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What Happens When Your Child Suffers Permanent Brain Damage

Back in 2015, my eldest daughter, Kira, was really into her horse riding. Training for 4-5 hours a day, she lived, breathed and existed all things horsey.

Then she was thrown from two different horses in the space of three weeks, each time landing on the same side of her head.

I’m from a horsey background and my own experience in this was, just have a couple of days rest then get back on the horse, you’ll be fine.

Only she didn’t get better.

The “couple of days rest” turned into a week, then two weeks, then several months, and still she showed little improvement. She couldn’t read, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t go on the computer or watch TV. She could hardly stand up half the time.

The GPs and teachers at school thought she was either suffering from the usual teenage angst or (more likely as far as the teachers were concerned) she was just trying to get out of doing any work at school.

Finally, we got to see a sports concussion specialist at the Children’s Hospital 600km away who, to my immeasurable relief, confirmed that she did indeed have a Traumatic Brain Injury.

At the time, we all believed that her brain would heal itself. It was going to take some effort on Kira’s part, but if she put in the work, she should be fine.

It turns out that isn’t the case.

Lately, Kira’s come to the conclusion that the damage – particularly the damage to her memory – is permanent.

Although I obviously knew most of what was going on in that initial few years after her injury, a lot of things came to light during this conversation that I wasn’t aware of till now.

Find out:
  💫💫 Why Kira was sent home from emergency after a 3 minute exam with the doctor
  💫💫 The difficulties we faced in trying to convince doctors that she was actually sick
  💫💫 How brain injuries aren’t taken seriously or even believed
  💫💫 The ongoing problems caused by her injuries
  💫💫 The issues that can be caused by short term memory loss
  💫💫 The emotional impact of long term memory loss and being unable to join in when your family or friends are talking about an event because you have no memory of it
💫💫 The prognosis for the future
 
This was a difficult conversation for me, as well as Kira, but there’s also a lot of hope here. This is something that needs to be taken much more seriously by both the medical profession and people in general.
 
Just because you’ve not got your leg in plaster or your head wrapped in bandages, doesn’t mean you’re fine.
 
Concussions (Traumatic Brain Injuries) are a hidden injury, which makes them all the more serious.

The first of the two “assisted dismounts”

Today's Guest: Kira O'Connor

Menopause, Marriage and Motherhood

Kira O’Connor is a final year Photography Degree student, specialising in Fine Art Photography.

For as long as she can recall, Kira had a fascination and love for horses. At the age of 4, she began partaking in equine lessons, and before long found herself working towards her dream of competing at an Olympic level.

By the age of 9, Kira was already preparing for the day that she could dedicate every waking hour to her horse riding; and so began the journey of convincing her parents to let her attend an equine boarding school.

A year later, Kira found herself flying six hours to the other side of the country to attend New England Girls School.

For the next five years she was living her dream, living on an equine based campus and riding up to five hours per day on top of her studies.

On June 27th 2015, Kira was thrown from her favourite horse and the resulting head injury has – and will continue to be – a challenging road to recovery. However, since she was unable to either ride or attend school, Kira developed a passion for fine art photography.

Now in her third and final year of her Bachelor of Photography, Kira is currently in the process of creating a series discussing the realities of brain injuries and amnesia.

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When your child suffers permanent brain damage

60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share I had a long conversation with Kira about her concussion the other day… …if you don’t know, Kira was thrown from a horse and suffered a severe concussion 5 years ago that resulted in her missing 6 months of school in Year 10 and – I found out on Wednesday – with permanent brain damage. We (including the medical team) thought the damage was temporary; turns out not. She decided last week that she wants to start talking about what’s happened, partly because people have idea about the reality of the impact of hitting your head, it’s seen as “a bit of a concussion”. As case in point, the reports on that old man that got knocked to the floor in the protests in the US, constantly stated that “the man has a concussion but is in a stable condition”.If he walks away without permanent – and probably quite debilitating – brain damage, I’ll be very surprised. Kira was constantly ridiculed by the other girls for not wanting to ride horses (she was at an equestrian based school and was riding 4 or 5 hours a day when the accident happened). No one believed her when she said she couldn’t read. Her Maths teacher told her that if Kira thought she was going to pull the wool over her eyes and get away with not doing the work, she had another think coming. Her English teacher told her how “disappointed” she was with Kira’s lack of effort and low grades. It took three months for me to convince doctors that the depression Kira was obviously suffering was a symptom, not a cause (I basically yelled at the GP till he gave me a referral to a specialist ). When we took her to Emergency after the accident, Kira was sent straight home, with the advice to give her some paracetamol and let her rest for a few days and she’d be fine. There are a lot of other things about her experiences with her concussion and the ongoing impact that I didn’t know till the other day. I’ve always had a chatty relationship with Kira but she apparently couldn’t communicate what was going on, and half the time she just forgot anyway. You can listen to our conversation in the podcast next week. It’s a good one, even if it breaks my heart. In the picture at the bottom of the page, the photo on the left was taken three weeks after her fall, the one on the right a year or so ago (photo courtesy of Rani Joensen). This photo to the right was taken a few days before the accident.  Before this, I thought that unless you were in a major accident, a head injury was neither here nor there. I remember any number of times that I got back on my horse, whether I was feeling dizzy or nauseous or whatever (I spent the whole of my teenage years being chucked off a horse pretty much every day). Maybe my poor performance at senior school wasn’t just about the fact that I hated studying! What are your thoughts on this? (the concussion, not my rubbish school results! Listen to the podcast with Kira talking about her concussion here… More fabulous Articles and Podcasts 60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share

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60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share I had the comment from my friend about how she believed that she was an amazing person (read about it here) on my mind when I spoke to my mentor, Karly Nimmo, yesterday. We had such an amazing conversation that I had to record it and share it with everyone. Karly has been podcasting for a gazillion years (okay, five years), she’s recorded several thousand podcasts (totally true), she’s involved in a heap of online groups and she’s a down-to-earth, no nonsense, kind of girl. Exactly my sort of person. Join us for a fabulous conversation about how to believe you’re a pretty awesome person and what kind of a difference it can make in your life. Find out:   Why most personal development programs and books will never work   How to stop focusing on what’s wrong with yourself and your life   Why suppressing yourself to avoid causing offence or to get people to like you always ends in depression   What difference it makes in your life when you approach it from a place of “I’m actually pretty cool”   How our innate British/Australian discomfort about bragging really limits us   How the w*nky terminology used puts us off things   The best reaction to a friend unexpectedly announcing that they’re in love with you   This is a fun look at this whole new world of well, actually, you’re a pretty awesome person. Today’s Guest: Karly Nimmo Karly Nimmo is a No. 1 iTunes podcaster, with three hit shows; Karlosophies, Keeping Good Company (now wrapped) and Make Some Noise. She’s a serial entrepreneur, mad creator, born communicator and connector with a crazy knack for getting you to connect to your truth and see life from a different perspective.<p> After the biggest failure of her life, a coworking space in Byron Bay that almost cost her every cent she had and her life, Karly took her background in radio, 15 years experience as a voice over artist and agent, and sat down behind the mic to chat with friends, and herself, to explore the stories behind success.<p>Through her podcasts, retreats, events, and coaching, Karly acts as a guide to connect you back to the truth of who you really are… so that you can stop playing the role of who you think you need to be, and express who you REALLY are out into the world.<p> Over the past decade Karly has dedicated herself to getting to know, like and trust herself. She has been a faithful student of the human spirit – her own, and those around her… and can help you find and live on your frequency. Facebook Instagram Tv More fabulous podcasts and great articles Subscribe today and you’ll get new episodes right when they’re released! Choose your favorite podcast app, click the button, and hit “Subscribe” at the top of the screen. Or click on the envelope and put in your email address. That’s it! Podcast Google-play Spotify Microphone-alt Rss Envelope 60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share

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60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share These are my musings, right? I could turn this into a long-winded lecture about how we could all start accepting ourselves as who we are, blah blah. I’m not gonna. Partly because I don’t like (i.e. can’t relate to) that whole airy-fairy, woo-woo, dippy hippy blah. Last night, a friend commented that she’s always thought that she was a pretty amazing person. She didn’t say it in a braggy, puffed-up, self-important kind of way, it was just a statement of fact: she’s just always thought she was a pretty amazing person. I was stunned. I found myself thinking, “What? You like who you are? Really? Wow!” As she carried on talking, I found myself filled with admiration for her: what a fabulous thing to believe about yourself. What would life look like if I believed that I was a pretty awesome person? How would I behave? What would I do differently? The idea that I could like myself AND be a nice person (she’s amazing) had NEVER OCCURRED TO ME. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t believe she’s perfect or that she has nothing to improve, it’s just that she’s basically already fabulous and she’s just building on that foundation. It’s a pretty cool idea, and one that I think I’m going to try on. Instead of coming home, like I did last night, and going over things in my head, wondering whether I’d overdressed, whether my make-up looked really crap (it’s a very long time since I wore any kind of heavy make-up and I’m seriously out of practice), wondering why I made a certain comment and beating myself up for giving a cup of tea to the wrong person… Instead of doing all that, if I thought I was awesome, maybe I’d sleep a bit better at night. Maybe I’d enjoy life a bit more and chill out, relax a bit, have some fun, stop being so uptight about stuff. It sounds like a pretty attractive prospect to me. I do think that it’s going to take a bit of practice for me to be able to say “I’m a pretty amazing person” without cringing / blushing / feeling stupid, though. Even the thought of saying it out loud makes me want to go and hide. And let me say, I think a lot of the discomfort in this comes from being English: it’s just not the done thing to talk yourself up. It’s called ‘bragging’ and we don’t do that if we’re polite, decent people. What are your thoughts on this? Let me know. More FABULOUS Articles and Podcasts Check out the books on sale The Book Shop has some of the best books for sale. You’ll find the perfect read for chilling out, improving your finances or working on yourself. Click on the button, your next favourite read is waiting for you… Subscribe today and you’ll get new episodes right when they’re released! Choose your favorite podcast app, click the button, and hit “Subscribe” at the top of the screen. Or click on the envelope and put in your email address. That’s it! Podcast Google-play Spotify Microphone-alt Rss Envelope 60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share

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60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share I’ve been quiet on this one. I’ve really tried not to say anything. I don’t invite negative shizzle into my life and this is as negative as it gets. Only I can’t keep quiet because then I’m called a racist: silence is violence and all that judgemental cr*p. Here’s the thing: black lives matter. I’ve never believed anything different to that. I wholeheartedly agree that things have to change and I also believe that the system has racial prejudice built into it. Well, duh. Of course it does. Because human beings built the system and 99% of human beings are naturally wary of things they don’t understand. Ergo, they build their society and laws to protect them from things they don’t understand. The only way we can change any of this is for people to become familiar and comfortable with other humans. In other words, through education. Do I think that this needed to come to the surface? Yes, absolutely it did and I’m glad it did. Do I want things to change so that we’re all treated as individuals based on who we are as people and not on any outward appearance? Too right. Someone’s gender, race, colour, culture, sexual preferences, dress code or anything else should have no bearing on how we react to or treat them. I’m getting really uneasy about things, though. The problem is that I’m watching more and more people act in a way that I wouldn’t tolerate in my children. The P*ssed Off Mother in me is starting to rear its head and, as any of my children will tell you, when that happens: run.  Let me just put in a disclaimer here: I can only talk about the UK and Australia because those are the two cultures I’m familiar with. So don’t start talking about me not understanding the way things are in the US, because I don’t, and it’s not a commentary about that.  RESPECT Treating people with respect is my big thing. I do my utmost to treat everyone with respect and I get uncertain and tongue tied when someone is from a different culture, because I don’t know what that person’s idea of respect is. I know a lot of people don’t feel the same way as me, but I do think that British and Australian society is built on a belief of respect for everyone. Our legal system is based around respect for individuals and property; you know, the whole “do unto others as you would have others do unto you” thing (you can tell which bible I used at school, right?) That inbuilt respect needs to be expanded and refined as we as a society expand and grow. As something that was acceptable in the past now becomes unacceptable, we change it. Let’s get one thing straight: there are idiotic morons who show no respect to anyone else in every society, gender and race, in every job, every profession, and in every country. Some of them are even in charge of entire countries, lord help us. They also seem to bubble to the surface during protest marches and on social media, using aggressive or passive aggressive techniques to shame / bully / force other people into doing what they want or silence them. Which leads me nicely on to…  MOB RULE I have a deep, deep mistrust of mobs. To me, when people get into a mob, they lose their sense of self; they start acting in ways that they normally wouldn’t even consider because they get caught up in the emotion of the moment. Here’s my issue with the riots and ongoing destruction that’s happening: when you’re upset about something, you act in the moment, a Crime of Passion if you will, the difference between Manslaughter and Murder. When it carries on beyond that initial uncontrollable outburst, it’s called a tantrum. Once you’ve got people’s attention, start talking.  TAKE OWNERSHIP Once the initial outburst is over, continuing the destruction and stopping people from cleaning up or protecting their property is done completely out of choice. Once you’re out of the grip of that initial burst of emotion, whatever you then do is your choice. There are no excuses. You simply chose to destroy someone’s headstone or deface a statue or hold a gun to someone who wants to clean up the mess made by the riots. Saying that you’re doing it because you’re sick of the prejudice or violence or you want change is, to be really blunt, just an excuse. It might be a fabulous reason, you may indeed be totally justified and you may have lots of people agree with you and condone your behaviour, but it’s still just a reason, just an excuse. Own the fact that you’re choosing to do it and stop blaming other people for what you’re doing. Man, I can hear the outcry about that comment! I KNOW things have to change, I WANT things to change and I KNOW the governments & the people haven’t been listening, but all of our actions are still a choice. It’s always a choice.  YOU CAN’T JUDGE SOMEONE FROM ANOTHER TIME BY YOUR OWN STANDARDS It’s called growth. It’s like judging your younger self against what you know now.  BODY LANGUAGE And moving right into another quagmire, let’s talk about that video of the police officer knocking the indigenous kid to the ground. If you don’t know about this, watch the video here: https://www.news.com.au/national/police-to-launch-investigation-into-violent-arrest-of-indigenous-teen/video/1e9652d9bd9319379a02293dfbe3fc39 If that had been my kid in that video, I would have been absolutely furious. Partly with the officer but mainly with the kid. I’ve watched that video over and over and what I see is an obnoxious 16-year old being really rude to someone and goading them in the hope that they can catch the whole thing on camera and plead police brutality. Which is exactly what they did. Watch the body language: that officer was not seeing an indigenous person threaten him. He was seeing a gobby 16-year being an a*se. Listen to the kid holding the camera: when his mate falls to the floor, there’s a nanosecond of concern and then what you hear in his voice are two things: glee and triumph. Should the officer have responded the way he did? No. Would I have been upset with him if that had been my kid? Yes. But my kid would have had hell to pay when he got home for treating someone that way.  DON’T TAR EVERYONE WITH THE SAME BRUSH The vast majority of police officers aren’t racist, no more than they’re sexist or homophobic or anything else.In other words, they’re human, and you’re going to get all of the normal human traits within the police. But, for the most part, people become police officers because they want to contribute to society in a positive way. They want to (dare I say it?) protect and serve. They’re certainly not in it for the money or because it’s a cushy job, and I’m ongoingly grateful for the work they do.  UNDERSTANDING NOT JUDGEMENT The only way forward in this is ongoing conversation and education. Our kids should be learning all aspects of history and culture in school so that we, as a society, needn’t judge someone based on their race, culture or gender. Once understanding is part of our lives, prejudice will be incomprehensible and… just weird. I’m still struggling with all this and it’s one of the reasons I’ve held off saying anything. The other reason is actually pure fear: the self-appointed social media police are on hyper alert at the moment, vilifying people for views and opinions that they personally don’t think are appropriate, and I’m bound to have upset several million people with my “ignorant, racist” views.I wonder how many other people are keeping quiet for the same reasons? I believe that racism, sexism and everything else is inherent in the system and that it’s way beyond time for change. But I’m not comfortable with portraying a gobby 16-year old as an innocent party, I don’t think that destroying property or defacing buildings, statues and gravestones is justified, nor do I believe that the police are all racist bullies.   Check out these other brilliant podcasts & articles 60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share

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Menopause, Marriage and Motherhood

60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share “Which sibling relationship caused you the most problems?” Mildly philosophical discussions about family dynamics are the coolest. Bouncing around ideas about why someone did/does something and the different ways we can each deal with that… …or not deal with it, depending on our personality. In this case, a second child wanted to let his mother know that his younger sister is not quite as sweet and innocent as she seems. Only his mother didn’t listen, leaving the boy feeling unheard and a little unwanted, as well as really angry with the world. Find out: ✨✨How to actually, really listen to your children ✨✨ Why children need to be heard ✨✨ The ongoing and lasting impact when children don’t feel heard ✨✨ How to arbitrate the disputes between your children ✨✨ How to create deep, meaningful relationships between yourself, your children and each other Click here to listen on your favourite player! Listen To More Podcasts and Read More Blogs Don’t miss out on the emails! 60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share

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Menopause, Marriage and Motherhood

60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR A**E AND STOP SHOWERING YOUR CRAP ALL OVER SOCIAL MEDIA This pandemic and the whole stay-at-home thing has brought out some hitherto hidden talents in some people. People that I previously believed to be logical, down-to-earth and caring people have suddenly become neurotic prisoners of war, rabidly decrying the insult to their freedom and liberties by a corrupt, lying “System”. They’ve become experts at digging into the dark places and finding articles and videos that show that what they suspect is true. They’ve started calling people names, declaring that Barack Obama is related to Hitler and wants to kill off all the Jews, and that Bill Gates is a nasty little secret despot who’s aiming for world domination by injecting us all with microchips that will allow The System to control us. Several things come up for me at this point. First, saying stuff like that is SLANDER. How would you feel if someone said things like that about you? What if someone twisted your words and added meaning to them that you didn’t intend? I am not about believing everything I read, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I am definitely not going to spread rumours. The next thing is: I am not an expert in most things and neither are you. I hate to admit it, but it’s true! Okay, I’m an expert in some things: parenting, running a household, starting stuff and never finishing, even quantity surveying (yes, I have a degree in construction so I’m probably an expert, even though I don’t feel like one) but I’m not an expert in most things. None of us are. There is so much information available out there that we have to specialise in certain things in order to become an expert in them. And therein lies the problem: there is so much information freely available, that we all think that watching some videos on YouTube or reading some articles that say the direct opposite to most of the things out there mean that i) we are now an expert, ii) our now expert opinion is valid, and iii) we have a right to spout that new expert opinion as though it’s the TRUTH and the rest of the world is a herd of sheep being kept in the dark by Forces of Evil, too stupid to see what’s really going on. Just because we spend hours / days / weeks on the internet, reading and watching all this stuff does not make us an expert. Reading about the pros and cons of vaccinations or coronavirus or 9/11 does not make us an expert. Do I think that our medical profession is too much under the sway of the pharmaceutical companies? Too right I do. I’ve just had the third operation to put right something that was caused by a doctor listening to big Pharma and not doing his research. And while I can do my own research and get myself informed, that does not make me an expert. It just gives me enough background to come to my own half-a**ed opinion and ask the doctor somewhat more informed questions. However, it doesn’t give me the right to negate the doctor’s opinion. After all, they’re the ones with the degree and the post grad qualifications and the however-many-years experience. They’re the actual, real life, expert. If it’s their belief that I’m better off following a particular medical path, then their expertise in the matter surely counts for more than my kind-of-informed opinion. I’m reluctant to say, “do as your doctor tells you” because I’m not ever going to hand over control of my life without getting as much knowledge as I can about something before making a decision. But I’m not going to be able to get to the doctor’s level of expertise before I need to make that decision. Also, to disregard or negate what the doctor (or any other expert) is saying because we believe that they’re ‘being controlled by big pharma’ or they’re ‘just after our money’ or they ‘just want to get people out of there as quick as they can’ or ‘you’re just a number to them’ is a harsh criticism of someone who’s spent decades studying their craft and who’s also taken the Hippocratic oath to do no harm. Again, how would you feel if someone said that to you? What if the tables were turned? Obviously, there are doctors out there who are complete a**ses and who are in it just for the money, but doctors are human, after all; there’s bound to be a few of them. A few months ago, I asked a friend – a retired surgeon – what his thoughts were on vaccinations and the anti-vaxxers in particular. I hadn’t expected his answer, or his anger. He was the doctor in charge of the last case of childhood smallpox in Colombia. His comment was “If you’ve seen a child die from one of those diseases, listened to the screams, comforted them and their parents as they die, you would not be anti-vaccination. The problem is: there’s a price to pay. Vaccinations save millions but there are also a tiny percentage who react to the vaccinations and you get side effects like Autism. You have to weigh it up: is it worth saving millions at the cost of a few thousand? That’s what it boils down to. It’s harsh, and I don’t like to do it because I want to save everyone, I don’t want anyone to suffer, but we haven’t figured out a way to prevent these diseases with no cost. We are looking for a way, but we haven’t found it. We are doctors; we went into this profession to help people and we’re doing it in the best way that we can, but we’re not perfect.” The final thing I’ve got to say on this (and I did digress a little there) is that, if you’ve got a load of time on your hands and all of this information/education/entertainment on hand, why would you choose to spend your time digging up things that make you more miserable? Seriously? I love my crime programs, but I also find that my mood drops when I’ve been watching them. I knew I was going to be spending a lot of time watching TV and on the internet while I was recovering from the operation so I made a conscious decision to only watch things that left me feeling better when they finished. No more Waking The Dead, Silent Witness or Criminal Minds. They’re brilliant but bloody depressing. Also, no more Donald Trump because he’s an absolute f*** wit, and definitely no conspiracy theories. I focussed on what made me feel better, not worse. You get what you put your energy in to. I can guarantee that you’ll find anything you’re looking for if you look hard enough, even proof that 9/11 and the holocaust never happened. I’m sorry to go all nerdy on you here, but there was an episode of Star Trek: Voyager where Seven of Nine became convinced that Chakotay (vice-captain of Voyager) and the Marquis (former rebels) were in league with some alien baddies. She found heaps of proof, and things on the ship descended into chaos for a while. The moral of the story: you’ll always find what you’re looking for. That doesn’t mean it’s the truth. And before anyone starts, I’m all for free speech and informed decisions and all that. This isn’t about that. For all that I’ve gone off on several thoroughly enjoyable tangents, this is actually about calling people out for spending their time not only making themselves feel bad but also wanting to share the badness around. Seriously, people: get a grip. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves, stop being a victim and start living your own life instead of pretending that other people are stopping you from doing that and the world (and The System in general) is against you. Obviously, all of this is said from a space of love and compassion… admittedly an irritated and I’m-at-the-end-of-my-tether-with-some-people space of love and compassion, but you can’t have everything! 😁💖 More articles and podcasts 60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share

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Menopause, Marriage and Motherhood

60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share I don’t know about you, but by the time I reached my fifties, I was an absolute MASTER at feeling guilty and being sad about what I’d lost and would never have again (think: cuddles from a little child, the family all being together, pizza nights in front of the TV, school runs, that kind of thing) (okay, maybe not the school runs). It’s such a difficult trap to get out of, but it’s made MUCH easier when you recognise what’s happening; if you don’t know that the reason you’re short tempered is that you’re sad because your child’s visit is nearly over, then how can you move beyond it? In this podcast, I go through the things that I’ve done (and hopefully you can do, if you’re inclined) to let go of the guilt and embrace the grief (yes, embracing it makes it disappear so much faster!). Find out: ✨✨ How to start to recognise the different emotions that are reeling through my brain at any moment, and often at the same time ✨✨ How sharing our real selves  – authentically and fully – can change the way we experience life ✨✨ How we undervalue ourselves ✨✨ Working out what is it we really want from life ✨✨ Being honest about the things we’re really good at ✨✨ Acknowledging our talents and experience (something we, as middle aged women, tend to be VERY bad at!) ✨✨(This is a controversial one ) Allowing ourselves the freedom to do things we enjoy and not do things we think we OUGHT to do Click on one of the buttons below to listen now… Listen here! More fabulous podcasts and articles! Don’t miss out! Get the notifications 60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share

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Menopause, Marriage and Motherhood

60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share I learned something very interesting this morning: I’ve lived my entire life being afraid the whole time (with the occasional foray into outright terror).I know we’re all scared a lot of the time, but this is the flavour of my life. My core conversation – the place from which I approach life – is “I’m scared”. When I was 5, we moved house and I started a new school. I’d learned to read when I was young (love a good book!) and, being a precocious child, I was quite proficient by the time we moved schools. My new teacher brought me to the front of the class and asked me to read what was on the board… but it was in a foreign language! I’d learned to read the ‘traditional’ way as in words like these. But my new school learned to read using a phonetic alphabet and I hadn’t a clue what the words on the board said.I remember standing there like a deer in the headlights, not understanding and terrified. As you probably know, since then I’ve spent my entire life trying to understand and putting myself into scary situations and generally being a scary person. It’s an interesting nature/nurture conundrum because I think I am basically curious about experiencing different things as well as being naturally forthright, which can come across as being both brave and quite scary (there’s very little buffering between thoughts occurring and words coming out of my mouth). And like I said, while I go through life in a constant state of low level anxiety with the occasional foray into abject terror, I’ve also felt the most powerful when I’ve allowed myself to be that “scary” person who isn’t afraid to say it as it is and take on someone/something previously seen to be invincible. So, that’s where I’m at at the moment and I just wanted to communicate that with the world before I go and have a meltdown about the whole thing xxx PS Back in 2002, when I first did the Landmark Forum, I had this really vivid nightmare where I was being chased by a tiger. Eventually, the tiger caught me and put a hand on my shoulder. I turned round and the tiger was me. Funnily enough, the expression on the tiger’s face in the photo is exactly what I look like when I hear someone say something stupid and I decide they need to understand exactly what it is they’ve just said. It’ll be a very familiar expression to my kids (and their friends) PPS Just shared my exciting new discovery with John and his reaction was “well, duh” Tiger photo courtesy of Smithsonian Institute’s Adopt A Tiger Scheme Read and listen some more… Join the Brilliant mailing list here 60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share

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Menopause, Marriage and Motherhood

60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share Part 3 of the Things Your Kids Want To Know (But Are Too Afraid To Ask) series. I’m a bit of a reaction when you hear a parent answer that question with something along the lines of “I love you all the same!” I’m sad to say that I want to slap them and tell them to stop lying. You cannot possibly love everyone the same because we’re all different people. I love each of my kids for who they are, and I don’t love one of them more than I love another, but I don’t love them the same. Maybe it’s just me. I opened myself up to my kids a few weeks ago and asked each of them what they thought of the way they’d been raised and whether they had any questions of me. This is the conversation I was dreading: the one with my eldest son. Not because he’s not a great person or I don’t like him, but he’s scarily smart and a natural analyst and debater. He loves arguments (as I well know from his teenage years) and unless someone can convince him of something beyond (not always) reasonable doubt, and argue their point better than he can argue his, he won’t change his mind. But what I’d forgotten is that Jamie can also come up with the most insightful, enlightening questions, which is what he did here. While he did ask (only partly with his tongue stuck firmly in his cheek) which of my kids I preferred, what he wanted to know was what lessons I learned from raising each of the different children. As always, Jamie made me stop and think… Listen here! Listen to more podcasts… 60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share

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Menopause, Marriage and Motherhood

60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share 👩‍👧💖Have you ever wondered what your children REALLY think of your parenting style (but you’re too afraid to ask)💖👩‍👧 I had a brainwave the other week: wouldn’t it be cool to ask my kids what they thought of my parenting style and how it’s affected them, what did and didn’t work, what they’d change, what they’ll keep for when they become parents. Then I realised what I might be opening myself up for and had a full-on meltdown: this was a thoroughly stupid idea. But I sucked it up and got on with it, mainly because I was curious to find out what they actually did think, and while I was totally hoping that they’d say, “No, you were awesome, Mum! I wouldn’t change a thing!”, there was also this macabre desire to find out where I went wrong and how I completely ruined my kids’ lives so I could beat myself up about it.  In this episode, I speak to Kira, my 20-year old eldest daughter, who shocked me by turning up armed with a full-on list of questions as to why I did certain things and why I rarely conformed with what her peers (and their parents) felt was “acceptable” parenting. I’ve got to say right here that I was the subject of more than one meme among her friends for several (in)famous incidents, not least of which was Kira being grounded and missing her Year 11 Formal!  Interestingly, we didn’t cover that in this chat, it’s definitely a fabulous subject for another time!   Why was I adamant that I was not a friend to the kids as they were growing up?⁠Why don’t I consider my kids were difficult teenagers? ⁠ Why do I hate the way kids behave in American TV shows (vast generalisation here!) and why was I so vocal about that not being acceptable behaviour? ⁠ How have John & I managed to stay together for so long (30 years!) and how come we never argue? () Why did I allow Kira to go to boarding school when she was 10 years old and how was that for me? That last question led to a very interesting conversation with Kira about her experiences of boarding at such a young age.⁠ Listen NOW on your favourite player Apart from the episode I did last week with my second son, Ryan (you can listen to that here), I also did a podcast a while ago talking about why I believe Boys Need Rules, but girls aren’t much different, to be honest. (you can listen to that podcast here) And NOTE: these are all my opinions. They’re not the only ones and they’re not the truth, they’re just what worked for me. If you want to read some books that I thought were absolutely brilliant (partly because they completely validated my own beliefs about parenting! 😜🤣) check out Celia Lashlie’s books. Celia was a prison officer in a juvenile detention centre who went on to be a psychologist and travelled round schools in Australia and New Zealand to talk to parents about teenage boys’ need for rules. More fabulous articles and podcasts 60 SHARES Share on Facebook Follow us Save Share

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