Flexibility for working parents is a mindset before a reality

Flexibility for working parents is a mindset before a reality

Flexibility is not just important for working parents, it’s important for everyone. Flexibility in your schedule is what allows you to know you have autonomy over your life, that you can schedule your day to maximise your productivity and work around inflexible commitments relating to those dependant on you. Without flexibility you can feel stressed out, over-worked and time-starved. Cue, quality of life. For working parents, flexibility is the most valuable currency there is. Being able to pick up your child from school a couple of times a week, attend a child’s concert, take them to an activity, be home with them for dinner, these are important and it’s flexibility that enables these moments to occur. It is the quality of time that matters more than quantity.   Children spell love with four letters T-I-M-E ~Max Lucado   How do you maximise your flexibility to spend time with your child? Whilst there are workplace policies in place for flexible and part-time working arrangements and these can help, there can often be a stigma around actually taking the time, or an incongruous culture to still work set hours, even though policies state otherwise. Taking matters into your own hands as a working parent is the key to having the work-life blend you desire. And there are a few things you can consider: 1) Outside of any constraints, what is important to you? It may seem like an obvious question. My kids are important to me, my career is important, my partner is important to me etc. But I’d like you to dig deeper. What do you consider so important that...
How to encourage your child to make mistakes

How to encourage your child to make mistakes

Do you celebrate mistakes? My son was washing the blender after making a smoothie. It’s an awkward shape and the sink was full of dishes, so as he went to flip it to rinse it he accidentally poured a quarter of a jug of dirty water all over the clean dishes on the rack, trickling down and inside the cupboard and all over the floor. He looked up at me, searching for my reaction. My initial thoughts were, I have not got time to clean this up. I need to respond to client before we leave for an activity. As  I was about to yell something, I took 5 seconds to pause. In those 5 seconds I gave myself the choice in how I wanted to respond. Choosing our response is one of the most important skills we can learn as parents because a child creates meaning based on how we respond. My son replied, “oh snap!” and started cleaning it up and I began to help him by which time I had calmed myself down enough to say, “awesome buddy, what are you realising about rinsing out that big jug if the sink is full?” In the future of work, being able to make mistakes and celebrating them is a critical skill for mental resilience. Why? When we are sharing our creativity and our uniqueness, chances are it’s not going to come out perfectly on first go, probably not even on the 100th go, but each time your experiment fails, you learn something and have that knowledge for next time. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. He said,...
Do you dress your child to impress?

Do you dress your child to impress?

We want children to walk their own path. We want them to not compare themselves to others. Mostly we want them to be proud of who they are no matter what. But I’m wondering if what we say to them sometimes gives them a different message. My son asked me tonight – why do you always ask me to clean my face? Why does it matter if I have food on my face or if I wear certain clothes? I started to say, well we are judged on our appearance so we need to make sure we look presentable. As I heard myself say these words out loud, my mind went to – what total and utter bullsh*t! Why am I teaching him that’s it’s OK for people to judge him on his appearance and he needs to dress for others? It didn’t sit well with me. Why are we judged on appearance? Do those that wear whatever they like increase their likeability because they wear what they feel best in, no matter what society expects? And how does this impact their ability to get jobs, friendships and even relationships? Do we need to dress to impress?  And what exactly do we want children to understand around this? I’m following Nas at the moment. Some of his videos have had 4.7million views. In one of his latest videos Nas shares he has worn the same t-shirt for 600 days. He has 10 of the same so I’m assuming they are clean each day! His rational for the same t-shirt is that he is rebelling against being judged for his appearance. And it makes...
What if you replaced your guilt with compassion?

What if you replaced your guilt with compassion?

Let me explain. You love your child. You are doing the best you can. In any given moment, you are juggling the multiple small and big tasks we take on as parents because that’s what we signed up for when we embarked on this role. The challenge arises when you don’t feel like there is a choice in what you are doing. Maybe the choice you make to add on an extra day of after-school care leaves you feeling guilty. Perhaps it’s missing a parent-teacher event because you are away for work. It’s ok to feel guilty. It’s letting you know that there’s a values conflict – two things that are important to you are colliding. It’s when that guilt feeling spirals and you tell yourself you shouldn’t feel guilty or worse still you turn it into a guilt trip, which intensifies the feeling – that’s when your decision-making is affected and you need to interject. Your mind is incredible and it will help you create lots of stories that may or may not be useful. Matthew Lieberman, a neuroscientist has found an inverse relationship between the activation of amygdala (emotions) and the prefrontal cortex (decision-making). When the amygdala is active with blood and oxygen, there is less activation in the prefrontal cortex. Our thinking power is disrupted and there are deficits in our problem solving, because the blood and oxygen are in the amygdala versus the prefrontal cortex. Any strong emotion, fear, stress, guilt, anxiety, anger, joy, or betrayal trips off the amygdala and impairs the prefrontal cortex’s working memory and thus your decision-making.* So, how do you...
3 components of healthy self-belief for a child

3 components of healthy self-belief for a child

Central to the skills children require for the future of work is self-belief. A child who believes in themselves, believes in their ability and their capability to ride challenges and celebrate progress are in good stead for the future. Self-belief is different from having an exaggerated self-opinion. An exaggerated self-opinion, or arrogance, is often seen and received as bragging and results in disconnection from others. Self-belief on the other hand, is seen and received by others as inspiring and results in connection with others. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right! Henry Ford A belief is an acceptance that something is true, whether or not empirical evidence is available. Children can believe they are capable, they can believe they are incapable, they can believe they are at the mercy of others, they can believe and back themselves. Beliefs colour the way they view the world. There are three components to a child’s healthy self-belief: They believe they are more than what they achieve They believe they can handle reality They believe that they have choices no matter the circumstance When a child believes they are more than what they achieve, they are less likely to want to strive for achievement for achievements’ sake and they move towards achieving for fulfilment and how they can help others. If a child believes they have internal resources to deal with situation and events, especially when they are less than ideal, they are quicker to accept and adapt and look for solutions to their problems. When a child believes they have the power to choose how they respond...
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