Stories and Thoughts to Ponder

Mid-life Crisis

Mid-life Crisis or Mid-Life Transformation


I have been reflecting recently on what is it about mid-life that people call it a ‘mid-life crisis’? In the perceived first half of our life, we go from home to big school, big school to High School, to Uni, to marriage, to having kids & they are all just the next transition of life. In fact they are celebrated. Then something happens? What is it? Why do we not celebrate menopause, ’empty nesting’, reassessing our life’s purpose, retirement, being able to get out without dependants & have fun? Why is it not a mid-life transformation? I don’t get it.

Is it the fear of change? That is common at all stages of life. Is it that on the ‘wave of life’ turning 40/50 is the crest of the wave & it appears that we are now on the down hill run of aging & towards imminent death? It’s actually time to get a grip on reality. You have been aging & dying since you were born!

What I have realised is that younger people have a goal to study & establish a career, or to go off & travel, then to ‘settle down’ & have children. After that, often the planning goes on hold, or definitely alters, especially the personal goals, while the whirlwind of family life takes over. Then suddenly, ‘Oh my God, I’m turning 40/50. I am going grey, looking old, my health could be better & I am running out of time to do all those thing I said I was going to do’. People start to focus on what they haven’t done & can’t do, instead of what they can still do. Fear takes over.

We become the ‘meat in the sandwich’ – between the kids, grand kids & aging parents. Some have been in a career or relationship for a long time & are questioning ‘is this all there is?’; the kids are leaving home; there is divorce, remarriage, blended families – all so complex. Where did the ‘me’ time go? What happened to the self nurturing? How can you possibility look after all these thing if your are not in peak condition – mind, body & spirit? They say ‘I wish I knew what I know now, when I was 20, I would have done things differently’. You gained what you know now by doing what you did. That’s how life works. So now that you know it, & you still have a lifetime ahead of you, implement the wisdom, create & enjoy the rest of your life.

So what if you were fearlessly able to embrace this change? How would you be?

This mid-life transition can be a crisis or a transformation, depending on how you choose to think about it. When you learn to understand that your thoughts create your feelings which determine your actions or non-actions, you can then choose better thoughts for better feelings & better actions. Fear is the biggest factor that stops us. Fear of change or the the unknown. So, it’s quite simple – write your ‘bucket list’, remove the fear, create a strategy & get on with it.

I am 49 & on the journey with you. I am the meat in a sandwich (not that there are grandkids yet) & I refuse to allow it to overwhelm me anymore. I am stronger & more committed to living my life how I want to, with real honesty & authenticity, than ever before. The system that works for me is:

  • Clarify your goals: Connect to your passion – your heart. Live the life you want, not what others expect of you.
  • Remove any fear associated with achieving them. This can often be at an unconscious level. Get honest with yourself.
  • Assess where your health, finances & relationships are really at. Are they assisting you or a hindrance to you moving forward.
  • Create a strategic plan – what to do, by when. Simple consistent steps.
  • Hold yourself accountable for moving toward the goal. This is where a coach is really valuable.

I believe this system can be implemented at any age. In fact, the earlier the better. Become a master of your mind, working through fear & embracing change. Live from your heart, express your feelings, choose to be happy, ask for support & keep learning. Connect to your passion & you will not work another day. Live every day like it could be your last.

My goal with Bucket List Coaching is to teach people to remove the fear around aging & death, infuse it with fun, take control over your destiny & enjoy the rest of your life so you can Rest in Peace with No Regrets.

New Year’s Resolution

New Year Resolutions That Stick


So, you’ve made your New Year’s Resolution – again! Why is it going to stick this time, when for so many years it hasn’t? I’m going to quit smoking, lose weight, get fit, sort out my relationships, get a new job, start my own business … the list goes on. Have you heard it all before?

What we tend to do, is decide we are tired of the way we are doing something or something in our life just isn’t working how we would like it to be. We dream and wish in our hearts for better options or outcomes. When we think and really connect with our dreams, we get excited, our hearts race, we feel light and joyful, full of motivation and enthusiasm. ‘Yes, this is the year I will do it!’, we tell ourselves.

We put together a plan and share it with others. ‘Yeh, you said that last year … what makes you think you will do it this time?’ The first seed of doubt is planted … or is it a red flag to a bull? Which way do you respond? Then it comes crunch time – putting those plans into action. That little voice in your head starts – ‘oh, there is so much to do and so little time; this is so hard; I wish I had someone to do this with me, but they are all so busy too, I don’t want to bother them’ … all the excuses pop up, to not do it again.

It is a matter of getting your heart and your head working together. You heart is truly, almost desperate for change, so get your head supporting it. ‘Yes, I can do it; I will create a strategy that makes it easy; I will get the right support; this is really important for me to do, for me!’

Break it down into 6 simple steps:

  • Decide what you want to achieve – exactly what it will look like.
  • Know why – Really, really understand why. How will your life be different and what will it mean to you when you have achieved this. How important is this to you? The more important the more you are likely to stick at it.
  • Create a strategy – how will you achieve it? Every single detailed step. This can be modified along the way.
  • Share with others that will support you and ask them to support you. Make them understand how important it is to you and how valuable their support will be. You may need outside, independent assistance – like a coach.
  • Take action on the strategy – step by step. The most important step. Change will not happen without action.
  • Celebrate every achievement towards the goal.

Remember, you get what you focus on and to embrace change now to create your ultimate lifestyle. You didn’t end up where you don’t want to be overnight, so the solution will not happen overnight. Give yourself a realistic time frame to achieve it. Most of all have fun and be happy along the journey – happiness is a choice, not an outcome.

Mark Twaine said, ‘In twenty years you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.’

overwhelmed and undervalued

Make Yourself Priority #1


Mums! It is time to make yourself Priority # 1. Selfish? NO. Practical? YES!

Just think about it a minute. While you are running around being mum, wife/partner/single, cook, cleaner, taxi, encyclopedia, dictionary, nurse, psychologist, referee, employee or business owner, who is looking after you? You are the only one who can, 24/7 – if you so choose. When you look after yourself first, that is, make yourself priority, in an altruistic way, you are in peak condition and therefore so much better equipped to look after everyone else. The thing is, that if you don’t look after yourself and fall down in a crumbling heap, everyone else suffers too.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and undervalued, taken for granted or just plain exhausted, it is often because you have not placed enough value on yourself. If you don’t value yourself, why should others? We value what is important to us, so why do mums put so man y other things before themselves. “Oh, I’m exhausted! I’ll just do the dishes …” What is more important – sleep or the dishes.

When you are exhausted and not getting your own needs met, resentment can pop up. “Why should I bend over backwards (as we often do) to do this for you, when I can’t even go to the bathroom uninterrupted?” Being of service to our loved ones, begrudgingly, can eat us away from the inside and is not a pleasant way to be living.

So, make yourself Priority #1 today, take care of your health – mind, body and spirit, get support and honour yourself. Align your values, that it, what is important to you, with your actions. When you are torn between choices or not feeling like willingly participating in something, ask yourself “What is important to me here?” and go with the option that meets your needs. You want your kids to learn how to look after themselves – lead by example!

Embrace change now to create your ultimate lifestyle.

Manage your own feelings

Five Steps to Take the Anxiety Out of Starting School


Family anxiety is on the rise as preparations begin to get ready for children to start school.

Lifestyle coach Kim Townsend said while children could be anxious, it was often the parents who were most stressed about this time of year.

“The best thing that you can do for your child is to stay calm, yet excited,” said Ms Townsend.

“Starting school is a big milestone for parents and kids alike,” she said.

“How you child responds to this exciting time is dependent on the the mum’s, and dad’s, are coping with it themselves.”

“We all want the best for our children and we often do not realise how our own fears and anxieties can be inadvertently detrimental to them.”

“Starting big school is often with mixed emotions.”

“It is exciting when the kids look so cute in their new uniforms and we see them growing up.”

“Then as parents, on the first day in particular, the fears of them missing home, not fitting in or getting bullied kicks in.”

“The children do not even know these things exist, but pick up on your anxiety. And react.”

Ms Townsend said there were 5 simple steps to make it a great day for all.

• Preparation – talk positively about the first day at school and school in general, prior to starting.

• Practice – getting ready and going to school, unwrapping lunches, tying shoe laces.

• Reinforce all the great things about school – playing, drawing, singing and new friends.

• Manage your own feelings – it is a day for your child to start the next part of their life’s journey not a day of sadness that they won’t be with you. If they see you upset, they will get upset.

• Leave as soon as the teacher says you can – Your child is in expert hands. Stay positive, confident and wish them a great day.Reinforce all the great things about school – playing, drawing, singing and new friends.

The best way to make it a great start to their school experience and at any time, is to be a role model.

“New experiences are something to get excited about, not to fear,” says Ms Townsend.

“Just in all areas of life our fears can get in our own way and this can be transferred to our children.”

Ms Townsend, founder of Bucket List Coaching, helps women to embrace change to create their ultimate lifestyle.

Through individual coaching she works with you to get clear on your goals, understand where you are at now and create a strategy that builds the bridge to manage better day to day or make your dreams a reality.

physically and mentally

Ageing is natural – get a grip on it.


What is it today with the obsession with looking young? Apparently it is OK to be 40, but not OK to look 40. Whatever that looks like!

Anti-aging is a billion dollar plus, international business, focusing on pills and potions to ingest or apply, chemicals to colour hair and intrusive medical procedures to scrape, remove or implant chemical filled foreign objects into the body. It focuses on the external physical side of our existence. All for the sake of beauty, whatever it is for you. All for what?

I saw a video the other day of a woman obsessed with having melon-like breasts. She had spent $250000 on over 20 procedures. Had infections and nearly lost her life. She was not happy with her 38KKK and went back for a 38MMM enlargement. She only had a tiny frame. She could not tie her own shoelaces and was constantly plagued with back pain. “I love my breasts. I am nothing without my breasts”, she would say. I know this is exceptionally extreme, but it happens.

The sooner we all realise that true beauty and anti-aging comes from within, the better society and the world at large will be physically and mentally. This obsession to deny and avoid a natural part of life is more damaging than you realise. How many women, in particular, do you know who feel miserable because they do not look like the photo-shopped, airbrushed images of models who have spent hours in hair and make-up to look natural and are wearing borrowed clothes? How is this affecting our teenage girls?

The best way to stay young is to have a positive mindset, see the beauty in life and laugh often to nurture your spirit. Have lots of fun and don’t take yourself too seriously. This physiologically affects your cells to keep you healthy and happy and can slow the physical ageing of your meat suit. And even if your body is worn, it is your spirit that gives you life and true beauty, anyway.

Love yourself, love your life, live long with spirit.

living with mediocrity

Change is the only constant in life. Embrace it!


Most people fear change so much that they become too paralysed to move forward. This could be from a situation that has developed over time or a random that has been thrust upon you. Most are more content to sit and whine about what is not right or not good enough, than to put some effort into taking a new direction or making a new start, or they play the ‘why me victim’. Why is this so?

There are way too many variable factors that lead to choosing to settle for living with mediocrity, straight out abuse or going into total meltdown in change situations, and I am not going to go there. The interesting thing is that it is different for everyone and may only apply in specific areas of your life.

For example, you may find it easy to move house, but not move from a negative/abusive relationship. You might find it easy to change jobs but not travel too far from home. Others might find the reverse. The thing is, if you can make change easily in one area of your life, why not in others? Why do you find it so difficult to pursue an improved life or follow a path that you love?

When situations arise that change our current status, the best thing we can do is to choose to see them as an opportunity. Some love the unknown, finding it exciting and liberating others fear it with a passion and cannot tolerate the uncertainty. Yes, they may be challenging, but that is how we grow.

Many choose to shut themselves down by worrying what might go wrong, when we could choose to be excited with what could go right. That’s right, it is a choice. You have heard the saying, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”? It’s true.

It comes down to how you operate at the unconscious level – what has been hardwired in your system from your past. It is behaviours you have learned, so therefore, you can ‘unlearn’ them.

You know that ‘gut feeling’ thing, when something just doesn’t feel right. That is your unconscious letting you know to pay attention, or you will pay with pain. Most will do whatever it takes to avoid this discomfort. Getting side tracked, perpetual procrastination and avoidance, or by more serious diversions like over eating, not eating, drinking, smoking, gambling or taking drugs, and even other addictions like shopping or sex.

So, how do you move forward?

  1. Awareness: Become aware of when these patterns occur. Document it. Describe it. Understand the symptoms. Don’t worry about the origin. Befriend it.
  2. Avoidance: Know what your avoidance strategy is. How is this impacting on your life? Is it beneficial? Does this behaviour help to permanently relieve the discomfort? Would you be better off learning about the discomfort and how to heal it or continuing to deal with it the next time it pops up? Over and over again …
  3. Get support: Ask your friends what they see. I am sure you know how you can see patterns and behaviours in others that they can’t see. Maybe the support of a counselor or coach would help. Be open to their observations. The unconscious patterns can be very illusive, deep seeded and cause distress if not managed suitably. Professionals can help you to better understand why, if you are interested in that.
  4. Decide what you want. If this is too hard, just go with the opposite of what you don’t want.
  5. Make a plan to move towards it. Break it down into bite size chunks and step it out. Little by little. Remember, it has taken a lifetime to get you where you are now, so it will not necessarily change overnight – although it is possible.
  6. Take action. One (or more) little steps every day. It won’t be long until you see and feel a difference, and gain momentum.
  7. It takes 30 days to create a new habit. Make sure you practice your new behaviour. Eventually you will ask yourself “why didn’t I do that before?” It was worth the effort. Learn from the experience so you don’t repeat it again.

Next time there is an opportunity for change. Get excited – what is I am to learn this time? Embrace it, love it, learn and grow.

hazard or harbour dust

Moving House and De-Cluttering


Do you really need everything you own? Do you use what you have or is it just clutter? Is it affecting your health?

Can you always find what you need? Do you trip over boxes in the hallway? Do you feel overwhelmed when you look in the ‘spare’ room?

What some people call clutter, others call collections or treasures. You are the only one who can decide if this is clutter or not. For me it is boxes of odd things I can use for art. Not that I get much time for it at the moment … but one day I will!

How does clutter affect your health?

Most clutter falls into two categories.”Memory” clutter is stuff that reminds us of significant events in the past and can be connected to depression. “Someday” clutter is those items you might need someday in the future and has been connected to anxiety.

Too much “memory” clutter can drag you down and keep you stuck in the past, and the “someday” clutter is focused on what might be needed in the future, and both can result in disruption to living in the present.

There are even suggestions that clutter is connected to obesity. The common factor: a life of consumption – too much stuff, too much to eat. Mentally it can just be overwhelming leading to procrastination and becoming non-functional. Clutter can be a fire or trip hazard or harbour dust, mould or insect dropping which are bad for allergies and asthma.

Moving house: the best opportunity to de-clutter.

Recently, I was given 90 days notice to vacate my house. I have been renting an old but big, 5 bedroom house with a yard for twelve years – the longest I had lived anywhere my entire life. Twelve years ago it was what I needed for me and my 3 kids.

Now that my eldest has moved out and the other two are teenagers and are no longer interested in running around the yard, having their mates around to swim in the above ground pool or jump on the trampoline, it is time to downsize. The family needs have changed!

Before my divorce we moved a few times and they were big distance moves with short notice. So everything was just boxed and shipped. I think some of those boxes are still in the shed … but not for much longer.

This time it is going to be different. I am only keeping and moving what I need. For a mission like this, I must be organised, as I still need to go to work and do a lot of it by myself. So, ruthless culling, methodical sorting and compact, organised packing is needed.

Here is my system to efficient de-cluttering and moving:


  1. Create a table with headings: Item; keep; dispose of; not sure.
  2. Do an inventory of each room and categorise the bigger items or items of value under the headings. This will give you a clearer idea of exactly what other activities will need to be considered.
  3. Start collecting quality boxes. I find many smaller boxes exactly the same size the best to use. They stack easily and don’t get too heavy. Of course some items need bigger boxes.
  4. Book dates for a garage sale; Council clean up; carpet clean; professional house clean.
  5. Set up your eBay or Gum Tree account
  6. Put your support moving team on stand-by or get quotes from professional movers.


If you have to fit it around your ‘normal’ activities, like work and school, start chipping away at it every day. At least one box, cupboard or online sale posting a day. Put in extra time at the weekend.

  1. Decide on a time line – When does everything needs to be packed by; if it is no longer wanted and doesn’t sell when do you drop the price, give it to charity or keep it? How long do you need to clean the house properly?
  2. Start a list of people or organisations that need to be notified of a change of address: Bank, subscriptions, school, doctor. Keep adding to it and then keep it for future reference.
  3. What services need to be cancelled? Do they need notice? Do you get a penalty for discontinuing? Phone, electricity, gas, Foxtel. What is the deal for reconnection elsewhere?
  4. Redirection of your mail – what do you need to do?
  5. Sort, ruthlessly cull and categorise as you pack. Label the box with what is in it and which room it is to go to at the other end. Pack, or disposed of, the items that you use least, first.
  6. Stack your boxes compactly, so you can get an idea of what size truck you will need.

Keeping on top of the Clutter

  1. If you don’t need it, don’t keep it in the first place.
  2. If you don’t use it for 12 months, you don’t need it. Time to go.
  3. A bargain is only a bargain if it is useful. Buying things just because they are on sale can be a waste of money and space.
  4. If you have kids, doing a de-clutter every school holidays works well, otherwise do one every change of season.

Once this move is over, there will be no more keeping things that are not used and regular de-cluttering will happen. We don’t really need much to live comfortably. It is nice to have beautiful objects adorning your home but I think it is important to keep a balance.

transition in life

Coming of age… Not growing old.


The great things about growing old

I suppose you could say that I have recently become obsessed with growing old or aging. I constantly hear friends sigh, and say, ‘Oh my god, I’m turning 50 …’ They say it with an air of shock that it has apparently happened overnight, and with a sense of disappointment, foreboding and fear.

I don’t get it! For me, I am turning the big ‘5 – 0’ in 5 months & I’m excited! I am ‘coming of age’, not growing old. It is actually a time for a reality check! Firstly, we have been dying and aging since we were born … one would think we could get a grip on this phenomenon by now. Secondly, it is just another transition in life – why is it labelled a ‘crisis’. To me, it is transformation time.

I am finally at a stage in my life where I know what I want and I am consciously working towards getting it. I’ll admit, it is not always easy but understanding the necessity of persistence and perseverance, I keep on going. Every step in the ‘right’ direction is an achievement to be celebrated. I am at peace with myself and my health is great. My finances are a bit of a worry, as chasing the dollar has not been important to me, up until now. And even now, I’m not chasing the dollar – I am living my passion and getting financially rewarded for it. That’s why I am excited – I still have a lifetime ahead of me to really enjoy. When I am doing what I love and it won’t feel work.

People say ‘I wish I knew what I know now, when I was 20, I would have done things differently’. What I say is, ‘you now know what you know, because you were once 20 – so utilise that wisdom and get on with the life you still have ahead of you’. I know I have a lifetime left to live and more knowledge, wisdom and experiences to draw from than ever before … so why is the future anything other than bright. I am set on focussing on what I can do. I refuse to live in fear of aging & death.

At 50, I am the ‘meat in the sandwich’ between generations and that’s OK. I love spending time with my 94 year old grandmother – her dementia has taken her to a pleasant place. I have reached a place of contentment and forgiveness with my father. He chose work over family when I was growing up, so we never got to know each other. And now his Parkinson’s Disease has developed into a nasty dementia with paranoid delusions. He is only 68 and ‘living’ in an aged care facility. My children and I will never get to know him, which is really sad, but that is how it is. On the other hand, I am in awe of my mum. After mum and dad divorced, she chose to get on with life and grow. She has recently set off on a 5 month road trip. These two opposing situations are a testament to where the right mindset and living your passion can take you.

I watch my kids growing and learning in their own way. I know that what ever they choose to do, they will learn from, sometimes it might take a while, but I need to allow them to do that. They will create their own path, just right for them … and they are doing an absolutely awesome job. I am very proud of them all.

And now that my they are older, I am choosing to spend time and money on myself, guilt free. I am more confident, but also aware of what I can still do to improve my situation. I now have a knowing that even if I get it ‘wrong’ it is only something to learn from and to do ‘it’ another way to make ‘it’ work better. I know that with the right strategy anything can be achieved. I am working on being the change I want to see in the world, rather than a contributing bystander to everything that isn’t working.

I know that happiness is a choice and not an outcome and that I don’t need much to be happy. I am grateful for all I have. I know my future is bright because I know where I’ve come from. I am full of belief of endless possibility. I love to be of service and know that I can not truly be of service to others unless I am at service to myself first.

I know I don’t know all that I can know and know that there will always be more that I don’t know than I do know – and it doesn’t matter. I’ll choose to learn what I want to know when it suits me.

If I don’t get around to the house work because I am out having a life – who cares. I live the life that I want, not what others expect of me. I do things because I want to, not out of obligation. I embrace change. I love learning. I enjoy quiet time. I enjoy my own company. I am never bored – I can always find something to amuse me.

I am authentic, genuine. I don’t bow to peer pressure. I am OK with catching up with old friends for a drink at the pub and drinking warm lemon water. It is very amusing that they find it difficult to ask for it over the bar.

I now get that life does not just happen to us … we create our life and future. I understand my mind and that we get what we focus on. Who I am is the result of the choices I have made and where I now choose to go is a result of who I am.

My overall mantra is ‘anti-aging from the inside, so I can rest in peace with no regrets’. Through my new business, ‘Bucket List Coaching’, I will be sharing this with others, so they too can live to their fullest potential. With a change in attitude toward growing old I aim to do my best to revolutionise aged care.

Mark Twaine said – ‘in 20 years you will be disappointed about the things that you have not done, not the things that you have done’. So get out there and enjoy life!

back to school

Settling into School


Some kids, and parents, can’t wait to go back to school. Though for some, it is full of stress and anxiety, which can extend through to the rest of the family. This is more common, especially if it is starting big school, high school or moving to a new school.

There are new skills to learn, kids and teachers to meet, new classroom and playground dynamics, and even new systems and dynamics at home.

How your child responds to this exciting time is often dependent on how the mum’s, and dad’s, are coping with it themselves. The best thing that you can do for your child is to be excited yet stay calm, listen to them and find out how you can be supportive.

Supporting them to settle in the first few weeks, or the whole term, sets the foundations for a great year.

Starting big School

Every child is different and will take their own time to settle in. I know it took until Term 3 for my son to go independently into the kindergarten classroom. I would have to literally peel him off my leg and attach him to the teacher every day. Once I was gone, he was fine. Then one day, he decided he was OK. Be assured that the fear or lack of confidence or whatever it is, doesn’t necessarily last. He went on to be School Captain and is off to Rome with a student exchange program for 10 months, just before his 16th birthday.

Some tips on settling in:

  • Be organised yourself – If you are rushed and stressed it will rub off on your child. They do not yet know how to pack what they need. If they don’t have their lunch box or library bag when they need it, it can be quite traumatic for some.
  • Be interested – ask what they did at school. They will often say ‘nothing much’. Ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions and follow up with ‘tell me about that’. Sometimes you need to listen for what they are not saying. Get them to help you check their bag for notes or swashed sandwiches.
  • Sleep – they will be really tired at first, but will adapt quickly. Make sure they get enough sleep and don’t enrol them in after school activities.
  • Get to know their teacher – find out what is expected in the class and how the class operates and how they think you child is settling in.

Starting High School

Some kids are ready and champing at the bit to get to high school and others may not feel that they are emotionally or socially ready despite being the right age. They may be going to a school with lots of friends from Primary School or they may know no one. So regardless of the situation they just need your support. My other son was the only child from his Primary School but found he knew numerous kids that he had met from inter-school sport or weekend sport.

  • Be prepared – assist them to be organised. Teach them to understand the timetable for classes as well as public transport if they use it. Get uniforms and books ready the night before.
  • Sleep – there is a lot more going on at high school and can be tiring for some. Minimise after school activities for at least Term 1 and see how your child settles in. If they are tired or feeling anxious about keeping up, fitting in or whatever else, having to participate in music, dance or sport after school could feel more like pressure than a positive outlet. Make sure they get enough sleep.
  • Be interested – ask how their day was, what did they do? At this age communication with parents seems to get very sparse and may not be forthcoming when it suits you. Be prepared to listen when they are ready to share, even if it is inconvenient for you. Find out if they have homework or assignments and when they are due. Assist your child to learn about time management.
  • Encourage them to ask for assistance – If they are not sure where they need to go, what to bring to school or do in class, to ask the teacher. Ensure them that there will most likely be others in the class who need to ask the same question.

Starting a new school

Once again different kids respond differently. As we moved around my daughter ended up going to 3 Primary Schools and 2 High Schools. Her grades picked up with each move, she became more independent, able to make new friends and very good at adapting to change. She now has friends around the state that she is still connected with.

  • If the move has come about due to a bad experience at a previous school it will be important to listen to your child’s experiences and concerns. If you are concerned about your child at Primary School, talk to the class teacher, Principal or School Councellor or at High School the Year Advisor, Welfare Officer or Counsellor. If they know there has previously been a bad experience they are more likely to pick up on signs that your child is having difficulty settling in.
  • Talk about the differences – what’s good, what’s not so good and how to enjoy the changes.


General Tips

  • Education is a collaboration between the school, teachers and parents – be an active part of the team.
  • Personality clashes – there is always the possibility of personality clashes between the student and teacher or other students, exactly how this may happen in the workplace. Encourage your child to deal with these themselves in a mature way. Suggest some of your problem solving strategies.
  • Understand the School rules – Schools are all very different these days to what you went to and also vary from area to area and school to school. What are the procedures if your child is running late, needs to leave early or is sick; the discipline policy etc. Work with the system, it is there to support everyone.
  • If you are concerned – talk to the teacher or someone who can do something about it. Many schools have a school counsellor who can be of great support. The Parents and Citizens Association (P&C) within a school are there to support you and the school. They are the voice of the parents. Attend the meetings. Many schools are great schools due to the support of an active parent body. There are no solutions from complaining to other parents about your concerns.

We all want the best for our children and we often do not realise how our own fears and anxieties can be inadvertently detrimental to them. Manage your own emotions, help your child to understand theirs and support them to find their own solutions to problems.

New experiences are something to get excited about, not to fear.

three little words

Watch your mouth!


‘I don’t care’ are three little words that get dished out every day, on a regular basis to kids and adults, which have consequences a lot deeper that you may realise.

When a child comes to you with an excuse or story as to why something happened, or didn’t happen and you say “I don’t care”, you actually mean “I don’t have time for this story at the moment; I just want the situation sorted”. You brush the child off because you are too busy, stressed, tired or maybe embarrassed and just want to get to the bottom of an incident or don’t want to be interrupted.

What the child hears is, “I don’t care about you!” Hear it often enough and it becomes “you don’t love me”.

I know I used to say it. I hear it all the time from teachers at school. I hear it in the supermarket, walking down the street or on the train. “I don’t care, just … Do it! Be quiet! Not now!”

Adults can separate the behaviour from the person. Children cannot.

The child eventually starts to believe that they – the parent, teacher or friend:

  • don’t want to listen to me
  • don’t care what I have to say
  • don’t think that what I have to say is important

This can turn into:

  • I am not important
  • I am not being heard, so why bother to speak up
  • I am not being heard, let’s act out so that I am

The same goes for “You idiot! You’re stupid! You are so dumb! You will never amount to anything!” and any other name calling or put down. Hear it often enough from the most significant people in your life and you believe it, not necessarily on a conscious level, but it is hard wired into our unconscious. The good old, self fulfilling prophecy is implanted into your being.

I was a sensitive and caring child but if I made a mistake or didn’t do something ‘good enough’, my dad’s words ‘bloody hopeless’ still ring in my ears. If I was upset or cranky, I was laughed at or sent away to sort things out myself. I became too frightened to speak up for fear of ridicule and judgement. Intellectually and on a practical level I was very capable, but come to asking for assistance or speaking from my heart I was scared stiff. I figured nobody really cared.

Consequently, I toughened up by shutting down. I numbed the pain of feeling not worthy, that is, feeling ‘not good enough’, by staying small, thinking a lot, feeling ‘different’ and not connecting deeply with anyone. I eventually numbed that pain with drugs for some years. That didn’t make the pain go away, it just added another layer of problems.

I only recently realised that the subconscious belief that had been running for almost 50 years was ‘I am not allowed to feel’ and ‘I am not allowed to speak’.

Essentially, I lacked self worth and am still dealing with it on some levels. As a kid I came across really confident and mature, it was my mask to feeling unworthy and vulnerable. I remember in my early 20’s, a friend saying that I was ‘fiercely independent’. At the time, I thought this was good. It was just a defense mechanism to protect myself from being hurt or rejected. I was a bit of an adrenalin junkie and did adventurous and dangerous things to look strong and courageous. What I lacked was ordinary courage – the courage to speak my truth, from my heart and dare to be vulnerable. Having the courage to be vulnerable is where real personal growth and connection happens.

Lack of self worth is what gets in the way of everyone who is not achieving what they really want in life. That little voice in your head that says to you, ‘what makes you think you can do that? You are too old, too fat, too thin, too short, too dumb!’ These are all subconscious beliefs that are not true!

How often do you say that, or whatever it is to you, to yourself? Does it stop you from doing things you really want to do or does it make you more determined?

The days that children “should be seen and not heard” are over. Children need to be supported to express themselves and to feel confident and safe to do so. You can encourage this by:

  • Leading by example and learning how to respond rather than react to situations
  • Allowing them to witness you expressing your feelings and being supported by your partner or a friend
  • Do not name call or label
  • Give them the time to be heard. Hear the story from their perspective, remembering they have not been around as long as you have, to be aware of all the other aspects involved
  • Acknowledge what they are saying, understand how they feel and maybe give them suggestions of how to deal with it differently
  • Allow them to be them! They are living in a different world to what you grew up in.

Your actions speak louder that your words. Saying ‘I love you’ is important. Showing ‘I love you’ is what really sticks.

perceived as selfish

What Is It With Women And Guilt?


If we focus on ourselves and our own needs, putting ourselves first, we feel guilty and think we might be perceived as selfish. If we are a bit impatient and cranky because we are exhausted we feel guilty for snapping at whoever is the unfortunate one that ‘gets in the way’ yet we feel equally as guilty if we sit to rest instead of doing the dishes. If we fall ill, we feel guilty because we should be looking after ourselves better. I go to Zumba on Monday night and the instructor asks “How was your weekend?” In a South American accent, “who is feeling guilty? Eating cake?”

So what is it with guilt and what are we supposed to do?

Definition of Guilt

  • The Oxford dictionary says guilt is ‘a feeling of having committed wrong or failed in an obligation’.
  • Wikipedia says ‘guilt is an emotion that occurs when a person believes that they have violated a moral standard.’

So what obligation have we failed in or what moral standard has been violated? According to whom?

Women in particular, seem to be brought up to believe that it is their duty and one of their primary functions to care for their partner’s, their children’s and sometimes others needs. I think it is important to do this and it is equally as important for men to do the same.

Unfortunately, the way many women interpret this, comes at a cost of not fulfilling our own needs and wants. When we do try to fulfil our own needs we feel guilty because we should be doing something for the partner or the children.

To me, it comes down to values, that is, what is important to us. We can always find time to do something, if it is important enough. So essentially, we believe we are not as important as our partner, our children, our boss or whoever it is.

We need to find the balance.

How many women do you know, or just have contact with, that seem to be running around looking out for everyone else and running themselves into the ground? I know I have been in that place and still have to be aware of what I take on and how I go about things.

At different times of our lives we have different needs and different priorities. It is a journey. Our values and beliefs shift. It is a continual learning curve and growth experience.

There is one thing, however, that needs to remain a constant. That is, to make yourself Priority #1!

If WE don’t look after ourselves, who really will? Who else actually knows what it is that we need or want? We often can’t even be totally honest with ourselves to speak up for what it is we want. So, if we can’t ask for it, how are we supposed to receive it?

By connecting with other women and sharing experiences we realise we are not alone. Sharing stories and wisdom, is one way to learn new tips and strategies to lead a more contented lifestyle.