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Feb
02

Employ a mother today

Employ a mother of young children today and watch your business/organisation morph into an incredibly well run machine with feelings of warmth and gratitude towards your customers. Now I know that a lot of you are going to pick holes in the preceeding statement both in terms of machines and feelings and mothers who have to miss work a-lot due to sick children, blah blah blah blah blah. If you are picking holes then sorry to say, you’ve missed the point (which you haven’t given me the chance to even make yet) and should just stop reading now. Click off the article and go do something else. Because you clearly are not going to listen to the upcoming story or give a mother of young children a chance. Bye bye. To the rest of you, thank you for having an open mind to listen to what I have to convey.

I recently had the experience of looking after my 3yr old twins, Samuel and Abigail, for a week. A full week of 7 days and 7 nights, on my own. Deb had stepped onto a plane to Melbourne at 7:35am and returned a FULL 7 days later at 7:35pm.  I was alone. I was committed and I was petrified!

Now I am a fairly understanding and compassionate kind of guy (Deb says so) and as such I have known for the last 3 years that out of Deb and I, I really have had the easier end of the bargain. After-all, I get to go to work and leave the house for the relative calm and tranquility of doing what I truly love and get paid to do it. Deb, poor poor Deb, has had to be with the children 24/7. Even when I’m home the kids really don’t want me, they want Deb. So the only way for her to get a true break was to get the hell out of here. And thus began my education in what it truly means to be Deb and by extension, a carer of young children, 24/7.

Abi: Dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad.
Me: What would you like sweetie?
Abi: Nothing.
Me: But you just called me 5-6 times, you must want something.
Abi: No.
Me: Ok.

Getting breakfast.
Sam: (Screaming) Aaahhhh I want a bikkie!
Me: You want a biscuit?
Sam: Yeah.
Me: You’ll have to wait for breakfast as you said you want porridge remember.
Sam: I want a bikkie.
Me: No.
Sam: I want a bikkie.
Me: NO.
Sam: I WANT A BIKKIE!
Me: YOU CAN’T HAVE A BIKKIE.
Sam: I WAAANT AAAA BIIIKKIIEE!!!
Me: Oh just have the goddamn bikkie!

Your porridge is ready. Come and get your breakfast.
Your porridge is ready. Come and get your breakfast.

Where are you two?! Your porridge is ready. Come and get your breakfast.
Abi: I want eggs.
Me: You said you wanted porridge.
Abi: I want eggs.
Me: You’re not getting eggs I made you porridge. You said you wanted porridge. Where are you going? Come and eat your porridge!

Oh god, what have I done? A whole week of this? No way. This stops now.

Me: If you don’t eat your porridge its going in the bin and you aren’t getting anything until morning tea time.

Abi: We want eggs!

And this is only when I had one thing to focus my attention on. Okay, we need to get out of the house and do things. I need to pack a bag; fruit, nappies, wet wipes, pooh bags, change of clothes (we’re going to the park and there’s water there and Sam is bound to get drendged) and hats. All done. Double checked yes.

Me: Okay we’re going to the park now. Let’s go!
Abi: We don’t want to go the park.
Me: But you love going to the park.
Abi: We want mum.
Me: Mum is on a plane to Melbourne. Remember we went to the airport and dro….
Abi: We want mum.
Me: Well mum isn’t here so lets go.
Abi: When is mum coming back?
Me: Not for a few days.
Abi: We want mum.
Me: Okay (exasperated). How about we go to the park and have some fun and when we get home we can call mum on the phone?
Abi: I done a pooh.
Me: You’ve done a pooh?
Abi: Yes I done a pooh.
Me: Okay, lets go change your nappy.

Me: Sam are you ready to go to the park?
Sam: NOOOO!
Me: Why not?
Sam: I done pooh too.
Me: You’ve done a pooh too?
Sam: YEEEES!
Me: Stop shouting at me. Lets go change your nappy. Sam: NOOO!! MUM!
Me: Well mum isn’t here so I have to change it. (8:34am day 1. God help me.)

By day 5 my best friend asks how I’m doing? I reply that I’m losing my mind and don’t know how she (Deb) does this day in and day out. He says he believes in me and that I can do it. (It feels like a pep-talk on the way to the top of Mt Everest)
By day 6 though the pep-talk has worked and I’ve got them (Sam and Abi) sussed. I do way to much because I have found my groove and by 8pm that night I absolutely crash, as I forgot that there was dinner and bathing and bed time still to do! No wonder mothers don’t feel like having sex. I sure as hell wouldn’t have been up for it.

Day 7 and I am officially counting down to pick up time. The closer it gets though the more the plane is delayed.

8am Day 7
Me: Mum comes home today.
Abi: We get mum now?
Me: No sweetie. Mum’s plane comes in tonight and we’ll go get her then.
Abi: We get mum tonight?
Me: Yes weetie.
5minutes later
Abi: We get mum now?
Me: Not yet sweetie. Mum’s plane comes tonight.
Abi: We get mum now dad?
Me: Oh my little girl, I know you miss your mum and she will be home tonight okay?
Abi: Okay dad

Sam: We get mum now?
Me: No Sam, not yet. Mum’s plane comes in tonight and we will go and get her then okay.
Sam: We get mum NOW!
Me: (thinking) Oh boy.
Sam: We get mum NOW!!
Me: Yes Sam, we get mum.
It’s 8:10am and a long day ahead of me.

So now here is why I think you should employ a mother of young children. Because for 3 yrs I have watched Deb look after every need of Sam and Abi, run the entire household (and if you think running a household is an easy thing then you don’t have young children. I came to the sudden realisation that clothes needed to be washed, groceries bought, bills paid, family phone calls returned, friends text msgs replied to, garden’s watered, veggies picked, floors cleaned, dog fed, dog poohs picked up, fish fed, meals cooked three times a day and they don’t even eat it, dishes washed, benches cleaned, children bathed, teeth brushed, hair combed, beds made, stories read, playtime, nappies changed, movies turned on and off and swapped and played again), most of all of that list is done by Deb and most of it on a daily basis when I am away which can be often. And all the while she has to put up with, I want I want I want, mum mum mum, No No No. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention as I truly did forget to do while Deb was away, look after me.

So this is why you should employ a mother of young children: because the mental stamina that is necessary to perform all that is needed to care for young children and run a house and have a life in all of that, is simply a superhuman effort. Imagine just for a minute how efficient your business would be with someone who has the capacity to organise and get things done in the face of constant opposition in a constantly changing environment.

Although Deb is unique and certainly not available to be employed by your organisation :-), she is not the only mother of young children who would be an asset to any business. Mother’s have to, a lot of the time, give up careers in order to have children. They may suffer with loss of identity and often experience a loss of their traditional social support that the workplace provides. Most difficult though is that for a lot of them they find it difficult to get back into the workforce. Employers play their part in this process of exclusion, opting either subconsciously or otherwise not to employ mothers of young children because of the perception that they will need a lot of time off for sick children, (which by the way if this is your thinking then you really need to check your thinking against the reality of productive hours of mothers against others in your workplace). By far though in my experience and based purely upon anecdotal evidence of conversations overheard at get-togethers, shops, playgroups, train rides and wherever mothers gather that I have been, mothers grossly undervalue themselves in terms of what they have to offer businesses. So if you know a mother who thinks that her skill set has been lost because she has been out of the workforce for far too long, grab her by the collar, no no, embrace her in a loving hug and tell her categorically that her skill set has been hugely increased beyond anything that she can imagine or could have gained through higher education. And that all she needs to do is view her acts of devotion, kindness, caring and loving in looking after her family into terms of running a business and she will find that she is more than qualified in every sense of the word to be the boss.

To all the mothers, thank you.

Dec
02

The five lies your brain has been telling you

The five lies your brain has been telling you all your life. And we know because the most frustrating thing about brain science is the realisation that all my life I have been wrong!

Every decision I have ever made, will ever make, based upon my free will or otherwise, has been a lie based upon how I FEEL at the time, even the weather has effected my decision making.

Whatever I see is not real, merely an illusion constructed by my neural processes, based upon previous experiences, colours and what aught to be there!

My memories are almost completely false in their detail (try telling your partner that what they remember is wrong:-) ) and the reality is that my emotional state at the time of the experience determines the level to which I remember the detail.

My brain really cannot multi-task and can only really deal with one thing at a time (and its not because I am a man) it’s because I am human.

That everything in my world is false and my brain really is making shit up as it goes along because all it really cares about is keeping me safe, so it constructs a world for me that is safe and comfortable for me. All the time being ever vigilant for the stuff that shouldn’t be there, that could pose a threat to my life and keeps me on a level of alertness that will ultimately be my downfall. Oh the irony of my brain. Of your brain. Of all our brains.

Seven billion people, seven billion realities and seven billion perceptions of absolutely everything. If we have all been wrong then no one has been right and then what right do we have to judge anyone other than to keep us safe from harm. Watch the video below to further blow your mind.

 

Something worth watching…

http://www.ted.com/talks/emily_balcetis_why_some_people_find_exercise_harder_than_others

Sep
05

Do your staff trust you?

Do your staff trust you? Probably the single most important question you can ask yourself as a leader in any organisation. Trust is a complex thing that has many different levels to it. You trust your loved ones in a particular way, you trust strangers in a particular way, and you trust your work colleagues in a particular way.

In workshops when we discuss trust, we ask the following question, “Would you invite them into your home?”. Our home is our sanctuary to a large degree and we do not necessarily invite anyone into it. All we possess is in our homes and the thought of inviting someone in that could thieve any of what we have is repulsive to us. It is to be betrayed when our trust is broken and so with that in mind we are very particular with whom we invite into our homes.

So, do your staff trust you?

The simple answer to this is, “No, they do not!”

In fact, when people were asked at random on the streets of major capital cities, “Who would you trust more, your manager or a stranger?” 76% of respondents said they would trust the stranger more.

Building trust between staff and their managers is a complex issue that requires an enormous amount of work, by both parties. It can be done though and the 24% that would trust their manager more than the stranger obviously have managers that work at building the trust between themselves and their staff.

The benefits of a trusting relationship do not need to be stated. The question though is what do you do to build trust with your staff and with your manager?

 

Something worth watching…

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

 

Something worth reading…especially when someone great is saying what I say 🙂

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/09/forgive-yourself.html