The Working Mom – moving from “GO” to “flow…”

9 08 2013

As I look ahead to almost a full forty years on this magnificent planet, I’m noticing significant changes in how I choose to BE.  Having lived the majority of my life on the “GO” dial, I know what busy is, and learned to be very comfortable there.  I was raised to value independence, hard work, and sacrifice for family.  Earning the respect and approval of others was a very strong motivator for me.  For years I told myself that my self-worth came from how practical I was in the volume of my accomplishments and how well I achieved what I set out to do – depth and meaning were secondary considerations.

I got my first part-time job at the age of 16 and have not looked back since.  Every time I made a career change it was to improve on either the salary or working conditions or both.  Only once I was in my twenties, did I begin making career choices to align more to who I was and what I enjoyed and even then I was still primarily driven by the values I held from an early age – I was still on “GO”.

The values began to slowly shift once I gave birth to the girls and it became harder to be on “GO” all the time, not that I would have admitted it to anyone, least of all myself.   I wore my values like a life jacket in a turbulent ocean; they were what I knew to stay alive.  I wasn’t looking for land or a coast guard; as long as I had my life jacket on I knew I could stay afloat.  I didn’t understand what Oprah meant by, “You can have it all.  Just not all at once.”

They say wisdom comes with age and in my thirties I am wisening to the realization that staying afloat is not enough.  I am learning, primarily from my children, that “GO” will not cut it, and I’m not as good a multi-tasker as I thought I was, and prided myself to be.  I’m noticing that the hopes and dreams I envision for the girls are contrary to how I am living my life.

So I have decided to press the pause button. Now as I look ahead to welcoming my forty years of wisdom I am focusing my energy on “flow” and reclaiming mySelf.  Next steps, model what it is to be in “flow” with my life and be grateful for the blessings of every life lesson that has brought me to here.

If I can do that for me, we all get to smile about it! How cool is that for a working mom moving from GO to flow?!


Happy Father’s Day

16 06 2013

Today is Father’s Day in North America and a bittersweet day for me.  My heart swells as I see friends and family posting pictures and sending wishes in honour of their Super hero dads on Facebook.  It’s been a little over 2 years since his smile physically left us and the memories are still so vivid…

  • Remembering him shaving as he used to get ready for work in the morning.
  • Listening for his car to pull in on Saturday evenings in the summer, knowing he’d be starting up the barbeque soon for dinner.
  • The myriad of household projects that never ended, rewiring cables, cleaning out the garage, filtering the wine, fixing the snow blower, putting together another shelf, trimming the shrubs…
  • Watching him with his stack of bills and receipts in front of the computer balancing the week on his spreadsheet, week after week.
  • The fun he used to have watching wrestling.
  • How he would bring home the Saturday edition of the Gazette when I was collecting the comic book inserts.
  • Bike riding on Gouin.
  • Lipton soup and hotdogs.
  • Kicking around the soccer ball at the park with the neighbors.
  • The Myrtle Beach vacation.
  • The aroma of Sambuca in his coffee.

Watching my girls share this special day with their dad made me think that one day they’ll also be reciting memories they have accumulated of their superhero, his quirks , his habits and above all how he made them feel.  A bittersweet day indeed.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100


Enjoy this touching post from a fellow blogger who shares his views of fatherhood, which may strike a familiar cord for some:

How FIERCE are you?

20 04 2013


It’s been a while since my last post, with life happening too fast for me to gather my thoughts long enough to write things down.  Before starting this blog I remember hearing from friends and colleagues one common piece of advice, “Always make sure you add value!” Having gotten into the habit of writing on a weekly basis it was difficult to stop, and the difficulty was in feeling I was letting my readers and myself down.  I knew I needed time to regroup after starting a new position at work, with different hours and expectations.  I needed to re-establish a “routine” for myself and channel the energy to sustain it.  So after my little hiatus, I feel the surge to write again and this after a week that I consider to have been one of the most mentally, physically and emotionally challenging that I’ve experienced in a while.

Our family has been training in the discipline of Taekwon Do for a few years now, and this weeks training was so full of life metaphors I’m not sure where to start.  I think the four of us have been pushed to confront many of our own internal adversaries this week, as we were confronted with real life “opponents” in the sparring ring, and a slue of challenges as we trained for our next belt level.  There were tears, sweat, bruises, aches and pains.  More than once I found myself asking “Why are we putting ourselves through this?”  Life is tough enough without the added self-imposed extracurricular struggles we’ve choosen to willingly pay for!  By Friday, we were all feeling it and no surprise that chores were not done, homework was incomplete and migraines were being suffered.

I also noticed that the girls were focusing a lot of their attention on what wasn’t going well.  With statements like, “I’m not good at…”, “It’s hard…” “These things always happen to me!”  It was like we were all in a bit of a negativity vacuum, and getting continuously sucked in.

All I wanted to do was shift their focus and mine.  We were feeding off of our mutual energy and not in a good way.  How do I get us all to recognize how truly FIERCE we are?  Fierce to confront challenges and grow from them.  This entire journey for me is about growth – I don’t have to wake up at 4am everyday to knead dough, that will become the bread sold to feed my family, like my grandmother did.  I am grateful, I don’t have to leave this country to find safety, work or opportunity like many others past and present. Beyond physical growth for survival, we continue to evolve to become more aligned, more centered, and more connected.

Why do people run 42 km races, start new businesses, take on extra courses, voluntarily care for those who need assistance, end dysfunctional relationships, speak in front of large groups…’s all about personal growth.

So girls, think of sparring as a metaphor, and your opponent being your fears and self-limiting beliefs.  With each punch and with each kick you score a point in your favour by dealing the blow and confronting the challenge.   With every block you conserve your energy to focus on the next move forward.

Find what works for you and share it – that’s what makes us fierce! And how do we recognize and remind ourselves how fierce we are?  A little help from wise friends goes a long way!



Coaching Kids to Deal with Change

24 02 2013


Have you or your children gone through a significant change in your lives?  How was it handled?

I believe even in their short life spans, my children have already learned that change is constant.  Having switched schools twice in the last 3 years, we have had quite a few conversations about how the affects of the transitions have impacted them.  We were very open about the decisions to move and the reasons behind them and made the girls a part of the process.  We knew that there would be a sense of loss regarding friendships, teachers and the overall familiarity of the environment they had come to know so well.  In retrospect, I believe that because both girls have had previous experience with loss they also had an increased ability to cope with the recent moves to their new schools.

I’ll never forget the time we came back from a weekend trip to find that one of the girls’ guineas pigs had died.  My daughter was devastated and inconsolable.  It broke our hearts to witness her pain and not be able to protect her from it.  Following that came the time when my older daughter learned from her teacher that Santa Claus was a myth.  This was another huge blow and lesson in trust, loss and she learned that things are not always what they seem.  She was livid and broke the news to my husband on their way home from school in the presence of her younger sister.  We were all shocked.  Then, only months after this life altering news, the girls experienced the death of their grandfather.  They had managed to visit him during his short hospital stay and knew he had become extremely ill in a very short span of time.  They were present the morning I got the call from my brother and knew what had happened.  They attended the wake and funeral and dealt with their loss as we dealt with ours.  We talked about it and cried together – again there was no hiding from the pain and reality of another significant loss and another change to their lives.

In those instances there was little that we did to prepare oursleves or the girls for the changes they experienced, since we as parents did not / could not anticipate what was about to happen.  We did speak very openly about our feelings and theirs and encouraged them to express whatever they felt; sadness, and disappointment, even rage.  There were accusations and we did our best to stay calm, always leaving space to allow the feelings to be owned so that they could also be processed and allow space for new feelings to emerge.

Looking back I know that these harsh life lessons have been the true teachers for the girls to deal with more change that they will inevitably encounter as the future unfolds.  They are learning that they are different in every breath, and every moment is a new experience; an invitation to live fully.  The past is unchangeable since, as my daughter put it “there’s no magic clock that can make us redo something that we already did”. 


So can organizational change management theory apply to real life change situations?  Here are some common steps to facilitating change that I’ve adapted from the 9 to 5 version some organizational leaders use with their employees. The basic fundamentals are straightforward and transferrable:

  1.  Break change down into small steps. The big picture may seem overwhelming.  Be sensitive to where your kids are at and break things down into smaller pieces that they can grasp more easily.
  2. Provide guidance and training. There will be doubt and uncertainty.  Your ability to acknowledge and address the discomfort will have a direct impact on how the change is adopted.
  3. Allow time for practice. There’s always an adjustment period for any change and comfort comes with time and patience.
  4.  Learn with your kids.  Be honest about your own challenges with the new situation.  Getting to common ground regarding the change can help diffuse the tension.  If one child is having an easier time than another, ask for their help to share how they’ve managed to deal with things.
  5. Encourage and reward progress. Don’t wait until it’s too late, acknowledge progress as it happens.  A good day can simply look like more smiles than tears – it’s a start!
  6. Sympathetically deal with frustration.  The better your self control, the lower your stress and greater your ability to deal with your children’s angst.
  7. Maintain confidence in your kids’ success. You are their cheerleader and their champion.  Let them know you are routing for them and believe in their success.
  8. Help get them started.  Set them up for success however you can by stacking all odds in their favour.  (i.e. if there is change in one area focus on increasing stability in another.) You will all benefit and grow from the experience.


Although change and loss are symbiotic, it’s the loss of the familiar and fear of the unknown that create the most anxiety.  The girls know this and as a coach I can remind them that they have lost, and continued to thrive in a new reality.   And, no matter how frightening change may seem, we need it in order to evolve.


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