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...
Working parent’s currency

Working parent’s currency

What is the most important currency that makes life easier for working parents? It’s flexibility. 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 and working out your priorities 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...
The Achievement Shift

The Achievement Shift

You’re a high flyer at work. You get sh*t done. You’re known for doing whatever it takes to get projects over the line. Let’s face it, you’re good at achieving.  Then along comes this bundle of joy, with not a care in the world. No concept of time and space. Just a pure existence.  An existence that consumes your energy and your time and in return offers you pure love. You catch glimpses of enjoying this love and for the most part, you’re thinking I need to do stuff. There’s important stuff I’m not doing because the nappy changing, clothes washing, feeding cycle never seems to end.  You find yourself finishing off dinner, doing the bed and bath time routine, then falling into an exhausted slump on the couch and find yourself asking what did I actually achieve today? So many executive parents find themselves at a loss after having a child because they can no longer relate to their pre-child achievement criteria of being in control of: Getting a project done on time.Getting through a task listGetting feedback on your progress and performance After a child is born it’s the polar opposite, things are often out of your control. They rarely run to schedule, the task list gets bigger and no-one gives you feedback on your progress and performance. “You cleaned that bottom meticulously today, well done” – yeah right!  Feeling like you’re not achieving leads to resentment, frustration and can also lead to anxiety and perceived lack of self-worth, like you’re never doing enough or never get enough done.  Redefining achievement post children comes down to feeling...