to failure, because no one wants it or me?

Let’s back track a bit. When I became a mum, I realised that the training I had received was brilliant, and saved me many hours of angst. But it was also inappropriate for a mums time and resource limitations, so I created the mummy whisperer program. I saw all these mums talking/blogging about losing their identity, having problems with conflict or lack of communication in their families, and getting stressed out because they thought they/their kids/partners/life should be different. My thought process was that they ‘needed’ all these things I could do to help them be more contented with their lives and grow strong families. But, do mums really want it? That is, it might sound nice, and a few might sign up, but are there enough who REALLY want it? And would they want me? And would they pay enough to make them appreciate it and give me a fair level of earnings?

Apparently, I am meant to focus on a smaller niche than just mums, one where I have experience, credibility and contacts. The idea is if I focus on a niche, my message will be clearer and will get more mums signing up. So that has made me decide to focus on mums with kids starting nursery or school. Not new mums of babies, because my longer term plan is to provide them with a book, and not mums of teens because I don’t have teenagers yet. But if there is a market, the next question I’m facing is wether I need to cut it down even smaller to: working mums, work from home mums, or stay at home mums. Now I reckon that my program would help them all, especially as they all face guilt and work/life/rest/play balance in some way shape or form. But I can also see several potential problems, especially that working mums don’t have enough time left over to make their lives easier, and SAHM’s wouldn’t want to spend the money on themselves. By creating a program that can be worked through online, I was hoping that mums could fit it into their lives more easily, and by giving a payment option over 3 months with a 14 day free trial it would make it more affordable. But that might not be enough, or is that where marketing comes in?

There is an even bigger problem as well! What I’m offering is a way for a mum to be more sure of themselves and listen to their own natural instinct and knowledge of their family, instead of a one-size fits all parenting technique. But do mums want an answer tailored to their own family, which leaves them in the driving seat, or would they prefer to be told what to do according to a set of rules, even if it’s pretty much impossible to create? If there are mums who like the idea of what I offer, does that mean that they are already going that way and so don’t need my help?

In the past I have specialised in mental health issues, relationship problems and small business owners. Perhaps a mum facing the loss of her marriage, mental health or business would be more likely to ask for help. But if that is the case, then I’m going to have to take more time off work, because I don’t currently have the time to support these more extreme demands; I was planning on tackling them later.

What do you reckon? I’d really appreciate any feedback (be gentle please!; so I’m going to offer a copy of my book ‘getting the hang of gratitude’ to one of the people who leave a comment (I’ll use some random fair way of selecting!).

Advertisements

Wow, 3 Months Is a Lot Faster Second Time Around

Wow, Wibee (little pink/Willow Phoebe) is now 3 months old.  I can now pop her in a bumbo and eat at least half my meal without her needing a cuddle.  We have reached that magical second milestone, where she’s transitioned through the squeaky, alien phase, into the gradually becoming more aware phase, and is now in the plump cute looking baby phase where things start to get more interesting.

She is teething; bummer.  Plus she has already rolled once, which might have been a fluke, but means I can no longer leave her on the kitchen work surfaces (not recommended anyway really!).  But it is getting much easier to differentiate her cries, and her dimples are darn cute!

I was worried that it might be the same kind of difficult second time around, and the good news is that it isn’t.  Of course the degree of ease and difficulty in my life has been maintained, as it always is.  I’ll talk about that in more detail another day, but basically it’s about the philosophy that there is aways ease and difficulty in our lives, in equal amounts, it’s just that we don’t always see the other side of the story.  However, I am kind of relieved that it isn’t the same kind of difficulty, however tough it has been.

I called the first year with Monster/Angel Boy the ‘black times’,  NOT because it was horrid, but because there was such a huge shift in my identity and what I valued in life, that I kind of disappeared for a while.  That has certainly not happened again, but there has been another change.  I’m a hell of a lot more focussed on practical stuff right now.  All I’m looking for is a practical car, for the house to work for the family, for my clothes to be washable, my hair is tied back and there are no hoops in my ears (otherwise ‘ouch’ from little fingers!).  I’m just looking for a easy life at the moment, and for ways to make life flow more smoothly.  I’m sure that this will be just a phase of it’s own, but I still suspect that some of these changes will stick, especially the one where I’m so much stricter on my priorities.

In comparison, the first 6 weeks with Max was intense, scary, exhausting, and interminable.  I was all alone, I didn’t know any Mums because anti-natal classes didn’t start until later, and I felt like I was floundering along with no clue.  Then David got made redundant, and all the stress of the previous year kind of fell on top of me for a bit.  The good side to that, is that this is where the ‘Mummy Whisperer’ was born, because my training was great, but impractical for a new Mum to do on her own, so over the coming months I worked out what would work within the resource limitations I was now under and created the ‘Fun Creation Equation’.  The key was that I found that I became increasingly confused by the number of different parenting techniques out there, none of which totally worked for me.  Whereas, when I managed to calm the noise in my head (you know, the worries, and guilt about EVERYTHING!) I found out that I was pretty good at working out my own solutions that matched the family perfectly.  So that’s what I now do for other Mums; help them to learn how to listen to themselves, so that each day can flow a little more easily, with a little more fun and sparkle.

Ironically, this time David had problems with his job again, but within 1 day of her being born, rather than 6 weeks; which suggests that we shouldn’t risk having another child!  But this time I didn’t get the intense 2 weeks of bubble time with Wibee, because after an easy home birth I was thrown unceremoniously back into real life and nursery runs, which initially I found really hard.  I had a long tearful chat with a friend of mine from who uses the same techniques as myself, and I settled after we worked out that the bubble was there, but this time was more widely spread as it included Max, plus I wouldn’t have wanted to have such an intense bubble and upset Max by excluding him.  My body didn’t agree though, and 3 weeks ago I fell very ill and was forced to spend 2 weeks with Willow on the sofa, which was a lovely, if painful opportunity to be with her and learn more about myself.  (See all my blogs about asking for help).

So we are 3 months in.  David has still got a job; result!  The in-laws have visited twice because of me being ill, and really bonded with both kids, which has thrilled Max.  I’ve realised that I’m just not able to do the day to day stuff on my own (hubby works late and I don’t have family of my own), so I’ve employed a lovely irish granny, and a fabulous local mum to help me out a few hours a week.  I woke up 2 days ago and felt loads better after my illness, but also like I was ‘back’, which I think is just getting to the magic 3 month stage.  I’m not getting a load of sleep, but I get some, so that’s not bad.  Max loves his sister and has shown no jealousy, just a little sensitivity at times which we have to be careful of.  The dogs have been very jealous and very badly behaved just to balance him out!  I’ve got a couple of tests in the next week or two to find out how come I got sick so badly, and then I might have a think about starting to do a little work in while.  And now it’s on to the 3-6 month phase: sitting up, grabbing things, teeth, summer holidays, swimming classes, music classes …. lots of fun and trouble all rolled into a monster/angel boy and a Wibee girl, I wonder if that will feel faster too?

Why Is Asking For Help So Difficult?

I’ve just spent two weeks sick, oh my god, since I’ve been a ‘grown up’, I can hardly think of any times that I’ve had to rest and recuperate for so long.  Now once I got my head around it, I’ve really appreciated the experience, but initially it was blinking hard, because I had to ask for help so much.  There were calls to neighbours, in-laws, friends, husbands having to work from home, and people paid to help out.  I had to pathetically ask people to get me a drink, food, pills, or comfort my baby, just so that all of my energy was focussed on recovering, and I found it at times very distressing.

I had plenty of time to think about it too, and one day I spent a long time looking back and back, wondering why I hated it so much.  Yesterday I read an interesting blog by AlphaMummy about the same sort of thing, and their discovery of a fab charity called Homestart who can help out when things get too difficult.  It was suggested that it was a middle class thing to ‘just get on with it‘, and I must admit there was an element of that.  After-all, someone who was upper-class or very rich, could just throw money at it and employ ‘staff’, and someone very poor can ask for benefits from the government (I know there is an element of generalisation here).  Before I fell sick I emailed my local NCT yahoo group for ideas of how to cope or get help with the evening routine, now that I have 2 kids (no family of my own, no local in-laws, and husband working long hours).  I got one lovely reply also mentioning Homestart, which was quickly followed by another reply from a Mum saying that Homestart was only for people with ‘real problems’, i.e. not available for ‘nice middle class’ families!

The question was, why did I find it so difficult to ask for help?  What was at the root of it all, and what was the basic fear that was being triggered?

With some people it is the wish to be independent, or hate to show vulnerabilities or weaknesses, which I suspect many people would think was my reasoning, but it wasn’t.  There might be a social aspect, where we don’t like to be considered a hypochondriac, or to be a burden on other people.

My parents had the same tendency.  I remember nursing them throughout my summer holidays after my O Levels.  Mum had broken her pelvis, and Dad was recovering from a heart attack.  They could easily have paid for some help, or gone into hospital to recuperate.  But instead they stayed at home and kept it quiet how ill they were.  The downside was a very pissed off teenage daughter by the end of the holidays, who started smoking from the stress of it all; potentially not what they planned for!

The saddest story I’ve heard recently was of a young boy of 11yrs old, who waited in a corridor for a teacher, whilst having an asthma attack that he later died of.  If this is the kind of potential ramifications of my not asking for help and passing on the same tendency to my children, then I definitely needed to get my head around the issue.

When I broke down my fear, I realised that the reason that I was so uncomfortable was because I could never be sure of people’s reactions.  They could jump to my assistance with enthusiasm and willingness.  Alternatively, there were bound to be times when they were plainly irritated, tired or could refuse or ignore my requests.  The earliest memory I could find of not asking for help was as a 2yr old, in my attic bedroom, in the midst of a storm and absolutely terrified.  Looking back it seems daft that I didn’t absolutely scream for help, but I didn’t.  To be honest, it also seems weird that my parents hadn’t worked out how scared I would be.  Instead I imagined an angel watching over me, and hid under my blankets until morning.  It suggests that I was used to not getting an ‘ideal’ response when asking for things, or any response at all, and I had just basically given up.

So, I sat in bed an had a little chat to myself.  I looked at the worst possible thing that could happen.  People could think badly of me, they could think that I was weak, they could think that I was making it up, and they could refuse to help.  But, I remembered that only 50% of the world will think like this, so there will also be people who think differently.  They will enjoy being asked to help, or being paid to help, or knowing that I’m not perfect so they don’t have to try and live up to something impossible.  Rather than focus on the reactions that I didn’t enjoy, I thought about the ones that had been supportive, helpful and comforting, because there were going to be as many of them as the negative ones.  Some of the benefits of my being ill this time, were an much closer bond between my in-laws and my kids, which is really lovely to see.  Plus I have a better understanding of my husband’s values and what his priorities are for a ‘happy home’, which is important as both of us have changed with the arrival of the 2nd child, and maybe it’s time for some adjustments in the way we live.

So I’m not going to run out into the world and ask for help all the time, because that extreme would be just as unhealthy.  I’m going to try and ask for help half the time, and show my kids that it’s OK to sometimes need help and OK to sometimes be independent.  Plus when my daughter screams in the car seat that she hates so much when taking my son too and from school, I will remind myself that it’s better that she lets me know (however horrid and uncomfortable for me that she is crying), than that she ‘just puts up with it’; hmmm, I might need to do a little more work on that one for it to not leave me feeling gutted each time, but it does feel a little better.

Do you find it difficult to ask for help?  What is it you don’t like about it and WHY do you reckon that is?

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 Ideal Mummy Age – 16, 26, or 36?

I was reading a blog by a fellow Mummy Blogger the other day about age and mummyhood; you know, the eternal question about which age is most ideal.  Suddenly it hit me about the weird synchronicities in my life and how there were 3 potential ages and outcomes for my life.

16 – So Nearly A Teenage Mum

It might surprise people to know that I was very nearly a teenage Mum, and therefore can totally understand why young girls make the choice to get pregnant.  Not because of council houses etc, etc, but because of an urge for someone who would love me, for me, and need me for me, not use me. It wasn’t a rational thought, it was a pretty lonely desperate thought.

I was a very bright, slightly serious, very responsible girl, who had been what is now termed a ‘young carer’ from an extremely young age (called an ambulance at 5 for my Mum) and I’d pretty much enjoyed the job, just like all young kids who are so resilient and adaptable to situations.  But when I hit my teens it got much harder to deal with.  During my ‘O’ level revision my Dad had a heart attack, was overdosed by the hospital and ended up in a diabetic coma. Although he recovered, he was pretty sick throughout my exams, plus the family company was being sold.  The day that school finished, my Mum fell over the dog and broke her pelvis.  So I spent the majority of my summer holidays nursing the two of them, as they refused proper help or to go somewhere more suitable.

It was that time of your life where you start to meet loads of new friends and your social life begins to take precedence.  I was lucky, my new friends were willing to come to the house to see me, when I got a break.  But after the stress of exams and a tough summer, I was becoming very resentful.  I remember distinctly the thought running through my head, that if I had a baby, they would want me for just me, not as a potential carer for the rest of their lives.  Now to all the shattered Mums out there, that might sound rather ironic!  But it is different.  I look in my daughter’s eyes tonight and in a way that young version of me was right and I do feel different about nursing her, than I did my parents.

So for the first time I rebelled when we went on holiday, which happened to co-incide with falling head over heels for a summer romance.  The only reason that I did not come back pregnant, was that I happened to fall for someone younger than me (which I didn’t realise), who therefore didn’t take advantage of the potential on offer.  Instead I came back a smoker; hell I needed something!

Wow, life would have been different if I’d tried harder to get pregnant.  I reckon I would have enjoyed being a Mum, despite my age, and as caring came naturally, I would have taken to the role easily.  But so many other things would have changed.  Would my parents have helped, so that I could continue to study my ‘A’ Levels?  I’m not sure, and even if they did, I suspect it would have been delayed.  I doubt the rather disastrous 5yr intense relationship would have happened, as I wouldn’t have been so attractive with a baby.  That would have saved some heartache, but also lost useful lessons.  I might still have met my husband, if I’d managed to continue and do a degree, even if I’d gone for a local one instead, but again I wonder how attractive I would have been with a 4yr old child.

So here I would be, 40yrs old, with a 24yr old child.  They would definitely have left college by now, so I would be free to enjoy my 40’s and make the most of them.  They would have known my Dad for 4yrs and might remember him, and would have had 20yrs with my Mum.  Plus, I would have had a Mum to talk to when I was tired, and upset, and a Mum to babysit or help out when I just felt like I couldn’t cope.  However, my escape from home was combined with going away to do my degree (that was kind of what I’d been working towards since very young), so I might never have got away and stayed as her carer until she died 4yrs ago.  But maybe as I learnt more about her from becoming a Mum myself, we might have found a more balanced way?  Nahhh, I was too young, and I’ve needed to learn a hell of a lot in order to understand human behaviour, especially when it gets all twisted and knarly.  But I reckon I would still have loved being a Mum.

26 – Why Not At The ‘Ideal Age’?

Ironically 3 yrs later I was told by a doctor that I was ‘barren’ and had to take pills for the rest of my life otherwise I would get ‘brittle bone disease or cancer and die’.  So at 26 when I was ‘meant to’ be having kids, (we’d been together 6 yrs, married for 1yr) I wasn’t.  My husband knew from the beginning that there were problems, but I did double check just before we got married.  The specialist said that IVF wouldn’t work, but I could try fertility treatments.  However, ironically if I did fall pregnant there was a high probability of multiple pregnancies, but he thought it unlikely I would be successful.

Now, by this stage I was a stress junkie.  I did not deal well with my Dad’s death, and had a huge discovery about my Mum which turned my life upside down and back again.  I was doing really well in a mega stressful job, and working long days and hours.  I organised my wedding in conjunction with my in-laws, which is just not ideal, however nice your in-laws are.  There was NO WAY I could have handled twins or worse, it just wasn’t worth the risk.  The problem was that everyone said it had to be in my 20’s, and that the slimmest of chances was slipping away.  But we weren’t ready, I was too stressed and it wasn’t a priority for my husband.  I insisted it would be ‘wrong’ to try for a baby just because of age (please do not think that I am criticising anyone who makes that choice – just wrong for us, that’s all).

I am SO glad that we didn’t try at that point, because one thing I am sure of is that I would not have handled it.  I would have been filled with brain noise, and been a prime candidate for Post-natal depression, with no idea on how to tackle it.  I wouldn’t have had time to heal the rift between myself and my Mum, which would have just added to the whole messy emotional state.  Plus, my husband and I went through a key, although uncomfortable, shift in our relationship 10yrs later, and without it, I don’t think we could have had the family that we have today, or the future possibilities.

36 – Miraculous (and again at 40!)

So then we come to the 36 year old, walking up and down a corridor saying ‘Oh shit’ and starring in disbelief at a pregnancy test that is definitely positive.  By now, I’d got so used to the idea of being ‘barren’ that I had totally accepted it, and was sure it was because I’d be a rubbish Mum anyway.  Our marriage had been through some tough times, but my husband had also got his head around the lack of children, and we were just planning our very hedonistic mid-life together when I discovered that I was 2 months pregnant!

I didn’t get much chance to think it through, because during the next 7 months my Mum died (she did see me pregnant) and we moved house.  So there suddenly in my arms, was this little boy.  There was no family to rely on, not many local friends, but most crucially no one to interfere. Everyone said I was lucky to have a boy, because they are so affectionate, and they were right.  I spent 3 months holding him, because he screamed if I put him down, and this little creature taught me how to just ‘Be’ in a moment.  It was certainly hard, but I immediately found out this amazing thing; I LOVED being a Mum, and I reckon I’m pretty good at it what a surprise!

So It’s Extremes That Win For Me

Ironically that means that at 26 I’m sure, I would have been miserable, and perpetuated all the problems I’d seen in my childhood.  Whereas the extremes of 16 or 36, were either before there was too much emotional baggage, or after it was ‘fixed’, giving me the chance to really enjoy being a Mum.  So they are the ages that work best for me.  Makes sense, as I’m not that traditional anyway!

If I’d been 16, I would have no worries about seeing my grandchildren grow up, and would have had more energy, which would be a big advantage.  I had older parents (Mum was 43 when she had me), and there were definitely hardships that I felt due to their lack of health.  But this is where I have some power over the situation at 36, because I have the gift of hindsight.  So, I’m hoping that in the next couple of years (giving me some time to recover from the arrival of another surprise baby 7 weeks ago at 40!) I can shift my pretty good health up several notches, thereby ensuring I still get relationships with my grandchildren.  It’s going to be hard work, but I’m sure it’s possible, wish me luck (ooh, and this time, I might be a bit more careful with that thing called contraception for a while!)

So, is there an ‘ideal’ age?  The obvious answer is no.  But it’s not that easy.  The ideal age for me, was when I was going to enjoy it the most, but I was lucky to get a second chance.  Now that I know what having kids is like, I would probably still go for 26 if it was my only chance, and hope that given time I would be able to fix the problems caused by my stress junkie status.  Maybe that is one of the reasons why I’m so driven to help other Mums who are stuck in that place of discomfort at whatever age; I suspect it has a lot to do with it.

Here’s the link to the blog that got all this going in my head: A Modern Mother ‘Becoming a Mum in Your 40s’)

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

Arrival Of Baby No2 – A Very Different Experience

Willow Phoebe Rose Pearson arrived on Saturday 13th February at 13.25, at a chubby 9lbs 3oz, at home in our lounge after a very relaxed 7hr labour, lots of chatting and a short dip in the birthing pool.  Hubby and 4yr old son were downstairs during the process, watching films or playing computer games, and popping up to see how I was doing every now and again with more tea for us.  So it all worked out to be a very calm and un-stressful experience.

Now, if you fancy more detailed info, here you go, but feel free to stop here; I know that some friends will be wanting the full monte, and others will be interested in the home birth side, but some of you won’t want to know ;o)

So Much More Relaxed

It was so different this time around, with her picking a daytime arrival (6.30am-1.25pm) versus Max’s evening one (6.30-10pm).  Max was really full on, with me going straight into ‘transition’ 24hrs after my waters broke, no pre-warning contractions, just straight into 1 min contractions every minute.  The rather scary (and noisy, because I’m not good with physical pain!) roller coaster 4hrs included a mad dash for hospital, finishing off in a birthing unit.

Instead, this was a relaxed affair, with the Doula (Nicola Wilson – like an old fashioned midwife who gives additional support during the birth and post-natally) arriving an hour in, and the community midwife (Sarah Loveday – very lovely and relaxed) an hour or two after that.  There was lots of chatting, which I found helped with the pain as it relaxes the jaw (which relaxes the pelvis), along with remembering to eat, drink water and breathe (which I forgot to do first time).  I can see now why those women on YouTube were singing during labour, which might not be my cup of tea, but I definitely recommend humming to music or chatting!

I mainly stood up and leaned on a leather chair, for 6.5hrs, by the french windows (curtains shut obviously!).  It was a beautiful day, and when I got a bit hot and flustered I could open the doors.  It wasn’t where I planned to be, as I thought I would use the big fit balls or a bean bag, but they were useful for the midwife and doula instead!

I also thought I’d go straight in the pool, but things were going so well, that we decided to keep it for when I really needed it, which was only the final 30 mins.  The pool was a blow up ECO small one, which was perfect.  I wouldn’t want bigger, it kept it’s heat all the way through from the beginning, was quick to fill, and very comfortable to be in (both leaning on the sides and kneeling).  Things really ramped up when I got in, which although painful, was NOTHING like the traumatic pain I remembered from before and totally bearable for that short time, especially as I had help from the Doula and Midwife.

Pain Levels

I suspect this is the difference in pain levels is down to some prior preparation about fear of pain, plus being in a much more relaxed environment, with no mad dash for Watford.  I didn’t do ‘hypnobirthing’, but did use some relaxation techniques in the 6 weeks prior (I’ll do another post with information about that), which meant I was well rested. I also did some practical looking at the value of the pain with some of my associates beforehand, which meant that I wasn’t worried about making noise or it hurting again.  Plus with a more gentle build up there was less shock, and I wasn’t lieing on a hospital bed or ‘sitting on her head’ as the midwife called it.  I couldn’t have done anything other than lie down first time round, but now I know a little more about these things, I could have been lieing on my side, rather than on my back.

First time round it felt like someone had a couple of hot pokers and were mixing my stomach with them (sorry for the gruesome details!), whereas this time the contractions were in my back (like period pains are).  It was fascinating as they moved down my back as she moved, which is quite an encouraging feeling.  Plus, we tried an old fashioned tip, which was to check my legs to see how dilated I was.  Apparently, your legs starting getting cold at the ankle, and the higher up towards your knees it goes, the more dilated you are.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not like that model recently who didn’t feel a thing.  That last 20 mins was very intense, but this time I managed to not scream (waste of energy) and keep the noises lower in the back of my throat (which is where you want them).  I didn’t even get heard by the neighbours, unlike last time when I couldn’t speak for a week and could have been heard miles away ;o)

I owe huge gratitude to the fact that I live in St Albans, where home births are pretty much matter of fact, and the midwives get plenty of leeway to make it the best possible experience for mums, that it can possibly be.  Plus in hertfordshire we have loads of Doula’s including really experienced ones like Nicola, which is definitely the answer to the problem of no local family, siblings that need taking care of, potential help after the birth, and additional support during the birth hence taking some pressure off hubby.

Her Arrival

I was leaning forwards at the end, so the funniest thing was as they popped her on my back, and I suddenly realised how come she had taken longer, because blimey she was heavy.  Max had been a little 6lb 10oz baby, and she is nearly 3lb’s heavier at 9lb’s 3oz!  She was also very cute looking as she was delivered in her waters bag, so her head was all cushioned throughout, with no funny squashed look.

As expected she has dark hair, dark eyes (slate grey at the moment, but likely to go brown), and dark skin.  In fact her skin is really dark at the moment, which is because of giving birth at home and having no rush to remove the cord, so she got a lot extra blood etc, than a baby whose cord is cut quickly in hospital.  Whereas Max was obviously red haired, pale skinned and blue eyed, right from the start.  He was whipped off quickly to be measured etc, given a quick feed, and then passed to Daddy while I had a couple of hours of stitching (don’t worry, gas and air is fabulous, it didn’t hurt a bit!).  This time, despite her being a ton bigger, there are no stitches, which is really good news.

The only similarity between the two was the lack of drugs.  Not my plan!  But first time round there wasn’t enough time for them to have taken effect, and this time, I didn’t really need anything until then end, and there wasn’t much point by then.  I was given some homeopathic remedies by the Doula in the pushing stage, which I did think helped me through the last bit.

It was weird to be so much more conscious and able to follow instructions at the end.  I’d seen women give birth on YouTube, and they had seemed so much more involved and able to understand the midwives, but I just couldn’t understand how that could be, as first time around, I was so incapable of understanding anything.  This time I could understand instructions, and move when told to (with a little bit of complaining!).

The Rest Of The Family

Max and David had fun playing computer games and watching films.  David did a fab job of keeping everyone fed and watered, meanwhile Max would pop up to check on us, announce something funny and then disappear back downstairs.  I did suggest that they go out near the end, but unbeknown to me the Doula counteracted that, which I am really grateful for.  I was worried I might make noise and scare Max, but in fact they hardly heard anything, and it meant that they arrived in the lounge, almost immediately after her entrance into the world.  Willow and I cuddled for a quite some time in the pool, with Max leaning over.  He was really chuffed, not bothered by the pool being a slightly bloody colour at all.  In fact it was only later on that he got slightly upset, but we discovered it was just because he insists that she should wear pink or cute stuff, and he didn’t like the outfit that we had picked!

The dogs got treated to a lovely long walk by our dog walker, so they were pretty exhausted that night.  However, the Labradoodle noticed her immediately, and is already watching over her with great concern if she issues the smallest of squeaks.  The Spaniel took 2 days to notice her, and is just a little annoyed that she tends to take up space on the sofa, but thinks that she smells nice.

Afterwards

Once the cord had stopped pulsing, we decided to get out, and were put in a lovely cocoon of towels, while I fed her.  An hour later, I popped off to the bathroom and the placenta arrived very quickly, so there was no need for an injection.  Then I had a lovely shower, and got all cleaned up.  Meanwhile the Doula and two midwives (the second midwife didn’t arrive until just after she was born, because once she decided it was time to push, she only took 20mins, so there wasn’t a lot of notice) had tidied everything, fed me, and the pool had already been emptied and disassembled by David and Max.

It’s a lovely feeling to be at home, in the peace and quiet and not have to go anywhere.  Despite it being pretty easy, I did feel a little shaky afterwards for a couple of days, so it’s lovely to be all snuggled on your own sofa, with your baby and family.

The Next Week

Willow ‘mewed’ her way through her first 24hrs, with lots of little squeaky noises whether she was asleep or awake.  She has a set of lungs on her, but her wail is gentle in comparison to Max’s, which would go from 0 to 100 decibels in a matter of 5 seconds.  She wasn’t impressed by bodily functions like puking (delicately of course!), or pooing, but has found that if she sucks my finger it is a much more lady like way of winding herself than burping.

Max is a little sensitive, but has been wonderful with her.  Having no younger siblings myself, I’m amazed at how genuinely he loved her immediately, and how gentle he is when he holds or touches her.  Although it is half-term, he has been attending drama camp this week (same days as nursery), which has given him some normalcy, plus he got invited out for a ‘play-date’ on his own, which he adored (thanks Clare!).  We are co-sleeping just as he planned, and at the moment he would prefer Willow and I to stay in the room, even if she is being a little fractious; we’ll see how that goes.

David has had a tough time, as the day after Willow was born, it was announced that his company were shutting down the division that he had moved to 14 days previously.  Despite him supposedly being on paternity leave, he has repeatedly had to work late into the night, and attend teleconferences during the day in order to help out the different factions.  It would definitely be kind of fun to get a chance to be locked in a room with his main boss at the moment, what with the hormonal soup that week1 after a baby is born can be.  But don’t worry about us, David was made redundant 6 weeks after Max was born, so if the worst possible scenario happens, it just means that he gets the same opportunity to spend time with Willow.  Meanwhile, the Mums at Max’s nursery have all kindly offered to help with the nursery runs next week, so I don’t have to handle the a total return to normalcy when David goes ‘back’ to work, or in his case, actually has to go into London to work.

David’s parents turned up excitedly the night that Willow was born, and the next day were joined briefly by his sister and her 2 teenage kids.  But since monday afternoon we have had a quieter time of it, and are gradually getting our heads around how a family works with an additional pink bundle (she is definitely a rather cute bundle, whereas Max was nick named ‘alien bug’ for the first few weeks of his life!).  Hopefully, one of my brothers will be able to make it to meet her next week.

With Max I remember the first two weeks being totally cocooned with him for the most blissful weeks of my life.  That’s not a possibility with paternity leaves being cancelled, and reappearing, and then cancelled again, along with the reality of already having a 4yr old.  But generally, just as with her birth, it’s a slower, more relaxed if less intense experience (so far, that is!).

Note: Every couple of months I’ll post another blog on our progress and the differences/similarities second time around (mainly as a diary for me, but it might be interesting for people thinking of having a second), so if you fancy keeping up to date with our journey you might want to subscribe.