29/3/15 – Building Rome…

Over the last week I challenged myself to complete the following goals:

Extending my Brand

I looked into this and thought that it might not suit my particular blog right now.  I already had a gravatar (which I had no idea of and have no clue of when and how I managed it!).  I thought about Facebook, Twitter etc but wasn’t really sure what I would do with them.  I know you can send out a link to your new posts etc, but I figured my followers are already going to get an email so there is no point in bombarding them from every angle.  I suspect that would be quite irritating.  I love Pinterest but again not too sure how it would fit in right now.

If anyone has any thoughts or ideas on this I will definitely take them into consideration.

Starting a Regular Feature

I decided to write a feature monthly called ‘Letters to my Children’.  My March post is here:

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/march-2015-letters-to-my-children/

This feature is about the lessons I have learnt in my life and the ones I am learning along the way.  I also want to write things down that I can’t yet explain to my children as they are too young to understand.  So, if one day they need me to explain anything to them, there may be a record of it here.

Please let me know what you think.

Posting Schedule

I want to keep my blog quite flexible and post as and when things occur.  I will try to do at least two posts a week plus ‘Building Rome’ and my monthly feature ‘Letters to my children’.  It will vary.  I plan to do a weekly ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ post at some point in the future.  I also receive awards and Challenges often so will plan to complete one of these a week as well.

Liebster Award

I finally completed my Liebster Award challenge.  I was nominated by the very talented John Zokovitch – http://johnjzokovitch.com/

You can read my answers here:

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/liebster-award-2/

My Goals for this Week

  • Write another post for my ‘Family’ page.
  • Start having a weekly family meeting with my children.
  • Plan a fun bonding activity with the children.
  • Complete the questions for another Liebster Award.  Nomination by the lovely https://bekitschig.wordpress.com/

Family planning…

th-24I have been giving a lot of thought recently into what kind of family culture I would like my own family to have.  What am I hoping for?  I came up with the following ideas:

  • I would like my children to be brought up in a stable family unit.  I want them to see what a healthy relationship looks like.  I want them to know that relationships should be loving, respectful and supportive.  I want them to understand that their parents are also separate beings who allow each other space to grow as individuals.  I want my children to understand that their will be conflict and that there are mature, respectful ways to settle such differences.  I want this kind of relationship with my partner.
  • I want my children to feel loved, safe and secure.  I want them to know that I will encourage their development and interests without being overbearing.  I want them to have faith that I will notice what ‘sparks’ them and fills them with passion and I will do everything in my power to support these things.  I want my children to gradually gain independence when they are ready with no pressure.  I want my children to be the best version of themselves they can be and to have solid values and live by their principles.

This is the place I wish to get to.  Reading it back to myself it seems achievable but it will take a lot of hard work and commitment as it is still very far from the place I am currently in.

Stephen Covey compares our plans about the future of our families to the flight of an aeroplane.  The pilot starts off with a flight plan to get to his destination, but along the way their is wind, rain, turbulence and air traffic which makes us deviate from our flight plan.  So most of the time the plane is not even on track at all.  What we have to remember is that barring any major incidences the flight will always arrive at it’s destination.  During the flight the pilot receives feedback which allows him to make adjustments along the way.

Stephen Covey says “The hope lies not in the deviations but in the vision, the plan, and the ability to get back on track.

I look forward to developing my vision for an improved family culture and hope to come up with my very own family mission statement.

So, how am I going to get there?  What will my particular flight plan be?  Stephen Covey says you always need to start with self.  Therefore:

  • I will strive to create a stable family unit and a healthy relationship.  I will be more loving.  I will be more respectful.  I will be more supportive.  I will allow my partner space to grow as an individual.  I will find mature, respectful ways to deal with our differences and I will create this kind of relationship with my partner.
  • I will love my children unconditionally. I will keep my children safe and secure.  I will encourage their development and interests.  I will not be overbearing.  I will notice their ‘sparks’ and passions and I will support them.  I will let my children gain independence when they are ready.  I will not be a pushy parent.  I will allow my children to be the best they can be and I will teach them to live by their values and principles.

They will learn as I learn and I will be a good role model.  I think it is important to involve the children in the process from the start as the habits will then become part of their lives.  I am not ready to involve my partner just yet, but hopefully with time I can become what Covey calls an ‘agent of change’.  I will use the principles in the 7 habits to help me along the way.

Other things I would like to add to my flight plan include:

  • Having a weekly family meeting to plan, communicate, teach values and have fun together.
  • Having regular one to one bonding times with each member of the family doing something they choose to do.

th-15I know I need to be patient.  Stephen Covey tells the story of the Chinese Bamboo tree to reflect this.  The seed is planted and then you see nothing except a tiny shoot for the next four years, all the growth is occurring underground.  In the fifth year the Chinese Bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet!

Winston Churchill once quoted we must “never, never,NEVER give up!”

I completely agree, no matter how far we have deviated from our flight plan, we can always adjust and arrive at our destination.

Liebster Award…

th-16Thank you to John Zokovitch for my very first Liebster Award.  It is much appreciated.  You can check out John’s blog here at :

http://johnjzokovitch.com/

Rules:

  • Each nominee must have under 200 followers
  • Thank and link to the nominating blog
  • Answer their 10 questions and propose 10 new ones for your nominees
  • Nominate 10 blogs and tell them that they’ve been nominated
  • Write a post containing the questions
  • Include these rules in the post

Here are my nominees:

https://cherylbecker.wordpress.com/

https://rachelsbooknook.wordpress.com/

https://handikwani02.wordpress.com/

https://ourgreatpursuit.wordpress.com/

https://abhidnya.wordpress.com/

http://dadojodest.com/

https://amomentinmymind.wordpress.com/

https://ahinayoga.wordpress.com/

https://lifeisnicenstuff.wordpress.com/

https://2020spiritualvision.wordpress.com/

My questions from John:

1.  What’s the story behind your blog name?

I have written a whole post about this.  You can read about it here:

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/whats-in-a-name/

2.  Who is the one person who you think reads most of your posts?

Definitely me!  I’m forever reading everything over to make sure I’m not repeating myself too much.

3.  Last meal on your last day?

Lamb shank, minted New potatoes and kale with gravy!  Green tea.

4.  Dog or cat?

Dog.  I have had dogs most of my life.  We currently have a flat so it’s not fair to keep a dog but as soon as we move to a house, getting a dog will be my top priority.

5.  Where do you fall in the birth order in your family? (Oldest, youngest, middle child, etc.)

I am the youngest of three sisters.

6.  Have you ever deleted a post after it has already appeared on your blog? Optional: Why?

Yes, this one actually!  Accidentally pressed publish before it was finished.

7.  I post mainly via my ________________ (laptop, tablet, phone, desktop, other).

Tablet.

8.  What is the strangest place you have been in the last year?

I don’t get out very much at the moment so I don’t think I have been anywhere strange in the last year.  The strangest place I’ve ever been is written about here:

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/a-strange-new-world/

9.  What is the last really kind thing someone did for you?

My little girl made me a lovely Mother’s Day card and got her Daddy to get me my favourite flowers and chocolates.  Daddy also got a takeaway in the evening so I didn’t have to cook.

10.  What will you do next after you finish answering these questions?

Think of ten questions for my nominees.  Play with my little boy for a while then off to pick up the little princess from school.

Here are my questions:

  1. Do you have any bad habits?  What is stopping you from breaking it?
  2. If you could develop a new talent, what would it be and why?
  3. If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
  4. If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be and why?
  5. What did you enjoy doing as a child and do those things still bring you satisfaction?
  6. What can you do well?  What are your unique traits and strengths?
  7. Who is your biggest influence in life?  What qualities do you admire in this person?
  8. Imagine it is 20 years into the future, What is your list of accomplishments?
  9. What ten things are most rewarding to you today?
  10. What is your biggest long term goal and how are you going to achieve it?

March 2015 – Letters to my Children…

th-20

Dear Daddy’s Little Princess and Mummy’s Little Soldier,

You are my world.  I never thought I would have the opportunity to be a mother and I can honestly say that it is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced.  You are my miracles.

I want you to understand why I am writing this blog.  I want you both to grow up understanding the hard work and commitment it takes to hold a family together.  I want you to know that the people you love and the relationships you develop will be the most important part of your life, far more important than anything you’ll ever own.

Your Daddy and I have been through many difficult times, but we have always managed to get through them.  There were many times when it would of been easier to walk away but our love kept us strong.  When someone you love has an addiction, you either walk away or support them.  I will support your Daddy no matter what because I know that underneath it all there is still a good person who will come back to us someday.

I know it has been difficult for you both, but I promise I will do everything I can to keep you safe.  I will be a more patient mummy and I will learn to deal with my resentment towards your Daddy which causes a bad atmosphere for us all.  I will change myself to influence those around me.

I’m feeling really positive about it.  I know that our future is going to be great!

Lots of love

Mummy.

X

22/3/15 – Building Rome…

th-14As part of my Blogging 101 course we were asked to choose a blogging event to participate in.  I have chosen ‘Building Rome’ which occurs weekly on a Sunday.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_event/building-rome/

I felt that this event would fit in nicely with my blog.  This event is about setting yourself goals to complete to enable you to get to the place you want to be.  I want to make several major changes in my life to help pull my family back together, so making little changes each week will help me focus on my overall goal.

I’m starting off small.  My first priority is to catch up with my Blogging 101 course.  So here are my goals for next week:

  1. Extending my brand.
  2. Adding a regular feature
  3. Having a posting schedule
  4. Writing my post for my Liebster Award, kindly nominated by John Zokovitch.

Wish me luck – Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Inside Out…

th-10As we progress through the ‘Seven Habits’, Stephen Covey takes us on a journey from dependence to independence and then on to interdependence.  Covey calls this the ‘Maturity Continuum’.  Dependence deals with the paradigm of ‘You take care of me’.  Independence deals with the paradigm of ‘I take care of myself’.  Interdependence deals with the paradigm of ‘We take care of each other’.  Stephen Covey calls this the ‘inside-out’ approach.  Starting with self.

Habits 1,2 and 3 take us from dependence to independence.

1.  Be Proactive deals with taking control of your life, focusing on the things you can do something about not those things beyond your control and taking responsibility rather than blaming others or your circumstances.

2.  Begin with the end in mind deals with knowing what you want to accomplish in life, organising and preparing in a way that reduces the need to work in crisis mode and beginning each week with a clear plan of what you want to achieve.

3.  Put first things first deals with being disciplined in carrying out plans, not allowing the important activities to be lost in the busy activities of your days and doing things which are meaningful and allow you to accomplish your overall goals.

Congratulations!  If you have managed all that you can officially call yourself independent.

I always thought that on the maturity continuum that I was at the very least independent and perhaps even interdependent in my work environment.  Looking back at the details of the first three habits, I see that I am wrong!

I have somewhat taken control of my life in that I have found myself again and I’m doing the things I enjoy.  I am no longer dependent on my partner and am doing most of the upbringing of the children.  However I do still occasionally worry about things I can do nothing about such as my partner’s alcohol dependency.  It took me a long time to realise that I could do nothing about it so old habits die hard.  I am getting much better at this though.  I do feel like I take more responsibility now but I do still hold quite a lot of resentment towards my partner and how his drinking has affected our lives but I’m trying to be more understanding.

I have real trouble with habit 2.  I just don’t know what I want to accomplish in life.  I never had a dream career and my interests and hobbies are constantly changing.  I can’t seem to settle on one thing for long.  I think about this too much and I think the answer is simple because all I want really is a happy, healthy family.  There, I just answered my own question!  I’m pretty good at organising and planning at work but at home I often feel swamped.  I have a general idea what I want to get done each week but it doesn’t always happen.

Habit 3 – well I procrastinate a lot.  Even my five year old tells me not to ‘crastinate!  Sometimes I’m so busy at home that I never stop and sit and play with the kids.  We definitely don’t spend enough time together as a couple.

Habits 4,5 and 6 take us from independence to interdependence.

4.  Think win – win deals with caring about the success of others as well as your own, cooperating with others and dealing with conflicts by finding solutions which benefit all.

5.  Seek first to understand, then to be understood deals with being sensitive to the needs of others, seeking to understand the viewpoint of others and when listening, seeing things from the other person’s point of view, not your own.

6.  Synergize deals with valuing and seeking out the insights of others, searching for new and better ideas and solutions and encouraging others to express their opinions.

Congratulations!  If you can do all that you are officially interdependent!

I do quite well at these in my work environment which is the area of my life that is most successful.  I work hard and I’m very well thought of by my manager and colleagues.  I generally train up the new staff who come in and as they get younger and younger and I get older I feel myself getting a slight twinge of jealousy when they start performing well.  I guess it is inevitable that someone may overtake my accomplishments one day.  They are so keen and motivated and I seem to have lost that as time has gone on.  At home I’m not so good at resolving conflicts so they benefit all.

Habit 5 is tricky.  I’m quite a quiet person so I’m a very good listener.  I can be very sensitive to other people’s needs e.g. the people with PMLD that I support at work but I am not always emphatic towards everyone.  I guess I see it that if you really are in need like the people I support then you are worthy of sensitivity but it is based on my judgement of your situation.  That sounds terrible now that I have written it down, must change that!  I guess it’s because I see the people I support surviving and thriving everyday when their needs are so high, that I think other people should be thankful that they are able-bodied, happy and healthy (in lots of cases).  People sometimes live in a bubble and sometimes don’t think about the hardships of others compared to their own.  But, I guess I’m forgetting we don’t always see the truth or real situation behind other people’s pain.

I am quite good at listening to other people’s opinions and coming up with ideas, but here again I need to improve on this at home.

Habit 7  is Sharpen the Saw and deals with renewal in the four areas of life, physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual.  Doing this increases our capacity to live all of the other habits of effectiveness.

This is probably where I’m going wrong!  I do not really do any physical form of exercise, although my diet isn’t too bad.  Although I have a habit of skipping meals if my partner’s not about for dinner (quite a lot).

I don’t have many close friends and my work relationships are mostly professional.  I don’t really go out much as I don’t like to leave the kids in case my partner drinks. So socially I’m not doing so well

I am doing activities I enjoy now and I’m reading about spirituality but I guess I could always be doing more.

Habits…

This post was inspired by the following Daily Prompt:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/too-big-to-fail/
th-8According to Stephen Covey a habit is the ‘intersection of knowledge, skill and desire’.  Knowledge is what you know and why, skill is how to do and desire is the want to do.  You must have all of these three things in order to form a habit.  It is also necessary to have these same things to break a habit.  Habits are extremely difficult to break and often people need to make major changes in order to do so.

I started smoking when I was seventeen.  I had quite a difficult home life (both of my parents went through periods of depression and they had a volatile relationship), so I used it as a way to de-stress.  I can’t even blame it on peer pressure as I was at college training to be a nursery nurse so smoking was frowned upon!  Later on at 18, I started going out with a guy that smoked and most of my friends in my local pub smoked too (back when you could smoke in a pub).  So at this point I was hooked.  I never worried too much about it and always thought that I would be able to give up whenever I wanted.

Of course, as time goes by this statement becomes less true.  So fast forward a few bad relationships, and finally getting to a point where I could be happy to be single, I decided it was time to try… and failed miserably, several times over the next few years actually.

Eventually I’m with my current partner (which regular readers will know came with a whole new set of problems and stresses).  We talked about trying to get pregnant.  So again I didn’t worry and felt absolutely sure that I would be able to give up if I became pregnant.  How wrong could I have been?  I cut down hugely but I could not give up.  It’s still to this day the one thing I will never forgive myself for.  In fact it took until my youngest was two and a half before I gave up completely.  It was thanks to Stephen Covey actually.

I started by looking at the knowledge:

  •  Smoking was starting to effect my health.
  • I wanted to stop before the children noticed.
  • I wanted to be around to see my children get married and have children of their own.
  • I didn’t want to effect the children’s health.
  • I didn’t want to pass the habit on to them.
  • I didn’t want to go through smoking-related diseases.
  • I didn’t want to die.
  • I could spend the money on something worthwhile.

I then looked at the skill:

  • Look for information online about quitting.  NHS Choices website.  Look into ‘Stoptober’.
  • Read books on the subject.
  • Speak to friends and family who had quit.
  • Gather as much support as possible.  Make myself accountable.
  • Speak to Gp about quitting options, patches, gum etc.

I looked over my desires:

  • To be healthier.
  • To have healthy children.
  • To be a part of their lives as long as possible.
  • To save money.

I then came up with an action plan.  I used patches, initially these were brilliant and completely stopped my cravings, after a while they brought me out in big red welts on my body (an allergic reaction). It was very painful but because they stopped the cravings so well I continued with them until it was unbearable.  Then I went cold turkey.  The welts took months to disappear!  So ‘Stoptober’ 2013 I gave up smoking for good.  A few months later my partner gave up too.