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Friday, 18 August 2017

Finding balance in your day and why you matter too!

I've had so many points along my parenting journey where I've thought that I just can't take it any more!  Sounds dramatic doesn't it?  Days where I've felt lonely and frustrated or like I'm everyone's skivvy in this house!  Times where in that moment I felt completely physically and mentally drained and can't remember who I am other than 'Mum' and 'Wife'.  I refer to Motherhood because that's been my path but you can liken this to any situation where you are giving your absolute all and forgetting about the importance of YOU somewhere in the middle of it all.


Our business - The Seashack - started as a result of me having my first child and Mum coming away from her stressful teaching job.  We both wanted to work around our other interests and commitments and wanted to take back that balance.  And I realised that it was important I had something for ME.

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I love being at home to look after the children and I feel lucky that I can fit our work around this.  When you put everything in to perspective my experience of becoming a Mum really is amazing. I used to feel guilty on tough days, that I wasn't appreciating or enjoying the chance to be at home with the kids when many parents would love to be. I saw myself as ungrateful and tried to stop feeling that way. But I've learnt over time that no situation is ever ideal.  Any struggle is a real struggle and shouldn't be compared to what's going on in other people's lives.  And I don't think any of us women need yet another thing to be feeling guilty about! There's absolutely nothing wrong with finding the situation you're in, hard work.

On a challenging day - and sometimes in general - finding that balance and putting yourself first at all can be impossible.  We lead busy lives and we feel restricted and tied to things sometimes that we'd rather not be doing.  But I believe in all our days there are small ways we can make time to remember ourselves and look after who we are. Here's my best tips:
  • Make sure that you eat and drink.  It's something - particularly drinking enough water - that is so easy to do yet makes such a big difference.  Yet somehow I'm always too busy answering someone's requests or focusing my time on something else or 'just finishing' something first.  I find that my mood drops hugely when I'm not eating regularly and because kids shout the loudest, they always get to eat first!  I'm putting in to practice some meal planning here while I'll share on another blog.  I believe being organised and spending time preparing food in advance is probably the way to go.  Take some time today to look at where you could make any changes; are you eating regularly enough?  Do you need to prepare healthy things to snack on-the-go?  Could you batch make some meals to freeze such as soup or any of your favourites?
  • Focus on the positives.  Try to notice the moments that are actually yours.  Ok they may appear mundane - such as driving or unloading the dishwasher.  But your arms are free and you are free to take a deep breath or think.  Sometimes it's not always about finding an hour to sip a tea and read a magazine (although that is definitely one to fit in!), but it's about looking for the other times of the day where you weren't feeling completely overwhelmed by other stuff/people.
  • Be realistic to avoid frustrations.  For example I'm sitting here now trying to write this while the kids play but it is unrealistic (knowing my children) for me to think I'll be able to write it all while they just do their own thing.  By presuming that, when they interrupt me or it's clear I can't carry on, I'll then feel resentful of the fact I've not managed to have 'any time for me'.  But by expecting that I'll only be able to do a little bit, when they interrupt me (which they are just about to - I can hear tears), I can feel grateful that I've got as far as I have in the time I've got.  The mindset is completely different and actually something to apply in many other areas of life too.
  • Finish that tea!  We've all been've made yourself a tea and then you've been distracted or pulled away from a situation by someone else.  Depending on what is happening obviously you may have to walk away from your tea and attend to it.  But this is where boundaries come in and saying 'no'.  It's very easy to get distracted and move on to the next thing and forget that the tea you made represented a break for you or a moment of self care.  If you can, put that moment first and continue with the next thing after you've finished this first one!
  • Give yourself space.  And if you have children give them the opportunity to have space too.  Having time to breathe - and even to be bored (ha - I wish!) - is really important.  Cramming stuff in, back to back, gives little time to think about your needs.
  • Learn to say no - this also connects with much of the above.  It's not selfish to make the decision that you aren't going to do something.  Sometimes it's for the 'greater good' (i.e. you can see a disaster happening if whatever this is goes ahead!) and sometimes it's just because it isn't good for YOU.  By respecting your own needs you also show others how to respect you too.
  • Grounding. This one might appear a bit 'woo' to some of you but I hope not.  A personal favourite for me is to, in those moments of overwhelm and 'there is no time for me', keep myself grounded.  Mum taught me years ago how to ground myself.  I know I need grounding when my head is all over the place, I'm starting to feel like I'm panicking or overwhelmed and almost a bit floaty.  It's hard to describe it but I imagine I'm a tree and I've got roots running through my feet in to the ground.  It really does work and brings me back 'down', and to a position where I can then deal with everything again.
I hope some of these ideas might help you as well as me!

Gemma xx

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The purpose of life is joy (even when you have your own business!)

When you have your own business it can be hard to stay focused on what it is you want to achieve or came into it for.  It’s easy to get lost in looking around at what everyone else is doing, even feeling less than some of the brilliant work in the market place. Your head is full of ideas and plans, things you want to create, to birth into the world, things you hope will touch people – maybe wake them up from the dream they have been living in – open their eyes to fresh possibilities.

It’s easy to look around and say – that’s already been done, there’s so much out there already, what could I add?


That’s when we need to get back to an inner focus – what feels good to you right now? What is it you really want to do, or create, or offer to the world? What touches your heart and soul?  What are you drawn towards?  What is it you feel you can’t not do?  Right here, right now, in this moment.

Yes it may sometimes feel challenging to follow your heart and stay connected to what’s true for you – but to live in that authentic space and be willing to show up as you and not a facsimile of someone else, I believe, is what we are collectively all here to experience. To reveal ourselves and connect with others, heart to heart – wherever we are and fulfilling whatever roles we want to fill – that is the true human experience and the joy of living.


So, what is in your heart today? What inspires you?

Shirley xx

Monday, 7 August 2017

Why I can't write today (but why if I do it could be the start of something)

Hello Monday!

It's the start of a new week and I thought I'd tackle something first thing that I've been wanting to for ages...

I love writing, I always have.  There's nothing like putting pen to paper and getting those thoughts down, making a list of things to get through, or getting something organised.  It's like if you write that thing down then it's there and it's committed to!  It's a great way to express something too; even if no-one ever sees it you've got that stuff on paper and out of your head which is a good thing.  We have enough things in our head I find!

But sometimes I am longing to write, especially on our blog, but I feel I have nothing to say or I can't focus long enough to actually articulate what it is that is in my head.  Or rather there's so many ideas that I can't actually put a single one in the practice.  I describe this feeling as being a bit all over the place...a bit chaotic.  I think when this happens you just need to write anything.  Which is what I'm doing now and seeing where it takes me...

Not everything you write or put out in the world has to be super majorly important or make a huge impact on anything.  Sometimes it's enough that it's something that you love to do and it's helping you.  I picked up The Big Magic again yesterday and reading a few chapters reminded me of this.  And I can feel myself inspired now!

Just start.

We spend too long up in our heads telling ourselves a story that nobody else is writing for us.  We might think no-one cares what we say, that we have nothing of use to give, that people are laughing at us.  Because it takes huge vulnerability to put yourself out there.  The only person limiting us is ourselves.

We need to start believing in ourselves.

Like, really believing.  I don't just mean a few quotes dotted around your home or half thinking that you might be able to do day...when you're more educated or you have more time or you feel more capable and 'ready'.  You absolutely are worthy enough of all the stuff (whatever that means for you) now.  Why would you not deserve to live the life you imagine living?

I can feel myself losing my train of thought...wondering if what I'm writing is worth sharing with anyone or wondering if it makes any sense at all!  The kids are noisy in the background whilst I type this out so quickly before being disturbed.  It's so easy to blame the time I need to dedicate to being a Mum on my lack of writing but I know this is all fear talking.  It's much easier to save this and not share it with you but then there will be that feeling of not having accomplished anything again...
So I'm going to leave it there for now...because writing something and making that connection is better than not writing at all.  And it gives me a little something to hold on to while I try to get focused on one of the parts of my life that need attention!

Wishing you a lovely Monday and sending you the confidence to do something today that takes you out of your comfort zone a little, if that's what you feel you need too.  And of course if you have a moment I'd love to know if anything here resonates with you...I would love to build a bit of a community here!

Gemma xx