Sunday, April 29, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

women's business

Things to consider before getting into self employment - with a focus on women returning from childraising

Friday, April 20, 2012

the mother metamorphosis

Ten signs you know you're turning into your own mother when....

- the children say they are cold and you say: put on another jumper
- you walk around the house turning off lights and muttering about the power bill
- you hear yourself saying: IF you want to talk to me, come and find me, don't shout from another room (and realise you're shouting this from another room)
- you put leftovers into the fridge in smaller and smaller containers until eventually you throw them out
- you can't leave the house  in the evening without leaving a light on for when you get home
- you get told you're the meanest mother in the world but know that actually it's not true (because that was YOUR mother)
- instead of a night out on the town all you want is to get into your pajamas and have a nice cup of tea
- you start buying home-branded things at the supermarket and informing the children that ''there's no difference so stop complaining''
-you take the children to the swimming pool and sit on the side rather than getting in with them
- you'd rather get a handmade card from your children than an expensive piece of jewellery from anyone else

Hurrah for mothers.
What can you add?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

not my best mummy moment

I seem to be having quite a few of these lately.

They usually involve - or follow - a late night, a quantity of sugar food, a houseful of guests, a public outing or a combination there of.

Before I had children, I was the one who would look with disdain at people growling at their children in public.  I would confidently internalise my own response, vowing never to treat MY children in the same manner.  I would never wish for school holidays to be over, or bedtimes to be 7 pm.  I would cheerfully host a house load of other children and know that mine would happily share toys and space with nary a grizzle.

I'd never raise my voice, threaten to withdraw privileges, ban the TV or computer (as if! MY children wouldn't even be aware of such things!).  I'd make play dough, encourage painting on the deck, be thrilled with recycled box-art, enjoy the huts in the lounge made from all the clean and neatly folded sheets.  I'd make marvellous home cooked meals every night, all of which would be consumed with gusto and thanks.
My children would gladly collect their pocket money each week (after Sunday school of course), their reward for completing their jobs uncomplainingly and efficiently.

Seriously, what was I thinking!?!  Yesterday, at end of tether, I sat my 9 year old ON HER BOTTOM, ON THE FLOOR in a madly busy shopping mall for time out, having been nagged one too many times for sweets/smiggle/lemonade/money.  I don't know who was more mortified.

Monday, April 16, 2012

a decade of eventfulness

I had dinner with a group of friends tonight, all bar one of whom I have known for just a very short time.  We had a discussion along the lines of ''where were you 10 years ago''.

I realised, as I related where I had been, that it's been a pretty eventful decade, including:

- buying and selling 3 houses and building a new one
- 2 rounds of renovations
- 4 cars
- 3 pregnancies
- 2 babies
- 2 new businesses
- a new career
- established a newspaper
- started a scout group, a sunday school and a womens discussion group
- became a parent, and then a single parent, and now an effective co-parent with my FDH
- started two blogs and a website
- contracted and survived meningitis, two big operations and two cancer scares
- lost 5 close family members and gained two nephews and a sisterinlaw
- turned 40
- learned to dance, play the ukelele, do a cryptic crossword, and create an excel spreadsheet
- got quoted in the NZ Herald, interviewed by the Christchurch Press and featured in the Waikato Times
- preached a sermon, taught adult learners, and started music classes for preschoolers
- have been a corporate career woman, playcentre mother, and become self employed
- stayed in a 5 star retreat
- learned to use a chainsaw, bought a cordless drill and painted a house
- gone camping, tramping and got dirtier than I ever could have imagined I would do

I've also been blessed with an amazing circle of friends, wonderful family and two incredible kids.


what have the last 10 years brought you?

Friday, April 13, 2012

The paper trail

In a moment of generosity and clarity, I decided that this was the week to pass on my childhood desk to my daughter.

A 'personality furniture'' kitset desk circa 1974, I remember my Dad proudly putting in up in my bedroom, and me carefully filling the drawers with paper and pencils (no felt tips back then!), my precious stapler and scissors, and a prized roll of sellotape.

I've been using it as my office desk until now, and the contents of the drawers have hardly changed.  Except that there's some felt tips in there too of course!

But as I was emptying the drawers, I came across my two precious address books - the first started when I went overseas on my own for the first time in 1986, and the second given to me when I was living in the UK.  They contain hundreds of addresses of people I met on my travels, many of whom I am still in touch with.  And that's the thing that really struck me.  The ones I keep in touch with.  No letter writing any more.  Barely even a Christmas card.  In fact, I can't even remember the last time I actually looked in the address book (which would explain why they were buried at the bottom of the desk...). And sitting with them were my wall calendars from the past three (pre-iPhone...) years.  A real life chronicle of all the activity of my family - play dates, music lessons, school interviews, family birthdays.

These days everything is electronic for me.  And I love it.  Phone numbers, appointments, photos, all straight into my phone and reminders sent to me every day instead of bits of paper.  I even use the notebook function rather than carry a pen and pad with me.

But the real versions - the ''hard copies'' just hold more emotion somehow.  And so the address books will go back in the drawer, along with the calendars, which I'm not quite ready to put into the recycle bin just yet.   Sometimes, I just miss paper....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

sticking my neck out

Today I went for a massage.  It was a new experience, having only ever tried it once about 15 years ago (and hated it).  I was...slightly nervous.  Partly because I didn't really know what to expect, but also because it was being done by a friend (who is a therapist).

Now I am not one for visualisations, allegory and new age healing ideas.  But here's what happened:

H used a combination of techniques which included some foot reflexology.    As she pressed on certain parts of my feet there is no doubt it hurt - but the odd thing was that it was not a ''painful'' hurt.  Does that make sense to you?  In much the same way as we might get an injection that hurts but at a logical level we know is for the greater good, I found the discomfort an almost healing experience.  Interestingly the areas on my feet that DID hurt, did actually correspond to the parts of my body that aren't working so well right now - and certainly I understood the emotional/metaphorical significance of the pain too.

But here's the really weird bit.  As she moved up to my neck and shoulders she commented on the flexibility (or lack thereof!) in my muscles, but also that the skin on my head was quite pliable - suggesting that my brain (mind) was in good healthy order but she wondered had I been ''sticking my neck out'' too much for others.

Ouch!  That is true, so true.  And, incidentally one of the pressure points in my feet suggested that I was getting a lot of ''stuff'' heaped on me that wasn't being processed or let go.  My skepticism was starting to dissolve, and then, in a completely uncharacteristic moment, I had a really clear and strong vision of myself kneeling in front of a step, a la neck on the block.  It was the weirdest thing.  I could see myself bowing my head down, in complete trust of the person above me, believing that I was safe, but also knowing that I was risking actually having my head chopped off.  And right where that blade would have fallen was where the pain was in my shoulders.

Weird? Fanciful? A load of rubbish?  Possibly a sharp moment of insight?

What do you think?

Friday, April 06, 2012

a very Good Friday

So it's Easter, from today.  I have to admit, despite being brought up in church, living and breathing it for 40 years, in fact even working in paid ministry, I am still at a loss when asked to explain the nuances of the whole Easter thing.

I mean, of course I get that it's about the Crucifixion, the resurrection et al.  But why GOOD Friday? And how did the messages get so mixed.  Passover, the humanist spring celebration, the Christians marking Easter as the anniversary of Jesus death and subsequent rising from the dead.

Does it matter that these messages have got a bit mixed up?  As long as everyone is focussed on the things that are important to them and theirs?

Today I woke to an empty house and took in the peace.  There is hardly a soul around - I guess everyone is at the beach, making the most of a four day weekend  - and so the whole town is quiet.

I drank coffee, checked the headlines.  Had a visit from a friend.  Talked to one or two more on line.  Picked up windfall apples and feijoas.  Went to visit friends here from out of town.  Sat on the deck in the sun enjoying the beauty of this place I call home.

So far not an easter egg, or hot cross bun, as passed my lips.

I'm planning for a low key afternoon and easy dinner.

No work.  Just relaxing and enjoying the day.

Sounds like a very Good Friday to me.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

trying it on

Lately I seem to have been spending a lot of time talking about self evaluation, the processes we go through as we age, and how we start to become more comfortable in our skin as we get older.

It's got a lot to do with emotional IQ i reckon (and I've already blogged on THAT a number of times) but also being brave enough to find the things in life that really ''fit'' us.  A bit like clothes, the stuff that we put on each day in order to face the world.

So, for example, we try on a particular religion or belief system.  Sometimes it fits like a glove on the first try.  other times it takes a while to feel comfortable, and other times, no matter how much we pull at it and try to adjust it ( or even suck in our wobbly bits to make it look better), it just never feels right.

Or, we test out a hobbie, or a career, or a lifestyle option that we like the look of.  Often times no matter how much will we have, it just never quite works out.

What about attitudes and values?  Have you ever tried to adopt an attitude than never quite fitted you - and it was obvious to yourself, and others that this was so?  Maybe you tried it on for a while - being more optimistic, or reserved, or self confident.  Maybe you did such a good job you managed to convince others you'd changed - in fact maybe you did.  You might have actually been able to sand off some rough edges and change yourself from the inside out.

But what of the things that you've been carrying around (wearing), for years, but still feel tight around the middle?  Are there some attitudes, or internal narratives that you need to check out in the mirror?  That are reflecting back a distorted image of the person you now are?  Maybe they need some minor alterations, or maybe they need to be discarded, just like the clothes sitting in your wardrobe, untouched and unloved - and completely wrong for you.

What are you ready to scrutinise, or send off for recycling?

Sunday, April 01, 2012

your own personal governance board

There's been a lot in the media recently about governance, the role of a Board of a director, the value in having impartial but skilled people overseeing an organisation and helping to set direction as well as trouble shoot issues and potential problems.

It made me think...what if I did this in my personal life?  I mean, it's easy to ask friends and family for advice and they are usually very free and generous with it.  But I suspect that because although they have my best interests in mind, they are also invariably my cheerleaders, and focused primarily on the ''more ofs'' than the ''less ofs'' and ''differentlys''.

So how would one go about assembling such a group?  I guess it's possible to include a trusted friend or two, possibly an employer, maybe someone at my Bank (for the financials of course).  Engage a mentor for sure - in which ever area of life I feel needs attention or a little encouragement (or bullets!).   A counsellor.  A careers coach.  All these people can be part of the group that help you to define direction - not necessarily set -  They wouldn't necessarily have to meet on a regular basis like a Board does, but it could be helpful if there was some communication going on, especially if it was around a big issue.

I think it would be particularly helpful in the area of interpersonal relationships, and career.

Does this sound narcissistic?  Or does it actually make some sense?

Do you have trusted people around you to share ideas with? Do you do this for anyone else?

If you were given advice or a challenge that didn't sit well with you (but you knew might be in your best interests) what would you do?