PrintI am joining in with the Word of the Week linky for the first time in months. It is one I really like as it is about language and life.

My Word of the Week is proactive.

“The adjective proactive can describe a person who get things done. If you are proactive, you make things happen, instead of waiting for them to happen to you.

Active means “doing something.” The prefix pro- means “before.” So if you are proactive, you are ready before something happens. The opposite is being reactive, or waiting for things to unfold before responding. Think about winter cold season. A proactive person washes his hands and takes vitamins; a reactive person gets sick and takes cold medicine.”

Looking back, a lot of the so called impressive things I have done have come about through somebody else suggesting them or showing me the way. A teacher said I had an outside chance of getting into Oxbridge so I applied. My Dad told me perhaps I could help a charity so I visited one and ended up doing 20 years in that field. My blogging achievements certainly come from people believing me and inviting me to get involved in things.

I want to be more proactive because I know it works. My life has changed so much since starting Groovy Mums in late 2011 but there are other things I want to see happening for me. Groovy Mums was very much about taking proactive steps even if baby ones towards our dreams.

So this week, I was proactive. I did research, I learned new things and I reached out for help. This led to me discovering new opportunities and also to setting up Groovy Mums again albeit in a slightly different form. I am so looking forward to the journey ahead because when you get proactive, it is exciting and you can claim the results if things work out well.

Also this week, respect to Him Indoors who instead of handing a phone call straight to his manager, asked some pertinent questions and ended up with a new job as a result. Him Indoors is very much a plodder so this new streak pleases me a lot.

So there you have it – my word of the week is proactive and I for one intend it to become a way of life.

    Where do you find support for mums?

    Have you heard of or do you remember Groovy Mums?

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    It was an initiative I set up when feeling down on myself to pick myself up and hoping that along the way I could off support for mums too,

    We had Twitter parties, the mums who blogged shared their stories and most importantly, both myself and other mums made proactive and positive changes in their lives. It is amazing what you can do when you have a great peer support network behind you.

    Groovy Mums is coming back with a new name and exciting ways to get involved. I think it is a splendid time to relaunch support for mums as children go off to school and mums might have a little more time to focus on their hopes and dreams.

    1. Groovy Mums regularly got criticised for the name so there will be a new name. I do have a name in mind but I am also open to your suggestions too before next week’s post when we really get started on this amazing journey.

    2. People will be able to get more involved by sharing their own stories about how have found themselves, carved out some me time or taken charge of their own destiny.

    3. There will be a collaborative Pinterest board to share positive images of what we get up to.

    4. A weekly linky will be opened on Thursdays will calls to action and inspirational ideas.

    5. There will be a presence on other social media networks.

    6. There will be a new badge and I am looking for a volunteer to design it.

    7. There will be prizes and there will be certificates!

    How you can get involved

    1. You can take part in the weekly linky telling us how you are getting on and/or seeking the support of other mums. If you can add images or video, so much the better. It is good if you can visit the other posts linked up as you can lend your support to other mums and might learn something new too.

    2. You can take part in our regular Twitter parties to share your ideas and offer support for mums.

    3. There are very exciting plans for the new and improved Groovy Mums in 2015 so now is the time to get involved to see what that might be all about.

    Are you on board to take baby steps to make your dreams come true whilst offering support for mums too?

    What has made my soul sing this week?

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    1. I have spent a lot of time this week evaluating where I am and where I want to be. Too often, mums can focus on the needs of everyone else and lose sight of their aspirations. There are things I want to achieve and I am determined to move forwards positively.

    2. I have asked for help this week. Usually I am a natural helper and don’t find it easy to ask for support. This week I did. I am overwhelmed by the generosity shown by my online friends. Thank you.

    3. I got up early this morning and enjoyed about 3 hours all to myself. How lovely silence is when you are in the middle of the long school holidays. I wish I could discipline myself to get up at least a hour earlier than everyone else in the family every day.

    4. I am feeling very motivated. I find the more I do, the more I want to do.

    5. I heard about good news from friends – a good holiday after a difficult year, pleasing A-Level results and so on. It is lovely to see things working out well for people.

    6. Random words keep coming to me in a variety of ways. I am sure they are showing me my next path.

    7. I think I just might be starting to believe in myself and in quite a big way.

    So there you have my reasons to be cheerful.

    What are yours?

    The F word as in Feminism seems to cause some women so much angst and I struggle to work out why.   I became aware of the word in the mid-to-late Eighties.  It seemed to involve women getting or fighting for a positive deal and as a big fan of fair play, I was ready to sign myself up to the cause.

    I did not burn my bra but I hated it then and now.  I was apparently seen by some as sexually confident when hanging loose but the truth was I have sloping shoulders and just got bored of keep pulling up the straps.  I did join a women’s group at college and eventually became Women’s Officer to ensure that women’s views were heard by the college authorities (women were very much in the minority at my college).

    There was a session on women’s voices in media at BritMums Live.  Helen from Actually Mummy, one of the speakers wrote a blog post about it.  She explained how the following tweet gave her confidence to share her vision.

     

    Women can be intelligent even when wearing tiaras. #fact#britmumslive@ActuallyMummypic.twitter.com/3CG6Nfs3AX

    — Claire Evans (@claireyfairey) June 20, 2014

    Absolutely.  Women can be intelligent whatever they are wearing or not wearing for that matter.  Equally, some women may not be intelligent and/or may struggle to express their wants and needs particularly with those in power – employers, landlords, benefit agencies, the police and other organisations.  In the domestic arena, some will find it tough to get a fair deal in the home.  And some will die.

    As an advice worker, I saw so many vulnerable women up against the authorities and who had made rash decisions “because I love/d him”   Any yes, I have seen the bruises and the emotional damage to female victims of physical and sexual abuse.

    Feminism should never be merely a dinner party conversation or a specialism in a career.  That is a further abuse to those who are suffering. There are vital changes to be made if we are truly to feel proud of the society in which we live.

    I do feel we should challenge men who act badly as women, men and as a society at a whole.  If I quote statistics on matters such as crime that make some men (and women) feel uncomfortable, if I think it is for the greater good I will keep on doing so.

    I do think that if women are to be understood and heard, it would be helpful to see more of them in politics, business and the media.  I also feel think those women who have made that journey could do a lot for themselves and others by offering mentoring to others.

    Blogging and social media give women the opportunity to have their say on topics that matter to them.  We can learn from each other too and it strikes me that sharing not only our story but those of others can be such a powerful force for change.  Which certainly makes me want to press those share buttons more often now that I have thought it through. Let’s share our truths and then those who do have power can make the right choices for a fairer world from an informed position.

    Working together and supportively for a better world knowing that women are a valuable part of that world – now that’s what I call feminism.

    Agree or disagree? – leave a comment and then I can start to understand your voice too.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Mum Muddling Through

    What I learned at BritMums Live 2014.

    I was keen to be in room 4 for all the workshops on offer at BritMums Live. I want to become a published writer. I know that video is probably the way forward but have bottled it to date. I know I could do more to understand technical issues.

    I understand the speakers themselves and/or BritMums will be sharing the lessons from the individual workshops but these are the things I picked up that I hope will help me move forwards this year.

    1. It is not unusual to put off writing when you love writing. You must find ways to actually write if you are to be successful. Some ideas will just come to you but others will take more work and people-watching.

    2. You have to approach a literary agent in a business-like manner making it obvious with your first line and a few chapters on why they should take you on. Being different will help. You may need to be flexible and not react aggressively if agents and publishers suggest changes to your first manuscript.

    3. Video is possible however inexperienced you are. You should experiment and see what works best. You can try things out on your family first before taking the leap into letting the general public or your blog readers in on the act. Keep videos short and engaging and don’t forget you can edit them. Be aware of the distracting mess in your background – oh that’s just my rubbish housework standards then! Just as in blogging, you are allowed to be you and to vlog it your way. There is good equipment that can help and there are generous spirits like @nigelcamp who are keen to share their tips.

    4. You can acquire free pictures to use on your blog and thereby avoid allegations of photo theft.

    5. Self-publishing is much more accessible and affordable than every before. I came away determined to write and publish an e-book and to see where that journey takes me.

    6. You don’t need to be scared of the tech stuff – you just need a kind soul to explain it to you. Some of it is really important. I was not doing quite a lot of it! For me, it is always about the words but I have realised I neglect tech stuff to my peril.

    7. Niche blogging can lead to success. I know this is true and plan a niche blog sometime this year. Having said that, I have managed to find work, readers and awards without having a particular niche apart from the life and times of a moody, middle-aged mum. I think sometimes being you works best and only you have the niche on that one! They say cream rises to the top and I think good content and genuine hearts do too.

    8. I was reminded by Emma Freud that anything is possible if you work hard enough, use your creativity and resourcefulness and sometimes blag it a bit too.

    9. Benjamin Brooks-Dutton described so well how very complex and fascinating journeys of grief can be. I agree that laughter is as much a part of it as the tears. Our lost loved ones must always be our lips.

    10. The bloggers’ keynotes reminded me that life is a series of big ups and deep downs for lots of us. So many work miracles all the time. Let’s celebrate strong characters who keep on keeping on in good times and bad.

    So as ever at BritMums Live, I learned things I did not know, I gained practical tips to move me forwards and I left humbled and that bit better in myself than last year.