parenting

The Time Management Lesson I Learned From My Sick Bed

07 24 2016

Stuff happens, eh!  I had exciting plans for the week, and the English summer finally arrived… and then I came down with a chest infection and felt rotten.  Those sunny-day plans went out of the window.

With two little ones there are no ‘sick days’ as a buffer.  I powered on (albeit in low-gear!) taking care of the essentials – all fed, watered and entertained.  Same hours in the day but the priority was very different…

And here came my lightbulb moment.

Outside of caring for the boys, my priority was rest and repair.  I culled my planned-out week.  Tasks, chores, outings HAD to be cancelled or postponed.  Getting back on my feet was the aim of the game so (when I could) I slept, I watched movies, I ate better, I had bubble baths.  I was generally a lot kinder to myself than usual.

A typical week would have these ‘indulgent’ things way down the pecking order.  The tasks, chores, errands would come first.

But could I get the best of both?

With a bit of time management, hey?!  Or, how about this, how about a bit of purpose management. 

See, we can’t actually do anything about time.  It’s a definitive – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Always has been, always will.  (I’ve heard this so many times but it’s never quite hit home.)  So if I’m managing my purpose with the time I’ve got rather than robbing hours here and there (yet often feel I’m running half an hour late for my life!), maybe I’ll start making time for the things that count.

And yes, my own health and wellbeing count.  Yours too.  But I’d bet my bottom dollar it’s not reflected in how you currently manage your time. 

So, how about if you manage your purpose rather than your time?  What is it you’re wanting?  How do you want to live?  And love?  And feel?

If you were to take obligations out of the picture for a moment, just imagine what you would purposely choose to do with your time.

So, Sunday night is the night of my ‘weekly review’.  As I go through my usual routine (planner, calendar and a glass of wine all essential!), I’ll be looking at my week with fresh eyes.  And I encourage you to too.

Let me hear what you think.  What would this week look like if you started with purpose first?

To a week that sparkles (with purpose!), Emma x

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The Selfish Heart Myth: and what it means for you

06 14 2016

You’ve heard me say it before: slow down, nurture yourself, fill your tank so you have energy to overflow to others.

But who has acted on it?  The idea is nice – who could refuse some ‘me-time’?  But, in reality, has looking after you and your needs made you feel a bit guilty?  Does it seem a bit indulgent?

There’s a fine line.  Focusing on your needs alone to the sacrifice of others could be deemed as selfish.  Focusing on your needs to be of benefit and value to others, it’s an investment.  It’s the kindest thing you can do for yourself and others.

I struggled with this until I heard Vishan Lakhiani speaking about “the theory of awesomeness”.  During his keynote speech, he talked about how the heart could be seen as the most selfish organ in the body:  “it keeps all the good blood for itself. It takes in all the good blood, the most oxygenated blood, and then distributes the rest to every other organ.  But if the heart didn’t keep the good blood for itself, the heart would die. And if the heart died, it would take every other organ with it. The liver. The kidneys. The brain. The heart, in a way, has to be selfish for its own preservation.

And it is that attitude I encourage you to have when it comes to taking care of you and your wellbeing.  Feel more inside to give more on the outside.  

What are you thoughts on this?  What do you do that ‘fills your tank’ and revitalises you?

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Are you role-modelling the way for your family?

04 13 2014

A love letter…

Last week I shared a little gift with The Glitterati – call it a little pre-baby-inspired token of my gratitude  to each and every unique individual that shares this community.  I offered the opportunity to put forward a ‘middle of the night’ question that my lovely Glitterati were looking for insight, support or guidance on.  The emails I received touched and inspired me, as well as illuminated some common threads and challenges.

It’s been on my mind since… I am totally in awe of what many of you achieve day-to-day, as well as the bigger aspirations you hold dear.  If I imagine each of your individual dreams being realised on a collective scale… wow.  Each individual ripple could cause such an impact.

And this has become my middle of the night thought… how can I help more of you to awaken to and live your inner sparkle? How can I best encourage you to nurture your dreams as well as your family?  You see, here’s the rub: I see too many nurturers putting their dreams on hold because they want to give their best to their loved ones.  

Nurturers give selflessly of their love, their time and their energy so, at the end of the day, there’s little left over.  But here’s my rally cry: I want to encourage you to nurture your dreams because of your family.  In being the real you, the 100% genuine article, you teach and inspire your children to be the same.  You become the poster girl for designing a life that sparkles.  You teach your loved ones not to settle, not to compromise on their heart’s calling.  You set the example.

I know all too well that responsibilities and obligations take over.  Paying the bills, keeping the home running smoothly, making the day-to-day happen, it all requires your attention and a dose of reality.  But I ask that, even if it’s the simplest gesture, each day includes some small step in the direction of your biggest, boldest you.  Make living your sparkle a daily habit…

I’d love to hear what small, daily action you can take to step into your sparkle.  Share in the Comments below…

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Designing healthy beginnings: Interview with Nichi Keuchle

04 03 2014

Nichi Keuchle is the entrepreneurial mum behind MyHealthyBeginning.com – where Nichi’s work gives children the best start in life by nurturing, empowering and supporting their mums through coaching, doula services, childbirth education and nutrition response testing.  She’s on a mission to create wellness one family at a time.  Nichi is the creator of the amazing Cheap Easy Healthy Eating System, a simple at-home programme that shows mums how to feed their families on whole food, organic meals while saving time and grocery money.  It’s safe to say it’s a labour of love for Nichi whose experience spans back to her nannying days in high school…  As well as running her business from Minneapolis, she is busy wife and mum to two daughters.

I’d love for you to tell us a bit about your story.  Why did you choose to start your own business?  What was your motivation?  

If I cut to the chase, what really got me started in the health and wellness field is from developing an ulcer at the age of 16 within 6 months of my mom’s cancer diagnosis.  It was one of the most stressful experiences of my life, working 30 hours a week in the afternoon, evenings and weekends while supporting my dad in caring for my younger siblings at the time.  

My mom was caring for her health, my dad keeping everything afloat and I had to really step it up.  I took myself to the doctor, filled the prescription, felt worse being on Zantac and so I focused on the foods that made my stomach hurt and removed them knowing if I wasn’t down with a bellyache, I could still function.  Very shortly after I had to step down from the high school gymnastics team I was on because of the pain that was left over.  Then I removed more foods.  You have to understand that at the time I wasn’t removing food groups, I just stopped drinking soda, then eating pizza, then eating spaghetti, then eating ground beef, then eating candy, and it just stuck with me.  The more I managed my food intake the more I was able to manage my health, and I knew it seemed like some secret.  

How did you go from the initial business idea to “open for business” – what steps did you take to get started?

I’ve been in business for 16 years, though much of it was quite hobby-like.  It really wasn’t until three years ago that I really got my act together.  Initially I was a nationally certified massage therapist, then, because I’m a lifelong learner, I began to add certifications and courses to keep up with my changing interests.  Not only did that keep me from feeling or getting bored, I was in a constant state of expansion, mostly doing what I loved until I came up with what I wanted to do next!  

Back then I didn’t have a coach, I didn’t have the tools and technology I have now.  It was all word of mouth and was going “fine”.  Three years ago I realised that “fine” wasn’t paying the bills and no longer cut it.

How does this work alongside your role as a mum of two?  With so much on your plate, it would be great to know how you manage “the juggle”.

I really batch my time and believe me, we have our moments.  Just the other day our 6 year old mailed me a letter from school, an assignment every child was given to write a letter expressing where they wanted help, telling me it makes her feel badly when I don’t listen to her.  It broke my heart.  We are together all the time outside of her school time, she’s like my sidekick and it made me so aware of the fact that I’m not present!  

The world of possibility in my little babe’s eyes, though, gave us such access to how we can support her needs, how we can feel more listened to as parents and what we created was this concrete agreement to really LOOK at each other when we are being spoken to.  It’s the little things.

My husband is awesome.  He’s super supportive and willing to help with our girls when I need it.  I do a lot of leadership development work so I’m gone an extra night per week and he pulls the weight beautifully.  We’ve gotten to this cool place of my success is his and his is mine – that can be everything from being with our girls to feeding them good food to taking the time we need to put into our businesses.  He’s self employed as well so sometimes this means more flex time as a family and sometimes we go days without seeing him except at bedtime.

For me, self care is my number one priority.  I am a train wreck if I don’t take good care of myself.  It’s an everyday thing for me.  I read, exercise, and focus on nutrition every single day.  Using practices such as Higher Brain Living, acupuncture, homeopathy, and bodywork are really helpful in getting the downtime I need.  Sleep has never been as big for me as in the past couple of years, so that’s become more of a focus as well.

…and don’t get me wrong.  I have my days where success simply means everyone is fed and alive!

What is your vision or goal for the future??

I get to declare it here!  Right now I’m working on a fun project to bring about a kids cooking show.  My nutrition practice is a three days per week so I currently use my other two days as a launch pad for my Cheap Easy Healthy Eating System.  

What 3 tips can you give to mums who want to establish the right diet and eating habits with their young family?

  • If you can find out early on if your kids have food intolerances, you save a lot of time dealing with the immune challenges and issues that come up later.  
  • Find that out first – I don’t mean just allergy testing.  Find someone who tests specifically for sensitivities and intolerances and then plan your eating around the person with the most items needing to be eliminated and build back up from there.  
  • Figure out what you spend most of your grocery budget on and find resources that support you in cutting that down, not what you’re eating so much as what you’re spending.  In my Cheap Easy Healthy Eating System we go over all of this in depth, especially when most families are coming from the SAD (Standard American Diet) which consists of breads, bagels, pasta and little to no variety or colour.  It’s all about baby steps and getting mums to feel confident and empowered about the choices they are making.  A mum’s choices are never bad when they are coming from a place where she’s working with all she knows.  I meet her where she’s at and go from there.  There’s a way to save money and time in nearly every scenario.

What have been (or still are) your biggest challenges/fears re: being a working mum, and how did you overcome them?

My biggest hurdle to date was working with a mentor three years ago who ended up being a fraud.  I ended up with a total loss of $30,000 along with really seeing that our marriage wasn’t working, I had my head buried in the sand, my ego all blown up and was in denial about so much of my life.  It was the scariest time of my life.  My thoughts were everywhere from “how are we going to feed our kids” to “how can I work if we can’t afford childcare?” to figuring out how to answer the kids without lying to them when they asked to go for ice cream or to the bookstore or something that required even a few bucks to make happen.  

Awful, awful, awful.  I already felt guilty for being a working mum when all I wanted was to stay home and raise these babies of mine.  That’s when I started personal/leadership development work.  I got to work on this like it was my job.  Learning about my level of self worth, how I listened to myself and what I made things from my past mean about where I was/wasn’t taking my life-talk about a transforming experience.  It’s ongoing.  I can’t put it down.  

When I look at the number of blocks, mostly around money, that I’ve moved out of the way and relationships I’ve healed, I have no idea where the energy came from to Just. Keep. Going.  There were about nine months in there that I hardly remember, the hurt was just so deep.

What’s really worked is to create our family as a team – to create an intense and intimate partnership with my husband, which didn’t just happen automatically, folks, that was a toughie.  Everywhere I can in my work I bring our girls into my “team”.  When they see “our” work as a purpose and something that brings about change and meaning to people’s lives, they feel proud of what we’re up to and are more willing to give me the time I need to finish a project or be with a client.  I can now be more present with them because there are set ways of being.

What makes your life sparkle?

These days, my marriage.  Those moments when my husband and I are laying on the couch with the girls in their “nests” with the dog on the floor and I’m reading aloud while he dozes and they play with beeswax.  That’s where it’s at these days.  Just so simple.

I also love a good, solid 24-hour work retreat.  People think I’m crazy, but it ranks up there as a total favorite of mine.  I drive about 45 minutes from my house to this little retreat farm, pay my $60 for the stay and a couple of homemade meals, another $60 for a massage.  I settle into my hermitage, open my laptop and tackle whatever project is looming.  I step aside to read for fun or go for a walk or snowshoe, depending upon the season, and go to bed early or lay down for a quick nap if I feel the urge. And, most importantly, I return feeling recharged and renewed with stress off my shoulders because I was able to really be focused and undisturbed.

 

What is the one big challenge you face when it comes to designing healthy-eating plans for your family?  What one thing can you try to change this week?  Check out Nichi’s website for ideas…

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Lessons I've learned as a mum… so far

03 30 2014

Happy Mother’s Day.  It’s the first day of Spring and the sun has been shining on us as we enjoyed a family day out, one of my intended Memory Days, in the Lake District today.  This is my second Mother’s Day as a mum myself and it’s made me reflect on all the things that this rollercoaster role has taught me.  Here are the 7 lessons I’ve learned from motherhood…

It’s everything I expected it to be… When I was given my Tiny Tears doll for Christmas one year, I remember being back at school after the holidays and feeling eager to be back home to see my little Stefan.  I looked forward to feeding him, changing him, taking care of him.  I’ve always liked the feeling of being able to take care of someone, to make them feel loved and cherished and I hoped to find more of this feeling as a mum.  It’s been the single most rewarding part of being a mum to Louis for the past 19 months.  Not only getting to be the care-giver to someone totally dependent on me and Jack, but also getting so much in return.  From the first smile, the first mummy (which is “bibby” in Louis’ world), to the tiny-mouthed kisses at bedtime, the affection we’ve been given in return has been the biggest treasure of this whole experience so far.

It’s nothing like I expected it to be… Even before we were expecting Louis I’d heard the stories about parenthood being the biggest life-changer ever but that is such an understatement.  There’s pre-baby life and post-baby life.  I’d not anticipated how hard a job it really would be.  Yes, the sleepless nights and the loss of freedom are an adjustment but really it has been the weight of the sense of responsibility that I’ve found the most difficult.  Am I doing it right?  It’s a job without a handbook and, for a perfectionist like me, that’s a scary prospect.  How can I do the best by him?  How can I protect him from the bad and fill his life with the good?  How can I do all that while giving him a sense of self and independence?  I’ve had to learn not to think about it as much – if I do it starts to feel like a big hill to climb!

It’s totally unpredictable… Life is not as calm or as organised or as spontaneous as it once was.  It’s a crazy, unpredictable ride.  Every day is the same in the sense of routine but no day is really the same… That is in someone else’s hands completely.  And that is part of the fun.

It’s a different kind of happy… Pre-baby good times would be doing the things, seeing the people and going to the places I love.  Happiness came from being in good company and in enjoying quiet relaxation.  Maybe a few impromptu drinks on a Sunday afternoon, dinner out and visiting new places.  Post-baby good times are totally different… I can’t explain the happiness I get from making him happy.  I love to see his reaction when we introduce him to new things or taking him to new places.  It’s great to see the wide-eyes and sheer excitement on days like today and that, in turn, brings me more happiness than I could have anticipated.

I appreciate my own parents more… Crikey, my parents have played this game four times over!  And still are… I was sharing with them my realisation of just how much you invest in to being a parent – the love, the time and, for me, the ongoing worry!  It is a game of giving A LOT.  And they tell me it never stops.  They’ve been doing this for 36 years now and that takes some serious stamina.  Being a mum has made me realise even more how much my parents have – and still do – for me.  I’m very lucky to have two fantastic role models to try to emulate…

I’m going to change my mind… I’m now 3 weeks away from Baby Two’s due date.  At this point in my first pregnancy I was reading baby books diligently.  I wanted to create a nurturing environment and establish a stable routine for my newborn.  A few weeks in and all the ideals I’d imagined were out of the window.  We learned to do things our own way.  We’d try one thing and if it worked, we’d give each other a pat on the back and stick with it.  If it didn’t, we panicked a little and tried something (anything!) else.  And that’s if we could agree between us.  In truth, we’re still learning and, in the meantime, it’s all coming down to common-sense, intuition and a fair amount of compromise.

I’m lucky… I know I’m lucky to be a mum and to have my own mum to support me.  Some others aren’t so lucky.  I count my blessings. 

Wishing you all a happy Mother’s Day…

I’d love to hear from you.  What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your mum or by being a mum yourself?

Image source: {Etsy}

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Secrets of my Success: Magazine editor and blogger Alison Perry

03 06 2014

It’s a first today as the Secrets of my Success interview with Alison Perry is my first video interview…

Alison is a magazine editor and writes the award-winning NotAnotherMummyBlog.com.  As well as being the driving force behind a magazine, she’s also featured in magazines herself such as Grazia and Mother & Baby, she has appeared on Lorraine’s sofa and she’s been a guest speaker at Mumsnet bloggers conference.  AND, last but by no means least, she is mummy to a gorgeous 3-year old daugher.

Alison shares:

  • What inspired her to start her own blog
  • How she manages the juggle of having a professional career, a blog and a 3-year old daughter
  • How she is motivated by ‘moments of gratification’ rather than big goals
  • An introduction to “phubbing”
  • What she believes is the secret to her success

Now it’s over to you.  What opportunities can you say YES to today?  Share with us in the Comments below…

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Nesting for business and a baby... with a success mindset

03 02 2014

Our house has been upside down this past week.  We’ve been emptying and decorating our spare room to make room for our new little arrival in April. The teeny baby clothes are out of storage, washed and ready for their new home. All the kit and caboodle a newborn needs has been ordered.  Nesting season has officially started.  There are 7 weeks to go and I’m getting prepared.

Among the chaos, I realised something. We’re making room in our home and our lives for something we want to happen – welcoming the new addition to our family.  We’ve got total belief that, this springtime, we’ll be a family of four.  That belief has created action in the form of a big, pre-baby to-do list for me (and mostly for my husband).

Where in your life could you do with a bit more belief?  Where should you be ‘nesting’?

Think of a goal or vision you have for your career or business.  Do you believe 100% that you WILL make it happen, that you will bring that goal into the world?  And are you ‘nesting’ for it?  Imagine when you want to have achieved this goal.  If you knew it would absolutely be a reality on that date, would you be ready for it?  If it arrived into the world a little early – like today or tomorrow – would you be ready for it?

I realised I’d been ‘putting off’ a few things in my own business as I was waiting until I’d got ‘there’, achieved my big goal.  What my little nesting frenzy taught me is that, by waiting, I was keeping that goal just out of reach.  If, instead, I had total and utter belief that it will happen I’d be doing a few things differently.  When I asked myself “if I’d achieved this goal today, would I be ready?” I couldn’t honestly answer yes.  I needed to get my house in order.  I needed to ‘nest’ for my business.

So, over to you.  Think about your goal.  Imagine it’s here now, wrapped up in a big, red bow, ready for you to start living it – are you ready?  What actions can you take now to demonstrate your total belief that it will happen?  Share with us what 1-3 actions you will take to ‘nest’ for your goal in the Comments below.

p.s. Isn’t this little set of Matroyshka dolls cute?  I found it here

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New mum anxiety: one year on

02 09 2014

Let me give it to you straight.

I’m a lucky girl. I have a beautiful family. I’m doing work that I LOVE. My life is full of special people who support and encourage me. I know I’m blessed.

BUT…

Even with so much to be thankful for, this time last year was a low-point.

I’d quietly been struggling with new mum anxiety since Louis’ birth, unable to share with the happy mums I was meeting, and I’d isolated myself. I was negotiating a part-time return to my pre-maternity corporate role while my confidence was at rock-bottom. I felt removed from the true me. I motored through the routine of my day-to-day and had little interest in doing anything more.

My passion is encouraging women to discover and LIVE their sparkle… yet, my own sparkle was waning.

It turns out I wasn’t alone.

I needed role models. I needed mentors to look up to. I was looking for examples of women who’d made the adjustment into motherhood yet still had an identity that was authentic to them… Their sparkle.

I decided to extend an invitation to women I admired – I asked them to share their secrets, their tips and their honest accounts of the challenges they face.  I was inspired.

I began to share some of these inspiring accounts in my Secrets of my Success series.  And I have other gems lined up for this year.  The more I shared my story with women and, in return, they shared with me, the more I realised that there were common threads. Common challenges. Common worries. Common traits of success.

So I decided to put together a free “class” where I’ll be sharing The 4 Secrets of Successful Working Mummies.

If you’d like to learn the 4 “success sappers” to avoid, as well as the success traits of these women, click HERE to register for your spot.

The details:

Tuesday 11th February @ 7.30pm GMT

RESERVE MY SPOT NOW

 

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Join me for free webinar: The 4 secrets of successful working mummies

02 04 2014

Do you feel like you’re constantly ‘spinning your wheels’?  Are you striving to be the best mummy, employee/entrepreneur, wife/partner, friend and feel like you’re failing at every turn?  Are you struggling to make peace with being a working mummy?

When you’re living with the unpredictable demands of mummy-hood, there’s no such thing as “work/life balance”.  But then feeling frazzled, out of control and guilty isn’t much fun either.

There is another option…

Join me for the live webinar The 4 Secrets of Successful Working Mummies where I’ll be sharing:

  • The 4 sappers of your success and energy!
  • The one big reminder that you’re not on your own
  • The 4 “secrets” that successful women swear by to design a style that fits their work and family

Reserve your place —> HERE

I know how it feels when you’re spending all your time and energy striving for your ideal yet missing the mark.  I know that it can get you down!  I also know that it IS possible to create the working lifestyle you desire so you can work on your terms and nurture your family too.  I’ve been learning the secrets of some really inspirational role models and can’t wait to share their insights with you!

Join me February 11th, 2014 @ 7.30pm GMT —> CLICK HERE

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Stop waiting: a celebration

02 02 2014

Once I’ve got a slimmer waist, a tauter tummy, slimmer thighs, clearer skin, glossier hair… THEN I’ll feel attractive.

Once the house is cleaned, the laundry is washed and ironed, the beds are freshly made and the fridge is fully stocked…. THEN I’ll feel like a domestic goddess.

Once my children are fed a nutritious, home-cooked meal, entertained with creative play, nurtured with quiet interaction, bathed in nasty-free bubbles and settled soundly…. THEN I’ll feel like a good mummy.

Once I’ve got that promotion or secured a new business partnership, been recognised by my peers, increased my income…. THEN I’ll feel like a professional success.

Once I’ve made the perfect romantic gesture, created quality time to talk and listen, shown gratitude for the positives and shown patience with the frustrations… THEN I’ll feel like a good wife/partner.

Once I’ve done a regular 30-minutes cardio three times a week, 20-minutes conditioning, 15-minutes meditation and drunk my daily green juice… THEN I’ll feel healthy.

Once I’ve called my friends and family, recognised birthdays and celebrations with thoughtful gifts and meaningful sentiments, spent quality time with all the important people in my life… THEN I’ll feel like a loving friend/daughter/sister/auntie.

…..

What if you stopped waiting until THEN?

What if you chose right now that you are enough?

How about choosing that you are the perfect version of yourself right now?

You are right where you are meant to be.

This is your story.  Celebrate it.

What happened yesterday has gone.

What will happen tomorrow is yours for the taking.

You are who you are and where you are right now for a reason….

You can choose.

You can choose to feel attractive.

You can choose to recognise all you do to create a nurturing home, be a nurturing mummy, a loving wife, a professional success.

You can choose to BE the you that you want to be right now.

Imagine what that would feel like.

How would you act differently?  What would you choose to do right now?  How would you choose to be with the people around you?  What would be important for you to have in your life?  What wouldn’t be important?

You are doing the very best with what you have. 

My lovely, you are doing a great job – be gentle with yourself.

 

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