Why becoming a midlife midwife is a CRAZY idea

So as this week, on International Day of the Midwife, we march in London for the very existence of midwifery as we know it, here are my logical reasons, well-rehearsed over 10 years for NOT becoming a midwife:

  1. The intolerable pressure and realities of the NHS (system, resources, hours etc) You know the drill. Heard it all before.
  2. Being able to have more influence on maternity services from the outside as an advocate and doula, than on the inside. This one has been a particularly powerful narrative.

Add to this my longer list of fears (and yes Andrew’s fears too..), starting, “If I became a midwife, what if…?”

…The NHS swallowed me whole and spat me out a conformist?
…I was to die of sadness and exhaustion battling a system from within?
…My children forgot who I was?

And What If..

…My age – i’m nearly 43 – my mildly renegade character and propensity to seek out freedom and the Big Picture rendered me useless or impossible to work with? (yes, you can hear the outrageous assumptions rattling around in my head)

Phew..better out than in. As my grandmother used to say.

Plus, I have no idea whether i could EVER be even handed enough to site a cannula.

All pretty compelling eh?

How curious then, that on Sunday 15th Jan this year, after a few weeks of gentle prompts in my spirit to “look again”, and a loud clang that evening at church to “Look now!”, I sat down at 10.35pm to peruse the Kingston Uni/St George’s website, only to discover that the deadline for 2017 was midnight. That very night. Yes, in 1 hr 25 mins.

Caught up by an overwhelming compulsion to defy the odds, I laughed inwardly and challenged God, “If you want me to do this, you’ll have to help me..”. At 11.35pm, 14 pages of UCAS form and a 29 minute personal statement later, I realised that a reference did indeed need to accompany the form, complete, before I could press the button.

Cue more “impossible without divine intervention” prayer, a cute “You’ll think I’m barmy, you’re probably asleep BUT…” text to our local consultant midwife, who immediately replied, “I’m breastfeeding, but I can multitask”. What a woman! What a God! Witness 11:53: button pressed. I was so overwhelmed by this improbable move, that I couldn’t sleep for two hours and didn’t tell my husband Andrew for two weeks… Two months to the day later, an interview and a call from the Uni to say they’d love to have me..

So what’s this all about? and where might it be heading? This is what I spoke out in preparation on the morning of my interview, squinting into the sun in Richmond park. BORE warning. Heartfelt, but interview prep none the less…

This is the high dream: that I might use ALL of who I am made to be – the woman, the voice, the mother, the coach – to bring refreshment and possibility to midwives who are losing hope. I am not one to hold back, as you know, from thinking deep and wide, believing anything is possible.

So this is an invitation, to come with me, with us as a family, on this journey. You can do that by

  • keeping me accountable to remember the spirit of gratitude I started with. I’m grateful for those who have inspired me. For you, midwife Godmother Sarah; you too my very own midwife Frances. For you midwives I have worked alongside as a doula, who have poured out heart with a hefty dose of soul, and occupied your natural and rightful place of standing for ‘yes’ and ‘why on earth not?’ in a system which tends towards the opposite. Grateful also for you, my community of doula colleagues in the UK and back in the UAE, who have taught me so much about sacrifice and commitment, especially for you Sally-Anne my doula partner of 5 years. I’m grateful of course, as I take this new step, to you all 50 families I have had the joy of supporting over the last few years as a doula, as your babies arrived, and as you emerged more fully as parents.

  • Helping me remember my intention to enter this phase with humility, curiosity, and a freshness of mind. And help me recall my intention too to find pleasure and discovery amid the younger generation in my student cohort, some of whom may be barely 3 years older than Robin, our eldest.

How might you help me remember?
Stop me in the street. Write me a card. WhatsApp me with a wassup? Throw off the shackles of Britishness and be direct. Challenge me. Sign up for my Midlife Midwife musings at wildrubies.co.uk to stay in touch

  • Help us pay for the course and the childcare we will need. This year is the first year that midwifery direct entry costs as a full degree. And with 60% placement time too, Ione will need morning, afternoon and unpredictable childcare, costing around £4-5,000 a year on top of fees. If you feel inspired to give, click my JustGiving page here. Even a very small sum would be a huge encouragement. You are indeed my tribe of witnesses on this journey.

And if you’re wondering if I’ll be coaching mothers anymore, then yes! I will have a very limited number of spots for Bold Mothers Birthing Something Brilliant as they reimagine their work lives. Coaching for me is like a full immersion refreshing wild swim. I can’t NOT do it! I’ll also, where possible, be continuing to coach midwives and nurses deeper into their leadership and sense of purpose.

And what of doula births? I’ll be drawing a line under my doula years..for clarity’s sake, and sanity’s too!

I’d truly love to hear your comments. Write below or email me direct on kate@wildrubies.co.uk.

And feel free to tell me it’s a crazy idea…

5 Reasons (more Precious than Gold) to Celebrate Jess Ennis-Hill

Ok, I admit it, I am more than excited about Jess’ olympic heptathlon this week. Believe me, it’s not her six pack that stirs me to celebrate this mother of a 2 year old, admirable and curious though it is. And while i’m gunning for her to win gold, there is something far more precious she is celebrating by being in Rio and being herself: motherhood. In fact, while we cheer for her, she is celebrating us all as mothers…

5 Reasons to Celebrate:

1. She’s willing to admit publicly how hard it can be. She’s been ready to throw in the towel – confronting those oh-so-familiar feelings of guilt, being torn, not doing anything quite well enough. As she herself says, “you think to yourself ‘Can I do this?’ or ‘Do I want to do this?’”

2. She’s surrounded herself with people who really know her, and encourage her without too much pressure or comparison. Like her coach Toni Minichiello, whose stance all the way was that Jess wouldn’t know how she would feel after Reggie’s birth, and that her body would be changing every single month, so not to be so hard on herself.

“We had a lot of times where I said ah I’m rubbish – I can’t do it. I cant run like I used to, I cant hurdle like I used to and he’d just say to me, you know its going to take time, it’s not gonna happen straight away, just stop comparing yourself to who you were in 2012”

3. She now knows (even more clearly) it’s about quality not quantity
Sound familiar? Efficient use of sometimes very limited resources is our tagline as mothers. It’s not that catchy, but it’s what we do. Jess now does mornings on the track, spends the afternoon with Reggie and then trains in the evening at home on the bike or using weights
“I do less exercise now that I have Reggie, but it’s better quality. With less time to dedicate to sport, I needed to look at ways of making the absolute most of my time.”


4. Her perspective on the world has ‘softened’ even as those abs firmed up.
“I don’t get as stressed and caught up in training if things don’t go too well anymore,” Jess adds. “I don’t get too down about it because I’ve got so much else going on in my life.


5. She acknowledges the life-changing impact of her own mum’s support .
At the risk of sounding like a P&G advert, Jess has had a taste of the sacrifice (and delight) her mum has experienced over the years, trackside, bedside, soulside.

“I really don’t believe I would have been able to achieve any of my…medals without the support and strength of my mum throughout my life. My mum always just says ‘You can do it, it is going to be hard but if you have a hard journey to something, that’s not plain sailing, then the end point is always that much sweeter when you are successful.”

I’m hearing voices proclaiming that we must stop defining her as ‘new-ish’ mum Jess, and count her athletic merits solely for what they are, as if her body is somehow disconnected from her soul, mind and spirit. Tell you what, I’ll be celebrating anyone encountering and emerging from times of challenge and turbulence, unique or universal. That’s what’s missing from the discourse. The acknowledgement. The reality. “Like any mum who goes back to work, it’s two full-time jobs”. Yes indeed-dy.

Some of you are there right now. Caught in the tight space between two full time jobs. Juggling. Making it work – mostly. Some of you chose a different dance a while ago, mostly mothering, and as your children head to school next month, you’re wondering what’s next for you? That can be a tight space too. Knowing you have so much to contribute, but not sure exactly what or how. Find out at my Find the Work You Love linked workshops starting September in Kingston-upon-Thames. Oh, and ring your mum or a (m)other in you life to say thank you. As I cheer for Jess, I might just do that too.

I’d love to hear your views below on motherhood, and excellence and the ever present juggle…

The joy of unconvention – always another way?

I don’t know what the word ‘unconventional’ provokes in you? Perhaps a tiny lurch of fear? Or a barely distinguishable leap of delight?

Last night I bought some organic camellia oil for my teenager’s needy skin. My husband had asked me to get some of that alarming looking blue liquid from the supermarket that we used to apply day and night in the 1980s. My response was, ‘There is always another way’. And there is. As I find it, my heart leaps again – just a bit.

Ok, I admit I’m naturally suspicious about convention or habit – what people do ‘just because’; because we’re used to, or because we ought to. Don’t get me wrong, I love ritual – choosing to intentionally repeat an action. It’s the stuck-ness of convention that rags me. I see great people with great ideas frozen in inaction because they have always used a more formal style of writing; or feel that to look ‘professional’ they ought to keep their whole selves, passions and desires out of their work.

I chair a maternity committee at our local trust. We’ve been working at hustling ourselves out of convention and seeing what emerges from a new freedom.

So make the most of the rest of the blooming unconventional month of May (I May, I May not…all mixed up), and take three minutes now to name two things in your life you want to play with differently. Look for another way.

Here’s my 2 new ways in May list

  • start hugging my husband when he comes in from work – even if he’s really sweaty (yes, we’ve got used to a cursory kiss, but there is another way..)
  • hit publish on my imperfect and heartfelt blogs once a month. Without fail. Without fear of imperfection.

What might yours be? Share in the comments field below!

My coaching work is all about you discovering another way, getting unstuck and into action; being more of who you really are and less of what the world has ascribed to you.

If you’re looking for another way in your work life, a place where you get to live from your purpose and calling, sign up here to be front of queue for my extra special face to face September FIND THE WORK YOU LOVE workshop. And check out how these women and mothers have found their other way through coaching.

Uneasy about your birthedbabies body? Here’s the truth

As the heat persists here in sunny England, and you take off layers of clothing, you’re more aware than usual of your birthedbabies body. The welcome breeze lifts your light shirt and reveals to the world a soft belly marked with lines. You probably relegated those bikinis to the back of the winter sock drawer some time ago. You’ve never cared much for showing off, but you do care about showing up fully as yourself – and you’re weary of the layer of unease around your body. Perhaps your children – or even your partner – have expressed surprise, revulsion, hilarity at the way you are shaped and marked. And the world’s media appears to mock you, where ‘springing back’, not ‘hanging out’ is all the rage. There may be something you can do about the shape, but not the marks. They are here to stay.

The great news is both shocking and counter cultural: our birthedbabies bodies are profoundly beautiful. They carry the carved-in marks of wisdom and experience. Maya Angelou discovered this as she travelled in Africa and stayed with a tribe who bathed communally. She said the women began to weep and console her and she didn’t know why. They thought she was childless because she had no stretch marks. In their society, marks are a badge of honour. They said that even if the baby died and she was kidnapped into a new village, if she passed away and could not speak for herself, the marks would tell her story and she would get the proper rites at her burial. Jade Beall knew this when she began A Beautiful Body Project, taking raw, honest and stunning photographs of birthedbabies bodies of all ages. It’s Jade’s work above.

Try this exercise for fun: show yourself your belly with its scars, lines and creases. Bonus: you get to slip down another piece of clothing! Trace your fingers over each line, one by one, acknowledging what it has brought or represents “ I have been stretched, I have grown and changed”, “you remind me that i am more than before”, “without you I would have a tight stomach, and an even tighter heart”, “ because of you, even my belly appears to smile.”

What can you celebrate right now?

If you’re feeling brazen, take out a marker pen and label your lines or make a statement and post them below. The school run with breeze may never be the same again…


When I am championing and challenging a mother through her wildrubies coaching programme, there is a quiet re-occupation going on. She is reoccupying the terrain of her life: reoccupying the dreams of work she once imagined, claiming the words and values that describe her and her contribution to the world. She is taking her rightful place. And she is in her body. We work in the body, with the body, from the body – to reconnect her to what makes her heart sing. She stands differently now, and I can see the transformation when she takes back the body she had distanced herself from.

How have you experienced your birthedbabies body? Or your partner’s? I’d love to hear your comments in ‘Over to You’

And join me for the start of your coaching journey to absolute clarity on the work that makes your heart sing: a free 30 minute ‘taster’ session. Booking now for September beginnings.

PS. If you liked this post, pass it on.

Bold mothers don’t give speeches

Picture this: today’s motivational lunchtime speaker is billed as an adventurer – someone on a quest to scale the world’s most challenging terrain with gritted teeth and a fierce determination. It promises to be a humbling and awe inspiring experience.

She walks in. A woman, yes. Looking surprisingly slight in present company.

It turn’s out she’s a mother…There’s a disconcerted shuffling in the room.

She speaks quietly at first, but with a startling clarity, of what she has seen and what she knows. She has dug deeper, sacrificed more, and found greater resources than she ever thought imaginable in pursuit of rare species: her child and herself.

She has photographs too; though somehow, while they capture the energy and colour (and sometimes the everyday same-ness) of the landscape, it’s in her words that the uncaptured pictures emerge.

She has battled through the jungle floor of her mind, tangled with lies like ‘I’m an imposter’ and ‘I can’t do it’, and found a path of courage and conviction. She has pushed through fatigue, and the desire to just stop, curl up and give up, and has gone on.

And she has watched as others move with greater pace and sure-ity, comparisons draining her will. The culture of the jungle is tough. The monkeys mock her (worth-less, worth-less), and the child she’s been guiding safe all this time shrugs as they reach the clearing. She offers the ripest fruits of her labour. He says ‘I dont like mangos’ or ‘I hate you’.

You may laugh. Really go on, laugh.

And this is an every day quest; an ordinary, miraculous adventure of the body-mind kind, played out in technicolor.

So what would you say if you had the floor? Or if that enlightened employer was to ask Who are you now? How have you grown? And what deeper gifts do you have to give to the world and your work as a result of your mothering? During Liz’s 9 month coaching journey with me, we made space to explore all these questions. What do you recognise of yourself in her answers? I’d love to hear you add your own responses in the comments section below. I’m guessing, like her:

You are MORE than ever BEFORE

  • able to rely on others, and build and sustain community. You are part of a WHOLE.
  • aware of others’ needs and vulnerabilities. You care for and nourish others.
  • AMAZING at multitasking and being a time-genius. Effective doesnt even come close to describing your gifts.
  • appreciative of difference and variety. You champion the one who stands apart.
  • clear and convicted about what’s important and what/who you stand for.

And yes, I, for one, would LOVE to have someone-like-you on my team.

If you’re feeling unclear about how to say ‘Look at me, the whole of me: look what I bring to my work and my world’ and would like to emerge, like Liz, in colour “I’m going for it and I know where I want to be”, explore my coaching packages and book a free taster coaching session by signing up here.

PS. Comment below how as a mother you are MORE than BEFORE, and share this with like-minded friends.

Doulas and birth workers – unlock your business so the world can see

In the afterglow of world doula week and mothers’ day a question for you:

What’s it like to be held – as beautiful, strong and able? Just bask for a minute in what that feels like…For some of you it’s hard to remember. Perhaps your mind went straight to your mother, arms of complete conviction and belief in you, you’d like to think – or feel.

I’m a doula and a coach working with courageous women birthing babies and businesses with clarity and power. I’ve been blessed recently with eyes- open moments about my coaching and birth work jive. Humour me or dance with me now…

In coaching and in birth work I hold women as the wonders we are. Not some time in the future, with the right ‘outcome’, or goal accomplished, but here and now. Right here, in this moment, that flicker of voice, this tremor of soul. I name and champion the strength and learning I witness in them in the process itself. I challenge women to step into ever greater discovery of themselves as mothers and leaders.

Doulas/birth workers of the world – you get all that, it’s what you do too.

And it’s amazing.

And you know what? As a doula myself, I know how many of us struggle with the business and marketing side of our work. I also know how as birth workers we tend to undersell the work we do – even buying into the idea that scarcity/poverty marks out the worthiness of our calling. hmmm. Familiar? And funny? In a bittersweet kind of way…Sometimes our own families see this most clearly when they ask wistfully, “Tell me again, why is it you do what you do?…”

Yes, you’ve been adding to your portfolio of rich wisdom, your CV busting its seams, because you LOVE your work and go on learning, drinking it in. Yes Yes!

And it costs. You’ve experimented with ways to bring more work and weave together the threads of your business, and ended up deflated, wondering where to start – or stop. Most marketing ‘advice’ doesn’t work for you because it doesn sit well with your values, and doesn’t seem to resonate with the solo-preneur heart-work you are doing.

And it’s not ok that you’re playing small, because the work you do is amazing. Life giving. World changing.

Imagine having someone completely on your side, who holds you at your most creative and resourceful, with whom you begin to distinguish yourself clearly and declare what you uniquely bring. Imagine then communicating and embodying your ‘brand’ so powerfully and recognisably that you stand out with ease to your ideal clients (yes they exist!). And yes, within that lush tapesty of your work are those powerful movements for change you lead locally or wider in the birth/baby world, the issues you stand for, making you more visible, more attractive to your perfect people.

Oh, yes. We wouldn’t birth a baby without the continuous, loving, challenging, I-totally-trust-you-to-fly support of a doula, so why go through the peaks and troughs of business birthing without one?

You can imagine how much, as a doula and a coach myself, I long to free up birth workers to birth their work powerfully and with ease.

“Kate, Thanks for a great coaching session! I really feel as though I got clarity on how I want to present myself, made a break through on what sort of design I want for my website and found the confidence I need to take the next step” Erin, doula (London, UK)

Check out how coaching can help your business to fly at http://wildrubies.co.uk/work-with-me/wild-rubies-coaching/ and hop over to like our wild rubies community facebook page for inspiration and connections https://www.facebook.com/wildrubies

What is it like to be held as beautiful, strong and able? Who does this for you?.. Comments below..

With love and respect, Kate

Half time brings more than oranges

Life’s ‘half time’ is a season. Have you been there already? Sucked the juice out of the orange, felt its sharpness and flavour, taken a breath and walked straight back onto the pitch for the second half?

It’s not about age is it? For some of us half time will come in our 30s, some in our 50s or even later, it’s more about those amplified moments which collectively, gradually or joltingly, point to the truth that Oranges (what we knew, or used to do, or wanted so keenly) Are Not The Only Fruit. There’s more…

That time, when through the haze, our eyes begin to see another way, more fruit, that there’s a second half ahead that’s juicier.

Rain on, juice.

And it’s raining not just on you or your immediates. There is something else that needs to be watered – a people, a movement, a truth.

So skip a beat or two, o heart, (hoping that wasn’t the jolt in the first place!) and get curious about what’s next for you and what’s needed to imprint the world with your ‘one thing’.


One thing?

Surely not –  as multi-passionate women there are so many jolly good things to be doing. And yet, when it comes to it, we live and we sing our lifesong. What would it be like if that song was one of resonance and joy, where our time is spent focused on the thing that most audaciously uses our gifts, most fully expresses our big-time values?

My one thing is releasing women into their one thing. I’m a big-time-it’s-time-birth-that-thing doula; that means I’m with you, I get you (as well as the voices that tell you you cant do it), I want it so much for you that as your one thing blooms I shout from the rooftops with you, I hold you, challenge you, champion you as you birth it (and tell me you cant do it), and then we marvel and laugh together at the brilliance of  your one thing and how you’ve become a community/global groupie with all the other brilliantly bold human beings who share your ‘one thing’ and are making an impact on the world alongside you.

And if you don’t know what your one thing might be – and life feels a little like a squished mulberry underfoot, even better. It sounds like you’re entering half time. Take a breather and decide to pick the mulberries before they are over-ripe, under-foot. (Health warning: tasty though they are, they play havoc with gut if consumed too quickly). Take your time, invest in what’s next. Explore a coaching relationship with me to support you in your discoveries and commitments.

And start now by answering this question just for you:  If, at the end of your life, you could choose one thing you would MOST want others to say about you, what would it be?

In a sense, it’s your epitaph…or your balloon in the sky, evident to all*

2 things now and 2 only

  • Join the conversation..I’m intrigued by what ‘half time’ means for women, and have a sense that as bold mothers, we may enter half time earlier than most men in parallel with the transition to motherhood, as we sift our values, needs and priorities. Is it too male a concept to identify with? What’s your experience? I’d love to witness your responses in the box below (or bubble to the side, depending on how you’re viewing this).

  • Want more of this kind of fruity mix in your inbox? Sign up to receive my Wild Rubies updates on a plate.


Radical choices – rooting for life

It’s Monday, 2.35pm and I’ve had conversations with three mums in the last 18 hours about taking radical action with their lives and families this week. This following the ‘nice Christmas?’, ‘Yeah..(weak slightly wry smile, something hanging…but with determinedly positive tone)’ conversation. Recognise it?

I’ve loved the word radical since I was 17 years old, studying Martin Luther and the German reformation. Radix meaning ‘root’, the essence, what’s inherent and vital.

And maybe after the overwhelm of the Christmas season, as mothers we need more acutely to heed the call of the radical. Let’s face it, we’ve just lived out the tension between vision (peace, harmony, goodwill, community) and reality (you fill in the ‘family Christmas = ________ ‘ blank ).

Other continua on which we are strung out, feeling the yank in both directions:

           activity  – rest                   materialism – contentment               stuff – people

You feel it, I know you do. I do too. You feel the inexorable pull towards the ‘left’, whilst straining to resist the tide, to stand your ground. You’re amazing – it takes muscle and concentration right? So how to move towards what you you really want?


Read on for 5 ways to be the unexpected radical in your own life this week….

  1. Set your intention; write it down in colour, on paper, as the week/season/year begins. One of my clients uses this as a regular Sunday evening practice to ‘structure’ her week towards what she most wants? What do you most want this week or year or even for the darker months ahead? What is your heart’s greatest urge? Is it to be closer to your daughter. If so, you will seek opportunities to connect and be in her world with her and sacrifice other activities/people in order to do that. If it’s to grow your business in a new direction, the very clarity of your intention will shed light on the connections you need. We will move in the direction we point our thoughts. We know that right? And yet how often do we actively choose?
  2. Tell someone – your life partner, business partner of your intention and what action is already flowing from it. Ask them to help you by asking you what good choices you have made this week?
  3. Paint it on the bathroom tiles, tattoo it up your inner arm and write it on your heart so you can check in with yourself.
  4. Prune your life tree radically, so that what’s new can flourish. Get help thinking through what activity is really aligned with your calling (the shoots and buds with space and light around them) and what is not (the brambles). What can you commit into the capable hands of others? Even better, what is it that only you in your wildly precious uniqueness can do? As a recovering  “I can hold it better, so had better hold it all” type, I’m learning that somewhere I made it all up. Sweet freedom. January is the perfect time to do some pruning as it corresponds for most of us, metabolically at least, with a mini hibernation – keep warm, eat soup, focus on the core.
  5. Seek out the company, now, of those with the same intention. Use online communities if you like that sort of thing. There are a gazillion people longing for exactly what you long for. Or feel the warm bodies and smiles of those who really ‘get’ you. Perhaps that means thoughtfully choosing what and who you’re saying ‘yes’ to this year.

For support in your intention-setting, pruning and making space and light in the right places, read about coaching perfectly designed for you. Radical, rooted, blooming change.

What or who are you saying ‘yes’ to this season? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the ‘over to you’ space below…

Kate x

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Wrap up December…it’s time for Jan

Ever caught yourself fantasizing about the empty space in your calendar in January? Ahhh..that month of crisp, grey days and hours wide open…

December, by contrast, feels like sweaty Christmas fair/fare (scratch and sniff to delete).

Mums, the good and the bad news is this: you wrap December – beautifully.

Picture yourself as the highest quality wrapping paper you’ve ever seen – that stuff you finger delicately at Paperchase at £3.50 a sheet, admiring its colour,pattern and exotic origins.


That’s you sweet sister, as you wrap yourself (no excess wasted) around –

  1. The 21 presents you thought-fully buy for nieces, nephews and godchildren
  2. The unmentionable commercial desires of your own offspring
  3. Your work life, choosing the very brightest bits of paper, gift tagged with whispered love, “I want more of you too xx”.
  4. Your children’s hearts, as they melt to sticky caramel with sugar and retail induced heat
  5. The needs of school FUND raising. Heads nod, heads bow, eyebrows raised, funds raised.

Meanwhile, if you have anything left to wrap yourself around your partner…I salute you. Wholeheartedly.

So you’ve done all that; what’s the bad news?


Because you’re naturally so well made, colourful and have a certain ‘give’ when pulled taut, it takes keen eyes to notice the ‘stretch’ from the outside. But you feel it.

And you’re longing for a place more spacious than your head under the pillow; a place to breathe; a place to consider the future. You’ve even wondered whether 2014 might be your year – your ‘time’ (at last??) to make that change in your family relationships, birth that business idea, take that small step, lead that movement boldly.

January brings possibility and newness..if we grab it. (otherwise the grey wins). Click here to read more about coaching support designed for you and join the January ‘Give me Space’ race – an extra special offer for the first 10 women to be in touch by December 31st to start coaching in January 2014.

PS. Pass it on.

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How to go deep when you have a narrow ‘window’..

For a generation of us 1970s children watching ‘Play School’, it was the round, square, or as a special treat, the arched window we could choose to dive through.

Now it’s time to look through the narrow window.


Like those defensive slits in castle walls (what are they called anyway?) is your 2 hour window when your youngest is at nursery/you have available time to go deeper.

Your new ‘baby’ (your brilliance, your business, your calling) is crying for your attention and you want with all your heart to give her the focus she needs to grow and thrive, but you just cant seem to go deep quickly enough to feel like you’re getting anything done. The urgent becomes the enemy of the important.

So from the self employed trenches with mud spattered children, here goes with 10 brilliant ways to go deep quickly when you’re barely there

  1. Develop pre-laptop rituals. Choose music that will get you grooving, savour your favourite brew and most importantly, before you open that lid, take time to enjoy your breathing and connect. Ask yourself, “What (or who) is at the heart of my work today?”, and listen.
  2. Be deliberate in choice of place. If you need to write, is there a cozy corner in the house you associate with creativity. A favourite notebook and pen may let words flow freely without attachment. Make those important, find-me-something-else-please-anything-really, calls now, away from your laptop, before you even open it, if it helps to quieten the strains of distraction
  3. Have an intentional ‘plan’ in advance rather than just sitting down to ‘start work’. Choose a time in the week (Sunday eve?), when you can have fun with paper and colour, sketching out in patterns and words how you want your week to look and feel. Build in everything you would like, including the atmosphere at home, food you’d like to cook, conversations you want to start, work projects you plan to tackle. Weave these into your weekly plan for a satisfaction fix: the measure of your day becomes so much more than just the ‘amount’ of work you managed.
  4. Structure your windows – so they feel more spacious. Use this fab quadrant as a guide to real-life narrow-window working.photo-20                           What’s realistic? What is the best use of my ‘mood’ (call it ambience..) today? Notice your energy patterns within your work time. Give the all your energetic time to your top priority – especially when it’s the hardest thing to tackle
  5. Use the rhythm and focus of dedicated time – Tuesdays social media and marketing day, Wednesdays writing, Thursdays meetings in town?
  6. Name your working hours. Claim them as your working hours. Say no to those ‘nice to do’, ‘ought to do’, ‘well I am at home so I might as well’ things that come your way. This also involves the decision to walk past the laundry, washing up on your way to the work you long to do.
  7. Get some exercise. This ones a tough one for the narrow window. Could you start cycling your children to school (or wheeling your bike), so you’re breathing deeply and differently on the way home? Take the long route home. The 15 minutes will pay dividends in productivity. And discuss Saturday mornings/early mornings (if you’re into that kinda thing) with your partner as a place for a ride/run/class, preferably with a friend of group to keep you company and keep you there.
  8. Name a day a week/a fortnight/a month when you just ‘hang spring cleaning’ as Mole did in chap 1 of Wind in the Willows as he threw down his broom, scrabbled up into the warm air ‘jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning’. Consciously stopping, refreshing, being renewed is so important. If you’re good at that, as as mums most of us aren’t let’s face it, do it spontaneously. If not, book it into your diary. “I’m sorry, I have an appointment with my life that morning”, you can say smiling sweetly.
  9. Have a wind down ritual as you prepare to reengage with your children, starting perhaps with a music alarm 10 minutes before you have to leave. Stop (yes, I know how hard that is when you’re in the ‘flow’), jot down 3 points to pick up tomorrow, close the laptop/phone. Notice and enjoy your breathing again. Gently finish this sentence in your mind, “I’m building…for the sake of…”, and be thankful for the vista you can now see.
  10. Be wholehearted as you return to the twilight zone of a school community and the life of your child. Picture how you want to greet them. Imagine your warmth and the look on their face as you reconnect. Name in your mind one thing you want to do or discuss with him/her this afternoon.

I’ve been self employed for 12 years, 10 of those with children. Want an end to the halfhearted feeling? I can help you move into wholehearted action, in your work and your mothering. Explore my 1-1 Clarity, Cut and Brilliance Coaching packages.  If you’re serious about taking a leap, contact me for your commitment free coaching ‘taster’ session.

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