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Keep calm

Maybe recently you have been negotiating with the warring factions for the 100th time that week. You wonder if the UN Peacekeeping force has a vacancy. Or are you regularly referring a WWF experience, and I don’t mean the pandas.

At this moment you have a choice to stay in the game or tap out. If you are battle-weary and looking for more calm at home, read on.

As American civil rights activist Maya Angelou said, when we know better, we do better.

In an emergency on a plane the oxygen mask goes on the adult before the child. Ideally, we don’t live under emergency conditions. However, the sentiment is true. What are you doing to take care of yourself today, this week or this month? By the way, ticking off another five things from your to-do list may give you a hit of serotonin but it is not necessarily taking care of yourself. Taking care of yourself can mean taking five minutes to drink a hot cup of coffee, getting that long-promised massage, or keeping your doctor’s dentist’s appointment.

If you want to care for a child you play, cuddle and smile. Essentially you are present. You are not on your phone, or talking to someone else at pick up, or in another meeting. You are truly present. We all know this, but sometimes life in all its glorious overwhelm gets in the way of being truly present. The to-do list gets longer.

Neuropsychiatrist Daniel J Siegel and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson talk about this in their book, The Power of Showing Up. According to research, they maintain the goal of parenting is for children to be attached the people who love them most in the world — their parents. The road to attachment is paved with safety, security, soothing and being seen. However, what I like about this book is that when we show up and it’s not our finest parenting hour, the remedy is simple: repair the relationship. In essence, it is not being perfect that’s important.

Perfection and the parenting police only exist in theory not in practice. For the parenting equation to work, both the parent and the child need care. I am running a Saturday-morning course for parents, where you can learn some skills to increase the calm in your home. As so often is the case, it starts with you.

The course is at Noosa Leisure Centre on Saturday November 14, 2020 from 9 am to 11am. Cost is $80. Please email me at

Thank you Wade Austin Ellis for the image.


I am a coach, mother and wife, living in the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. I grew up in South London, in an immigrant family in the suburbs. But I had good fortune with my parents: Dad was born in Calcutta, India, and my Mum came from communist Poland. In the 1970s I got to leave Croydon, and travel with my family through India, and behind the Iron Curtain. I saw parts of the world that my classmates could not comprehend. It sparked my wanderlust and gave me a great respect for how big and diverse our world is. And I gained an ability to move between different cultures, assimilating into them.

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