You can’t do it all – and you certainly can’t do it all well

to-do-list

There’s increasing pressure on us these days, especially women, to be proficient at everything. The areas in which we must excel in life have increased over the years as equality has been improved, and whilst this of course is a step in the right direction it means that women are expected to fulfil a number of roles with no room for failure in any of those.

The main pressures in life on women, being a good mother and wife, having a good career and being financially independent as well as looking good, all have sub-sectors which often in themselves can take up most of our time and energy.

The truth is, it’s simply impossible to be all of the things above, at least to a degree of excellence in all.

How do you prioritise and concentrate on just one thing, once you decide what it is you wish to focus on? As a younger person, it’s likely that the responsibilities you do have seem huge to you, but when you look at the lives of other women, you wonder how the hell they juggle the things you juggle, in addition to children and work and a husband (I know I do!!). You only have a certain amount of energy. Where do you want to expend it? And what do you want to achieve as a result?

For me, I’ve decided I have to take a look at what I have to do, what I feel I have to do, and what I want to do. When I did, I realised that much of the things I ‘have to do’ and subsequent tasks give myself to do are actually not things I have to do at all. They are things I feel I have to do, make myself do, for the approval of others. It’s not at all simple just cutting these out (especially if you have an anxiety disorder), but I re-evaluated my list and found there were things I could possibly subtract.

The things I actually had to do, like working, and things I wanted to do, came last on the list. Isn’t that ridiculous? No wonder I am so stressed. Sound familiar?

Prioritising isn’t easy because our brains tell little fibs and make unimportant, non-essential things seem imperative and astronomical in comparison to the things we actually need to do day to day.

I’m making a conscious effort to re-prioritise my life, to make room for the really important things that in the long run will make me happy. Try it for yourself – write everything down that you ‘have to do’ and assess just how important they all are. If you really do have to do all of those things, try and grade them in order of importance. If you struggle with that, you most certainly are not alone. It’s just a case of having a real think about what you want, and taking time to try and get your head around what you want to focus on. Focus truly is everything – you can only do one thing at a time and do it well! Then you will succeed. Let me know how you all get on!

Signature

FacebookTwitterShare

Jo Swinson – ‘Don’t Tell Your Children They’re Beautiful’

I came across this article on the Telegraph website today, and I thought I should share it with you guys.

The first thing to say about this is that I always find women with no children feel that they are best placed to give advice on how to raise them, despite having no personal experience themselves.

Childless Jo Swinson is our Women’s Minister here in the UK. Wading in to the Self-Esteem and Body Confidence argument whole-heartedly, she says that we should not tell our children that they are beautiful, nor talk of beauty around them, to stop the emphasis in society on appearance.

:“I know as an aunt, you fall into the trap of turning to your niece and saying, ‘you look beautiful’ — because of course all children do look beautiful — but if the message they get is that is what’s important and that is what gets praise, then that’s not necessarily the most positive message you want them to hear.” Instead, Ms Swinson suggests that children should be praised only on educational achievements, such as completing a jigsaw or learning to ride a bike.

She also mentions that talking about our own bodies in front of children can be harmful. Her comments come ahead of a long-anticipated dossier by the government on how we can combat self-confidence issues in young people, which for me is way overdue.

Although her comments are probably well-meant, I feel they really are somewhat misguided.

I find that although our parents have the greatest influence in our lives, as we are growing up and become older outside influences (such as television, magazines and peer pressure) become more powerful. My Mum loved make-up and has always been a glamourous lady; she would put plaits in my hair and let me wear lip gloss to go to a party. Frustratingly I was a bit of a tomboy back then, more interested in climbing trees and riding my bike. But does this mean that my Mum is responsible for my Eating Disorder and various appearance-related issues later in life? Of course not.

Personally I feel it is futile to refrain from mentioning beauty around children. If we hold back, what’s to stop Granny, Aunty, or Emma from school, or Hannah’s Mum from complimenting your child? Are we supposed to ban certain words around our children, treating them with the same caution and vehemence as swear words?

For me my peers and school mates were the cause of my downfall. I think it’s likely to be the biggest influence for many young girls and boys – after all, everyone wants to be liked. Everyone wants to fit in. Historically children have always laid store by appearance – which is why the ginger kid, the fat kid and the one with glasses copped for it every time.

This, coupled with society’s fixation on perfection in all areas including how we look, which is supported by images of how we ‘should look’ accompanied by articles on ‘how to look that way’.

It’s only natural that a younger, more vulnerable mind will look at these altogether and, as I did, use every single piece of ‘advice’ I can find and study every perfect image in a desperate effort to be beautiful and therefore to be liked. With Role Models such as Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardashian, (Not to mention dolls like Barbie) who are maintained by copious amounts of surgery, hair dye and make-up, there really is little evidence to suggest that what a parent says will make a difference. After all, aren’t we hell-bent as children on ignoring the requests of our parents?

It is this association between beauty and self-worth, plus acceptance by our peers, which I believe is really toxic here. And that’s going to take a lot more than neglecting to compliment our daughter’s hair or our son’s new t-shirt.

To my mind, the obsession on looks is only going to end when the media ceases to bombard us with fad diets, celebrity bodies and over-photoshopped models, and the goverment stops releasing statistics on ‘harmful’ foods and obesity.

Perhaps the Minister ought to concentrate on regulating the media and campaigning for better self-esteem in women and young girls, provision for those with EDs and mental health issues on the NHS, and a clamp down on ‘nutrition’ experts flooding the press with dubious ‘research’.

Do you agree with me? Or is the Women’s Minister right in asking parents to avoid the subject of beauty with their children?

10_PRETTY_PINK_LIPSTICK

Signature

 

‘Don’t tell your children they’re beautiful’

FacebookTwitterShare

Curves – As Harmful As Skinny?

There’s a lot in the media about a desire to be ‘skinny’ affecting the mental and physical health of women in today’s society. But I wanted to address a less-publicised issue, which involves curves. Or more precisely, ‘curves in all the right places.’

When is a woman ‘curvy’ and when is she ‘fat’? Surely this comes down to perception. For me, being curvy involves going in and out like an hourglass, with good cleavage,a round bum and tiny waist. How many of us really have this figure?

To me, it’s another unrealistic ideal. Just as it’s true for most of us that we will never have the lithe, long legs of a Victoria’s Secret model, it’s also true that a lot of women aren’t shaped perfectly. This promotion of a specific shape again makes us think that there is something ‘wrong’ with us the way we are. So you’re flat up top and have got a huge backside? Or maybe you have big boobs and a flat bum? We start to feel inadequate because things aren’t perfect – but as we all know, NOBODY is perfect.

I’ve included a picture of Kim Kardashian below, before and after photoshop with her famous curves. She hasn’t needed to be altered much – but note how the proportion of her hips and chest are maintained whilst her waist and legs have been slimmed down.

What do we all think about this? Personally I find curves more beautiful than skinny, but I think it’s important to know that curves come in all shapes and sizes.

Image

smallersignature

FacebookTwitterShare

Belle Vere – My Favourite ‘Plus-Size’ Shoot of All Time

This shoot for me epitomises real glamour, beauty and femininity. It’s a couple of years old, from Vogue Italia. The images are shot by Steven Meisel, and the first time I saw it I couldn’t stop looking at it – art at it’s best!

Most importantly, aside from all the over-used ‘so nice to see plus-size in Vogue’ arguments, it is unapologetically sexy and beautiful.

This, for me is a true representation of women. Confident, provocative, sensual and fierce – everything a woman should be!

Here’s a link to see the full gallery for Belle Vere – pics below!  http://www.fashionising.com/pictures/b–The-plus-sized-models-of-Vogue-Italia-6957.html

Signature

Image

FacebookTwitterShare