Finding Your Tribe

Finding Your Tribe

Yesterday I ran a workshop as part of a mum’s camp at a hospice. It was a privilege and an incredibly humbling experience. Each of these mums have a child that is dying or a child that has recently passed away. No-one can really understand what these mums go through without having a similar direct experience. They have a unique set of joys and a unique set of challenges. However, during the workshop what came through strongly was, whilst most of us could not even begin to fathom what they are going through each day, they really understood each other. They understood what it was like to be on edge each time they checked their child was breathing. They understood what it was like to wake up several times a night to turn their child over to keep them from getting bedding sores. They understood what it was like to have multiple children, including a special needs child and the challenge of meeting everyone’s needs. They understood all of this and so much more.  Together these mums had found their tribe.  “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” ― Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us There are 5 key areas that make a strong tribe:  Openness The ability to engage in open and real in conversations. These mums’ talked about their challenges openly and vulnerably. The...
Your Happy Place

Your Happy Place

It is easy to compare yourself to other parents. It’s so easy, but not helpful. What is helpful is, taking time to consider what makes you feel alive?  What makes up your happy place? Is it going to the hairdressers?Is it getting stuck into a project? Is it a good conversation?Is it connecting with your friend?Is it cuddling on the couch with your partner? Is it playing with your kids?​​​​​​​Is it curling up with a good book?Is it asking for a specific meal to be cooked for you?Is it watching a movie only you want to watch?Is it helping someone? You’ll know what makes you feel alive because there is a sense of detachment and peace and you can’t put it into words..it is a feeling. When we search for fulfillment, we set up boundaries, prioritise our tasks to what is most important us, and we no longer engage in activities that waste time. Instead we focus on what makes us happy, where we feel most alive and spend more time there.   Lissa Rankin says, “The longest journey you’ll ever make is the journey from your head to your heart.” What I believe this means is, rather than a saying to yourself, “I’m feeling good right now.” You experience a feeling that feels good that no words cannot describe.  Want yourself some of THAT feeling? To find your happy place, consider asking yourself these questions: What gives me energy? What am I focused on when I feel good?What sucks my energy? When do I feel drained?What small step can I take today to do more of what feels good to me? Give yourself the...
Blindspots in parenting

Blindspots in parenting

A few short years ago, when we had parties or play dates or when we met up with friends etc. other people’s children would come up to me and I would bend down, talk to them, play with them. And when my own children came to ask me something I would answer them quickly and focus on the other child again or move on. Somewhere inside of me, the feeling that I wasn’t spending nearly enough quality time with my children didn’t sit well with me Most of the time I ignored this feeling. It took me a long time to figure out why I did this. It was a real blindspot. My children were 2 and 4 when I realised that up until that time I had lived my life for others. Others were more important, others took priority and I valued others more than myself. This unconscious pattern of behaviour, although subtle was a real eye opener. Because through my behaviour, I was embedding the same belief I held into my child each time I quickly attended to them and spent longer with other children.  “Others are more important than you, value others more than yourself.” This was not a belief I wanted to embed in my children. It seems I am not alone with my blindspot. Researchers from Boston University have found that everyone has blindspots and “it is unrelated to people’s intelligence, self-esteem, and actual ability to make unbiased judgments and decisions.” Valuing others is not a bad thing. But when it comes to freedom and living a fulfilled life, not being able to prioritise...
The skill that increases your presence

The skill that increases your presence

Whether it’s comments from another parent, grandparent or your own self-talk, you can feel judged as a parent. It doesn’t feel good and often results in feelings of stress, irrational reactions and lacking empathy for yourself and others, including children. These can all lead to feelings of regret and result in a downward spiral effect very quickly, all of which take you away from the present moment. Katie recently shared with me how her child was involved in a trampoline accident. He fell off and broke his arm in two places. She and her husband were right next to the trampoline when it happened. The ambulance was called and whilst she was sharing her son’s details and explaining what had happened to the ambulance team, she said all that went through her mind was, “what must they think of me?”, “they probably think I’m a bad mother”, “I am a bad mother”, “how can this happen when I was right there?” As she said all of this to herself, she was losing her concentration on what was happening and fumbling through the answers she was giving to the paramedic. She said the paramedics didn’t say a thing. Not one mention of, “Where were you when this happened?” “How could you let it happen?” They were kind, empathetic and efficient in taking care of her son and her. In this case it was Katie that was judging herself – in some cases there is someone in your life judging you, very vocally. Wherever the judgment comes from, whether it is inside of you or someone external to you, lead yourself...
Torn between family and work

Torn between family and work

Most parents find that when things are going well, everyone is in good health and work goals are progressing, there’s a juggle between work and family, but it all works out most days. It’s when there’s a spanner in the works, a child gets sick or your health gets challenged whilst there’s pressing deadlines at work, that’s when the real test begins. Your patience, your resilience and your achievement focus get tested. Now if you’re a high achiever and if you are reading this then you probably are, you still want to be hitting your deadlines, attending meetings and keeping your finger on the pulse. The idea of a child’s sickness pausing your work progress for the fourth day in a row can be a real challenge. Not because you don’t love your child but because you also love your work. Then there’s the practicalities of looking after a sick child. Booking appointments, trips to the doctor (or worse the hospital), filling prescriptions then remembering to actually give the medicine to your child three times a day, in between phonecalls, meetings and developing your ideas. You lose sleep at night attending to your child, then attempt to function during the day. After a few days of this, your once bubbly, caring personality wears thin and you become something that resembles Bon Jovi being shot through the heart. You find yourself giving love a bad name. Did you really choose to sign up for this? Tired, weary and somehow still going, you hear the words, “thank you for looking after me”, your heart swells and you suddenly remember why you...