Happy Mum Happy Child

Happy mum happy child, that’s such a powerful statement.  I was curious, as I explore the idea that at the centre of designing a life you love, which brings you happiness every day, is yourself (read more about designing your life here.)  Specifically a version of yourself where you spend time filling your cup.

My  third guest blogger is Maria, a mum of two, creator of website / Facebook page Happy Mum Happy Child, which is dedicated to helping parents feel less alone in this parenting journey.   Having started in 2014, HMHC is now the top parenting blog in New Zealand.

I know firsthand that within the most beautiful picture perfect surroundings of family can lie our greatest struggles.  I know that we bring these tiny, helpless bodies into the world and from us they expect nothing, but love, but from ourselves we expect everything and we give everything, until often there is nothing left in our cup.  I wanted to hear directly from Maria how she maintains self care as a priority to stay happy and what happy mum happy child means to her

maria foy

– What has been your greatest challenge as a mum?

I find a lot of things challenging about being a Mum, but the biggest challenge for me was coming to terms with the fact that my life would never be the same as it was before I had children. I’m more used to it now, and I wouldn’t change it for the world – but it was a very difficult for me when my daughter was first born – I think it triggered my post natal depression somewhat.

– What has been your greatest learning as a mum?

That I am in fact capable of so much more than I could have ever imagined – the love I have for my children, the patience I have, the ability to clean up so much poo – honestly so much I have learned about myself

– How much of a priority is your own self-care in your life?

It’s more of a priority now than it was when I first became a Mum.

– How do you keep it a priority?

I think it’s important to have at least one moment a week where you have no children around you (if at all possible). Whether the other half takes the kids to do the grocery shopping, or they go to the grandparents for the morning. Just a moment alone can do wonders for the soul.

– What happens when that priority slips

Thankfully for me my husband is an amazing friend and supporter – if I am struggling then I communicate with him and he helps out where he can.

– What stresses you out?

My children. Lol – honestly though, just the challenges of being a parent stresses me out. Kids fighting, being demanding, etc it all gets overwhelming.

– How do you avoid overwhelm?

I try and be honest with myself and my family if I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m also not afraid to put the TV on and say to myself “hey I just can’t do it in this moment, so the TV is going to help me out”

– What brought you to inspiring mums as your work?

When I started talking about my journey with postnatal depression, so many wonderful mum’s confided in me with their own struggles and told me it was so nice to hear someone talking about it. I don’t necessarily think I’m inspiring anyone, but just working together with everyone so that we all know we’re not alone.

– How do your personal challenges and how you overcome them influence your work?

90% of my work is off-the-cuff – so it really is dictated by how I feel each day. If I’m having a bad day, then I’ll share it with my followers. Not only to possibly make others feel like they’re less alone, but also for me to feel like I’m not alone. Even for me I can get stuck thinking I’m the only one going through something.

– What blogs do you read and who do you look up to in your industry?
I don’t get a lot of time to read other blogs, but do focus on a couple. Here in New Zealand, my wonderful friend Lisa runs No Filter Mum and it’s a wonderful page for me. She is open and honest about her own journey as a Mother, and she’s become a wonderful friend to me outside of the internet.

Internationally I love Tova Leigh – she predominantly does videos, but also has a blog and I love her and what she talks about.

– What does Happy Mum Happy Child mean to you?

Happy Mum Happy Child ultimately means if Mum is happy, then the child is happy. So it’s important to focus on yourself as a parent.

If you’d like to read more from Maria, visit her Facebook page

Or, Instagram

Of find her on Snapchat: happymumnz

Visit her website here

 

Motherhood, Muddles and Mindfulness

As I get close to launching my ultimate 8 week experience, Design Your Life, I drilled down into what it takes to design a life you love, which brings you happiness every day.  At the centre of it I found myself.  Specifically a version of myself where I spend time filling my cup.  So I decided to use my next few blog posts to explore this by inviting other enlightened mums.  Those who have been the stressed mum, the overwhelmed mum, the unhappy mum, but have come out of the other side.  I wanted to hear from them how they got there and what the benefits have been.

Meet my second guest blogger, Debbie.  She is a Spiritual Alchemist with over 20yrs experience in the mindbody field.  I spoke to Debbie because I have experienced that it is terribly hard to be mindful when you are a mum.  We are pulled in so many different directions that I reckon our brains actually rewire to always thinking about the next thing we have to get done, instead of enjoying being in the moment.

In this blog Debbie shares her experience and a 1 minute meditation you can do anywhere at any time.

debbie

Mindfulness is a term bandied about frequently these days. But what is it?

It is consciously putting full focus and attention on what you are doing or engaging in.   Being present in the moment.

With its roots in meditative practices, Buddhist teachings see mindfulness as a path to enlightenment as one discovers that our mind is the cause of all our suffering. One then works to master the mind through being present and the noticing of the Monkey Mind or the mind‘s need and desire to be attached – to outcomes, behaviours, beliefs, thoughts, perceptions, and stories.

There are many studies that confirm the positive impact of mindfulness on our well-being and our worrisome minds. Sounds like a panacea for today’s world and the holy grail of calm huh?

It certainly is, but how does that fit for a mum who is struggling to juggle motherhood, business, finance, relationships, while still making sure the washing’s done and dry, dinner’s nutritious, cooked and eaten, the kids are happy, well and confident, and the house is not sinking under a foot of dust and grime?

How does it fit, when we feel like we have nothing left to give? And don’t know where to turn?

Less stress and topping up the tank

Taking a minute or two can more ‘space’ to breathe and be more of the mum you want to be – an empowered mum with more love to share. It helps our mind settle. Read – Less stress hormones = Happier mum → Happier children → Happier family → Happier community → Happier world!

We all know of the truth of making sure we top up our tank first as mothers, but it can be incredibly hard to do so. Our instinctive, unconscious actions are to attend to children/family first.

But remember the adage of the oxygen mask in a plane crash? We are no help to our children (or anyone else), if we have no oxygen and die. Implementing mindfulness practices are one way to support ourselves – giving our souls oxygen if you like, so we can support those we love in the chaos, muddle and joy of motherhood.

To help meet the challenge of everyday pressure combined with the overlay of motherhood try my micro-meditation here. This meditation is one way to top up your tank and your soul. It is easy to implement, short – under a minute, and with the exception of driving a vehicle, can be done pretty much anywhere, anytime!

Expand time, create space; take a moment

By putting our full attention on what is directly in front of us, we potentially create more space and time. I know it doesn’t make sense, but bear with me.

Think back to a time where instead of finishing a task and then giving your children attention, you did it the other way around. I remember trying to complete some university papers when my son was one or two, and saying hang on, hang on as he vied for my attention. The times I stopped what I was doing and sat with him (and Thomas the tank engine!) for 10 – 15mins then gave me a full half an hour (magic!) to get my words in place for submission. You may have had a similar experience of giving your children full attention for ten or fifteen minutes which then freed up half an hour for you to get those accounts done or phone calls made.

As a mother taking a moment whenever you can, to be present, creates an opportunity to come back to centre. And sometimes we need to take it whenever and wherever we can. I remember taking an extra moment or two in the toilet to sit and centre as sometimes this was the only time I had any space when my kids were younger!

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What might mindfulness look like for an Empowered Mum?

  • Planning time to be fully present when the kids come home from school or kindy so their well is filled with your compassion and attention (even 5 – 10 minutes each child will work wonders)
  • I have found one of the keys to mindfulness is to surrender. Surrendering the shoulds, musts and need to’s
  • Exploring your ability to expand time by intentionally focusing on and enjoying the task at hand – yes even the dishes, cleaning the shower!
  • Try my one minute micro meditation to bring yourself back into centre regularly throughout the day

Further resources you might find useful:

Jon Kabat-Zinn and Eckhart Tolle are well-known proponents of the power of now and being present and are the authors of many books.

Sarah Napthali has written several books on Buddhism and motherhood which may also be of help.

Mindfulness is a growing movement and there are many mindfulness/meditative groups worldwide. Check out the web for something close to you.

See more of Debbie at her Facebook page!

 

Why I Made the Decision to Design My Life

So, this is what my life looked like not so far back in the past…

I had a brand new baby, I was taking both girls to Play Centre, I was taking on responsibilities there, I was trying to be the perfect mum – attachment parenting, breastfeeding, healthy food, seeing the Naturopath, trying to never lose my temper, putting far too much pressure and too many expectations on myself. I was trying to get Essential Mum off the ground and running, whilst working out a sales contract I held onto because we were pressured by the weight of financial stress that was so heavy I felt sick to the pit of my stomach.  Many weeks we just didn’t know how we would be able to pay our bills and the mortgage. I felt obligated in so many different directions that I didn’t know which way was up. I was stressed, I was exhausted, and by rushing from one task to the next constantly I was missing being in the moments as they happened and losing the true beauty of them. I was disconnected from my new baby girl, my older baby girl and life itself.  I was exhausted.  And yet I was going over and above for the wonderful crowd of women I had attracted with Essential Mum because these women inspired me and motivated me daily. I wanted desperately to help them more than what I was doing already.  That was when I decided to train to become a life coach.  And that was when my life changed.

And now I have come full circle. What I mean by that is that it’s now time to share on what was so powerful for me. Because I see you; hiding behind a smile that disguises how unfulfilled you feel.  I know that your “together” shell hides how inside you’re falling apart. Your silence tells me everything it needs to.  I hear you because I was where you are and I want to help you.

In September I am launching my Design Your Life Coaching Programme for 6 inspired and open mums.  The steps I will take you through across 8 weeks are exactly those that I took myself to get out of the overwhelm and focus on me and what I needed for my health and happiness.  I will help you strike a balance between what you love to do and your obligations, so you’re not over-committed and exhausted.  I will help you design a life that brings you happiness, every day.

mountain move

I still have days where I fall apart, but what helps me come back together again is knowing the steps to get myself back into balance.  If you are interested in receiving some no obligation information about my Design Your Life Programme, fill out the contact form here:

Much Love x x