I Struggle and Juggle – The Truth About Being a Mum of Young Kids Today

mum juggling bals of work, husband, kids and freindsI am a mum of 2 gorgeous young boys, wife to a lovely husband (well most of the time), part-time marketing professional and Innate Health Teacher and I juggle and I struggle. I love my boys and my jobs and my husband and I struggle.

I struggle on days when I am trying to get the kids out the house and my eldest son doesn’t want to go to school and I have to perform every parent gymnastics trick in the book to get him there until suddenly he has a change of heart and is happy to go. Then I enjoy the moment of his returned good mood and I wonder at it.

I struggle on days when I have to do a last minute nappy change before we leave and the bus won’t let me on because there are already two buggies on board.

I struggle  on days when it all runs smoothly but I’m in my head about being on time and getting them there and I feel like I’ve done 5 rounds with Mike Tyson by the time I’ve got to work, when in fact I’ve just done 5 rounds with myself.

I love my kids and I struggle. There’s a facebook group for mums called ‘mums that hide in the loo.’ Well I’m a mum who howls in the kitchen. Just to let off steam and occasionally have a sneaky bit of chocolate to keep me going – you understand. Sometimes I even have some that’s left over from the boys party bags (well better my teeth than theirs!).

And I howl to myself and I struggle and I love my children and I treasure the moments we have together because I know it’s precious.

I struggle when I look at Facebook and I start to compare myself to what others are doing. Then I remember that just like me people are only ever posting what they want others to see and that brings me back to the present and I’m OK again.

I juggle and I struggle and sometimes when I’m juggling I don’t pay enough attention to something and I drop a ball, mess up and innocently hurt people. I take responsibility for what I’ve done and I apologise. But I don’t drive myself crazy with guilt like I used to because I know I would be causing myself pain and why would I want to do that to myself anymore?!?

I struggle and I learn. I learn from my gorgeous young boys who for the majority of the time live in the here and now and not in their heads. They are upset about something and they express this clearly and then they are not, they’re onto the next thing.

And I see that I like everyone else on this planet am only ever living in the experience of my thinking. That I’m doing the best I can given what I know to do in the moment. I know that my kids will do what they do and if I’m in a bad mood I’ll see it in a bad way and if I’m in a good mood I’ll think it’s funny and this frees me up. – Because I know that my experience of my kids comes from me and not from them.

And I notice that when I’m seeing life as it is and not as it isn’t. – When I’m present to what is happening now and not lost in my head I savour all life has to offer and I love my kids and life even more. And I notice when I’m lost in my thoughts of how life should be, what’s happening, not happening, if we are late or not, have I left something behind, are my kids OK? Am I OK? Did I get enough sleep? Did my husband get enough sleep? Did I do/say the right thing/the wrong thing?  Where’s my phone? Etc etc ad infinitum I’m distracted and I miss out on the beauty and the wonder of life.

Sometimes when I feel like I’m struggling I can see the habits of thought I’ve created. – For example  when I’m judging myself for something I’ve done or said and then feel bad as a result.  I say to myself here I go again… and I can be OK with myself for doing it, give into it and accept it and it passes quickly. Sometimes I can’t and then I struggle. But now the more I see these habits and I notice the thoughts that I trip myself up on, the less likely I am to believe them the next time they pop into my head.

You see we all have 100,000’s of thoughts a day many of which we don’t notice, and the ones we do and pay attention to give us our experience of life.

Life is precious. Time with my kids is precious and the more I’m truly with them, not distracted by my thinking, the more I enjoy them, appreciate them and love them for the wonder that they are. -How they know what to do to get on in the world without being taught. How they learn to walk and talk and become little people, from their infinite wisdom. The infinite wisdom we all possess that as adults sometimes gets clouded over by the habits and constructs of how to do life that we have unknowingly built up over time.   Well those habits and constructs are just that ‘constructs’. If we can notice that we have built them up then we can knock them down again just as easily. – That to me is one of the keys to living life with less and less struggle.

So I may have the same worrisome thoughts I’ve always had but I don’t experience the same physical sensations; the palpitations, the lack of sleep, the sudden stomach cramps, because I see them for what they are – just thoughts and I don’t trust them so much. As a result I don’t get so entangled in their web that would tighten around me the more I got interested in them and that would lead to my physical discomfort. This is in itself is a blessing.

So I have admitted here that I struggled and I still do but for far less time and with less impact than I have ever done at any point in my life since I was a child. Because now I see my ‘struggle’ for what it is, my own creation and that beyond the so-called ‘struggle’ there is always a light guiding me back to the beauty of the here and now.

If anything I’ve written resonates with you and you are curious to find out more, please get in touch I’d love to hear from you.

How To Keep Your Head When All About You Are Losing Theirs by Matt Halfin

Moods are like the weatherAt a moment where uncertainty, fear and anger are all around, there is no greater need to understand that our experience comes not from what is happening around us but by the meaning that we choose to give it, however much it looks the other way. You may notice that watching the news or reading Facebook comes with certain feelings, whilst when we are absorbed in our day to day lives those feelings recede, the reason being that we feel our thinking in the moment. The most helpful thing for us to do is to see any insecure thinking for what it is and as far as possible – difficult I know- try not to feed it.

All we can do is what makes sense to each of us to stay in a clearer state of mind where we have greatest access to the wisdom, creativity and fresh thinking which are undoubtedly required if we are to navigate our way gracefully through the unknown .

If you would like to get a deeper appreciation of what becomes available to us in life and in work when we drop the thinking that holds us back come and join our ‘Go Deep Urban Retreat’ on Monday 11 July 9.30am – 4pm. To find out more and to book click here.

 

That Insecure Feeling – Reflections from a sunny day with stormy thinking

FearIt’s funny I was having a lovely day enjoying the sunshine with my toddler and all of a sudden I started to feel a bit angsty and a bit insecure. Then I started to question myself about things I’d said and not said, done and not done which led me to more insecure feelings. Sometimes I can experience these feelings and then blame them on feeling tired and somehow that takes the edge off them because I naturally know not to trust them no matter how alluring they seem. Other times these negative thoughts draw me into their web and then whatever happens in the day I seem to use them as ammunition to fuel that thinking and make myself feel worse and worse. Continue reading

When does thinking become overthinking? By Matt Halfin

Too many lightbulb momentsMost of us who overthink know from the reaction of our friends and family that there are certain areas of life we take more seriously than other people, but when does thinking become over-thinking?

For me overthinking is when we inhibit the natural flow of life, tying ourselves (and often others) up in mental knots trying to work out The Answer, trying to anticipate any potential outcome, and basically not being able to see the wood for the trees. We of course do this in all innocence and with the best possible intentions – to make good decisions and minimise the risk of things happening to us that we think we might not like. Continue reading

New Job / Old Job – Finding Wisdom In The Eye Of A Storm

Lightbulb momentToward the end of last year my husband was out of work and suggested it may be a good time for me to think about getting some part time work. He was very positive about the opportunity to look for something new and explore different avenues and I was happy for him but I wasn’t happy for me!

His situation brought up lots of past memories of the times I’d been made redundant.  Like my husband my background is in marketing both client and agency side. In my experience it’s quite a volatile market and my career path has had shall we say lots of twists and turns in it. This path has led to what I’m doing now teaching Innate Health which I see as a true expression of what I’ve done to date.  Therefore the thought of going back into working for someone else doing marketing again filled me with dread and self- oathing for all the things/overthinking I can now see I innocently did that held me back in my career and at times made me desperately unhappy. Continue reading

Contemplating Valentines Days of the Past – Confessions from a ‘Suspicious Bridget’

Why am I singleWith the onslaught of Valentine’s Day fast approaching it’s got me thinking about my days/endless years as a single Bridget and how the thoughts I held to be true unknowingly kept me single for so long.

You see being an overthinker it will not surprise you know that I had a lot of thinking during my many years of being single. In fact looking back I would probably say I was at the zenith of my overthinking during this period of my life. Most of which I was not aware of until it came into my view. – So much thinking and mistrust of people/men especially in fact that I had an invisible force field around me to keep men away. – To the degree that my friends called me ‘Danger Stranger’ to my face and I still never got the hint!!! Continue reading

Moods – Lessons From A Tired 4 Year Old Not Wanting To Go Home

dark clouds raining down on my 4 year oldSo I’ve just started a contract working 2 days a week and then 1 day a week I work for myself. This means that my eldest who is 4 and half has to join his brother at the childminders after school at least 2 days a week until 5.30pm or 6pm.

So last week I went to pick them up and I noticed he was a little upset about a Halloween bag my childminder had kindly got them both for a present. He didn’t want his and he was very upset when I insisted on taking his brother’s one home because he didn’t want him to have one either!

The bags had pictures of bats and spiders on, and I sensed this may be scaring him. As we were walking to the bus in the dark and the rain he got upset and told me he didn’t want the bag at home and I should throw it into a bush. I said no and told him that the bags just had pictures of bats and spiders on just like the pictures he drew of bats at home. He said no they were real and the rats he saw were real and everything was real, real, real!!!

We proceeded to have a ‘profoundish’ conversation about this for 5 minutes before we got into ‘I don’t want to go home, I just want to stand out in the rain!’ which he kept repeating and repeating and repeating! He looked so sad and tired all I felt was love and compassion for him so I kept reassuring him and saying ‘I know, I understand’ and then encouraging him to walk on. I then explained how it wasn’t good to stand out in the rain as we may get cold or worse and our feet would hurt, but he went on and on and on! Continue reading

Contemplations on Make Up and Money

make up and moneyThanks  to Lian Brook-Tyler who kindly originally published this article as ‘What A Fabulous Lipstick Taught Me About Happinness’ on the Born Happy website in August this year.

A few months ago I happened to be in Primrose Hill and feeling indulgent popped into Space NK tried on some green lipstick that enhanced your natural lip colour. To me it felt fabulous, but as I felt it was frivolous to spend money on something I didn’t need, decided not to buy it.

A month or so later I happened to be going to St Johns Wood on a course so I had two days to myself without the kids in tow (Yippee!). The lipstick had been on my mind, and since I knew there was a Space NK there too, I thought I’d treat myself to it. But that morning I went to withdraw money and there was none left in my account. Since I didn’t want to check it from my phone I realised I’d have to wait until I got home to see what had happened. I decided not to let it dominate my day and just enjoy my course which I did. (This was a huge achievement for me because in the past I would have obsessed about it all day and not been able to concentrate on anything else.)

At the end of the day I thought I’d try the lipstick on again anyway just in case my bank statement was wrong, so I did and I liked it. Then the sales assistant showed me a similar type of lipstick that was more expensive and had more ‘benefits’. I liked this one even more! I thought if I could wear this when I did my talk at Tikun that was being screened live, the lipstick would make me glow and I would feel fabulous!

Trouble was my bank statement turned out to be correct, so I couldn’t buy it even though it was really tempting. Then I thought: ‘Well, I’ll use this as an incentive to get clients and earn money so I can spend money on frivolous things like lipstick.” and got into very determined thinking. This led to more thinking about money and not having enough and not earning enough and not contributing enough!

What a lot of thinking I got into just from trying out a lipstick!

The funny thing is as people know me know, I’m not big into make-up. I see it as a treat and wear it sparingly except for on special occasions. Even thinking about make-up, gets me into lots of thinking about it! For instance, I was kindly given a voucher for my 40th birthday and I spent it on expensive make-up and sometimes when I look at it I feel bad cos even though I like, it I’m sure I could get similar products that were the same at a fraction of the price.

On reflection we buy into make-up and into conversations about needing things because we think it will make us feel good.

I didn’t have the special lipstick on when I did my talk at Tikun that’s now been watched by over 170 people. You can watch it here (start it at 2:00:54 as it’s unedited) and I felt fabulous and glowing and I know that wasn’t from the make-up… it came from inside.

My thinking about money and perceived lack of it was just that – thinking about money. Once I saw that all the obsessing and striving was coming from me and getting me no-where fast it naturally dropped away. My situation hasn’t changed. I have what I need and my family has what we need and that’s all that counts. If we didn’t I trust that I’d know what to do ensure that we did. So my circumstances are still the same but I don’t see money, or a perceived lack of it as a problem any-more. Nothing has changed… just my perspective.

That’s how life is, if you focus on something as a problem be it money, your job etc it becomes a problem until it doesn’t.

Now I guess I’m onto the next thing – lack of time anyone?!? Tee Hee.

If you have enjoyed this and want to know more, feel free to get in touch and I’m happy to offer you a half hour introductory Skype call at no cost. If you want to meet in person join our growing band of overthinkers at Overthinkers Anonymous. We will meeting up on Wednesday 16 September in Queens Park where we will be discussing ‘If it’s really true that there is too much to do and too little time to do it’ , it would be lovely to see you there.

Also if you or anyone you know have recently had a baby and want a chance to let off steam and get support from other mums as well as learn something that will help them deal with life with a baby then join me for our next NapChat on Thursday 17 September. To find out more click here.

How real is our thinking? Lessons from an almost 4 year old

Thanks  to Lian Brook-Tyler for the opportunity to publish this article on the Born Happy website in April this year.

4 year old thinking

So my eldest is going to be 4 in a few weeks’ time and we’ve recently noticed a change in him…

It started with the night terrors and insisting the light had to be on in the hallway all night 6 months ago and progressed to a fear of shadows and talking about monsters in the night. We have taken an interest in what he is saying and tried to explain that monsters were not real. But for someone for whom where reality starts and imagination ends is not clear this isn’t easy to do. – ie He talks about what happens to Peppa Pig and the Mr Men in the same sentence as he talks about what we did the yesterday.

A few days ago we noticed this blur between imagination and reality took on a different more sinister guise. We were on our way home from a long day at The Princess Diana Memorial Playground and he was very tired to the extent that he was whining because he had to walk. He started saying”‘Ga Ga” this and “Ga Ga” that. His friend decided to take offence to this, so put his fists up close to his face to threaten him. His mum and I put a stop to this straight away but you could see that my little boy was visibly scared. We explained to his friend that ‘Ga Ga’ to my little boy wasn’t just a baby word it was his Grandma’s name. – (She having claimed the first word his said as her name. – Not an uncommon occurrence amongst keen Grandma’s and mother in laws or so I’ve heard. – Tee Hee)

That evening we were having a lovely dinner and my eldest kept telling us about when his friend had looked like he was going to hit him and how scared he was. Each time he told us he looked visibly scared like he was reliving the experience. We said “it’s over now” and “it’s Ok and he didn’t hit you and you are OK” but he kept telling it to us and getting visibly scared by it. Then as we were getting him ready for the bath he kept saying it again and I said “What are you doing now?” and he said “Getting ready for the bath” so I said “So what your friend did isn’t happening now is it?” and he said “No” and he seemed to start to understand so I said “All there is in life is what is happening now. What you are doing in the moment.” And he seemed happier and relieved and didn’t mention it again. I added “The past isn’t real and the future is your imagination so the only thing that is real is what is happening now” I really didn’t think he understood this last bit but was happy to settle for bringing him back to the now to start with. Then the next day he asked me what we did yesterday so I said we had gone to the Princess Diana Memorial Playground. So he said “yes and my friend went to hit me but he didn’t.” and recounted the story again. This time though I could see it didn’t bother him at all. Then he said something like “but that’s not real now.” – So I think he understood more than either my husband or I had imagined he would.

I guess our little boy is changing. He is becoming more conscious of his thinking and therefore more affected by it. It got me thinking about how as adults we also innocently get caught in our thinking and run things that happen over and over in our heads hurting ourselves in the process without even realising it. Sometimes we may even act from that negative thinking and as a result possibly say or do hurtful things to others. As adults some of us are just less obvious about it or maybe not, but it’s all the same.

Life happens: It’s the meaning we give to it that gives us the experience of it and it’s up to us to bring ourselves back to the present to see what really is so. Because the only reality is what is happening now in the moment – and even that comes from our own individual unique viewpoint of it.

I will speaking at Tikun in Temple Fortune next Tuesday 23 June at 8pm  on ‘The Freedom To Be – Good Moods, Bad Moods Warts and All’ with my great friend and teacher Toby Walzer so if you’d like to know more click here.

“There is nothing to Fear but Fear Itself”* – Lessons From A Mouse In The House

mouse in the houseSo we have had a mouse in our house. – Eek!! I have gone through several phases of feelings and thinking about this.

At first when I saw it run across the kitchen floor I was in denial. Then evidence in the form of eaten bread in several locations and droppings –yuk!-  led me to revulsion and the compulsion to sort it out. So we got in the pest control and after finding out there were several potential ‘nesting’ points in my house I went into clearing out mode. – Which was needed –as there was a lot of clutter I had been avoiding sorting out that as a result of the mouse, got sorted.  (So there were some benefits.) Continue reading