It’s that crazy, chaotic time of year again, when we spend a couple of months preparing for one big day!
And with so many expectations around the ‘Perfect Christmas’ its no wonder we all feel so overwhelmed.
But here’s some tips for keeping Christmas calm this year.
PREVENT OVERSPENDING AND OVER BUYING
Children don’t understand the financial cost of gifts, they value things on the value they have to them entertainment wise.
They like to play and experiment with toys, which usually means expensive things get broken. So, a good trick is to look at any new toy that we give a child as broken already. This money saving technique will prevent overspending on expensive toys while gift shopping. Making a list of what you’re buying beforehand, also helps. Then, wrap gifts straight away, keeping a note of what you bought for whom and how much it cost, to prevent over spending and last-minute panic buying.
PREVENT OVERSTIMULATION AND OVERWHELM
Routines are key. Children need to know what to expect, when, where and why more than ever during the holidays.
Work things around your child’s regular routine, not around anything or anyone else.
Stick to regular bedtimes and mealtimes, while offering plenty of warnings and reminders of what’s to come.
And spread the joy, anticipation and appreciation for visitors, sweet treats and gifts, over a few days, rather than in one go.
MANAGE YOUR OWN STRESS LEVELS
All that shopping, spending, wrapping and prep can be stressful, so don’t forget to take some daily U Time for yourself to just relax. Whether that’s a soak in the bath after a long day or sitting down with a cuppa, taking time to breathe in the here and now and get organised in your head, reduces stress.
Take our Mumatherapy Stress Checker Quiz now to check your stress levels
This year many of us will want to visit friends and family to make up for last year’s Covid restrictions but the mere thought of this maybe making you feel anxious. If so, plan ahead now to ensure you and your partner are not stressed with one another. Your energy (and anxiety) will rub off on the little ones, so calm kids need calm parents when travelling. But you can still expect some bored and restless behaviour along the way and if you have more than one child, there’ll be squabbling too. This is normal but you can help alleviate some of it by making regular stops for a feed, to stretch legs and take toilet breaks and making the journey a fun experience, by listening to their favourite songs or pointing out the scenery and playing games such as; count how many red cars you can see or spot the mini, and taking along activities such as colouring books or digital devices.
AVOIDING THE EMBARISSMENT OF TODDLER TANTRUMS WHEN VISITING FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
Be proactive in pre-empting your child’s moods and emotions and get everyone in your team. Let friends and family members know your child’s routines and triggers. And to prevent any undue attention, remind everyone beforehand that your child may act childish (kids are childish, so you don’t need to feel embarrassed by other people unrealistic, expectations of your children) and encourage grownups to just ignore any carrot flinging episodes or melt downs at bedtime.
HOW TO BALANCE EXPECTATIONS WITH REALITY?
Keep your own expectations realistic and stay present in the moment and forget what you didn’t do or buy, and stop worrying about how tomorrow will work out.
Christmas is a memory making moment, make happy Christmas memories your child will cherish, and enjoy this time yourself.
Build that Lego castle, watch that family movie together and stay present in each and every moment, that’s the real gift that keeps on giving.
A chance for us to shut off that constant mental chatter, stress, worry, work and woe.
A time to do those things we love to do, for the sheer enjoyment of doing them.
Freedom to indulge in our pleasures and be with those special people we love?
Hang on…. What do you mean you wish?
What will you be doing this weekend if not any or all of the above?
We all deserve a break, even You.
Work and Worries Never End!
There’s always going to be laundry in the basket and an un-surmountable pile of paperwork or emails harassing us. Our work doesn’t cease to exist because it’s the weekend either. And those work issues can dwell in our minds constantly if we let them, taking up our time and attention, even on our days off.
But when are we free to enjoy life and those we love most?
Totally free to be in the moment and do nothing without feeling guilty?
It’s a rare occasion for most of us.
But today if you only do one thing, free your mind with some U Time.
We all know this is easier said than done, but when we consciously make space and time just for U Time, like we would cooking tea for the kids or washing the school uniforms, then we allow ourselves the chance to relax into the present moment. When we focus on the moment, this very minute that we are currently experiencing, we can’t ruminate on the past or worry about the un-lived future. Although that seems so obviously basic, it eludes us all.
We get caught up in the humdrum, daily dramas of our everyday lives. The unimportant, insignificant details, that cloud our true purpose and reality.
Robbing us of our peace of mind that we are all seeking but never find for long.
If only we could just temporarily let go and have five minutes peace?
Why not try?
Find a space that’s relaxing, quiet and away from all distraction’s, switch off your electronic devices and phones.
I have a space in my home where I place crystals, stones and candles. When I spend U Time there I let go of everything that’s mentally cluttering up my head and watch the fog drift away. Finding things that calm you or bring you joy will help, you don’t need buddha’s or crystals, if they aren’t your thing listen to a water feature or look at a painting, smell some aromatherapy oils, anything you feel comfortable with that signals to you this is U Time.
Make sure no one will disturb you and either sit or lay down somewhere, in a nice comfortable position. Surround yourself with cushions or soft warm blankets if that helps?
And take in some slow deep breathes.
Feel where your tension resides in your body?
We are all different, one person may carry their tension in their neck and shoulders, another in their jaws or buttocks. Wherever it feels uncomfortable breathe into it, focusing on that place, and allow it to release, as you breathe out gently and slowly.
There’s no -where to go, nothing to do, and no one to see, so you are absolutely free.
Free your mind of mental chatter and you’ll free your muscles of tense matter.
This is ‘U Time’ feel free to let go and relax. You can’t do this wrong, you just breathe.
Melt into whatever is supporting your body and just keep breathing, and as you do so, say to yourself;
Don’t just say the words, feel them, like a warm, comforting sensation flowing through you.
Practice this letting go and breathing to free your mind, until you get bored.
But I warn you, this state of pure relaxation and freedom of thought is addictive and hard to break, but it’s a great habit to make.
So, …. how will you spend your weekend now?
If you would like some help learning to relax and let go, then book your free Mumatherapy Consultation today! All bookings for September 2021 made in May will receive a 20% discount, please quote Muma May when booking.
We must look after and love ourselves, mistakes, imperfections and all.
If there’s something we don’t love about ourselves, then others may not love that aspect of us either.
Not because it’s not lovable, but because we will transmit the message of how we feel about ourselves to other people that we meet.
Our partners may think we are beautiful, but if we think we are ugly, over time, we will start to dress and look the way we feel.
Self-love shouldn’t be reliant on others loving us though.
We should replace any damaging, empty, unhealthy relationship with another, for a more meaningful, loving relationship with ourselves.
Getting to know who we really are as individuals is self-love. The relationship we have with ourselves influences all the other relationships in our lives, and our love for ourselves is more important than any other love we may, or may not, receive from others.
Fat, thin, rich, poor, happy, or depressed, it makes no odds; you can love yourself regardless of who you think you are, or however your past may have been.
Loving yourself does not need to depend on past or future events or relationships. Anyone can start afresh today and learn to love themselves, no matter what.
It’s the single most loving thing we can do for our children.
We are their greatest asset in life, so we must take good care of our own health and happiness. Should we become ill, we would not be in a position to care for them. Surely If only to keep us in a strong position to take care of our children at all times, that’s all the motivation we need to ensure we love and care for ourselves?
We need to learn to love ourselves the same way we love our children. To help with this, let’s try the following exercise.
Close your eyes for a moment now. Then imagine your child in the future, grown up as a parent themselves with their own child.
How do you see them?
Can you see, hear, or feel them as a kind, caring, gentle, relaxed, patient, and loving parent toward their own child?
Can you hear them enjoying their life, laughing with and loving others?
A responsible adult and parent with honesty and integrity? Healthy, happy calm, relaxed, patient, optimistic, and fulfilled?
Making time for themselves and taking care of how they look, spending money that they have worked for on themselves and others?
In a career they love. Smart, successful, and abundant while being humble, content, and grateful?
Or are they;
Angry, worried, stressed, sad, frustrated, or depressed, struggling to make ends meet and sacrificing their time on the needs of everyone else?
What would you like them to look, sound, and feel like as a parent?
Imagine now that you are their child. What do you want for them as your parent? Love, happiness, abundance, and peace of mind?
Can you feel this overwhelming love, respect, and admiration for them as your parent?
Do you look up to them and aspire to be like them when you grow up?
See them as the parent, putting their arms around you as their child. Listen as they wish you all the good that you have wished for them.
Open your eyes now and be their parent again. The parent your child wants you to be and the parent you wish your child will become in the future.
When we love ourselves the way we love our children, we become a living, loving example. (Or a living example of love.)
When they see us loving and caring for ourselves and addressing our own needs, they reap the benefits of our happiness, and it teaches them how to love and treat themselves.
MUMATHERAPY FACEBOOK GROUP
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve received messages from Mum’s who are feeling overwhelmed with life and motherhood at the moment. Those lucky enough to have partners have shared their feelings only to feel their partners have dismissed them.
When this happens, it can be difficult to confide in anyone else. This can lead to feelings of despair, isolation, loneliness, frustration, anger or jealousy. This can be exasperated by the current world situation where we can no longer just go and seek help in a counsellor or friend easily, face to face. And over the phone or zooming means many mum’s won’t talk about how they are feeling with little ears or partners listening in. So I have been chatting to mum’s about starting a Mumatherapy Facebook group where mum’s can share their thoughts and feelings, real time, and help uplift and empower one another. This can just simply be reading about other people’s experiences, asking questions or joining in to support others. It will be a safe place to air your inner most thoughts and feelings with like-minded others, in a closed supportive group. I plan to share some helpful tools and techniques to alleviate stress and anxiety, and increase confidence and self esteem, such as, hypnosis, guided meditations, EFT and affirmations and quotes. The only goal will be to love one another like you would your best friend or sister, without judgement. It will also be a place to share the joys of motherhood too and your own successes and achievements. A positive place to feel loved, loving and lovable.
If you are interested in joining this free Facebook group please can you comment below or email me email@example.com so I can see the demand for such a group or not.
The word enuresis derives from the Greek word ‘to make water.’
When children initially start potty/toilet training, we can’t expect them to be dry at night, overnight. Taking precautions to protect the bed such as using waterproof sheets and putting them in pullups to sleep in is a sensible option, along with expecting night-time wetting. While in a deep slumber, a child’s muscles relax, making them unable to notice they need a wee until they are wet.
Regressive behaviours like bedwetting don’t keep children awake though, sleeplessness is usually a symptom of laying in wet pyjamas or bedding. This can be a good motivator for not wetting the bed in the future, being wet, cold, and uncomfortable at night is not a nice feeling.
As long as we don’t get mad or upset with our child, this is how they will learn.
PREPARE IN ADVANCE
We can help minimise the frustration to ourselves by changing sheets immediately, with minimum fuss, by always making their bed up twice, with two layers of waterproof sheets and normal sheets, just in case. This preparation means if they have an accident during the night, this limits the time and disruption of having to completely remake the bed. Simply throw off the top layer of wet sheets and waterproof, then underneath there will be more dry sheets and another waterproof sheet.
The actual issue of bedwetting does need exploring, but shouldn’t prevent them from sleeping once their pyjamas and bedding has been changed.
If they are under five, then it shouldn’t present much of a concern, especially in the toilet training stages. Making sure they use the toilet just before bed so they don’t fall too deeply asleep and have an accident or wake up needing to go to the toilet in the middle of the night helps.
It’s also a good idea to limit or stop the amount of fluid they drink prior to bedtime, offering only sips of water after four thirty pm, not milk or juice.
SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE
If they have not gone more than a few months dry at night after successful potty training in the day, they could have a developmental issue with their bladder, this can be hormonal and usually nothing to worry about. There are treatments available, and you can discuss these with your doctor.
They could also have a small bladder capacity, if this is the case, you will probably notice that they urinate often throughout the day and find they are often desperate to go. They may wet at night due to emptying their bladder too frequently during the day.
Either way, it’s always advisable to consult your GP if you are concerned at all. If they’re still bedwetting past six years of age, medical causes, as well as emotional factors, need to be looked into with their doctor to rule out any medical condition.
Once they have been dry at night for several months to a year but then regress back to wetting at night, this nocturnal enuresis would suggest some sort of emotional stress or anxiety is responsible. If your GP has ruled out a physical problem such as a water infection, we can be proactive by looking for any apparent patterns, such as, do they only bed wet on certain days such as school days and not at the weekend?
Does it happen early on in the night or toward the end near morning time, when mum is on night watch or dad, how often a night/a week/ a month does it occur?
Are there any causes that influence the episode, such as, have they been emotional throughout the day because they fell out with their best friend or because dad is working away for the night?
Our children’s fears and insecurities may seem so trivial and insignificant to us, but the smallest changes can have a huge impact. Looking at what is currently going on in other areas of their life is helpful.
This is where the U URSELF Routine comes in handy, we can notice if another area such as their eating or exercising and play habits have changed too.
We may even already be aware of a possible cause of emotional stress for them such as having a new baby sibling, bereavement, moving to a new house, starting childcare, or a parent leaving home.
All of these things can be stressful for a small child, emotionally challenging, and are common underlying causes of regression.
If stress and anxiety is the culprit, we have to handle the situation just as empathetically and positively as we would a physical medical condition that is also out of their control.
BOOST THEIR SELF-ESTEEM
This means praising them when they call out mid flow in the middle of the night for making good progress by noticing as it is happening, how we react in response will either help or hinder their progress at this point. Getting frustrated and saying things such as ‘why didn’t you get up and go straight to the toilet sooner, or, not again, or, I thought you had grown out of this’ will only damage their self-esteem. This is the next part of the U URSELF Routine that we will explore in the next blog ‘Esteem’
What we want to do is focus on what we want them to achieve, not on what we don’t want. Highlight the positives, such as the dry nights, and ignore the wet ones as best we can in the presence of our children.
We can encourage and motivate them by offering to buy them some nice new pjs or bedding with their favourite tv cartoon characters on them once they have successfully gone a whole week with a dry bed. How we phrase that reward is important, so keep it positive and focused on the dry bed. Instead of saying you can have a new pair of pjs if you don’t wet the bed. We want to motivate them for staying dry, not put pressure on them not to wet the bed. When they do succeed going one night dry, we want to make the biggest fuss possible by showering them with praise and exaggerating how happy we feel for them, this is a chance to give their esteem a boost!
MOTIVATE TO PROGRESS
What we don’t want our children to do is form a habit of bedwetting for either attention or feeling they have no control over their bedwetting.
In no circumstances should we encourage this behaviour further and be tempted to bring back the pull up training pants for bed time.
Once out of nappies and pull ups for several months, they are through with that baby phase of development. What they need most now is responsibility over their progress, they can’t do this by going backward in how we treat them. They need to feel the wet cold discomfort to register they are wet, and this is something we want to motivate them to avoid in the future.
A nice cosy, warm, dry, comfortable nappy or pullup, only motivates them to stay passive in their development. There’s no urgency to progress by controlling their bladder. I’ve potty trained many toddlers over the years, and I’ve always used pants and knickers over commercial pull ups, a cheap pack of pants are usually cheaper than pull ups, and we can throw the soiled ones away if needs be, the same way we would a disposable nappy. But children learn far quicker by having accidents that they can feel and see.
A pull up still feels like they are wearing a nappy, so I’ve found when parents choose this as a toilet training option, progress is much slower. I know pull ups are safer, easier, and less messy, but long term, they just delay the process. A couple of weeks of accidents, patience, and practise in real pants is the quickest and best long-term, effective, solution.
GIVE THEM RESPONSIBILITY
I always find that children who are given responsibility over their own lives, no matter how young, overcome challenges and progress quicker than those whose parents do everything for them and take control. This doesn’t mean not helping or being involved as a parent and leaving them to sort out themselves, but taking a back seat at times. It’s natural to want to love, protect, support, and do everything for them, but this can serve to make them feel as though they are a passenger on their journey of life. Events and experiences are out of their control and influence. There often seems little point in them making much of an effort to try or change.
Helping strip their wet bedding off their bed and putting it in the washing machine with your help, then choosing what fresh bedding goes back on their bed next or what pyjamas to wear all involve them in their own self-care. Instead of feeling low self-esteem at what can be an embarrassing time, they now display self-love and respect. They are helping themselves, and we are allowing them to feel good in a situation that could make them feel bad if handled insensitively.
It’s their bedwetting issue to address and solve. This way, they’ll look for solutions rather than feeling helpless and resigned to a life of wet nights, forming a habit that may be difficult to change later on. Now, in no instance are they responsible or to blame for their bedwetting, we are not suggesting that ever, but if anyone has any influence over changing it, they do!
And they will feel confident to try if they are given encouragement to do so. Our aim is for them to take conscious control over their issue, not be a passive allower.
Fostering this self-reliance is what will help them to build self- confidence, making them feel they can handle situations themselves.
They don’t feel guilty or as though we are punishing them if they feel they are helping in some way and having choices and responsibility.
SEEK THE CAUSE NOT THE SYMPTOM
Children want to be independent, that is why there is often conflict and tantrums, because they want to be able to do things for themselves. Managing conflict and tantrums is covered extensively in my soon to be published book, The Powerful Proactive Parent’s Guide to Present Parenting. But let’s just say for now that their bad behaviour isn’t always that bad.
The less of a big issue we can make out of their bed wetting, and the bigger the fuss we can make over a dry bed, the quicker the preferred behaviour will become a habit. We can best help, however, by uncovering the source of their underlying emotional issue or anxiety they are currently experiencing and focusing on that, rather than the presenting symptom of bedwetting. Once that has been addressed, the bed wetting, in time, if not left long enough unaddressed to become a habit, will resolve itself.
It’s that time of year when, we
discover if our little ones have got a place in the preferred school, we’ve
chosen for them.
As I chatted to a friend at the school gates last week, who was devastated her child didn’t get into the primary school his siblings attended, I felt her pain.
I remember that dreaded anticipation
myself many years ago!
Would my first born get a space in the
School, I perceived to be the best in the area we lived in at that time?
Oh, the joy when I finally received
that letter telling us she had got a place.
Off we went excitedly to buy her new
school uniform. Such a proud first moment was her first day at school.
Then I had to relive all that stress, anxiety
and worry once again two years later, when my Sons turn came to find out if he
had a place?
The sleepless nights and despair I felt when I discovered that the catchment area boundaries had changed, and a new Welsh School which was opened within twenty feet of our house, threatened his place in his Sisters school, which we all loved because, I hate to honestly admit it, but all the parents seemed affluent and the learning league table for results was high.
On top of that, the school was rated a green for very good. The rating system was based on four colour coded categories; green, yellow, amber and red, this colour coding was to demonstrate how much support the schools needed. But relying on that colour system would have been pointless because that all soon changed anyway, as the School colours slipped down when the headteacher changed, something not too uncommon for lots of schools.
relief, when I received that letter saying my Son had a place in his Sisters
school was exhilarating.
to throw a ‘Thank Goodness Party!’
DOUBTS FEARS &
Yet looking back, there was no reason
to celebrate, and all that stress, worry and anxiety was for nothing, as I removed
my children half way through primary school, from that much sought- after,
Welsh Medium School, to an English Medium School, (nothing to do with the
language may I add).
Initially when I chose the Welsh School,
I was happy with that decision. A few
years later that decision no longer felt like the right thing for my children,
leaving me to make the proactive decision of changing their schools.
A lot of parents felt the same way as
me at the time, and also wanted to remove their children, but they didn’t as
they were fearful how it would affect them.
I on the other hand feared how keeping
my children in their current school would affect them?
But it was a decision I needed help
with, so I proactively involved my children in the decision-making process,
every step of the way.
This took a lot of the pressure off me
to make the decision and gave them a choice.
My Daughter was keen to change schools,
my Son however, was not so keen.
I asked them both to individually list the pros and cons for staying in their old school and moving to the new school. This was discussed verbally, then I drew up a pros and cons list (putting it in writing helped us all to physically see the outcome.) Both children had more pros for moving and more cons for staying put.
The decision was made instantly based
on those lists.
I didn’t dwell on it or give them time
to worry about the consequences, I took immediate action and within a week,
they had both moved to a new school.
Today they are now in High School, but
they have never regretted moving schools and the only affects it had on them at
the time, were positive.
They’ve made great best friends that
otherwise they would never have met and are both confident and sociable, and despite
joining a new school mid-way through their primary years, their academic
ability has soared.
Children are much more resilient than
we give them credit for, it’s us as parents that have the doubts, fears and tears,
not our children.
The initial idea to change schools
came from my own parental intuition. I could have taken the easy option and
ignored what I felt. I could have found many excuses to keep them in their old
school but that would have kept me reactive as a parent, not proactive.
I probably would have been complaining
to the school over issues that I was unhappy with for years, and would have
always wondered, what if they had gone to a different school?
Proactivity quashes regrets before
Feeling confident to take -action,
comes from that parental intuition that we all have, which arises from knowing
and loving our children.
This insight is invaluable to tune
into, as it helps us to know how our children will respond to certain people,
events, or situations in advance. This gives us time to take the necessary
steps, in order to avoid situations turning out undesirably.
Fortunately, this proactive approach arising
from instinct or intuition, is something we naturally do as parents, most of
the time anyway.
Although my Husband and I made the
right choice in moving our children to a different school, and both of our
children excelled in their new school, none of us regret them having gone to
the old school.
My children made some great friends
there (as did I, I’m still friends with some fab parents from their old primary
And my children also learnt how to speak Welsh fluently at a young age (which I’ve no doubt is the reason they do so well in this subject now, as its now a compulsory GCSE subject in my Children’s English Medium High School.)
In addition, my children learnt how to
change and adapt to new circumstances, build on their self- confidence and form
new relationships, all invaluable skills to learn at a young age.
We all learn from experimentation and
That’s why nothing happens in vain. When
we view any experience, circumstance or relationship this way, we free
ourselves from worry, stress and anxiety. Its all a learning opportunity. This helps
us to accept what is, even if what is, isn’t what we want!
As parent’s, we need to accept that we
won’t always make the right choices or decisions all of the time. And that’s
ok, because we can, and will learn from all of them, good or bad along the way.
As long as we keep moving, we will
make progress and rid ourselves of paralysis by analysis. By doing what we can,
we can feel confident in the knowledge that we are always doing our best.
We will then be free to relax knowing
that, we cannot control everything that happens to our children.
And this is a good thing, because we
cannot learn everything for them, there will be times when they will have to
learn for themselves, often the hard way.
Therefore, the most proactive thing
that we can all do as parents, is to decide today to stop worrying about our
children’s; behaviour, education, health, happiness, safety, success or
whatever else is worrying us at the moment, and take- action to do something
If its out of our control and we can’t
do anything about the outcome or circumstances, as in the case of not getting a
space at a preferred school for our child, then acceptance is the only choice
we really have. This means letting go of the illusions of how perfect that
school would have been, and how our children have lost out. There’s no loss, as
they never had that space to begin with. There’s no loss, as there are
alternatives, and alas, other schools that could end up being just as good, if
not even better in the long run?
We can only do the best we can do, at
any given moment in time, with the knowledge, experiences and resources we have
at that time.
Circumstances change and so do we.
My priorities and perspective on my
childrens initial primary school changed. So did the influential people at that
school, and the school’s performance and colour coding. Had I known all that
years ago, then I wouldn’t have worried for a second whether my children got a
space at that school or not?
You may be experiencing joy and
exhilaration, as you open that envelop that says your child has a place at your
Or you may have doubts, fears and tears,
as you hear your child has not been accepted?
But fear not, things are not always as
bad as they seem. And years from now, like me, you may look back with relief,
that actually, what you thought your child was denied, was in fact the best
thing that could have happened?