Category Archives: Parenting

The unknown … owning your own business …

The unknown … the known … the routine of regular classes … the rapidly changing day / week.  Looking at your booking sheet and thinking ohh that mama will be finishing soon to have her baby … will so and so be continuing class … so being proactive to market the spaces you have and clients letting you know what their plans are.  All very up in the air … a little like juggling a new baby, the laundry, sleep, being sociable, having a relationship, keeping on top of the housework and ohh yes EATING!   In my world I certainly don’t sleep when the baby sleeps … my business is 24/7 … literally if I am on call.

I have had lots of people say to me just go do the 9-5 thing … I did for many years work in education … and loved so many aspects of it.  I liked the structure to the day, the fact that I could prepare for x, y & z.  Interestingly in my work I do NOT discuss routines … I talk about establishing a pattern with your baby … I don’t use the word routine as life with a baby changes so rapidly and there is no point in trying to make a baby conform.  They will do it their own way until they are ready to change for themselves.  Those babies that choose to sleep through the night or those that decide they can’t sleep without you … go with what they need and listen to your instincts … they are usually spot on.  You after all are the expert with your baby you live with them 24/7.  Of course there are going to be fabulous and not so fabulous days … not bad days, although the number of mamas who tell me they have had a bad day … I turn it around and say ….

Me:  “ohh it can’t have all been bad, there must have been some good bits?  Did you make your baby smile/giggle, did they do x, y or z?” …
Mama:  “Well yes they did a or b …”
Me:  “See there’s some great positives.  The day was mixed …”

So life running your own business …. I live my life in a state of flux … never knowing quite who and when, where the next pennies will come from and believing in Divine intervention and clients paying me.  Staying in the now and not worrying about what might happen …
What I do know is that in the last 18 months I have had to be honest with myself and decide where my business was going and how I wanted it to develop.

Having your own business is a little like having a baby …. that never grows up?  It stays in that constant flux situation a little like being in a time warp.  Of course there is maturity within the business … you become more business savvy, you constantly review your classes, content, add new bits and tweak others, you change your booking conditions, you decide to add this element to your portfolio or to stop offering this or that long term project finally comes to fruition and it’s like your baby starts to walk taking tentative steps and testing the ground.
You support other new businesses or those that have been doing their thing for a long time without any formal booking process etc.  I’m always amazed that colleagues trust me enough to come and ask my opinion … wow … when did I graduate into that role?

I love having my own business and yes it has been quite a journey … thinking back I started off doing the things I did as hobbies … flowers led to weddings, our own initially and then lots of other lovely weddings followed for a few years.  Then I helped my husband out with his client group doing follow up “motivational” calls to support them in their nutritional journeys and ending up taking that business on, training others and being an active member of the community.  I eventually had to put my hand on my heart and say that this is the direction I wanted to move in … pregnancy, babies, women and families.

Choosing to own my business alongside a full time job was hard … and sometimes the business took a back seat and that was very challenging.  Having commercial premises when the economy was hitting rock bottom was a real eye opener.  However, I chose to do fewer days for the permanent job and focus on nurturing my baby.  This helped and I was able to establish a professional reputation for the classes and support I offered expectant families.  I started to parent my business with mindfulness and integrity.  It’s was never about money (and yes I was constantly reminded by accountant, family, husband … YOU ARE NOT A CHARITY … VALUE YOURSELF!)  my business was about supporting mamas in a time that is exceptionally pressurised and stressful. Not easy to put a price on that type of support.  However every mother, father (yes I have had a few call me to chat) and bubba matters.  Providing a safe space for each of them to be heard and listened too!
Don’t get me wrong I am not a charity and there have been times when I haven’t been paid, I have just covered costs but like every business there comes a point where it has to grow up and realise that it has to be paid for, that it’s not a hobby that the permanent job pays to keep going.
My biggest obstacle is when clients miss a class and want to be credited.  I have clear booking conditions and if you were a member of a gym and missed going to class or training you aren’t going to ask the gym for a refund of that months membership.

When the permanent job no longer exists heck you realise that the business must pay you for your time.  That your clients need to respect the fact that you spend time preparing classes, that you tweak them when they come with x, y or z into class and that you are drawing on a huge resource of experience and knowledge that has taken time to acquire, doing courses and submitting case studies, continuous professional development in order to be able to give them what they need.  It’s not something that can be learnt on a weekend course … it’s taken nurturing, patience and dedication … exactly like the time we spend with our children … it’s my other child!  Like my children I have patiently nurtured it, listened when it has spoken … and it does on a regular basis …

I have received some amazing support from mamas with areas of expertise that have pointed me in the right direction and I am very grateful for their expertise.  It has facilitated the growth of my business.

I read so many articles on positive parenting and one that I read recently made me sit and think about the Emotionally Intelligent Child,  it talked about “provide (ing) your child (with) ample opportunity to:

  • authentically feel a range of feelings
  • have a chance to reflect on their feelings and decisions
  • problem solve as they grow and learn
  • observe others experiencing a range of emotions and feelings
  • interact in different social situations
  • experience negative feelings without being offered a quick fix (no bribes to make crying stop for example)

It made me sit and think about these points and I loved the suggested ways parents could help their children to understand and manage their feelings & emotions.  It made me think about how I parent Ripple Effect Yoga (my other baby) and who I discuss things with … my husband is usually the first port of call – the father figure … he listens to me go on and on about this option for the business, what do I do in this scenario …  a couple of favourite Aunties (just to say one is dainty and the other is like leather) all of them listen and then break it apart and I realised that they facilitate and let me share …. to talk and to listen, to respect myself, others and my business.

The above article discusses these aspects and has some great points:
“Talk & listen: Discuss feelings and emotions as they arise, not to lecture but to give your child  important information about connecting how they feel to how they are reacting and also what they are observing in others. Using Time In instead of Time Out can help this process as well.

Research on emotional intelligence shows  that there is a really  healthy link between having emotions, feeling emotions, and cognitively identifying emotions.  For example, If a child can say they are mad (name their feelings), they are less likely to spiral into a tantrum.  Dr. Dan Siegel summarizes this ability as “name it to tame it”.

Respect & Don’t minimize: Everyone’s feelings and reactions are different and valid. Avoid telling your child how they should feel.

For example, if your child complains they are scared, reflect that back to them “You feel scared” or “You are scared right now?”  While well meaning,  it is not helpful to tell a child “this isn’t scary, don’t be afraid.”

If we tell children how to feel and that differs from what they are actually feeling they will begin to feel confused about their own feelings.”

I don’t think I am ever going to regret stepping into the world of having my own business.  Yes, I like lots of others, dislike accounts and tax returns but they are a necessary evil … the pleasure of seeing a mama bond with her baby, for her to experience a first in class and for us to all share in the joy of little A rolling over or little C smiling for the first time or laughing.
For a mama who needs to step inwards and be at one with herself … to take that step to trust me to cuddle her precious bundle of joy until they fall asleep in my arms.  This is a true blessing and one of the reasons why I love what I do, why I am passionate about parenting, mamas, babies and being a family.  So even though every day brings a little something different … I am loving it.  Thank you for coming along to classes, courses and days where you are able to focus on you personally.  You are all truly gorgeous and nurturing your beautiful bundles of joy.  Cx

Do you have more than one child? This may be of interest

Link

http://www.ahaparenting.com/_blog/Parenting_Blog/post/two-children-crying-meltdown-upset-at-same-time/

Read from webpage & brought here to start you off ….

“Scheduled meltdowns work just as you describe with my 3.5 year old daughter…But how do I follow this technique, which usually takes about 10 minutes of undivided attention, when I’m also taking care of my 16 month old at the same time?”- Kimberly

“I have found when another child is witnessing the process of my helping a child with emotions they become aware and able to help. Mine often imitate what they’ve seen me do and can even help each other through upset on their own with empathy and understanding.”- Seasyn

If you have more than one child, you know there are many hard things about parenting siblings. Perhaps the hardest part is when they both need you at once. After all, your love may be unlimited, but you only have two hands.

That’s why preventive maintenance (discussed in our last post) is so important—children’s needs for connection and emotional processing are met on a regular basis, so they don’t fall apart as often.

Thoughts?

Rites of Passage

According to Wikipedia it is:
ritual event that marks a person’s transition from one status to another. The concept of rites of passage as a general theory of socialization was first formally articulated by Arnold van Gennep in his book The Rites of Passage to denote rituals marking the transitional phase between childhood and full inclusion into a tribe or social group.[1]
The concept of the rite of passage is also used to explore and describe various other milestones in an individual’s life, for any marked transitional stage, when one’s social status is altered. Gennep’s work exercised a deep impact on anthropological thought.[2] Milestones include transitions from puberty, year 7 to high school, coming of agemarriage and deathInitiation ceremonies such as baptismakikaconfirmation and Bar or Bat Mitzvah are considered important rites of passage for people of their respective religions. Rites of passage show anthropologists what social hierarchies, values and beliefs are important in specific cultures.

So this morning has been quite an emotional one as my daughter attended her first funeral of a teacher she adored in Primary school. She inspired Imogene to enjoy art and her zest for life was wonderful … you will be missed and today was a beautiful celebration of your life as a woman, mother, wife, friend and teacher. Thank you for being a part of my daughter’s life … be at peace wherever you are looking down on us from …

It’s interesting how we change our perception of what our children can cope with.  When my grandmother passed away a few years ago I doula’d her in her final days as my parents were away on holiday, we had persuaded them that they should go and not to worry … that all would be fine.  Mum had organised everything before she left so it was a case of making a few phone calls.  Easier said than done when it comes down to it.

This morning made me sit and think about the last few days of my grandmothers life and how the focus was to support & nurture her.  I remember begging the lovely doctor to make sure that she wouldn’t be in any pain.  He was lovely and gentle and the male nurse who administered her pain relief was fabulous.  As they administered the medication my grandmother sighed as if to say “thank you”.

I was petrified of death and had never really got to grips with it and hated the thought of not being here to experience life and see all the wonderful things happening in the world.  Spending time and being with my grandmother really helped me to understand that departing this world is like arriving it takes time and the body has to be ready.  It’s not going to happen on anyone elses timescale and they certainly aren’t going to be rushed.

I read to her and made sure she was comfortable, kept her mouth moist and just chatted away – no I didn’t feel silly.  There were natural silences that I didn’t feel I had to fill with idle chatter – similar to a birthing woman who is in her zone.

I have colleagues who doula birth and death and they have said to me how similar the experiences are.  I found this blog particularly helpful in understanding what I as a grand-daughter should have understood before I stepped into the doulaing role for my grandmother.

This resonated with me so much.  I needed/wanted to understand how to:
transform the way dying is experienced in our society.  As a natural passage, it, too, deserves to be experienced as a spiritual journey …. observations have led  …. to believe that the journey has three distinct, equally important parts–the mental, the emotional and the physical.

The mental journey requires understanding how the dying process occurs.  …. the analogy of contracting inward, as if one were going back into the womb, where can find that final stillness within.  The physical preparation brings on fatigue and weakness, less desire to eat, more to sleep–getting ready for the final sleep.  As the soul starts taking over the body, the physical body shuts down. How does one know? Often there are vivid dreams, change in the use of language, and people emerge from the past.

“Helping a dying person on their emotional journey,” says Piela, “is different. Healing their ‘heart scars’ often requires talking through their lives. People want to know that their lives have had value, that they have left a legacy. This journey takes time, patience and a caring listener.”

Again, our modern lives have all too often given over this process to machines and strangers. Doulas for dying is not a strange concept after all. Suzanne Piela is a woman who has given her life to helping people make this most personal and singular journey a sacred one, one with meaning. ”Dying is the last frontier of human consciousness. It is our last opportunity for healing and renewal.”

Interestingly, I didn’t experience these stages with my grandmother as she was sleeping – getting ready for the final sleep.  She was in a nursing home and the lady who looked after us all came and told me to go home as I had been sat all day and needed to be with my husband and children.  Knowing my grandmother she would wait until the coast was clear and no-one was with her to do the final journey.  I had to go home and explain to the children that great-nanny was very poorly and why it was best that they didn’t go to see her and the guinea pig (it’s Matti’s lasting image of her and where she lived).  As we had cuddles the phone rang and I just knew that I couldn’t answer it … I knew she had decided that it was her time.  Mark answered and like robots on auto-pilot we just did what we needed to do.

I suppose the reason why I wrote this today was because in our ultimate wisdom our family made a decision for our children which I have always thought back and asked myself … “did they get the closure they needed and were entitled to, in order to move on?”  There weekly highlight was going to see great-nanny and the guinea pig at Argyle House.  They loved her to pieces as did we all and we never allowed them to have closure about someone so important in their lives.  I felt guilty for months about this until we decided that we would make the trip for them to say their own “Goodbye”.

A year later we went to her final resting place in South Wales and we celebrated her life with our children.  Laying flowers on her grave and then sharing a pot of tea and welsh cakes in a small tea room in Blaenavon where she had lived the majority of her life.  We felt this was a gentle way to say their own “Goodbyes”.

Today, Imogene had her initiation into the world of death … I asked her what she thought would happen and what she would see and bless her she didn’t really know.  It was a beautiful funeral and very gentle so I am glad that her rite of passage wasn’t traumatic.  It was good for her to see her teachers celebrate Mrs S’s life and for her to see that it’s an important part of our life journey … I saw a mature young lady take a step into adulthood and I was very proud of her but sad that she had to experience this.

As always I wanted to review some of the articles that have been written and this one by Tim Lott really helped.  I love the end reference to Six Feet Under:
A grieving relative asks the funeral director, the question to which all of us want an answer, and he somehow answers truthfully, hopefully, without being brutal.

“Why,” she asks, imploringly, “does there has to be death?”

“Because,” he replies, “it makes life important.”

To Mrs S – thank you for being a part of my daughters life and to my grandmother thank you for always being there … it would have been your birthday in 2 days time (19th September) so Happy Birthday … I know you are watching over us as from above as I keep finding your messages … thank you for the feathers … Cx

How heavy is this glass of water?

how true … Cx
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A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

Remember to put the glass down.

Please Share

Holidays during term time

I have my on views on this … but shall for once stay quiet and see what our community think … Cx
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From 1 September, the new law gives no entitlement to parents to take their child on holiday during term time…..

Read more by clicking the link:

http://mob.northamptonshire.gov.uk/main?originUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.northamptonshire.gov.uk%2Fen%2Fnews%2FLatestnews%2FPages%2FTerm-time-holidays.aspx

DC said  …. My child … I can do what I want, wonder how many more parents choose to home school after this