I’m Ali, and, just like you, I’m not always the mama I want to be...
And yet, when I can identify this for what it is - an automated loop of negative thoughts - I can stop the self judgements from spiralling, and come back to a place of inner calm.
Not by going to a spa, not by somehow levitating above it all, not by eating clean, not by having an impossible yoga body, not by disowning my entire family, not by living in an immaculate house (although some of those things might help!)
but simply by noticing, and then accepting, a little bit more each day about how my life actually is right now.
My wonderful, messy, chaotic life, as, let’s be honest, life usually is, especially with small people in tow.
It always starts by being kind to myself
and that's the first step I want to invite you to take with me...
Do you want to
...identify where the ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ are tripping you up in life
...stop getting bogged down by anxiety and start feeling less weighed down by your own (and other people’s) expectations
...know that no matter how chaotic and overwhelming things seem, YOU have the power to respond rather than react
...put all that nagging self doubt to rest and start trusting yourself
...believe that you are already good enough in so many ways?
I started Ali’s mindfulness courses fairly clueless about what mindfulness meant but found them interesting, informative and most importantly for a busy mummy - calming! I’ve met a wonderful group of women and Ali has provided me with the tools I needed to slow down, breathe, be calmer with my kids and enjoy simple pleasures more. I would 100% recommend her courses to any mothers wanting to take a bit of time for themselves.
Ali's sessions were a really uplifting and enjoyable insight into how to bring mindfulness into your every day life as a busy Mum. As a group we were able to share our experiences and to learn in a non-judgemental and nurturing setting. Ali has a unique ability to bring people together and to pitch mindfulness at just the right level for her audience. The course was a great experience, and one I would wholeheartedly recommend.
I found the sessions incredibly engaging, relaxing and practical. I really enjoyed the opportunity to take part in this as a virtual group, as it was easier to fit around my busy life and childcare. Ali built rapport with the group and it felt like a supportive and compassionate setting to explore mindful practices, which helped me to be more resilient in some of the daily challenges and stresses which I face. Thoroughly recommend the course, thank you Ali.
You might not be living the life you want to live right now, and my guess is that at heart you feel dissatisfied with yourself, unworthy in some way, knowing that you do too much but not believing that you do any of it very well.
Perhaps that feeling of dissatisfaction is just a collection of moments in the course of a typical day...
from trying to get the kids out of the door on the school run - a situation in which how many times you have to say ‘where are your shoes?’ becomes a key measure of your self worth, like GDP for motherhood
comparing yourself to anyone who seems to look halfway decent in the morning and not late or yelling
eating lunch on the go, leaving it too late and getting really hangry and stuffing a chocolate bar
finding your attention wander through mental post-it notes of needing to book the car in for a service or what to get for the next 5th birthday party when your boss is asking you about an important email
forgetting to call your mum about how her doctor's appointment went
being absurdly grateful for the chance to go to the loo on your own at work but really bad for how your little one always cries when you leave them at nursery
right through to dreading bedtime because you invariably lose it at the umpteenth story or snack demand
...so that a typical day becomes a collection of moments which can leave you feeling overwhelmed and anxious. And if you dig deep enough, at root, it’s nearly always because just showing up as you are in any of those melodramatic, maddening, messy, mundane moments never seems good enough. There’s nearly always an internal soundtrack running on how you could have handled so much of it better.
And yet there is an even deeper part of yourself that knows that internal soundtrack is not really who you are and longs for you to tune in to a different channel (one without the annoying ads and only playing your best grooves).
You want to go through life feeling that you are making at least a reasonable job of the things that matter before they all grow up and leave home…
If you follow my Instagram page you might think that I live in a rural idyll, far from any of the realities of modern life, but it wasn’t always that way. And by the way, life on a building site with no central heating in a very wet and muddy corner of England is often as real as it gets. At least I have managed to get decent wifi, although that took six years.
I started out as a busy city girl in a corporate job, claiming the career ladder, achieving promotion, travelling the world, meeting some great people along the way, but always feeling like there was a huge gap between who I was and what I was doing. Something that no amount of shopping in my lunch break and drinking artisan lattes could make up for.
So I took a demotion (part of my never ending beautiful backward slide to where I am now), went down to 4 days a week, and retrained as a counsellor. The day a week I headed to uni was like an oasis of meaning, surrounded by people who were engaged with the real business of helping people. It was a time of profound learning for me, and the start of a long journey towards feeling a bit better about myself and what I was doing in the world.
Fast forward to now (which misses out a whole heap, but if you really want to know, please check out my blog) and I somehow find myself sat in the middle of a field in rural Somerset, with my partner Bob, a couple of chickens, five alpacas, a scruffy dog, and a little unexpected miracle called Clemmie, aged seven and sassy as hell. These days I am mostly to be found supporting women to cut the self-critical crap and start liking and listening to themselves a bit more. I bring a blend of mindfulness, coaching, and counselling all held together with heart and a fair bit of humour.
I’ve seen some huge changes in my life and they’ve not always been easy.
What I have found is that learning to accept who you are right now is often the route to the change you so desperately yearn for.
The official stuff
OK so if you’ve read this far you may be wondering why, other than living in a field, I am qualified to help you, so here are my credentials:
- BA (Hons) Psychology
- MSc Occupational Psychology
- Postgraduate Diploma in Humanistic Therapeutic Counselling
- Member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP)
- Rewind Therapy Practitioner (Human Givens Institute)
- Antenatal and Postnatal Teacher (The Daisy Foundation)
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher
- Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) teacher
With my absolute main qualification being life and all its ups and downs...