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Top 5 failures turning negative energy into success

Turn negative energy into success

Turn negative energy into success

This weekend I'm preparing for my Doctorate Viva which I give on the 7th September.  It's been full of ups and downs, even the weekend marked that.  My daughter feel down the stairs and of course she's my first priority so the time to prepare did not go as planned.  I didn't think I would need to take the day before off of work but now I will.  That pretty much outlines how I have learnt from previous failures to say it's ok to postpone (I postponed for 1 year) and it's okay to make sure you have time for yourself and your family mentally and physically; health and memories are more important given failures in the past outlined below.

1.  One GCSE D.  I got almost all B's and C's and 1 D. Ultimately years later who cares I learnt a lot about understanding the world, solving problems, since got my A'Levels, 1 degree, 2 x maters and 1 x doctorate.  You can fail but that's not the end of the story, what do you love and how do you want to excel at it; there are many ways to get to the top of the mountain.  There is not one route to take, and it is not a race.  Treading your own path and not comparing yourself to others is enlightening and has led me to so much personal growth.

2. My first business I founded 'thelookboutique.com' I learnt a lot from this venture, gained international exposure and mentored almost 50 designers, some of which have gone on to achieve great things.  Ultimately was it profitable enough to live on? 'No.'  The cyclical nature of the fashion industry was hugely expensive with continuous shoots, PR, IT and frankly I could have had a more effective business model with social media as it is now.  What did I learn: to be social media savvy, tech/coding/my own site instead of paying massive bills to website builders, I had the balls to put myself out there and I knew how to contact people and build a brand.  As I was pregnant with my first child I decided to call it a day and start a fresh, walking away with my authenticity and knowledge that I helped to grow some amazing talent.  

Fast forward and now I am launching the App (launching soon) WhatifIhadaPA App.  A productivity app for a Mums pocket to save them time.

3. Being made redundant. Let's face it, it sucks you give everything to your work and the company misfortune lets you go.  I lost my job twice in my life.  The first time it empowered me to start my business, and know that a job is not a certainty; so I never let a job define my life.  The second time the headquarters closed in Zurich, and I was pregnant with our second child.  After that, I had this calm that I've been there before and I can start anything from scratch.  I found a job in tech, and then a job of passion and purpose which is what I am doing now, defining and designing digital solutions (since I was young my talent was high puzzles and brining people together to do it, so I've learnt to orientate to my passion spaces).  Work does not define you, you define it and your life.

4. I was at Bikram yoga training in 2010.  I stood up and explained my concerns about the training on quality, harassment, language that was being used about gay people, misogyny, bullying and what he called fat people.  As I stood up to feedback to inappropriate behaviour, I was shamed down, it was the most shaky experience. Years later the truth started to come out about how systematic this was, and that was only the tip of the iceberg.  Bikram was faced with allegations of rape and sexual assault.  At the time of writing this there is a warrant out for his arrest.  The community was broken, with death threats and bullying happening outside of training.  I never just stand and watch injustice, but at that point and in that time I was not heard and failed to stop what happened in training.  I choose to not give up and do something about it and started a petition for Bikram to step down, and after courageous efforts by brave women; he stepped down. Activism is part of who I am, and right now I am working on projects that support Motherhood Unplugged 2.0 in this generation, and change systemic racism.

5. Men.  It seems silly to put men but I had so many failures here to get to my soul mate; seriously I could write a book!  Here are some of the highlights: I moved in bought a house with a man that then revealed he had been lying to me for years, and was 100,000's in debt.  Then I was with someone who told me he was gay.  The final straw was on a 1 year anniversary I was told 'I have something I need to tell you.'  I thought at that point he was going to break up with me, instead he proceeded to tell me 'I'm married and I have a daughter.'  I felt sick and dizzy and ended it.  Shortly after I moved to Zurich Switzerland and was at peace with myself and God to be happy and single.  I exhaled when we had that conversation.  Then I met my now husband Morten (I will leave that story for another blog). What I can say to any other woman out there is that it should feel effortless, and it did.  I married my best friend, my soul mate, the person I giggle, snuggle, netflix, travel and do everything with.  I never had to think is he calling me, does he want 'x' or second guess anything. It was just simple.

Failures are part of life.  It may seem corny that every failure has an upside, but you can choose what to do with negative energy or failure.  The greatest successes come from our failures and these are mine.

I can't breastfeed and I am ok with it not killing me.

After going in for what was supposed to be a minor surgery, I was signed off for 6 weeks recovery.  This was then, and now I am so much fitter and healthier thanks to being pain free.

After going in for what was supposed to be a minor surgery, I was signed off for 6 weeks recovery.  This was then, and now I am so much fitter and healthier thanks to being pain free.

This is a hugely personal event in my life, but typifies where I am in my life, living my truth, authenticity and vulnerability. I actually just finished writing an email to a role model mum Meg from from www.themilkmeg.com and there was a reason this email was so important that I had suppressed.

In December 2012 I gave birth to my second child.  I spoke with the hospital and explained that I could not breastfeed.  As a teenager I had a breast reduction as had my sister and mum.  However, for some reason with her operation she could breast feed, and mine not.  We are identical twins and were somewhat of a phenomenon at birth as we were born with breasts, so you can imagine the size of them in my teenage years.  This was not a cosmetic choice they were large, grew so big, so fast with stretch marks and back pain and I was still a kid myself; so I made the decision with no regrets to reduce them.  I knew the risks and having children meant possibly no breastfeeding for me. 

Fast forward nearly 20 years, I tried to breastfeed the first with no success.  I was okay with it but Swiss society was not. The nurse at the hospital told me to drink sage tea, and would not give me any pills to stop the milk coming. My breasts just got harder and harder like breeze blocks.  The kind of bricks that you use on the inner walls of an extension before you lay bricks, it didn't matter how much tea I drunk.  I tried the hospital several times but with no luck. I rang my old gynaecologist and he told me to get to the hospital ASAP.  I'd moved Kantons (we moved districts before moving birth), so I still had the old contact.  I was lucky.  I was on the verge of sepsis. I was treated and managed to get back to good health or so I thought.

For the next 3 years I struggled around every period my breasts would be so painful, and a big ball would grow until I relieved it.  I was in chronic pain, pain that I never had before and embarrassed that the only relief would be to squeeze stuff out of my breasts.  My kids would come and give me a hugs and I would screech with pain. Eventually the hospital operated, and scraped everything out behind my nipples.  I went in for what was supposed to be a few hours and ended up being 6, my husband said he was so worried.  I remember going in and feeling grateful that God gave me a chance to be a Mum, telling him my family would be there if he needed help, and that I was the luckiest to have him. These are moments as a Mum where words do not do it justice.  After the operation I didn't care that my nipples were flat, it was a relief that the pain went away and I was lucky to be healthy, alive and able to run, do yoga and cuddle my kids.  I have a pain free body!

Why am I sharing this.  Well motherhood is not all highs, it's also lows. Many of us cannot breastfeed, or even have low milk supply. When I found milkmeg I thought I wish I would have had access to that.  As a young woman for advice on my future, and as an expat who can contact a lactation expert globally.

I'm blessed because both my kids are super healthy, smart and happy.

3 Tools I taught my daughter to make friends (when she had none)

Starting school or kindergarten can be a challenging time if you do not know anyone.  Even if you made all the best laid plans, and attended nursery (Kita in Swiss German) in the same village where you children build friendships.

When my daughter started school she was put in a different class then all her kindergarten friends.  It was heart breaking as she spent 5 years making friends and then suddenly she was on her own.  As a Mum I approached the school but they had their rules, and you could not change classes (there were 5 classes in total).  As a Mum I also knew that this lesson would come at some point, so as tough as it was: making friends, networking and being ok with ones self is a key skill in life.  My daughter learnt this lesson early on and we navigated it together.  

I will not say it was easy as initially in some ways it hindered her German as she would come home crying, and withdrew a little.  Secondly, she went to one extreme attempting to get everyone to like her, now as she starts school she has the balance just right.

The key was a bit like we make friends and connections as adults, 'how to win friends and influence them'.

1. Empathy - we talked to her about how the other children were feeling. How did she think other kids felt that did not know her, 'did they know anyone' and this helped her to identify that she was not alone.  That other children might also be feeling the same.  We worked on treating others the way she would like to be treated.

2. Observing - we talked to her about observing what people were doing, looking at their interests.  She could then see what other people were playing, and look at either playing with them or getting others to play together. She actually became the master of this, and leads groups into playing activities together.

3. Acting on commonality - acting on a commonality, so once she observed an interest and could influence what to do with that and act on that commonality.  Sometimes this meant she may play what she wants, and others it meant compromising or joining in something new.

Today 2 years later we have a different child.  It was not easy but she has the confidence in new surroundings, she can go into a place where she knows no one and she's thrives and has started to navigate the difference between true friends and acquaintances.  In some ways I wish she did not have to learn this too early and in others we don't get to pick the lessons we have to help navigate in motherhood.

Growing up in a different country, different language and giving children tools to make friends when they have none

Growing up in a different country, different language and giving children tools to make friends when they have none

5 reasons not to miss the Glauker Festival (Magical Festival)

The Glauker festival is one of a kind.  We discovered it about 5 years ago as the kids were allowed to touch, feel and see performing arts, magic and real imagination.  This year there were 5 reasons not to miss it, and here is the pick of the best bits:

1. The kids having to make their own candy floss, nothing in life that is worth it comes without hard work ;).

You have to ride for your own candy floss

You have to ride for your own candy floss

Nothing in life comes for free

Nothing in life comes for free

2. See and hear a band of geese, this is the stuff of fairy tales and here anything is possible for the kids.

3. Ride a self powered train.  Last year it was a self powered carousel that was just magical.

4. Robot giraffes out of Africa.  These were life like Giraffe robots making their way down the middle of a historic Swiss town, the kids were in wonderland.

5.  There are so many performing artists, clowns and acts not to miss.

Look out for this festival in 2018.

5 Inspirational Goalcasts for Mothers

Wonder Woman Lynda Carter

Wonder Woman Lynda Carter

Being happy as a Mum Jada Pinkett

Being happy as a Mum Jada Pinkett

Our mistakes make us who we are Beyonce

Our mistakes make us who we are Beyonce

Beyonce and Adele a lesson from life

Beyonce and Adele a lesson from life

Angelina Jolie motherhood

Angelina Jolie motherhood

Top 3 homeschooling options, or raising talent that finishes school at 11am!

Living in Switzerland is refreshing, there is no homework and they spend 2 years focused on giving children the skills and competency for life.  The social, interaction and motor skills.

My daughter just finished her 2 years at kindergarten so I was expecting that she would take a step up, but the the letter arrived through the door.  

  • Three days a week she finished at 11.00 rather than 11.50
  • Five days a week she started at 8.20 rather than 8.15
  • She has one extra long day where she finished at 11.50, comes home for lunch and then goes back for 13.30 to 15.05

So rather than put you through the maths, of course I spreadsheeted it. She has a whole 1hr and 25 minutes less in the school than when she was in kindergarten.  I of course asked was there something special we were doing than other Kantons, why are their less hours.  The teacher pointed that there were more lessons, but you can't misdirect from the facts on the spreadsheet.

Now Switzerland for its greatness, also has its flaws and one of them is mothers working.  As an entrepreneur and a working mother I am one of the few, the challenges and solutions can be found from previous blogs.

This was a new one to me.  So again I am sharing what I have found useful, as I have kids that are thirsty to learn. I turned to homeschooling, not because I am taking them out of school, they love school and we are truly integrated.

If you are also looking for a supplement here is some of what I found, and I opted for Moving Beyond the Page.

Moving Beyond the Page - The material is in age relevant curriculum, which engages children in critical thinking and fun without them realising they are learning.  You don't need to prepare, you can print off the lessons and all the materials come.  I also ordered the maths and reading.  This gives myself and our Nanny a structure to navigate with the children.  There are projects which the kids love, and we even extended on one to make a video of all the animals and habitats from the birds nest my daughter found to the zoo.  The downside is if you buy the online version for some reason they limit it to a 90 day access.  This is a little silly but compared to the other packages was the most engaging curriculum.

k12 - This curriculum is following the US system, so it depends perhaps on a preference as an expat, perhaps there is a need or wish to align to the schooling system, It is a complete, integrated curriculum that has tool, exercises, assessment and support.  It is less innovative that Moving Beyond the Page on the softer skills and cortical thinking as it is more a traditional schooling system.

Oak Meadow - this approach was again imaginative focusing on learning through arts.  I considered this as my kids have a lot of imagination.  This is worth a consideration and knowing your child, may be the right mix.  It delivers age appropriate curriculum from kindergarten to high school on an approach that enters around the child, with an emphasis on creative arts: drawing, painting, music, and handwork.

 

 

5 Simple Steps to Save Dry Felt Tip Pens

On our Saturday Share we went live on Facebook again in our community group, for anyone that missed to share handy tips.  One in our house is felt tips.  The kids tidy up but one of those annoying things is the lids on pens, and instead of throwing the pens out you can save them, or as my daughter said bring them back to life.

  1. Sort the pens and lids out dead or alive, this teaches them a bit of a lesson as to how many are potentially no good
  2. Find the water based ones (these are usually kids pens)
  3. Get a bowl of warm water
  4. Hold them in the water for 2 to 5 minutes
  5. Dab off the excess water and test them on the paper
The result of 1 hours work to save 80 to 100 pens

The result of 1 hours work to save 80 to 100 pens

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