About the Parenting Geek

I love food, I love the cinema, I love watching a great TV series with my husband. I love to spend time with friends and family when the conversation flows and the time flies. I love to sing and I belt out tunes when I’m home alone. I’m addicted to listening to podcasts and actually enjoy hanging up the washing these days as I can listen and learn as I do. I like colouring in. I like driving when I’m in the car but am nervous at the thought of it which stops me going to as many places as I would like; I’ll have my own coaching about this issue one of these days! I like the rain and I like to go running in the rain because there are fewer people about and the pavement is all mine. I’m desperate to get my hands on a Nike Fitbit as I know I’d get very competitive with myself and get more and more active so that I could see my graphs all rise each day. I like living where I live. I have a crowd of powerful women as friends who make me feel liked, supported, inspired and in great company. I’m very lucky to have a lovely husband. We’ve been together for almost 23 years. I love him and have built my self and my life around him though we are both also fiercely independent and love our own time and space. We do annoy each other from time to time and we do have our issues but I am loved and so well thought of by him that it makes the whole world a better place. My Mum lives close by and is a sixth non-residential member of the household. She couldn’t do more to support me and she’s fab. I love my brother even if he did get all the charisma and good looks! He tells great stories and he loves my children almost as much as I do. My Dad wasn’t in my life growing up but is now and his home in Ireland gives us an amazing home from home that hubby, kids and I adore. I have fab cousins that are amongst the best of people and when I do get to spend time with them, my life is the richer for it.

I like folky, strong, melodic music with strong female vocals. I love a glass a wine, a dark rum and diet coke and a great house party with friends. I love reading. I really love my Kindle Paperwhite. In fact technology that is useful and adds a fun or techy vibe to my everyday life is something I love. My Nota stylus that turns my iPad into a notebook is more exciting to me than it ought to be. I am generally happy with my lot though I have house envy for most of the houses I pass on the school run. I’m so nice that people think I must be a very Christian lady. I chat to anyone and will tell you my life story given half a chance. I’d love to be mysterious and sophisticated but I don’t think it will be happening in this lifetime. I’m chatty, confident to talk and share and like to help when I can. This has always balanced out my self-conscious streak, my tendency to be a harsh-judge-of-myself and my slight shyness.

I have three children of my own. They are girls aged 2yrs, 7yrs and 9yrs old. They are loud, they are bright, they are chatty and they are all prone to a bit of drama and a bit of a storm. They all make me laugh and they are all capable of driving me to pulling my hair out. Each of them is a strong character with their own set of likes, dislikes, personality traits, triggers, interests and temperaments. Only after having baby two did I learn that just because I knew how to parent the 1st baby, the 1st toddler and the 1st child did not mean that I’d be any further ahead in knowing how to parent the others. Funnily enough that has given me a lot of confidence and reassurance. I’m a person with a tendency to judge myself harshly and to compare myself to others. I’ve learnt that this is pointless in parenting and just makes me feel rubbish! Each of my own three children needs me to parent them differently, so I’m pretty sure your children need something different  again. I’ve realised that the important parenting pillars to keep in mind are boundaries, flexibility, communication, empathy, role-modeling, love, health, safety, interest, respect, teaching and coaching, compassion, time management, expectations and attention. Each of my children needs these shown, delivered, proportioned and explained in a way that suits their personality and needs. When I’m performing well, I’m quite a different Mum to each child; when I’m out of balance and try and do a consistently one-size-fits-all, it can all begin to hit the fan!

I lived in a mum-lead household from the age of five and only saw my dad from time to time and here and there. They were different times; I didn’t have any friends who lived in a single parent family back then. I knew no different though and I didn’t lose out. My Mum was lovely and we were loved and cared for very well. I was aware of how hard it was for my mum though and from the age of just five I began to develop an ability to read the emotions of others and I remember altering my behaviour to be good and to be easy for the adults around me. I hated being in trouble, I hated to get things wrong and I cried any time I did either of these. I think my sensitivity was just a different way to annoy the adults though unfortunately! My extended family lived close by and I had grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in my everyday life. I loved school and was lucky enough to find learning easy and fun. I knew from the age of 15 that I wanted to learn about psychology and to work with families and children and I think this came from a desire to be a bit of a fixer and make families, parents and children happier. In my first 18 years I saw first or second hand: divorce and separation, depression, suicide, alcoholism and people living some very drama-filled lives. I was protected and well parented but of course life’s challenges make themselves seen or known in most lives at some point.

I have always thrown myself into my work, whatever it was. I was a great cafe worker in Sainsbury’s in my Saturday job years and loved working in a pub when I did my teacher training. At 18 I looked for work that I thought would be appropriate to my desire to work in psychology and the closest I could get was working in (now closed-down) mental hospitals as a care worker. After my degree I trained as teacher and worked as a primary school teacher for 6 years before stepping sideways and becoming a school counselor in a mainstream primary school. I loved this job and did it for ten years. I loved my one to one work with the children. I loved working in partnership to support the teachers and special need team, and I loved supporting, listening to and coaching the parents. Did I say I loved that job?! ;0) So now I’m in the big wide world taking my coaching, teaching and support work to children, parents and families via my coaching practice, my workshops and trainings and my blog and parenting writing.

I am a specialist life coach for parents and children. I listen very carefully to the way people tell me things are at the moment for them- the good and the bad. I question them carefully about what they want to be different, what they feel needs to be fixed or changed, or their goals and wishes for the near or far future. Once I know this and have a clear picture of how they see themselves and how accurate this is, I teach, coach, mentor and guide them.

In my workshops, I design courses that answer the common questions I hear children and parents ask and the common concerns and problems I hear them describe and worry about. Then I research the topic thoroughly for evidence based and proven techniques and knowledge that I know will be powerful tools and information to make them feel more confident and sure about tackling them. I combine this with my experience and what I have learnt from my 15 years of working closely with children and parents, and create workshops in which a lot of coaching, teaching and useful learning occurs.

In my parenting writing I try and be really honest. I try not to write a load of old tripe that just isn’t useful in the real world. We do need to develop our own philosophy and our parenting principles that are important to us though, so I do write about the mind game of parenting and about the theories put forward by other writers and thought leaders. I also try and share very practical ideas and a range of ideas, so that if one doesn’t work in your home, you can adapt it or try a different one until you find one that suits. One-size-fits-all just doesn’t have a place in the world of real, hands-on parenting and family life. I also write about my own struggles and worries, joys and day to day experiences, as it’s important to me to be seen as a real, normal person and parent.

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