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Wind of change

If I got a coin for every time I say or write “you cannot be everything to everyone, nor should you try” I would be on a beach in Bali, sipping expensive cocktails right now : ) And.. I have just proven myself right… In any case..

time-for-a-change-897441_1920.jpg

Last few weeks I have been MIA here on Awesome Mumz, too much to do and too little time to sit down and focus. 2017 is a year of change, this is felt all around me. Many of my friends, colleagues and just random people I meet, are making changes in their lives, one way or the other. Sometimes it’s a new job, a relocation to a different country, or, just a simple change of deciding to do something for themselves. Change is a funny thing, it creeps up on us and suddenly we get the feeling that it is very urgent, almost crucial, when a month or two back, all things were status quo. I am a great believer in the purpose of everything, every meeting, every event, even the smallest one, can have major consequences for your neighbor, your friend or for yourself. We cross paths, share ideas and our plans, we inspire each other, and even one sentence can lead to someone making a 360 change in their lives. What I am saying is that our encounters with other people are more powerful than we may realize, and we must always strive to inspire each other to change, change for the better of course. And be pro-active at it, not wait until the last minute, do it now. This is what I am doing in this very moment. Trying to inspire YOU to make a change.

Identify an area of your life that you are not happy with, figure out why. Is your job uninspiring? Are you studying, but maybe something that is not interesting to you? Are you drained with taking care of screaming kids to the point where you lock yourself into the bathroom pretending to have stomach issues 🙂 Lol, if that’s you, then you can make a change. Nothing good ever comes from just accepting status quo. Most great inventions and new ways of doing things, came from people not willing to accept status quo. They looked at how something was currently being done, and said to themselves “hey, there must be a better way of doing this”. Of course, sometimes they would also come up with things “by chance” along the way, or, was it really by chance? Sir Branson says “Chance favors a prepared mind”, and as much as he is Sir Branson, sooo, yah, but still, there is something to it.

Now you will say “Yes, but it’s not easy”… No one ever said change would be easy, it most certainly isn’t. It can be painful and crazy challenging, in more ways than one. But above all, it is tainted by the emotion often associated with change – fear. This crippling emotion, one of the worst if you ask me, and I fight it constantly, because I know it is usually not founded on any real danger. When it comes to change, actual dangers can usually be anticipated, for example: the “danger” (risk is perhaps a better term) of being without money if you quit that job you so intensely detest, this risk can be mitigated by saving, and preparing financially for the change (unless you get the boot of course, then it’s a slightly different scenario perhaps). Many times, what we fear most about not working are the other bits around it; the social connection with our colleagues, having a purpose and being a part of something bigger than us. Hence, the fear in that case, is not in response to an actual physical danger, but rather a fear of a different nature.. Not to say the fear of being lonely and without purpose isn’t a dangerous one…

Enough ranting on about fear and change, I just wanted to put some of my own thoughts down on “paper”, given all the change in my life and other people around me currently. You never have to accept status quo, and you never have to just settle because that is the “easy way” in the short term. Other people are doing it, right this moment, creating change in their own lives, so why can’t you?

L_O_V_E

A

Back to school!

Minus the wooden desk

Minus my mom’s awesome home-made backpack

Minus the pink hair ribbon

Minus a childish, but beautifully naive mind

Here I am. Back to School.

And… It’s terrifying!

When we grow up, most of us are fortunate enough to be in the momentum of education. You feel confident, more or less, and going to school is like a natural part of life.

Then you step out of it. You enter the money-making-wheel, and that then becomes the new normal. Fast forward, some 14 or 15 years. And I am going back behind that desk.

My desk, however, is now a virtual one, I study online. The good thing about studying online is the flexibility, especially if you are a parent. You can study late at night, after the kids have gone to sleep, with the help of caffeine pills and red bull of course. There are no fixed lectures, so you can study as and when you manage to fit it into your day. The only disadvantage, or challenge I should rather call it, is the discipline. You have to be disciplined and manage your time and priorities well. No one is there to double check you, or to make sure you are keeping that little nose in those books to adequately meet the level of learning required. You have to manage it. More freedom always equals more responsibility.

My self-confidence going into studying was a tad bit tarnished, but it was overpowered by my enthusiasm and conviction that I am doing the right thing. As a parent, the sacrifice you make, taking those precious hours out of your day, is one you will not take lightly. But also, we should never forget how privileged we are to be able to study. There are many people out there, of all ages, that would do anything to be able to study, but circumstances or finances are not facilitating it. In the “western world”, we often take this for granted. When we apply to a higher education, we are nervous, not sure if we will be admitted, and once admitted and we have started studying, that mindset changes. Suddenly the obligations kick in and we forget how happy we should be to be sitting behind that wooden desk.

I, for one, am awesomely excited to be able to study again and feel that my life experience and self-reflection is serving me well. I hope that I will be able to work with something in the future that I am truly passionate about, and be able to look my kids in the eye and say: “See, your mom is doing something she loves, every day, and so can you! You don’t have to settle for a “good job” you should always aim for a GREAT job! Life is more than just paying bills, and even though life can sometimes put us in situations where that is what we gotta do, we should always aim for more!

L_O_V_E

A

Make That Change

Entrepreneurship doesn’t always come from a longstanding dream of having your own, making loads of cash and being the boss, but can also come from circumstances. As our lives change, so does our requirements and our goals.pic change.jpg

Many women are nowadays turning to entrepreneurship and freelancing activities online. It is becoming more and more common and we are becoming quite the experts at it! We learn how to market ourselves and our services, outsourcing them and providing good value with the world as our market. Imagine that, the world is our market. It’s such an amazing opportunity, if you think about it. If we have a solution to someone’s problem, a service someone needs, or can simply be entertaining or thought-provoking, we have a great chance to make money, and quite a lot of it. And, at the same time, we can remain in control of our time and be flexible.

It is for the flexibility that many mothers consider this way of working.

It is challenging, doing the 9-5 (or 6 or 7:() then coming home and trying to spend some quality time with your kids, at the same time as they have to eat, shower, do their homework, get ready for bed, etc etc. We miss many after-school activities and school shows/seminars, because the boss will not always show lenience and let you nip off early. The frustrations of always feeling like we are not quite enough at work, and not quite enough at home, drives us in this direction. And it’s a really great avenue to explore.

But (because there always has to be a BUT to something that sounds too good to be true) it’s not as easy as it sounds. It takes TIME to build it up. Business online is much like any other kind of business. You can’t just open a website and expect the world to directly come running. It’s a long learning curve, lots of research and passion needed, but with time and serious effort, you can definitely get there.

Here are some of the activities loads of mumz are doing out there:

1)      Web design – Who doesn’t need a kick-ass web-designer nowadays, right?  A solid profession that you can easily launch online.

2)      Content Writer – Are you a talented writer? Are you good in research and interested enough in everything to be able to write about anything?

3)      SEO or Social Media Consultant – Much the way that you may need these kinds of services when you open a new online business, there are plenty of need for these services online. You don’t need any lengthy education, but you do need to be on top of you game, since competition is pretty fierce!

4)      Virtual Assistant – Have you got administration or assistant experience? Working as an assistant online is a very easy way to get started and build your network. There are several agencies specializing in these kinds of services.

5)      App development – Apps are here, and here to stay. The need for this service will only grow and it’s one that is easy to start with on a freelancing basis.

Any other experience you may have, for example legal, technical, financial etc, can be used to provide advice as a consultant to businesses or private people.

So, mummies, if you feel the frustrations of everyday 9-5 life, then start laying the ground for change. Allocate a little time every night, after the kids have gone to bed, and start building your profile online. For a while it will be tough, almost like having a second job at night, but after some time you will have built up a network strong enough to carry you financially and you will be in a position to  put that letter in your boss’s hand and say “Thank you and Bye Bye”!

L_O_V_E

A

“Negativity is not Productive”

I know a lot of people are allergic to the “Be positive” wave that has been going around for the past couple of years. Some people really implement this positive thinking as a profound lifestyle and find immense fulfillment in that, and some will try it out and find that it’s not for them.

I tried, quite actively for a while, to really police my own thoughts; I would cast away any negative thought that emerged in my head, I shut down other people’s negativity swiftly, to the point where my friends would start laughing every time they had some negative gossip to share, and they would hold their hands on my ears so to avoid me hearing them whine. It was a lot of work, to be frank with you, policing your every thought and constantly reflecting on other people’s negativity, but I sure wish I would have the focus and will to continue. It was already a good learning, during those couple of weeks, we surround ourselves with so much negativity, and it’s scary in fact. And it’s only when we start to cut that out of our daily brain-feed, that we realize the extent of it. We are definitely more negative than positive in general, we attract other negative people and adopt their negative energy as well. Someone talks about their issues and problems, and instead of focusing on them in a positive light, trying to find solutions as well as identify key learnings, we dwell in it, we love it in fact! And it’s a kind of sick love, loving something you know very well is not good for you.

It’s not a bunch of hocus pocus, positive thinking can really change the way you perceive your life, your surroundings and everyone in it. When you focus on the good in everything, you are by default acknowledging it, which is something that we are (in general, at least in the “developed world”) very bad at. We stare ourselves blind and beyond on the things we don’t have, and in that, we forget all the things we do have. Many of us are born with massive privileges, right from day 1, but we don’t realize it, and can many times be completely ignorant about it, as if all babies in the world are born with those privileges. We don’t appreciate, and according to the most popular positive thinking philosophy – “Law of Attraction”, receiving can only start from gratitude.

A few people around me would shake their heads, and say that it’s a load of hippie-crap, and we should go back to some good ol’ complaining whenever we feel like it, but its not only about how we feel, its also about what we produce here in life. As Sir Branson mentioned once on the radio here in Dubai “I realized, he said, that negativity is not productive”…. It got me thinking. Such a simple statement, just hit home with me on that day. Negativity is not productive. No one can argue this. There is nothing good that ever came from things like whining, gossiping and self-pitty, or bad attitudes. For sure, things can be bad sometimes in life, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that, but it’s all about HOW you choose to acknowledge it. How do you choose to face negativity and difficult situations? That’s what separates a person who will come up with creative solutions to a problem, implement it and move on with life, and someone who will complain and whine, which leads to further negativity and then they will keep running in that wheel. Round and round, until they don’t know their right foot from their left, and certainly have no perspective on anything outside of the wheel.

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So, I dare you, and in fact, I dare myself to:

-Think positive thoughts for 3 days.

-Whenever a negative thought comes into your head, actively remove it.

-Whenever someone is negative around you and try to transfer that onto you, please ask them to stop or stop listening if you must sit there : )

-Surround yourself actively with positivity, no depressing political debates on TV (no Trump please), no horror movies, nothing like that.

Then, tell me, if you somehow feel lighter, and if you have realized that life is actually pretty good, or, at least a lot better than it was 3 days earlier.

 

I

Dare

You

 

L_O_V_E

A

 

Kids, grades and vision

I remember hearing that when my mom and her siblings came home with their school grades, my grandma use to cover the part that had the actual grades, and sign blindly at the bottom where it said parent acknowledgment. She didn’t consider grades an important factor in learning.

portrait-child-hands-57449-largeGrades were invented to evaluate levels in order to deliver more targeted learning. The intention was a positive one. And sure, to a certain extent that still exists, but I would say that by and large grades nowadays are something that parents, kids and teachers take far too serious. Many times grades are a standardized system and is not reflecting the interests and real knowledge level of a child. It is a broad line that we draw, without really caring about what is on the sides, or above or below that line. As long as you reach it (and in some places you are not encouraged to reach above it) that’s the end of the story.

But what about the grey areas? What about students who may score just on that line, but be super interested in one aspect of the subject and be unmotivated and uninterested in the other. Nuances are lost, because we stare ourselves blind at the grade. I am not so audacious as to saying that grades don’t matter at all, I am well aware of their importance for entry to University in most countries, and also of the fact that certain groups in society, which are already discriminated against, to them grades can mean the difference between a higher education, a job, a career or staying at ground level, not being given the chance to excel in life.

As a parent, I am always trying to give my children a real view on life. I would rather give them a bit TMI, rather than too little and leave them oblivious to the world around them. But, in that, I am always cautious as to the language I apply, and the angles I push. We can push our own reality onto them, as if this by default has to be theirs, when in fact they are in a remarkable situation to change all of that. If you say to your child “In life you have to do things you don’t want, that’s just life”, or, “study this since it will give you a good job”, we may be stripping our kids the chance to visualize and create a better situation for themselves. Who says that you need to do something that you don’t enjoy? Why study something you are not interested in which will ultimately lead to a job you are not interested in? You are basically teaching your children to accept status quo, not to challenge, not to create change and most importantly, not to dream.

When we have kids, we put them into the world, hoping they will have a better life than we have, but in that we need to provide the tools for them to make that happen. Sometimes yes, those tools can be materialistic things, and schooling plays a bit part of that, but most commonly it is about guidance and support. Allowing your child time and space to try things and find out what his/her interests are.

However, providing those things can be hard, when your own scars are deep and you feel disappointed with the hand that life has dealt you, but you need to rise above that and embrace the hope that each child entering this life comes with, a better future.

L_O_V_E

A

Sweet Confessions 

Dear Chocolate Cake

I hate that I love you.

Best regards,

Anna

Sugar.

While the governments of the world are busy trying to forbid people smoking in public areas, drinking too much alcohol too young, and are using various forms of restrictions to combat other important health threats, one of the biggest threats to our well-being is constantly overlooked; Sugar.

This addiction is one that I would like to claim is perhaps more dangerous than some of the others because of numerous factors:

-It is socially acceptable to be addicted to sugar – No one will stare at you funny because you are shoving a 1 kg chocolate bar down your throat on a Tuesday morning before 9am, heck, they may even admire you if you manage to stay slim (note: I wrote slim, not healthy, big difference there, Mumz) in the process!

-You will not know that you are addicted, as it is difficult to detect, and is closely linked to how good you are at listening to your own body and reading the signs.

-Sugar is EVERWHERE! In EVERYTHING! Talk about conspiracy theories, that’s a big one for ya! Sugar in all shapes and forms, with more or less fancy re-wording is added to everything, because that makes a product more yummi and therefore easier to sell. Also, it feeds this widespread and ever so lucrative addiction and people will come back to buy that same product.

-Consumption can be linked to how you feel – emotional binging. “I had such a rough day, I deserve some Ben and Jerrys”, or, “I didn’t get that job I really wanted, so let me just comfort myself with some chocolate chip cookies and a bottle of coke”

-Sugar is easily accessible and soooooo cheap!

Sugar addiction is one of the most common addictions amongst our youth today. It starts from Coca-Cola machines being added in the school corridors to commercials for Kinder before the kids movie starts in the cinema. One can always debate whether to forbid your child to eat those things, but the question remains if that is really a way to deal with the problem, or if it may rather postpone and magnify the inevitable. Some of the children I know who grew up with such restrictions are today the biggest sugar addicts on earth. Then again, I had no restrictions, and so am I 🙂 hmmm

Perhaps the chocolate bars and the Coca Colas of the world are not the biggest threat, but rather the sugar nowadays added to our regular staple food, especially when you are eating out.

I encourage everyone to read on the back of foods that you buy in the supermarket, even the ones where you could not even imagine that any form of sugar could be added, you will be amazed!

I am totally guilty, though. A complete sugar addict, and pretty much always been. I think that is why I enjoy researching it and informing myself about my own addiction. They say information is power. Hopefully I can go about some change or at least replace my bad habit with a less harmful one.

On that note…

…chocolate cake…

L_O_V_E

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