Find Your Tribe… Love Them Hard!

silhouette of four people against sun background
Photo by Dennis Magati on Pexels.com

Ever since I started my social media course last September, I have had many experiences of  ‘women tribes’.  They have come in many forms… course cohorts, networking groups, and workshops.

What I’m talking about here isn’t my usual group of friends… not my ‘girls’ that have known me forever, who have seen me at my best and my worst (which was probably face down pissed up on a pavement in Newquay!).  These are women I have never met before, who sometimes live in different parts of the country, come from different walks of life but all thrown together for the same cause.

As you may have read in previous blogs, I have recently started a course involving mindset and how you can up-level your business by getting over your fears and negative thoughts.  Last week our cohort of nine, plus our mentor Andrea, had our first Zoom meeting – posh term for ‘a meeting over the internet’!

The conversation involved how we got on with writing ‘Our Story’ (see previous blog)  and what our ‘Wins & Stretches’ have been this week.  What was so refreshing was to see how everyone was completely honest about how they were feeling. No pretence, no making out everything was great.  There were tears and fears laid out for all to see, and whilst there were apologies at first (we are British after all!) this vulnerability was so refreshing and gave us all permission to bear our feelings.  This is how you build trust within your ‘Tribe’.

I came to do this course following a workshop I did a couple of months ago.  Again, this involved women who, once they all got in a room together, realised they’re not alone in feeling inadequate, not good enough, that they can’t reach their potential and that they’re too fearful to push out of their comfort zone for fear of failure.  (Read ‘Yesterday, Three Women Changed My Life’ for more details).

During my six month course with Digital Mums, I was put together with six other women who were taking the journey with me.  We would meet over the internet every Thursday evening and talk daily on WhatsApp.  The fact that these other women didn’t know me from Adam nor I them, almost gives you permission to be your most honest… almost like a counsellor does.

During the six months of the course, we all went through the ups and downs and we were all there for each other on a daily basis… not only to get through the work that we needed to do to pass, but life in general.

Six months after qualifying, I still talk with my ‘Frida K’ girls daily and we managed to meet up in real life just after we graduated in May.  Another meet up is due soon… it’s just a logistical nightmare trying to get seven women free at the same time!

Something really incredible happens when you get a room full of women together… and I don’t mean on a Hen Night! 

On Saturday I went to a ‘Colour Me Beautiful’ workshop to support a wonderful lady I have recently met whilst networking.  I took a friend along with me and I had met a few of the  other ladies there before, but only really as much as ‘what do you do for a living?’.   However, once we all got chatting about how we felt about ourselves, there was a shift.  There was this ‘green light’ where it was perfectly OK to share our vulnerability.

With all these experiences I have come to realise, that it really doesn’t matter who you are or what your standing is in the community… we are all women going through similar things in our lives and we are best when we support each other, not tear each other down.

So, don’t be afraid to do something outside your comfort zone. Go and meet new people – whether it be at an exercise class, running club, mother and baby group, further education or workshops.

You never know where you might find another ‘Tribe’.

Until next time,

 

Love and hugs… TOMD xx

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Barcelona with ‘The Butch Girls’!

I know, you’re thinking who on earth are the ‘Butch Girls’? It sounds like it could be some female wrestling tag-team (might have to Google that!).

Let me explain. ‘The Butch Girls’ are my wonderful group of school friends that still keep in touch and do stuff together 31 years after first meeting at secondary school.

I’ve come to learn that this is actually quite unusual, to still be in touch with girls from secondary school. And whilst it’s true that we have been in and out of each other’s lives, especially during our 20s, these girls will undoubtedly always be in my life.

So, why are we called ‘The Butch Girls’?  We can’t really remember where it came from. None of us are particularly masculine or as the name may suggest, that we might bat for the other side (or is that the same side?!).  I remember the reference ‘Butch Girl’ first came up at my 18th birthday party… a long, long time ago!  It seemed to stick and we’ve been ‘The Butch Girls’, ever since!  I suppose if you happen to see us strut our stuff to Tina Turner’s ‘Nutbush’ it might explain it! It really is something to behold!

Anyway, this weekend was time for our annual getaway.  I worked out that it’s our eighth year now of doing something together.  It started when three of us went to visit one of the ‘Butches’ who now lives in Germany back in 2011 and it carried on from there. We still make Germany a bi-annual thing and visit somewhere different in between – this year it was Barcelona.

Now, I’m not going to give you a blow by blow account of what we got up to in Barcelona – most of it is the classic ‘you had to be there moments’ and we certainly had plenty of those; I’m certainly not going to try and recreate them on a blog.  However, I did want to share with you my thoughts on this Spanish city.

We stayed in the Gothic quarter of the city in an apartment which was a stone’s throw away from Dr Stravinsky’s Cocktail bar  (just for reference), which actually took us three nights to find as it was so well hidden!  It was a perfect location and I recommend staying in this part of the city if you can.  Lovely bars and restaurants are close by along with the wonders of the food market and great shopping.

What can I say about Barcelona. It’s so colourful and beautiful… and crazy-full of little streets that you can get lost in.  It’s literally like something out of Harry Potter – you get easily get lost in these interconnecting alleys within the Gothic quarter and with my hideous sense of direction, I was just glad there were five others with me who knew their way better than I did!

If you go to Barcelona, I totally recommend grabbing a bike from one of the many hire shops as a way to see the city.  We took ourselves down to the beach and cycled along the promenade stopping at a couple of bars for food and drinks, and then more drinks.  The sense of freedom felt amazing and so much fun… once you get out of the crazy streets and are able to use the cycle lanes without the fear of crashing into someone!

We learnt during the weekend, whilst sitting with a man in a cafe (we don’t normally sit with men in cafes, but there was only one table left and we kind of gatecrashed it!) that the beach in Barcelona was man made before the Olympics in 1992 to make the city more interesting.  They certainly succeeded – it doesn’t feel like you’re in a major European city when you can you cycle to sea and sand just 10 minutes from the city centre. So, if you like sea, sand and sun with your city break, this ticks all the boxes!

You can’t go to Barcelona without visiting the famous Gaudi Cathedral.  I have to admit, I’d never heard of it before (architecture isn’t exactly my forte) but this ‘wonder’ of a cathedral is mind blowing! You could literally look at it all day and still find new things. There are mixtures of so many different styles, some beautiful, others odd and some bordering on ‘Vegas’!  It has never been finished, but when it is (somewhere around 2026), it will be the tallest of its kind.

Barcelona shopping certainly has something for everyone.  If you’re after department stores, you can find them down on the rowdier Las Ramblas, or you can take in the beautiful boutiques which are found in abundance in the Gothic quarter.

On Las Ramblas you will find plenty of tat and weird stuff if that’s what takes your fancy. My particular favourite was packets of plants and flowers that will grow to look like genitalia! Nice!  Whereas if you fancy a little accessory treat, like a new bag or scarf (like I did!) then you won’t go far wrong with the little shops that can be found in many of the winding alleys through the city centre. I’m actually a really lazy shopper but even I managed to pick up a couple of pretty little things over the weekend.

With restaurants and bars a plenty, along with shopping, beaches, culture and plenty of red wine and Sangria, I’m pretty sure I will see you again soon Barcelona!

Until next time,

Love & hugs from TOMD xx

Yesterday, three women changed my life!

Attending the ‘Scaling The Summit’ workshop opened up my mind to the possible!

woman with blonde hair at the top of the mountain raising her hands
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending a day with three business experts and had the benefit of their life experience and advice… me and 59 other women!  We had all been invited to be part of a ‘test group’ for this new dynamic trio of Linda Davis-Carr, Andrea Callanan and Emma Van Heusen presenting their take on how to upscale our businesses.

Each of these women have been incredibly successful in their careers, faced difficulties along the way, made huge changes and sacrifices and after a lot of hard work, carved out their own successful businesses.

Andrea was our MC for the day as well as leading on the ‘Mindset’ section. Andrea did an amazing job of building the energy in the room with her infectious passion.  Even the shrinking violets succumbed to her demands for us to shout “Hell Yeah” to her motivational questions.

Three sections were covered during the day… Linda was on ‘Business’, Andrea on ‘Mindset’ and Emma on ‘Marketing’.  This blog isn’t an account of what they talked about… you’ll have to book up on their workshop to find out!  What I will say, is that the women in that room had the opportunity to assess how far they have come and start to believe that they can achieve their dreams for the future.

‘The Triple Threat’, that is Linda, Andrea and Emma, talked candidly about their own experiences in business, their fears, worries and the good old ‘impostor syndrome’ that so many of us seem to suffer from.

One of the most poignant parts of the day was during Andrea’s Mindset section. Now, I’m a very open minded person when it comes to ‘the mind’ so I was looking forward to this, but I appreciate it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  We were asked to stand up and put our hands by our sides.  When then did some breathing in time to Andrea clicking her fingers.  The energy in the room shifted and we were all receptive to her every word.  As she clicked 1,2,3,4… 1,2,3,4, Andrea started to talk about our memories, asking us to go back to a time when something amazing happened.  A memory that made you feel like you could do anything, a memory that we could see, a memory that we could feel.

As I stood there breathing in and out, a few visions flashed in and out of my mind, but there was one memory that came back to me, so I went with it.  It wasn’t anything to do with the kids, or my husband, or my job… it was just me.  I thought of the day when I had made a massive decision in what was undoubtedly the biggest crossroads in my life.  You know the one, where which ever decision you make, you know your life will never be the same again.  I won’t go into what it was about, that would take all day, but the overwhelming feelings I had was that I could do anything I put my mind to.  I did it once and I can again.

As Andrea continued to talk us through the exercise, I was unable to stop the tears from pouring from out of my closed eyes, it really was that powerful.  As we came out of the meditation, I looked around to see that so many of the other ladies were feeling the same!  Tissues were passed around as we gathered ourselves together and it was clear to see that Andrea was also clearly affected by what she had just witnessed… lots of women in one room connecting with their emotions.

We did many other tasks during the day that made us think about how amazing we are… and if we didn’t think it at the beginning of the day,  by the end, we were starting to believe it.  It’s not something that will happen overnight, it has to be worked at but undoubtedly, having a tribe of women to support you like the ladies in the room is only going to help.  Sometimes, just having somebody else saying that you are capable, you are valuable and you can do whatever you want to do is all you need to give you the push to do it.

What I came away with at the end of the day, was the thoughts that I had been playing around with the last few days were now confirmed. I want to get back to blogging, and build this little corner of the internet called ‘Tales of a Mother’s Daughter’.  I want to create a place that shares information on all the things I like to talk about and feel passionate about.  I want to work with companies that support women in all things ‘wellbeing’ or produce amazing products that make women feel good – shoes, bags and make up are obviously top of my list!  This is all going to take time and hard work, but other people do it, so why shouldn’t I?  If you have the drive, you can do anything.

The blog I started last June about our little girl’s Autism story had already started to evolve and despite being neglected for the past nine months while I up-skilled as a Social Media Manager, it’s time to get back to it.  Time to get a re-brand and create an awesome website and go with it.  It will take time and I’m not going to pressure myself into doing everything tomorrow (which is usually how I think)… I need to plan, make shit loads of lists… but I can make this happen.

As women, we are all daughters, and a lot of us are mothers too… and what was highlighted yesterday is that we all have our tale to tell, so lets tell it!

Until next time….

 

Love and hugs xxx

 

 

 

 

Dads are from Mars… Mums are from Venus! 

How many times do you look at the father of your children and think they must live on another planet?  I swear, it doesn’t matter what you do in life, as a mum, you are pretty much the font of all knowledge – accept of course if the electric goes, the computer freezes or you have to admit you don’t know where the petrol cap button is on the car (damn it!).

Now, I’m certainly not dissing men here, (and my very own hubby is the most wonderful man ever ) so don’t be getting on your high horse lads – this is all a little bit of fun, but these are the questions I ask myself every week!

So, I’ll start with the obvious… the bloody toilet seat!  For the love of god, just put the damn thing down… and squirt some bleach down there while you’re at it!!

It doesn’t matter where I am in the house, if the kids need anything they come and find me.  I could be in the shower, on the loo, putting washing out… they clearly forget there is another parent in the house to ask who doesn’t happen to be indisposed at that moment!

Why is it, on the rare occasion I go out on a night out with the girls, I get people ask me (usually men) if hubby is babysitting!  WTF! Babysitting! What parent babysits? Depending on how many I’ve had to drink will depend on my sarcastic answer! “Yes, I pay him £5 an hour!” to “No, he’s the Dad!”.  No way would anyone ask if I was home babysitting if it was the other way around so what’s that all about?

When I decide I’m going to have an early night, I need to plan ahead at least an hour before I want to get some shut eye.  Men, pretty much, simply go to bed.  Before I head up, I will always find a washing machine full of wet washing (shit), then a tumble dryer full of dry washing (shit), then realise its PE tomorrow and those elusive football socks have disappeared again (ffs!) oh yes, and the kids sandwiches are still not made! (Bollocks!). Early night my arse!

Now, I’m not going to lie, I’m not always the best person at remembering birthday cards.  It’s usually when everyone starts posting birthday wishes on timelines that I dash out and get a card/present and have to hand deliver it ! But what would happen if you left all the birthday cards to your other half… I dread to think! I know that at least three birthdays would be remembered… the rest? Not so much!

My hubby has learnt that he must never, EVER, ring during the morning school routine.  Unless you’re on a death wish dads, do not attempt it!

Weekend away?  Yes please you say… but before you go, do remember to account for every eventuality that might happen during the weekend.  This gets slightly better as the kids get older, but my point here is, Dad’s just pack their cases and go… fat chance we could ever do that!

Its the holidays… you’ve had the kids all day and you’ve just about managed to hold your shit together, although there has been plenty of two fingers up behind the fridge door and countless ‘for fcuk sakes’ muttered under your breath. However, for the past ten hours you’ve stuck it out.  Dad walks in and lasts about three minutes before he blows!  The only thing to do is crack open the wine… I mean, its sophisticated to have it with ‘dinner’ right?!

Men in general (not just our wonderful baby daddy’s) are a bit special though!  I mean, how bloody difficult is it to put the actual dish in the actual dishwasher? Placing it above it on the side really doesn’t count!!

And what on earth do they do on the toilet?  I’m not sure I really want to know the answer, but for the love of god lads, you’re taking the piss here! Do your bowels work differently from ours? No!!

Why is it that when Hubby kindly offers to got shopping, I’m running some kind of ‘shoppers helpline’? Seriously, just ask someone!

Why do men expect you to know the exact location of things?  If its gone missing, it’s assumed that I have obviously put it in a special place (sometimes I have, because its been left out for so sodding long) but in general, I’m meant to know the whereabouts of any specific item of clothing/shoes/keys!

Of course, most of this is said purely tongue in cheek and the men and dads in our lives are wonderful people.  Let’s face it, as much as they can be a pain in the butt, having control of all things ‘family’ is what we’re good at… and truth be told, we wouldn’t want it any other way!!

Until next time…. Love and hugs xxx

The Domino Effect! Little changes make a big difference…

The Domino Effect… 

I’m so pleased to be typing that this week really has been a much better week.  Mornings have felt calmer, same with evenings and I’ve done a lot less sticking up of my fingers from behind the fridge door! It’s almost like a domino effect.  Thing is, I’m not sure what has triggered it, but since the kids have gone back to school, I’ve made the following changes…

Change No.1

I am trying really hard to be more organised! Not the best thing to publicise when your job is a personal assistant to a Regional Director… but its like a busman’s holiday.. just because I’m organised (ish) in work, doesn’t mean I’m good at it at home!  However, having little things ready like uniforms (including underwear) hanging up on the bedroom door for the next day, PE kits (or any other kinds of kit) ready by the front door and lunchboxes done the night before has really helped.  I swear, I would spend a good five minutes every bloody morning looking for a missing grey school sock!  I’ve bought 10 pairs of the sodding things for the start of term!  Wonder how long before they’re all gone!

Yep… I really am that unorganised!  This really doesn’t help when your daughter suffers from anxiety! It’s not rocket science, but I didn’t appreciate how much it has helped in the mornings.

Change No.2

I’ve sorted out my ‘drawers’ and tackled the ‘Man Drawer’.  For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a drawer (ours is in the kitchen) where you throw lots of shit stuff that you either don’t know what to do with or can’t bring yourself to throw away.  Old keys, countless batteries, old chargers, shit toys from party bags, takeaway menus circa 2014, pens that no longer work, old chequebooks.. you get the idea.

To replace this, I created a ‘I need a’ box… a (stylish) storage box that holds everything we are always looking for; scissors, cellotape, suncream, hairbrush, working pens, ear defenders, charger… you get the idea.  Tonight hubby was looking for a marker pen, “in the ‘I need a’ box”.  I felt very smug!

In turn, the man drawer is now housing stuff that cluttered my cutlery drawer, making that more organised.  I know, it so sad that storage gets me this excited… but check it out! 

Change No.3

I’ve got back in the exercise game!

I don’t want to be a ‘keep fit bore’ but I was always good at getting myself up at 6.00 am and doing a 30 minute workout Mon-Fri and I underestimated how much it helps with my health.

Over the school holidays this year, I really let it slide.  I was having a pretty shit time of it and I didn’t want to exercise, mainly because I’d have one or two large wines the night before to make myself feel better for having a shit time of it!  The extra time in bed was a much nicer option.

However, not doing exercise has a knock on effect to other things which doesn’t lead to feeling any better… just your lovely little leather jacket you now want to wear feeling a little bit tighter!!

So I set my Lumie Bodyclock (best alarm clock ever) for 6.00 am and started getting back to knocking out a workout, usually with lovely Joe Wicks, The Bodycoach (easy on the eye) or one of my P90X3 discs with Tony Horton (good on the eye for an older guy #still would).  Whenever I feel like not doing it, I think about how I feel at the end of it… and how the dreaded bingo wings will be less flappy in a month’s time!

Change No. 4.

Now that I’ve started back exercising, I subconsciously make more of an effort at eating better (better, not less) fuelling my body with good, tasty food which in turns helps me feel better still. Don’t get me wrong, if I want chocolate cake, I’ll have it, I’ll enjoy it and not feel bloody guilty for it (which once upon a time I would do).

I also took the battery out of the scales earlier in the year.  Not a biggy you may think, but I would weigh myself at least every morning and the number I saw would determine how I would feel for the day. I think I’d been doing that since I was 15!  Our last set of scales weighed everything… weight, fat, bone density, muscle, water, probably wine consumption too!  I would be obsessed with which numbers went up and down and get hung up on it if things weren’t going the right way.

Now I have no idea what I weigh, I just go by my clothes and how I feel.  It’s liberating!  If I’m eating well and exercising, it usually takes care of itself.

Change No.5

I’ve gone back to a paper diary.  I’ve used my phone calendar for years and a wall calendar at home, but I would forget to check my phone and not always write stuff on the calendar as I don’t always want daughter dear knowing what is going on (see earlier blog).

Now I am writing EVERYTHING in the diary… meals for the week, to do lists, ideas, calls I’ve made, anything I can think of.  I still managed to forget a birthday last week, but its early days!

 

I’m still a work in progress and there are things I still want to make a habit such as;

Green smoothies – I do them for about a week and then can’t be arsed and leave it until I see mangos or something similar on offer and I’ll try again!

Mindfulness – I tried the Headspace App, which was really good but so far, I’ve done it only once. It’s worth doing it, if only for the 10 minutes peace and quiet!

I wrote this blog so that when I’m feeling like its all going tits up… I can read back and see that for at least a week or so, I was winning!

Until next time,

Love and Hugs xxx