“The days are long, but the years are short”
Was there ever a quote that better sums up being a parent? One day you are waist deep in nappies and toddler tantrums, wondering if you will ever be able to go to the toilet in peace again, and before you know it you have moody teenagers and hormonal tweens (and you still wonder whether you will ever go to the toilet in peace again!)
As the mother of 2 teenagers and a 10 year old, one thing I know for sure is that being a parent is never dull. Today’s little angel can be tomorrow’s hormonal nightmare, and things that once filled your daughter with joy will suddenly be looked at with disdain and scorn. So how do you stay connected to your daughter as she gets older and the idea of hanging out with her friends is much more alluring than spending time with you.
On my recent ‘Stay Connected’ Mother & Daughter weekend retreat, I asked the mum’s to sit with their teen daughters and just listen (without speaking!) to the girl’s tell them what they need from their relationship now they were getting older. The one thing that all the girl’s said they wanted was for their mum to really listen to them without always offering advice…sometimes just holding space for your daughter to feel heard and validated is enough, they will ask for your opinion if they want it!
Now I know this is easier said than done (us mum’s know it all, right!) however, being fully present is such a powerful gift to give your daughter. As a facilitator of Women’s Circles I know that we ALL need to feel heard without feeling judged, and the power of simply holding loving space for someone to share while you actively listen is vastly underrated.
The other thing that all girl’s wanted in their relationship with their mum was more quality one on one time together. Now this doesn’t have to mean expensive shopping trips, but rather the chance to do something together that you both enjoy, while checking in with each other and staying connected. Some ideas that came up included:
- Do something creative together eg. paint, draw, knit, cook
- Go for a mindful walk in nature together
- Play a board game
- Have a dance party in your living room
- Make a special afternoon tea: pull out the good china and set the table
- Schedule a regular coffee date where you check in with each other
- Show (and tell her) how much you love her. Write little notes to each other, pick a flower for her, give her a quick hug as she is passing…
- Above all else, time flies by fast, so remember to have fun!
There are still a couple of spaces available at my Connected: Mother & Daughter weekend for 8-11 year olds coming up in October in Warburton. Click HERE for more details and bookings. Don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list at the top of the page to stay up to date with future mother/daughter weekends and workshops in 2019.
I don’t know about you, but this Winter has been decidedly average for me. There are no holidays on my horizon (but thanks Facebook for showing me my friends sipping cocktails in warm locations, I’m not jealous at all!) and sickness has been an on and off constant companion over the past few weeks. Add in some exhausted kids and looming school holidays, and you might feel tempted to pull the doona back over your head and pretend like being a responsible adult isn’t part of your repertoire.
However, there are a few go to tricks that I use to boost my own wellbeing over Winter, so it would be remiss of me not to share them with you as well! Not surprisingly, they all involve taking responsibility for your own self care (because let’s face it, Ryan Gosling is unlikely to knock on your door with a portable massage table anytime soon!)
- Beautiful Bathtime Whenever I am working with a new client on self care goals, this is one of the first things I prescribe. A regular bath is a quick easy way to boost wellbeing, and combined with some candles, epsom salts, essential oils, a face mask (and even a glass of wine) it really does make you feel renewed and relaxed after a busy day.
- Wonderful Nature I know it is cold outside, however regularly scheduling time to get outdoors and go for a walk really does feel energising. Even better is scheduling some time for a weekend bushwalk or a long windswept walk along the beach. When it is colder there are usually less people around as well, so you can really take the time to mindfully enjoy yourself in the great outdoors.
- Time for Tea Is tea the answer to all problems? Well, maybe not, however a restorative tea break can certainly warm your insides and elevate your mood. The trick is to use your favourite cup (not that old chipped mug) and make it a mindful experience. Take a break, put away your phone, and spend 10 minutes really enjoying your cuppa in a sunny nook or cosy corner.
- The Magic of Music Music can be used in many different ways to boost wellbeing. Discovering or creating playlists depending on how you want to feel is a great idea (and it’s fun to do!) I have playlists on Spotify that are specifically for relaxation, women’s circles, exercise, dancing, and simply feeling happy! There are so many great music options to help you get into the mood that you desire to create.
- When all else fails My secret tip for Winter Wellbeing ( I usually only share this with my clients) is to create a personal Self Care Basket for yourself. Spend some time thinking about and then writing down the things that make you feel good, and then putting together a special basket of items (for your use only) is a really lovely way to remind you to take time out for yourself when you need it. For example, you could fill a basket with items such as a scented candle, a favourite book or magazine, your favourite tea bags, chocolates, oracle cards, essential oils, mindful colouring in book, a cosy shawl…you get the idea. That way you have everything you need at hand to take some time out, fill your own cup, and just be.
If you need a bit more accountability than a blog post to start focussing on wellbeing over Winter, then I have created a special Winter Wellbeing Coaching Session that is perfect to help you start feeling better right now (because why wait until it’s Spring to feel good!)
Spend 90 minutes via Skype with me, and together we will create a positive action plan for maximising your self care over Winter without overwhelming your already busy life. Only $200 (that’s a saving of $50 off my usual price) please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to make a booking and make the rest of your Winter a happy and well one!
“Time camping isn’t time spent, it’s invested.”
So I have a confession to make: up until recently I really hated the idea of camping. Give me a tropical 5 star resort, a big pool to relax and read a book by, and a comprehensive cocktail list and I would be one happy
camper lady…that is, if I am by myself (which is never) or with my girlfriends on a mumcation (which is hopefully once a year!)
Of course, my family like to go on holiday with me every now and then (go figure!) and our expectations of what a good holiday entails vastly differs: I have a nature loving husband, an adventure seeking teenage son, a creative tween daughter, and a free spirited 8 year old, all with differing ideas on what constitutes a good time.
As I was recently researching holiday options, in between quietly sobbing to myself at the eye watering cost of accomodation for a family of 5 (don’t even get me started!) it occurred to me that our holiday woes could be solved…if I was prepared to put my camping phobia aside and embrace the great outdoors.
So when I suggested at the beginning of this year that we buy a friend’s second hand camper trailer and start have some camping holidays, my husband first checked to see I wasn’t delirious, and then quickly set about making it happen.
Fast forward, and I have not just survived but absolutely thrived from a week camping over the Easter holidays (well apart from the 745 loads of washing that have resulted!)
I thought I would share some of the life lessons I learned while camping, that I will attempt (no doubt with varying levels of success) to implement in my everyday life.
- When you’re camping and it gets dark, you start thinking about going to bed. Well you have a glass of wine and dinner first (I’m not completely uncivilised!) With no TV or screens to lull me into the ‘staying up too late’ zone, I was in bed and asleep before 10.00pm every night…and so was the rest of my family. This is a big deal in my family of night owls, and I’d say we all felt better for it. So, I’ve been setting my phone to remind me to go to bed earlier, and I’m trying to get the kids to bed a bit earlier as well (thank God for the end of Daylight Savings on this count!)
- Less screen time for everyone, means more family connection. This comes as no surprise, and yet it was kind of a surprise to me at how much better we all got along (in particular the Playstation obsessed teenage boy of the house). Now we are back in the school routine, my boundaries around screen use are definitely tightening up, myself included!
- When you are less busy, you are more willing to have fun and play, and there is no doubt your kids will love you for it! I kicked the footy with my son, played chasey with the girls, and we all enjoyed cards and backgammon. Try and create some space in your a week for a ‘family fun time’, these are the moments that our kids cherish (and we should too).
- When camping, you spend more time outdoors in nature. Slowing down and noticing the little things, such as standing under the moon watching the stars, feeling the grass under your toes, or simply sitting in the sun with your eyes closed and noticing how you feel: these are all little things we can do in our everyday to ground ourselves and be more in the moment.
- Camping is a cheaper form of holidaying, and it reminded me of something we can all do with being reminded of every now and again: you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time. In fact my kids said it was one of the best holidays we have had, because of the fun way we all spent time together. Maybe create a list of free things your family could do together and try and tick one off a week. Your heart (and your hip pocket) will be happy!
So thank you camping, you have shown me a new way to connect with my family, and for that I am eternally grateful. Until next time…
This poem was read out at a Mindful Women mass meditation I recently attended. I resonated strongly with it, and felt that it evocatively describes that sense of better knowing yourself as you get older. Yes it takes courage to live like this, but the rewards are great, Melissa x
The Empowered Woman, she moves through the world
with a sense of confidence and grace.
Her once reckless spirit now tempered by wisdom.
Quietly, yet firmly, she speaks her truth without doubt or hesitation
and the life she leads is of her own creation.
She now understands what it means to live and let live.
How much to ask for herself and how much to give.
She has a strong, yet generous heart
and the inner beauty she emanates truly sets her apart.
Like the mythical Phoenix,
she has risen from the ashes and soared to a new plane of existence,
unfettered by the things that once that posed such resistance.
Her senses now heightened, she sees everything so clearly.
She hears the wind rustling through the trees;
beckoning her to live the dreams she holds so dearly.
She feels the softness of her hands
and muses at the strength that they possess.
Her needs and desires she has learned to express.
She has tasted the bitter and savored the sweet fruits of life,
overcome adversity and pushed past heartache and strife.
And the one thing she never understood,
she now knows to be true,
it all begins and ends with you.