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A personal post as a mum....

So why am I sharing you may say?

Well, not because I’m feeling self-indulgent, but because I’m human. I’m vulnerable (at times). I’m a parent and a daughter, and when it comes to dealing with personal feelings, unfortunately, no amount of professional training and experience can solve things with a magic wand.

I’ve needed to dig deep lately – really deep. I’ve experienced emotions that are heart breaking. I’ve lost nights thinking about what to me, feels like the unthinkable. I’ve had to work hard to try and stay present rather than contemplating a future where my family’s world would turn (even more) upside down. And well, quite frankly, it’s been exhausting.


You see, my mum is in a health battle after a recent diagnosis and my mum is… well, she’s my amazing, warm, loving, and unique mum. Always on hand for me, my sister and my friends with a cuppa and a biscuit and always armed with hugs and advice when it’s needed and welcomed. Not only that, but she’s Nonna to Hallie, my gorgeous 3-year-old, and to my 7 month old niece. She’s used to climbing into tents and playing shops. To doing the nursery run and baking Frozen cupcakes. To sleepovers, bedtime stories and ‘splashy’ bath times.


Only at the moment, none of that can happen. She’s still our much loved Mum and Nonna, but things have changed dramatically. So yesterday, when Hallie had a meltdown about why it was me picking her up from nursery, and not her beloved Nonna, I couldn’t contain it. I cried. I couldn’t find the right words or an explanation. I didn’t have the answers and I also had a meltdown. All I could do was hug her. Of course, as the weeks pass, I’ll make sure Hallie is supported and has space to process her own thoughts and emotions, no matter what lies ahead for us, but in that moment, it hit home that things had become too much – I needed to find a way to support myself otherwise what use am I to my doe eyed 3 year old?

I work daily encouraging young minds to explore their own coping mechanisms and to check in with their wellbeing, but in all of the heaviness, I’d forgotten one of the basics; none of us can pour from an empty cup.


I usually embody all that TNM is about, and generally, I role model emotional coping strategies within our family dynamic. But in this triggering, unpredictable situation, my emotions had taken control. It was time to process, to pause, to reflect. To catch my breath and to to check on where I am.


When things have been tough in the past, Mindfulness, Creativity and Nature have provided me with space, time, comfort and ultimately acceptance. Those experiences, (along with my training), are at the core of TNM and the way I work alongside young people.

So, I listened to my own advice, tuned into my own needs and spent time in a space I love.


I got lost in the crisp Autumn sunshine, with nothing but the ground beneath me and blue sky above me. I walked and then snuggled our beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

I visited a friend. And it was here, in an open field with Mother Nature and a herd of horses walking alongside me, that I allowed myself to cry, and I mean really cry. I acknowledged that this is hard. That life has taken an unpredictable turn (as it so often does) and that I don’t have the answers or know what is going to happen. That release felt good!


And then came the magic. Because somehow, through those tears, things had shifted. When Merlin, a trusty black and white horse who adore, nuzzled into my arm, I really smiled, from the inside out. I was reminded that tough times can highlight love. They can bring a gratefulness and gentleness that is often forgotten amongst ordinary chaos.

And they can present reminders and signs for where to turn next, even on days that feel dark and completely hopeless.

Yes, things are challenging, and I know there will be tears, but there are also positives. There’s cuddles and time together. There’s conversation and tea. There’s hope. There’s connection with others and there’s a whole world out there to enjoy.

When the cloud lifts, even if only briefly, hard times teach me a lot and remind me of why I do what I do. It's pretty simple really…life is tough, and children are rarely taught how to try and navigate challenging/emotional situations. Boundaries, self-care, self-respect, self-awareness and self-help are often taboo subjects. Of course, no amount of emotional education can prevent life from happening around us, but we can alter how we experience things; and that thought very much lays the foundations for building resilience.


There lies my ambition - to support children when times are tough and to enable them to find their own way through. It’s not about being brave or being strong, but instead listening and accepting.


I came home today feeling lighter. I danced in the living room with Hallie and we had dinner together. I created a vision board for TNM exploring ideas around child and animal therapy. I noted down an outline for upcoming workshops to be held outside, in the same space as my 4-legged friends. And I had a chat with Hallie. I found a way to talk to her about the challenges we are facing, all the while being honest about how scary this feels and reminding her of how loved she is. I managed to contain her emotions as I had truly experienced mine.


I don’t have answers or a crystal ball but what I do know is that today I am ok.

And when a day arrives soon that I don’t feel ok, I won’t be so slow to listen to myself and to allow myself that time and space. To say that this is hard. I'll enable a reset and encourage those big feelings to wash over me. After all, I need to let them in, both for myself and for Hallie.


This outpouring is very much written as a parent, not a professional. If you are a parent going through tough times then remember this…

  • Look after yourself first and make time in your day to do so. It’s not negotiable, it's necessary.

  • Don’t be afraid to show emotion. Children who are exposed to (contained) emotion develop with an awareness that emotion is human, and that feelings visit us all. They become aware that showing emotion is acceptable and that feelings change.

  • Lean on others. I’m very good at saying ‘I’m fine’, but it can be self-destructive. Connect and accept help from those around you.

  • Don’t be afraid to say no. Maintaining your own emotional and time boundaries is important - listen to yourself and your own intuition.

  • Share details of the circumstances with your child’s school/best friend’s parents/other caregivers. Open the lines of communication with those your child is regularly around so that they know to share any concerns, and can potentially provide your child with a safe space that’s emotionally detached.

  • Don’t be afraid to seek support if you need it, for you or your child. Maybe it’s a coffee or wine with a friend, an art class, a visit to a therapist, or a cuddle with a 4-legged friend - do what feels right for you.


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