"My work stress gave my children nightmares." Author, Penelope Magoulianiti
Now I’m not one for self-help books. I can’t get past all the very long words and thinky hard pages. I get a bit cringed out with the self-reflection. Maybe I’m the prime candidate for one, come to think of it…
When I was emailed an offer to read Penelope Magoulianiti’s book ‘Women, Motherhood and Independence’, I hovered over the delete button. But then I read the following sentence:
“In this book you will find strategies and ideas that you can apply to your life daily in order to stay on top of things, become more creative, more energetic, and healthier irrespective of how much sleep you have managed the night before.”
And I thought. Yeah. I’ll have some of that. (Matchsticks propping my eyes open).
Also, I didn’t know this at the time, but the book is not very long at all. Hurrah!
So I read the book, felt inspired and Skyped Penelope to chat about it some more. Sadly, no one wouldn’t fund a trip to sunny Cyprus to meet her face to face. Boo.
Penelope is a motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur. She hasn’t always been though. Since the age of 19, she had a successful career in the banking industry until a very stressful period at work started to affect everything in her life, including her children.
“One night my son, who was 6 years old at the time, woke up screaming from a nightmare,” she reminisces. “He was screaming ‘Leave Mummy alone, leave Mummy alone!’ over and over. I was shocked. Within half an hour, my daughter was up crying for me too and I remember sitting on the stairs at 3am, realising how much of my stress I had been projecting onto them and thinking, this has to stop. Right now.”
So she stopped it. She now works for herself, on her own terms, to make the work she loves fit in with motherhood. And she shares her experiences and tips in this here book.
I love her idea to allocate a period of uninterrupted time to focus on one thing every day. Easier said than done with small children, I know, but something to work towards. “I log out of my emails, switch my phone off so I’m not tempted to look at every ping of a message and make a list of my top priorities.”
I do love a list. (Bet you’ve written something on your list just to cross it out too, haven’t you?!)
“I make coffee, put on some music and focus on writing, or whatever I need to do that day for 90 minutes. No calls, no emails.” I told her I’m looking after two children on maternity leave at the moment, but she said if I can occupy or hand over the children even just for twenty minutes, turn everything off and concentrate on my list, it’ll feel satisfying. I’ll be giving that one a go next time Nanny’s around.
The chapter called ‘Slow down to Achieve More’ resonated with me. “We never take time to relax.” Penelope explains. “Us women are too good at multi tasking. The minute my little one was asleep, I’d be cleaning! But I realised I’m much more patient when I’m rested, so put my feet up for a little while instead.”
This lady has the best ideas! The washing-up is now growing mould on the side. *Slurps tea.*
I can also thank Penelope for reminding me that motherhood is a second chance to feel like a child again myself, and let loose like we don’t have any of those annoying things called responsibilities.
“I’m not a fan of heights, and my daughter wanted to go down a flume at a water park.” Penelope recalls. “She wasn’t tall enough so I had to go with her, and I was so scared. But as I came down the slide, terrified, I thought ‘how can my daughter be having so much fun with no fear, and I’m the grown up? Nothing is going to happen to us!’ And it really helped me realise I need to enjoy life like a child sometimes.”
This is no self-help book. I’d call it a motivational must-read for Mums.
Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of Penelope’s book for free in order to read and give my honest opinion. Thanks to Claire from myepublishbook.com and Penelope for her time.