Being brave

A few weeks ago I did something I hadn’t done for a long time. I stepped out of my professional comfort zone.

I received an email inviting me to speak on a panel (won’t bore you with the topic details). My first instinct was to pass it on to my line manager. He couldn’t make it, neither could anyone else more senior to me. Bugger.

Just as I’m about to hit ‘send’ on an email to decline, I stopped. I realised I didn’t have a good reason not to take part, only fear. I had been recommended for the event, I’m not sure by whom, but clearly someone out there thinks I’m pretty good at my job.

Rewind a few years and I would have jumped at the chance to talk in front of a room of people. I’ve always been the friendly, chatty one. People love having me at events because I tick a few boxes (female, black. done!). But without realising , my confidence had faded and I had been turning away from opportunities.

I had become the person that said ‘why’ rather than ‘why not’. I was slowly slipping into a habit of just doing what was in my remit, rather than pushing myself. Not the ‘me’ that many people would describe. The impact of motherhood or wifelyhood (yes, its a word!), I don’t know, but I need to change it.

So I reminded myself of my commitment to say yes more often and accepted the invitation. And guess what, the event went well and I had loads of positive feedback. Result!

Then last week I was asked to do an interview with the local paper about ‘successful women handling careers and motherhood’ with the help of family-friendly workplaces. I laughed out loud about the successful bit, but was honoured to be asked. I guess I’m doing a good job of juggling everything.

That’s two yeses in a few weeks. Has my life been transformed? No. But I’ve reminded myself of a few things:

  • Taking on a challenge every now and then is good for the soul
  • If someone else says you are good at something, they are probably telling the truth, even if you don’t believe them
  • The more opportunities you invite into your life, the more that will be opened to you. It’s down to you to accept them or not

Feeling good after a few positive experiences, I think I’m slowly starting to find ‘me’ again.

xx

 

All change!

We have a new look! What with all the change going on in the UK at the moment, I thought I might as well play my part. Haha!

Do you like it? I’m still getting used to it, but feel free to share your thoughts.

I’ve had some ideas on posts in light of recent European events, but finding the time to share them in an articulate, non-ranty way has been a real struggle. So many issues and debates going on at the moment, it’s too much!!

Give me a few days and I’m sure I’ll be sharing soon.

xx

 

Fathers, Thank You. 


It’s Fathers’ Day! A chance to celebrate all the daddies out there. 

So much time is spent making martyrs of us ‘busy mums’, we often forget just how much dads contribute. Dads are busy too!! So many do a great job and I’m not just talking about the ones who happen to have made the babies. 

There are plenty of strong father figures out there: biological, spiritual, pastoral, financial, it doesn’t matter. Today is their day.

If you know a man who’s doing positive things for the next generation, today’s the day to tell them. 

Today is the day to say thank you. 

Thank you dads xx

Top tips for train journeys with a toddler

So yesterday Boy2 and I ventured into London for the day. I’d arranged to meet my old uni pals so thought it would be nice for him to see them again and a great opportunity for Boy1 to have a day with daddy (one on one time is so important when you have children).

So off we went on the 0936 from Manchester. It’s been a few years since I ventured on a train with a toddler but I managed to remember a few important things….

  1. Advance Planning – book your train ticket in advance. Not only does it save save £££, but it increases your chances of being able to reserve a decent seat. Extra tip – if you select a seat with a table and near a toilet, you are more likely to get one close to the disabled area (coach C is a good bet) then you are likely to have space to park a buggy. 
  2. Timing – think about the time of your train. Avoid really busy times and work around meal/nap times. Do you really want to be stuck on a rammed train with a screaming, hungry toddler? I split his breakfast into two parts. Porridge before we left home then some toast on the train (which also kept him occupied) 
  3. Snacks – very very important for distracting little ones. Whilst 2 hours doesn’t seem too long, it can feel like an eternity with a bored little one. So plenty of rice cakes, fruit slices, raisins etc but I’d avoid spillable things like yogurt. 
  4. Entertainment – again, more distractions. Depending on the age of your little one, an iPad and headphones might do the trick (remember to download in advance!) in fact Virgin trains have just launched its Beam app which is great for accessing kids shows like Peppa Pig. But you’ll need to download the app before your train leaves. Books to read (thin ones) and colouring books are also a good idea. 
  5. Pack light – yes, with all the food and entertainment. It’s more about packing smart. Can you pack everything into one bag, or try to squeeze a bag into the buggy basket. Basically, you don’t want a massive bag hanging off your shoulders or handle bars. Rucksacks are quite a good idea to be honest
  6. Energy management – so you’ve arrived at your destination, but your child has been strapped in a buggy or pinned down to his seat for the past three hours. Try to find some time and space to let them stretch their legs and burn some energy. Make sure they also do this towards the end of your day. This is particularly important for your journey home. In an ideal world they’ll sleep on the train. 
  7. Meals – yep, talking about food again. But search for child-friendly places to eat in advance so you don’t have to pack to many meals, you aren’t wandering the streets at the last minute with a starving child and, most importantly, you know they’ll eat. 
  8. Sleep – try to aim for a return journey where little one will be ready to sleep, or at least winding down. We opted for the 64o. Once we were on the train, it was time for dinner (Ella’s kitchen obvs) a few books and a nappy change them he was clearly tired. I think the tiredness was down to letting him run riot in M&S for half an hour before a half hour walk to Euston a la point 6. So once he was in the buggy, he spent about 15 minutes mesmerised by passing trees, then fell asleep. 

Travelling alone with a little one can be daunting but also lots of fun. If you haven’t dared do it yet, I’d encourage you to give it a go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! 

X

Work work work….

This past couple of weeks I’ve been reminded of how hard it is to keep on top of all the elements of ‘life’ when work so easily takes over. 

When a work load piles up and there’s genuinely nobody to delegate to, you have to face it head on. This can mean continuing my work day in the evenings, after meal times and bed times are sorted. It’s not fun. I should be at the gym or chatting to the husband. Instead I’m face deep in my laptop, Tv on to make me feel less guilty (trying to convince myself I’m actually watching it), not sure when I’ll finally go to sleep.

Food planning has slipped, washing piles up more quickly, general house admin goes to pot. I’m going to bed late and waking up early. I’m probably a little bit cranky with it too! 

It’s interesting how modern life has some how managed to make work so important. It’s so easy to drop other elements when it comes to issues about work. Why do we so often let it take over? 

I saw a photo online saying ‘don’t let anything stop you from going to church that wouldn’t stop you from going to work.’ Although it’s clearly targeted at a Christian audience, it could be applied to a lot of situations. We make excuses for not doing certain things, but rarely for work. Whether it’s plans with friends or a trip with the kids, it’s always easy to find an excuse. Tiredness, hangover, double booked. Would you use those with your boss?! 

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves about the other important things in our lives before work takes over. 

I’ve written before about my work-life juggling analogy, which helps deal with the many ‘balls’ of life. 

I have to remind myself that, as much as I might moan, I know this work situation is temporary. This particular ball needs to be held right now, but I’ve got plans to grab the others so I don’t drop them completely. 

I must keep on juggling. So should you. 

Baby + Junk Food = OK right? 

This is our current food situation. It’s been a long day. He loves chips. He loves peas. He loves fish fingers. He can eat the same meal as his brother. So why do I feel the slightest bit of guilt?

 I don’t think Boy 1 had this classic combo til at least 18 months. Yet Boy2 is probably on his 3rd (ish) round. But it was all cooked in the oven and I didn’t give him ketchup! 

No harm in it every now and then. After all, happy baby = happy mummy and all that….