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...
Want to make the most of the holidays?

Want to make the most of the holidays?

It’s no secret that this time of year for most us is the busiest time of year. There are parties, end of year concerts, award ceremonies, planning for next year, dinners and the list goes on. Yet, for many it is also the most amount of consecutive days they have had off work this year. If you are one of the ones that can’t wait for the downtime these holidays (NB. not everyone does, I met a man at a party last night that loves being at work during the holidays because it’s quiet in the office and he can get more done), then read on to find out how you can make the holidays last a bit longer. So whether you have 2 days, 2 weeks or more, you can expand time by increasing your presence. Have you ever been in line at the post office (or anywhere) and you can feel the person in front of you is in a rush. They may be moving their body, their shoulders maybe up to their ears or they are flapping papers around in their hand. They give off a vibe they are in a hurry. Whatever is going on for them in their head is taking them away from feeling themselves standing on the floor, being around other people and taking in their surrounds – they are somewhere else in their heads. And there you are in queue behind them, calm, watching all of this go on and just experiencing it for what it is. Even though you are in the same queue, in the same environment, waiting for...
We use fitness coaches, business coaches and now parenting coaching is on the rise.

We use fitness coaches, business coaches and now parenting coaching is on the rise.

Hoogi Features in Mamma Mia. Written by Shauna Anderson. Click here to view original article   Melina was at her breaking point. With three kids and a full time job she was stretched and struggling. The kids didn’t behave. The house was chaos. She was always running late, she felt, as she puts it, like she was “spiralling out of control.” “I just wanted a day to run smoothly, as planned without everything f**king up.” She says she doesn’t like to ask for help, she has her ways and her beliefs and feels imposed upon when relatives or friends break what she sees as the parenting rules she has put in place. “When my husband looks after the kids he just lets them sit in front of their screens and forgets the structures I have, things just fall apart.”   So just like when she needed help with her diet and exercise Melina sought out the help of a fitness coach this time she is turning to a coach as well – a parenting coach. In this age of modern parenting where we second-guess everything we do the rise of parenting coaches isn’t surprising. “I used a business coach for our business why wouldn’t I use a parent coach?” Experts have noted a fundamental shift in the way parents parent over the last half a century. While we are busier than ever, we are more focused on our children than ever. Researchers say this child-centred parenting, with an overwhelming need to prioritize their children’s health and happiness is leading to a generation of anxious parents unsure of what to do....
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