Bittersweet Endings & New Beginnings

2001 6

From this in 2000

This time of year is always a great time to reflect on endings and beginnings…I love that pause between the 2 years…..hopefully with a holiday, so there is time for rest, recharging, recovering, reflection & fingers crossed, relaxation, before a New Year fully begins!

This year, though, is a HUGE transition for me, as my 18-year-old son, my eldest, prepares to leave home to study at University!

I guess it’s not surprising that if I found the transition to becoming a Mum hard and an emotional rollercoaster…then maybe the transition to being a Mum of a nearly independent adult, leaving home, will also be a roller coaster too?

They say the more you do your mindfulness practice the more intensely you feel emotions (I can attest to that!) but the more quickly they pass through you (here’s hoping!)

I am surprised at the depth of my emotions….as yet hardly untapped….I’m sure that will come when there is more time to reflect!   I remember reading that every change, every transition, even the joyful ones, can bring some grief…some sadness too.

My friend, Kerrin, used to use the word ‘bittersweet’ to describe those parenting moments when your child makes a leap of development or independence… and you experience a rush of pride and joy and a little sadness that they are growing up too!

I’m sure for each of us parents those moments are different! I felt it when I gave away the cot, the pram, the backpack (but not the highchairs or car seats!!), the first day of primary school, the first day of high school, getting the drivers licence, last day of high school and now here we are, facing leaving home and starting at Uni – WOW!How did that happen?

Such a weird time distortion….all those days as a Mum of a young baby when time ticked very slowly…and each day felt the same…..and now here I am, 18 years later, wondering where that time went? It seems to have gone in the blink of an eye! Did I enjoy and appreciate that time enough? Have I passed on enough teachings, enough values, enough love?

I remember as I held George as a baby, while camping and not coping at all with the sleep deprivation, a woman in her late 50’s came up to me with tears in her eyes and said those are the best years of your life!‘  I wanted to throttle her and cry at the same time!!

Yet I am forever grateful at that reminder to be present to what is here….as very quickly it will change!

Now I find myself looking at Mums with toddlers, and I have rose coloured glasses on thinking aaaaaaahhhhh forgetting that, here too, right now,  are my just as precious years with teenagers and an almost independent adult…  This time too needs to be appreciated, I need to be present…..and soak up this time before it too, quickly goes!

So the next question is how to mark this transition for my son and for me…what rituals and rites of passage can I do to make the transition easier? How can I celebrate such a moment and also allow myself to grieve a little at this new transition? I look forward to pondering that over the Christmas & New Year break!

I wish you and your family a relaxing, recharging and restful break and I hope you get a chance to reflect on any transitions coming up for you, whether it is a child starting or finishing school, whether it is a new job or returning to work?  I’d love to hear your ideas of how you are going to mark that transition and celebrate and grieve any new changes/rites of passage coming your way!  And I’m wondering how you can stay present within those changes and appreciate what is there, no matter what the emotion?  Therein lies the challenge!

The best years of your life are now!?

Best wishes for a mindful start to 2018  x Sara 🙂

Georges last day of school 2017

To this in 2017….

Mindful Healing

From burnt out to feeling calm and energised…

mum-asleep-on-floor

I don’t think I realised just how burnt out I was from a full on 3rd school term, and a pretty intense year so far….until taking some time out in the school holidays with the kids and after 2 weeks STILL feeling like not only had I stopped the adrenalin treadmill but I had fallen flat on my face and I was finding it very hard to get back up!

Have you ever had that feeling?

Even though I had been nurturing myself with afternoon meditations that I have to admit had turned into afternoon naps…and trying to get more sleep, get out into the fresh air, gentle exercise, reducing work, eat healthy meals….I still felt low on energy and I was craving sugary treats!   Luckily I had some other strategies up my sleeve which really helped and I’m keen to share them here!

I went to see a Chinese Medicine Practitioner for chinese herbs and acupuncture….it had been a while for me and this just felt sooooo nurturing and like the beginning of my energy levels coming back (Thanks Steph)!  Each time I drank the herbal brew I would have the mantra ‘ nourish, I am nourishing/nurturing my body!’ and I could feel a difference!

Then I caught the throat infection that the kids had had (just when I thought I’d escaped it!) so my next strategy was to visit a naturopath and that was really eye opening (thanks Nyree)!  To see on a screen my own blood cells and really see that they are not getting enough essential fatty acids, or B12 or magnesium etc made it seem essential to start making some changes and take some healthy supplements!

I was a bit scared when Nyree suggested that I reduce my sugar, caffeine and refined carbohydrates intake but it made sense and that day I bought the I Quit Sugar Book https://iquitsugar.com/ and That Sugar Film Book http://thatsugarfilm.com/ !   Initially I wasn’t sure but these authors convinced me within a few pages..mainly because they are all about taking a gentle approach and being kind to your own body!   So I decided I’d reduce sugar and bread but still have black tea, fruit and a tinge of honey in my chai – and pasta and rice with the kids at dinner time…..gently, gently….

I cannot believe how much better I feel after 8 days… I am truly feeling more energy internally and it is a total relief to get off the sugar high and sugar low roller coaster ride!  What has amazed me is the kids were really interested in the That Sugar Book and as a family we watched the That Sugar Film – very entertaining and sooo eye opening!  So now even the 4 teens in our house haven’t complained about no dessert being offered even though they haven’t changed their diet that much!

What has helped so much to keep the sugar cravings at bay (thanks Nyree) has been to add in lots of healthy fats, and to make little treats that have very little sugar in them but are filled with coconut oil and cacao and nut butters (A fave is here at http://divascancook.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-fat-bombs-keto-diet-recipe/ with Rice Syrup being the sweetener)…as well as a range of herbal teas (licorice root and spiced dandelion!        Also I have found that eating healthy fats without sugar and refined carbs, my appetite sensors are back and I am feeling really full after each meal!  Buying an abundance of healthy foods and eating very mindfully has really helped me to appreciate all this amazing food rather than feeling deprived!

The other thing that has helped greatly in this process is to keep up with the acupuncture and herbs…and to see my mindfulness coach twice through this process.  For me it was a BIG, no, HUGE realisation (thanks Kareen) to see that I was using the sugar and caffeine to keep me going….to give me a false sense of energy, to push myself to do more work!  And so going through the coaching process has really helped me to step back, go at a slower pace, relish life more, listen to my body and rest or change what I’m doing if it needs to!  It has really helped me to become a better , kinder and friendlier boss to myself!

So it’s early days yet – but I just wanted to share with you what has really worked for me when feeling really burnt out.  I’m enjoying the benefits of being off sugar so much I have joined the I Quit Sugar 8 week online program https://iquitsugar.com/ if you would like to join me?

I feel so grateful that we have so many amazing local practitioners who can become our support team and really help us to nurture and nourish ourselves.  I’d love to hear what has worked for you?

And I’m wondering where you are at now?  Do you need any extra support?   A key focus in my coaching with clients is on self -care and deep nurturing…sometimes we teach what we most need to learn, no?

If you would like to get in touch with me about the coaching I do I’m at sara@mindfulparentingmindfulcoaching.com or www.mindfulparentingmindfulcoaching.com

Cheers, Sara 🙂

 

 

The need to recharge….mindfully!

seasaw-card

The one thing children wear out faster than shoes

is their parents!!

I love this card (thanks Ruth!)….and had forgotten I had it – that is the beauty of spending some time in the school holidays decluttering the house! It started with creating the feel of 2 bedrooms within one bedroom for my twins to reduce the fights and before I knew it we were decluttering the whole house! Such a satisfying feeling though! We have only been in our house for just less than 3 years – amazing what a family of 6 can gather!! Hard to work out what to keep though especially when it comes to kids toys / books / artwork that they no longer use / want but that I feel really sentimental towards!  I kept using Marie Kondo’s method of ‘does this bring me joy?’ and it was a really mindful process!
And in terms of feeling worn out….it was only by stopping work in the school holidays that I realised how worn out I was! Not only did we need to buy new shoes for the kids….but I needed to find some new energy!!! It was so important to stop, rest, reflect, find new ways or rediscover old ways to nurture and nourish my self, sleep more, nap in the middle of the day, reduce expectations of what needed to be done….and especially to take time out from nagging / hurrying the kids in the mornings and evenings (re:school / homework!) and instead just hang out with them!
I think sometimes as parents/carers / grandparents we forget the HUGE load we carry just in running a house and in nurturing our kids AND then we place so many more expectations on ourselves to also work / volunteer / support others!
It is so important to pause, take stock, reflect, look after ourselves and reset, recharge, relax and find ways to rebalance our lives! I am so grateful I was able to take that time over the school holidays and kind of annoyed with myself that yet again I had let myself get worn out – espite my best intentions to live a balanced life!!
How about you? Have you had some time out recently? Are you able to book some time out soon? I really like that idea that we need time daily, a longer period of time weekly and then we need something bigger – like a weekend/week away yearly!! I’m looking forward to hearing some ways that you nourish and look after you? Always good to hear what works for others as then we can learn or remember new ways we can look after ourselves!!  And we can remind ourselves that we ALL need it – we are human after all and we ALL need to rest and take time out! 🙂 x Sara

What to do when my kids are fighting?

Here’s 3 quick and effective strategies to use with sibling rivalry that I teach from Positive Discipline.

Fighting is an everyday occurrence in our house with 4 kids / teens! I’m amazed at how affected I am emotionally when my kids fight – it is often the time when I need to use all my mindfulness skills! And often when I am most stressed, tired or busy that it happens! (usually because my attention is elsewhere!).

These strategies have really helped me as a parent stay more mindful….and not get caught up in escalating the fight by coming in over the top of the kids! The strategies are not foolproof – but even if they only work 60% of the time they help to bring some more calm into our house which is great!

This video links in beautifully with my Dealing with BIG feelings video if you haven’t seen it yet? ….

 

The key thing I have learnt to do when my kids fight is to make sure everyone is safe and then negotiate with them what they will do to calm down (best agreed to before the fight happens!)….before we can even begin to talk about it!

What works at your house? What doesn’t work?

This is often a huge issue for the parents that come and see me for parent coaching or attend my workshops.

We discuss this issue a lot more in our online parenting class Resilient Families Thriving Kids – you can find out more and free trial some videos at www.mindfulparentingmindfulcoaching.com/onlineclasses or email me, Sara Phillips, Mum and Parent Coach on sara@mindfulparentingmindfulcoaching.com

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What do you & your child need?

Certainty = SafetyUncertainty=Excitement (1)
Recently I did something out of the ordinary – I went for a walk, in the sun, in the middle of a weekday…just because…..and it felt like a HOLIDAY! It felt glorious! I felt so grateful! Even though it was a walk I do often – it was at a different time of day ….
And it got me thinking how strong it is within us humans to need a balance of certainty & uncertainty! That we crave rhythm & routine (sameness) to feel safe – yet we also crave adventure & excitement (difference) – to experience FUN & to feel alive!
And our kids are the same! Too much out of rhythm & routine can make life difficult and lead to meltdowns – yet kids, even babies, love something new, a change, something exciting….even just a change from indoors to outdoors or one room to the next can make a huge difference!
And as parents we can get locked into our daily routine…and forget that we too also need excitement and adventure – even if it is just going for a walk in the middle of the day!
It is easy to get locked into certainty with our loved ones – to take them for granted and not even really see them!  We can forget that they are amazing people growing and changing constantly…. A little uncertainty can be great for relationships….. For example doing something as a family that is a little challenging, that releases adrenaline, can give us some good bonding moments and help us to appreciate each other.
Novelty is such a great way to enhance our awareness of the present moment and be more mindful– and when we are parenting our routine can feel boring or all the same…sometimes just driving home a different way, going to a new shop, finding some interesting flowers in your street, looking at your loved ones a new way can help to bring back some novelty and be mindful of what we have right here!
Alternatively when I feel really frazzled and like my head is spinning or the kids feel the same I know I need more routine in my life…more calm…
For many of the parents who I see for 1:1 parent coaching, either finding more routine (certainty) or finding more novelty / stimulation (uncertainty) will feature in the strategies we brainstorm.  We cover this in our online classes and workshops for parents www.mindfulparentingmindfulcoaching.com/onlineclasses 
So what are you going to do this week to find a little more certainty – if you need more routine…or to find a little more uncertainty if you need more adventure & FUN? 🙂 Sara

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