Moody people-pleaser or affectionate bad loser?

Moody people-pleaser or affectionate bad loser?

If you have more than one child, you are probably already aware of the birth order theory which expounds that one's place in the family is just as important as one's genetic blueprint. Experts seem to have a differing opinions on which birth place means what (if anything) but from my informal, playground straw polls, it seems that the real experts - us mamas - have got it nailed. Because we are the ones for whom the very worst behaviour is saved, remember?

The bottom line is that all children want attention from their parents. The more kids there are, the harder this is to grab and so the more inventive a child needs to be to succeed. 

This is how it plays out (at least in my family):

Why mamas who 'bounce back' are doing more harm than good

Why mamas who 'bounce back' are doing more harm than good

We ALL remember what it is like to give birth. How can we forget? It is gruesome. Or at least, it is most probably the most demanding, physical act that you will ever accomplish. It is not, in any way, pretty, groomed or neat and tidy: your body is a mess; the baby comes out in a mess; you make a mess. The whole thing is MESSY.

You have kids? Welcome to second-class citizenship!

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One of the major downsides of having kids, is that their needs take priority over yours. They can't not attend school because I am feeling rough. Because having them around all day would make me feel even more rough. So I have to spend the teeny tiny amount of energy that I have left to cycle our wendy-house-on-wheels-that-cost-as-much-as-a-small-car (being slightly Eurotrash as well as slightly Eco, we ride a Danish-style cargo bike), in the howling wind and driving rain to both drop the little darlings off as well as to pick them up.

Don’t worry about the kids, they’re just fine – they are under cover, in the warmth, having fun singing carols. I however, am on the outside of the cover, (looking like a total geek in my really unattractive waterproofs) using all of my remaining pedal power to get us there. And it’s not that far. But they are big kids. And given that we live on top of the one and only hill in the whole of Cambridge (and for the flat-as-a-pancake-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see Fens where we live, that is quite something), this twice-daily outing pretty much takes me back to feeling as flu-ridden as I did before I cancelled all of my own personal plans in order to lie low and recover.

And repeat ad infinitum.

Which is why I have not been to yoga for a whole two weeks; which is why I have not gone for a run; which is why I've cancelled two pretty important social gatherings; which is why I’m ingesting as much turmeric as is humanly possible (even my teeth are going yellow).

Because I'm TRYING to get better. But the school run keeps on knocking me back. And I've been battling flu for nearly three weeks now.

And so I’m slowly going a little doolally. Partly because I hate not feeling great physically. And partly because I hate knowing that I am in this predicament DESPITE my multiple attempts to get better.

(Belting out six carols yesterday at the annual school Xmas service at the top of my voice probably didn't help either. And the fact that my voice gave out half way through the top notes of Hark the Herald probably explains why I’ve been on the cough sweets today).  But since this post is about how annoying it is that kids take over your life I won’t dwell on this nor on the on the fact that I am so fed up with not feeling myself that I keep comfort eating and drinking too much wine – neither of which sets you up well for getting the rest you need to recover at night).

All of which is pretty frustrating. Hence my ‘not amused’ photo face. Because, for those that don’t know me that well, I like to be in control.

But one of the many lessons that having kids offers you is that you are NOT and never will be in control. THEY are. They run the show: their emotions, their after-school activities, their physical needs, their mental welfare – all of it comes before yours.

Which I found very difficult to get my head round at first. But having three kids in three years kind of wears you down. And you have to surrender at some point otherwise you would go mad. But in my case, this is never without a little inner grudge holding. (I may have conceded power but the fact that I begrudge it must surely mean that I retain a little?)

But luckily for me, I’ve got a whole weekend of cargo-bike free time this weekend and I intend to use it well. It won’t be exactly restful – I’m returning to one of the sources of my journey into the sacred feminine for a course on leadership hosted by the incredible Jewels Wingfield.

But even if my mind is active, my body won’t be so that I hope to come back fighting fit AND even more geared up to host my new series of women’s circles starting this January – watch this space for more info. (If you would like to attend and haven’t yet signed up, let me know by replying to this email!)

And in the meantime, I’m sending love and strength to all of those parenting pioneers out there who are battling it out on the flu frontline. We will get through it. Hang on in there. It just might take 6 times as long as if we didn’t have kids…

If you like what you’ve read, why not find out more about life coaching with me? Drop me a line to arrange a 45-minute complimentary discovery session and we can explore taking concrete steps towards making your dreams a reality!
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Feel the fear and make it up!

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Part of being a (recovering) perfectionist is a fear of getting things wrong.

Big things (like diving head-first off the tallest board in the pool), but also seemingly little things (like eating alone in a restaurant or inventing a story on the spot).⠀ ⠀

Embarrassingly, this last example has paralysed me into inaction for the past 6 years. Ever since my eldest child was old enough to ask for a story that wasn’t in a book, that is. ⠀ ⠀

I get the attraction - we all enjoy a bit of bespoke, it makes us feel special - the problem is, improvisation requires confidence in a logical (and well-received) outcome, as well as spontaneous trust in your own creative abilities. And there are no second chances nor opportunities to revise, hone or improve output - essential pre-requisites for any self-respecting perfectionist. ⠀ ⠀

So usually when asked to improvise, I call in the support team. Even when it’s an audience of one, aged 6. How bad could it really be? I’m too scared to find out. “That’s what daddy does, let’s ask him. Mummy reads books”, I say sheepishly. ⠀

But last week something stopped me. I said yes. Feel the fear and do it anyway and all that. ⠀

And, though I say it myself, I rocked! I surprised myself and delighted my daughter. ⠀

Probably just as much because I had made the effort to overcome a secret block that she probably already knew I was avoiding (kids know everything) than because of the content itself. I even went for a trilogy (I was on a roll). ⠀ ⠀

We encountered a small self-confidence hiccup yesterday when creative proceedings were halted by the audience who asked for more “ excitement” in the story: the fear crept back in, the throat went dry, the shoulders hunched. ⠀ ⠀

But I wasn’t deterred. I took it like a true BoboMama and got back on the wagon. The story ended on a cliff-hanger and I think this little fear may just have been crossed off the list...⠀ ⠀

To all the recovering perfectionists out there, what really scares you? And could you conceive of pushing yourself past it? Just for a laugh? To see what would happen? If I can do it, YOU CAN. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below! ⠀

If you like what you've read, why not find out more about life coaching with me? Drop me a line to arrange a 45-minute complimentary discovery session and we can explore taking concrete steps towards making your dreams a reality!

Don’t forget you can also follow me on facebookyoutube & instagram!

I'm off to Narnia. Coming?

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Yup. It’s been one of those days. ⠀⠀ Actually it hasn’t. It’s been great: I worked on my new life coaching website, I went to my first networking event (scary AF in theory, fun in practise) and I applied to be on a Mumsnet Facebook live panel (easy to do, will deal with the obvious fear fallout factor later, if selected).

So I was feeling pretty good.

Until I was required to morph into a mama. And the kids annoyed the shit out of me: throwing toys around the kitchen and knocking over glasses of water x 2, refusing to do a very easy homework crossword which really only required an ounce of effort, having a tantrum over missing 3 minutes of a film they’ve already watched and know inside out, topped off by being called in for a 'chat' by a teacher over some misplaced frustration. ⠀ ⠀ Tipped me over the edge. ⠀ ⠀ So instead of meditating, breathing, going to my scheduled yoga class and doing something generally uplifting and edifying, I poured myself a massive gin and tonic, decided that I no longer like it, poured myself a massive glass of wine, drank it, cancelled yoga and ordered a fattening pizza. ⠀ ⠀ Parenting is THE hardest thing in the world. Fact. Of which all parents are fully aware. ⠀ ⠀ However zen, centred, compassionate and tolerant you are feeling, children WILL shake that (already fragile) core to the point until your self-control has crumbled. However much you try to be 'good'. ⠀ ⠀ They just KNOW how to fast track you to your worst self. And it’s relentless. ⠀ ⠀ I know what the 'lesson' for me is. Kind of. But sometimes I really can’t be arsed with spirituality. Especially on day 19 (aka watch out!) of my cycle. ⠀ ⠀ So I’d like to give a big shout out today to all the mamas and papas who know what I’m talking about. Who can’t give up and walk off. Who keep on going. Day after day. After day. After day. ⠀ And if YOU are one of those incredible people and need a friendly ear - reach out and let me know. I'm here. And I want to help. Because this is actually my niche. I'm a life coach for 'mamas who want more'. ⠀

And guess what? I’m good at it. Because I get it. I want more too. ⠀

See you in Narnia. Bring pizza and wine... ⠀

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