Life lessons

  • The F-word on the mind of my almost teen


    The other day I added a new parenting first to my repertoire. I dropped my nearly 13 year old son to the airport for his first unaccompanied flight to go and visit his grandparents in Brisbane. As he walked down the tunnel to the plane by himself and turned back and waved and grinned at me, all I could see was the cute curly haired little toddler that he was, I don’t know… about 5 minutes ago. All he could see, stretched out before him was what he wants more than anything at the moment: FREEDOM.

    Honestly, I know it is a cliche and you hear it all the time, but man those years have gone super fast. In so many ways, life is easier now than those early days eternally filled with stinky nappies, wrangling into car seats, and temper tantrums, yet in many ways it is still pretty much the same (filled with stinky sports bags, taxi driving, and the odd temper tantrum!)

    Certainly for me the biggest challenge of having an almost teenager is balancing the amount of freedom that is wanted with an amount that I am comfortable with, whilst maintaining consistent and safe boundaries.

    I am by no means a helicopter parent, yet I am aware that we live in very different times than when I was the same age, and I took off with my friends for most of the day with no one caring two hoots what we were up to (except maybe the guy at the local milk bar who had to put up with the agonising over which mixed lollies you were going to buy with your 50 cents…ahhh, good times!)

    The thing is, I really like the idea of my son having some freedom, we live in a relatively safe area and I would far rather he took off for a bike ride around our suburb, than sit and play a violent video game. Yet letting him out the front gate is a risk, especially given that his still developing brain does not comprehend that racing your friend down the road on your bike is an incredibly unsafe thing to do. So what do you do as a parent who understands that freedom and risk are essential to development, yet you want to keep your child as safe as possible?

    I know I can’t be the only one going through these sort of parenting struggles, so I thought I would provide 5 tips for how I balance freedom and responsibility for my almost teenager (most of the time- I don’t pretend to be perfect!)


    • Know where they are, who they are with, and when they are expected home. Being super clear on these 3 points, means that any deviation from the expectations you have set can be dealt with.


    •  Most kids have a phone these days, and my rule is if I call it, you answer it. If I text you to ask you a question, you reply within a reasonable time. If not, then guess what my answer is next time you want to go to Subway with your mates?


    • Get to know your kid’s friends, so that you know who they are hanging out with. Make your home a place that your kids are happy to bring friends back to (e.g. setting up a chill out zone for them to hang out in).


    • Is your kid on Instagram? Snapchat? Kik? No idea? Social media is a massive part of our kid’s lives now (just as it is for many of us, myself included). But to bury your head in the sand about all this stuff, serves no one well. Keep the lines of communication open, and know what they are on and using. In our house the rules are I pay for your phone, I know the passcode to your phone. I know what social media apps my son uses, and we are Instagram friends (as long as I don’t post any comments he is fine with this).


    • The 3 C’s that are my main parenting go to’s are: Communication, Consistency, and Consequences. If I clearly communicate my expectations, and you don’t abide by them, then I am consistent (I mean what I say and I follow through) and there will be a consequence. Obviously consequences depend on the age of your kid and the rule that they broke (the naughty step may no longer cut it, but taking away the devices sure does!)


    Kids will always want freedom as they grow older, and parents will always want to them to be responsible and keep them safe from harm. When you reframe it as a compromise rather than a battle (You might not be as responsible as I would like, but you will be ok with less freedom than you might like) then hopefully life gets a whole lot less painful (well at least until puberty hits, that’s a whole other F-word story!)


    What are your thoughts on this? Do have any tips on balancing responsibility and freedom with kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts…








  • Keep Calm and Practice Self Care


    “I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” Audre Lorde

    In the past week, I have experienced self care in two very different ways, and it made me realise that what you need to do in order to look after yourself really depends on what else is going on in your life.

    Last weekend I attended a full day workshop devoted to self care and expression. This was the first time I have invested in something like this, and it did not disappoint. It was a wonderful day filled with like minded women experiencing beautiful organic food, yoga, meditation, journalling, not to mention some some hilarious and liberating free form dancing. I even enjoyed getting the pencils out and making some patterns, which is saying something for a self avowed colouring in unenthusiast like me! I walked away from the day feeling I had truly filled up my cup, which was just as well because by the next day…

    Two out of three kids were home sick from school and I was struck down by a nasty virus

    Suddenly, self care turned from an indulgence into survival, and the reality looked a whole lot less pretty than a restorative yoga pose and a neatly coloured in mandala. It made me realise a few home truths about self care, that I thought I would share with you.


    • Self care does not have to be Instagram worthy. If I had taken a selfie of what I looked like last week, holed up in bed with a blocked head and hacking cough: well, let’s just say that no amount of exotically named filters would have made me look good, but then neither did I have to. Rest was what I needed, and rest was what I gave myself (as much as was humanly possible when I had sick kids as well).
    • Recognising what was essential and what could be put off, helped take the stress off me. Were you devastated that I didn’t post a blog post last week? No? Good, I didn’t think so, yet we can put so much pressure on ourselves when we work for ourselves that if we ‘disappear’ people will be disappointed. My clients understood that I needed to reschedule, and making a conscious decision not to worry about my blog, took a load off my mind, and put my focus where it needed to be: with my unwell family.
    • Self care is sometimes as simple as lying on the couch with your daughter and watching Anne of Green Gables on DVD. Bliss.
    • Self care can be a beautiful teapot filled with an exotic herbal infusion or it can be a mug with an English Breakfast teabag in it, either works well for me.
    • A beautifully cooked nutritious meal can be a form of self care, but for me if I have to cook it, then it is a self chore in my book. When I am sick, my form of self care comes in the form of toasted cheese sandwiches (with added gluten, dairy, and comfort a plenty).
    • An epsom salt bath with candles and mood music is touted by most as next level self care, however in my experience this is often next level nightmare. If my daughters get a whiff of me near a bathtub, they immediately want to join me, making bath time a game of slippery sardines. So yes, sometimes a hot solo shower suffices as self care in my book.
    • Self care can often mean surrender. Accepting things as they are in the here and now, and getting through the day as best as you possiblly can.  If that means cooking scrambled eggs for dinner, and not caring about the 30 loads of laundry randomly piled around your bedroom* then so be it!

    So there you have it, self care two ways, or as I like to think of it: the ideal vs reality. While we should all aim to give ourselves a special day full of self love and expression every now and then, sometimes a DVD, a toastie, and a nana nap are all I need to look after myself! #nohastagorfilterrequired


    *Well I do care actually, but no one else in my house seems to get the elusive concept of laundry. In fact for Mother’s day this year I received a Super Hero poster from my 6 year old daughter. My superhero power? Washing Power! Yes my darling daughter actually wrote “My mum is a superhero because she cleans the washing really fast”, and drew a picture of me with a cape and ‘Washing Power’ on my chest. I am strongly thinking of swapping this superhero cape for one of invisibility instead!

    What are your thoughts on self care? Do you regularly take time out for yourself, or is this one  of those things you mean to get around to, but simply never do? I’d love to hear from you below.

  • Five Life Lessons from a child free holiday in Greece

    12 days in Greece, one husband at a conference, no children in tow: so what did I learn about myself?


    JUST BE…
    P5180892In the moment. This was a rare opportunity for me, and I really didn’t want to wish it away listening to my monkey mind. So, I left my ‘mummy guilt’ at passport control, and focussed on the amazing experiences I was having, rather than wondering if my kids were surviving ok (um, of course they were perfectly fine). I also didn’t wish away time thinking thoughts like, ‘oh only 2 more days to go then I’m back to reality’. I concentrated on the reality that was my here and now, and I’m happy to say that I enjoyed every second of it with no guilty conscience.


    JUST DO…


     Whatever the hell you want to do. Seriously, if you have time out of your busy everyday life, with no one to answer to, and you feel like doing absolutely nothing…then you should do exactly that! One day I ordered room service and read a novel, another day I tried a Tai Chi class with the local Greek Granny’s. I went clothes shopping in Athens, I sat in a cafe and watched the world go by, I ate the best spinach pie in the world, I walked around the ancient town, I sat by the pool and read a magazine… In other words, I took away the words “I should…” and replaced them with “Today I feel like…”


    Without fear into life’s experiences. The water in the Mediterranean sea was C.O.L.D. Most people on our boat trip chickened out on snorkelling because it was a bit chilly. Me? I put my snorkel and mask on and jumped off the side of the boat with a loud  ‘woo-hoo’ and had an amazing experience swimming though an underwater rock tunnel. Was I out of my comfort zone? Yes I was. Did I get back on that boat feeling absolutely exhilarated with life? HELL Yes! Gone are the days where I let fear about what I might look like, or how I might  feel, stop me from experiencing life, and man does that feel awesome!


    P5211902To your intuition. Part of just being in the moment, and doing what it was that I felt like doing, was really taking the time to listen to myself. I thought that I would use at least some of the time I had to myself to work on my business. But guess what? I didn’t feel like it once! I soon realised that what I needed was an absolute break. I have spent the last few months busy in creation mode, and I really needed space to take a few deep breaths and acknowledge all my hard work. This is not something I tend to do very often (and to be honest, at the time I was a little worried that I might have lost my mojo). But, it turns out that breathing space was exactly what I need in order to begin the next phase of developing my life coaching business.


    P5191831Yourself! Do I look like I am loving myself sick here? Probably because I was! Life felt easy, happy, and joyful, and while I know what you are thinking (‘well, my life would be a whole lot easier, happy, and joyful if I was on a beautiful Greek Island without my kids too!’) I certainly learnt some important things about looking after myself better in my everyday life as well. Namely, to take regular time out for self care, be open to new experiences, and remember to check in with how I want to feel, then do things to make that happen.
    Trust me, you do not need to fly halfway around the world for that!



    While I would have loved to bring you all back a dodgy souvenir, I am going to do better than that! I am feeling energised and inspired after this amazing experience, and I want to share those feelings with YOU.  
    So for a limited time only , I am opening my calendar to some wonderful women who may not be ready for a full coaching series, but would like a bit of motivation to help get their mojo back.  
    60 minutes 1:1 via Skype to help you gain some clarity, kickstart your mojo, and walk away with some inspired actionable goals. For any bookings made in the next TWO weeks, I will offer my services for only $99, which includes a pre-questionnaire and an email follow up.
    While I may continue to offer these one off sessions in the future, they will definitely be at a much higher price, so if you have been thinking about coaching but have been a bit unsure, now is a perfect opportunity to give it a go!





  • Why I’m leaving my children for two weeks


    “I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…”

    Or rather, “I’m leaving on a jet plane, and I have spent the last month meticulously planning  meals, activities, and schedules, so my wonderful in-laws will survive for nearly two weeks with my 3 high spirited children” (It doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it does it?)

    Either way, it is true that my husband and I are shortly heading to Greece for just under 2 weeks, ostensibly for a conference my husband is attending, but as we all know they are just an excuse for grown ups to leave their families and responsibilities behind, and drink wine in an exotic location (or is that just what I remember from my days working in the travel industry many moons ago!)

    When my husband told me about the proposed trip, and that he had organised for his parents to come and stay so as I could come as well, you would have thought that my initial reaction would be excitement. But no, mainly all I felt was a sense of trepidation. While I am a big believer in an annual mumcation, the longest I have been away from my kids was 5 days while my hubby was still at home with them, so the thought of almost 2 whole weeks away seemed unlikely and also slightly unnecessary. You see, I quite like being around my kids most (not all) of the time, and I don’t actually feel the need to escape from them or my life for that long.

    But then I got to thinking that what I am doing is not escaping my kids for two weeks, but reconnecting: with my husband and with my SELF.

    If I am completely honest with myself the thought of this has me feeling slightly hesitant. It has been nearly 13 years since my hubby and I will have been child free for that length of time, and like many couples with kids, the bulk of our communication is logistical. For example, let me give you an example of what I like to call our ‘lexts’ (or logistical texts, which I would argue are far more prevalent than ‘sexts’ in the world of mobile phone use, but not nearly as sexy to portray in the media).

    Can u call me please?

    Where ru?

    Leaving Soon…

    Can u do pick up from soccer training?

    Don’t forget to pick up milk and bread.

    Dancing finishes in 15 minutes, can you go get her please?

    Oohh, yeah, I bet reading that got you all hot under the collar didn’t it! Sometimes, we even go so far as to add a kissing emoji if we are feeling particularly saucy!

    This time away will give us a much needed opportunity to really talk to each other, a chance to check in with each others lives, and see that we are still on track. Do you do this often with your partner? I certainly don’t, there is always so much going on, we simply never find the time, and when I do have the time, I am usually too exhausted to want to have such a conversation. I wonder if this sounds familiar to you?

    Remember the art of doing nothing at all?

    There will be days on this trip when I will be by myself, with nowhere to be and nothing to do, and no one to answer to. The last time I remember that feeling was…um, actually I can’t remember such a time, it has been so long! I can’t say that I feel excited about this, it will be interesting to see how I actually do feel, but what I do know is that it will be good for me.

    We all need a chance every so often to hit ‘pause’ on our busy lives, and spend some time in our own company. You certainly don’t have to fly halfway around the world for this to occur (a weekend retreat would work just as well). But, just maybe, this is exactly what I need right here and now in my life, to reflect on all I have achieved in the past year, to help understand myself a little better, and to feel into what is really important to me in this amazing gift called life. Pretty deep I know, but when else will I have a chance to dive in, you have take opportunities like this and make the most of them.

    But fear not, it’s not all about the inner work! I am also looking forward to lying by a pool reading magazines, getting through a whole novel or two uninterrupted, and wandering around the streets eating and soaking the experience of a new country in (and of course posting the odd jealousy inducing photo to Instagram, I can’t let that opportunity pass me by!)

    Hmm, on second thoughts, I am starting to get a wee bit excited about this wonderful opportunity that I am truly grateful has been presented to me. Who knows what I will discover about my relationships, my work and myself: I’ll be sure to keep you posted…


    I’d love to hear  your thoughts on this topic? Have you been away by yourself: what did you learn? Or if not, how do you think you could make it happen?