Transcript: Insightful Ways to Improve Your Self Awareness As a Parent

This is a text transcript from The First Time Mum’s Chat podcast. The episode is called Insightful Ways to Improve Your Self Awareness as a Parent and you can click on the link to view the full episode page, listen to the episode and view the show notes.

In the hectic, chaotic world that we live in today, it’s very easy to forget about the wonderful human beings we are and the qualities we are born with and the skills we acquire and develop throughout our lives. It can help having someone to support you on a one-to-one basis with empathy and compassion, right?

Today’s guest, Sinead Kavanagh, has found clarity in her life and lives and breathes this and is committed to helping parents on their journey. Sinead is The Holistic Parent and in this episode, you’ll hear about the four cornerstones that have built her life, her business and her relationships and the importance of maintaining an even balance amongst them. These are self-awareness/self-efficacy, resilience, autonomy and the locus of control.

In this episode Sinead asks you to consider do you know who you are, do you know what triggers you, do you know how you cope with life when it throws you lemons and are you fulfilling your own needs?

When you love yourself, it’s easy for others to love you and today you’ll hear Sinead give many valuable tips on how to do this.

Helen Thompson: Hi Sinead and welcome to First Time Mum’s chat. It’s absolutely a pleasure to have you here and I know you run a business, which I’m very, very intrigued about. So can we start by asking you to tell me what you’re passionate about and a bit about what you do?

Sinead Kavanagh: Great. Good morning, Helen. I’m talking to you from Ireland in the Northern hemisphere and lovely to chat with you. The power of technology. So my name is Sinead Kavanagh and I’m the Holistic Parent. It’s a mentoring and education service that I run in Ireland. Obviously because of COVID it’s now worldwide and it’s a service for parents. So whether that be a first time mum, first time dad, primary carers, you know, because parenting takes so many different shapes and forms nowadays.

The main ethos of my work is that it’s about parenting holistically and that’s remembering that as human beings, we are whole entities. We are the sum of all of our parts and whether that’s good or bad, warts and all that’s who we are. And it’s about being aware of all of that we are. And when we come to parenting, we’re bringing all of that with us.

And that’s where the blueprint comes in. Now I work across the lifespan. I do have a focus on expectant parents and new parents. That’s new parents whether this is your first one or your fifth one, because every parenting experience is a new experience. You’ve never walked in those shoes before, you’re older than you were the first time, you have changed in mindset and perhaps physically. Your emotional and psychological development, which happens the right way through our lives has shifted. And so every parenting experience is a new experience. So that new parents thing is not just for first-time parents. The new parent thing is for every newborn experience. So that’s, my focus is I’m very passionate about that element because for me, we mentioned the blueprint. It’s important to get the blueprint for that parenting experience, right, because that’s your foundation that your entire parenting journey will rest. And that needs to be a really solid foundation. And the only way we can build a solid foundation is by having a really solid blueprint.

Helen Thompson: That sounds amazing. And it’s true that although you’re a first time mom for one child, you’re also a first time mum for the second and the third, because each child, as you say is so different. So tell me a bit more about the blueprint? What are the foundations of the blueprint.

Sinead Kavanagh: So everyone’s blueprint is going to be different. I based my blueprint on my own personal ethos, the way I live life and the way I’ve set up my business. I have four cornerstones. Those four cornerstones are primarily hinged on self-awareness and self-efficacy. So the four cornerstones for me are self efficacy, resilience, autonomy, and the locus of control that is internalized. That last piece is something that could be explored as an individual topic.

Very quickly locus of control will either be an internalized experience or an externalized experience. And from from this point of view, it’s very important that our locus of control is internalized. The autonomy is the taking responsibility and accountability for our own existence on our own behaviors and our own way of being. The self-efficacy is the belief that we have it within us to be able to achieve whatever it is we wish to put our mind to.

And the resilience is that bounce back ability, the ability to be able to get up and dust off and keep going. And so for me, they’re like the pillars of my temple, if you like, or they’re like the four corner flotation devices for your raft. If one of those is not solid, if one of those is not equally balanced, then there’s going to be an issue. You know, you just think of that when something is not quite it’s out of kilter. It affects everything. It affects direction. You know, for some reason, I don’t know why a lot of the time when I talk about parenting, nautical stuff comes up.

Now I’m not a sailor or anything, but for me, just the nautical element comes in and I think it’s because of the fact that water as an element is so changeable. The viscosity can change and alter depending on what it’s effected by. You know, the moon affects our tides and everything else from a physics geological point of view.

But internally we are composed of so much water. I’m actually musing aloud now because I’ve actually never really delved into whatever reason nautical terms come up. So that raft, we’re talking about those four flotation devices thinking about the most basic one you would have made as a kid. Four water bottles and a few pieces of you know, water or whatever on the top of it to see would your cat be able to sail across the pond with.

If one of those wasn’t steady, if one of those was leaking, if one of those wasn’t the same consistency or didn’t have the same importance given to it as the others. It comes loose, it becomes inbalanced, that raft becomes a very shaky place to be. That’s the self-awareness element. When I talk about self-awareness and self efficacy, the efficacy is very much our internal conversation.

That self-efficacy, if we tell ourselves something enough, it manifests, so be careful what you’re telling yourself. I say to people, you know, when you meet somebody and they say, how are you doing? And they’re going, oh, I’m good, I’m good. Or I’m just waiting and such and such is coming along. I’m not sure , it could be a poor outcome and I’m going stop!. Why you asking first? You know, it’s like when you get the puncture in the car, but you’ve already fallen down the stairs that week and the washing machine broke, you don’t ask what else is going to happen.

The universe will show you what can happen. So what you say is that’s enough now thanks very much just good things from now on. And that totally flips your mindset because you’re inviting in just the good things from now on. You’re saying enough of the other stuff I’ve had enough. So that’s the self-efficacy. The self-awareness is knowing are your four floats secure enough? Are they steady enough? Are they equal? Have I paid enough attention to each of them? And that’s where the blueprint comes in. Because if you start out with your parenting journey, even before you become pregnant and you decide you want to be a parent, that’s when you start writing and drawing out your blueprint, because this from now on is how you will become a parent and what kind of parents you will be.

We can’t plan for everything, we can’t. There is so little in our lives that we can have control over. What our behavior is, is one of the most important things that we can have control over. And that goes across the board in every walk of life. But it’s really important in this element, in this space, because it’s not just your own life that you’re actually influencing.

It’s the life of another and that other becomes a grown-up adult at some stage in life and will impact the lives of others as well. So this one, I really get goosebumps when I say that, because that’s the bit that I’m so passionate about. What kind of parent do you want to be and what kind of person do you aspire for your child to be?

Helen Thompson: It’s the same in business as well, if your blueprint isn’t right for business, there’s your raft, as you put it or your water element isn’t stable in life it’s not going to be stable for business, it’s not going to be stable for a parent.

Sinead Kavanagh: That’s one of the cornerstones, they’re my cornerstones, they’re the cornerstones for my life as a parent and as a human being but they’re also the four cornerstones on which I have solidly placed my business. They all have to be, whatever decisions I make are mine to make but they’re mine to be responsible for also. So that’s my accountability, my autonomy, but then also when I take responsibility for them that my internalized locus of control. I’m not waiting for somebody else to fix it, I’m not blaming those for it not going right.

And as long as I keep believing that what I’m doing is worthwhile. As long as I keep believing that what I’m doing brings me not even believing, but as long as I know that it’s bringing me joy and it inspires me and it keeps me going, and it helps and shares knowledge with other people and inspires other people, that’s my self-efficacy, I believe in myself. And then the last one is the resilience that it’s never all going to be peachy, but my behavior and the way I approach life, that’s what will help keep me up and dusted.

Helen Thompson: And I think, yeah, that’s important for a mum to understand that because when you’ve got a small baby or a small child or two children or whatever, you’re always wanting to take responsibility of that child, which is important, but you’ve also got to take responsibility for yourself and your own actions in order to take care of that child and I think that’s really important.

Sinead Kavanagh: Something that came to me this morning when I was thinking about how we were going to be chatting and what might come up, so often I will hear new moms and new parents say, well, this is really hard. I can’t do this and why is the baby like this? Why won’t they settle? And the reality of it is, is that we need to come back and look at our own space that we’re standing in and who we are because our baby, when they arrive is a blank canvas. They arrive as human beings with inherent traits, where they will strive for survival, they will strive for warmth and food and affection and that is the nature of human beings. You know, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is very important here for parents to pay attention to. It’s a very simple, psychological thing. The most basic level is survival, warmth, food, love. Nothing else is important if that’s not there. And when it comes to our new babies, are you comfortable? Do you feel loved? Do you feel secure? Do you nourish yourself well? Is there other people around you supporting you and caring for you? Is home a stable place? Is the roof over your head secure? Have you financial stability sufficiently to keep going?

I’m not talking about having abundance because everyone knows once you have kids, you’ve no money any more! I hate to break that news to you, but you know that you will have money or your money mindset as an individual human has enormous impacts on where you parent from because if you have any demons surrounding money, for instance, those will impact every action you take as a parent.

Look, this is about personal self-awareness, personal accountability, personal autonomy, personal self-efficacy is personal resilience on the personal locus of control because that’s how you become a parent with all of those things. You can’t magically become a parent with those things if you don’t possess them as an individual human being. When I spoke, initially, I said self-awareness and self efficacy. Self-awareness is just unbelievably, incredibly important. If you don’t know who you are, if you don’t know what makes you tick, if you don’t know the things that trigger you. If you have anything from your life before today, that has impacted how you view your life today, you need to open that book and start reading the chapters and rewriting the endings of those chapters for yourself. And when you decide to become a parent, you get nine months to do that.

And anyone who’s already become a parent will, will identify with this. Those of your listeners who are on the journey are just beginning to think about the journey. The nine months they start and they fly along because you’re just dying to get to the first kind of scan or first appointment to know that everything is okay.

And then the first trimester is over in a blink and then everything starts to slow down a little bit because your body goes, wait till we tell you how it’s going to be from now on. You might plan each day but that’s going to change each day. You may set out to achieve, and you realize that your expectations are far too great of yourself.

You may decide that it’s a great day to go to do whatever and the universe will decide otherwise. And so everything has to slow, including your mindset, including your thought processes, including how you navigate each day.

You have to become very aware of what’s important. You become very aware of in the second trimester, those physical changes to your body from an anatomical and physiological point of view, you have to have sufficient water and hydration, which means, yes, you may need to be in the bathroom a lot of the day.

You have to make sure that you’re eating properly in the way that your body is seeking it. Cravings are not necessarily a bad thing. What they are is your body saying, we’re looking for this stuff and you’re not actually providing it, so we’re going to put a picture in your head of something that will provide it so that, you know, tangibly what you can go out and put your hands on and eat, thanks very much. So you look at the cravings, like, you know, ice cream. Well, that’s calcium. Your baby needs calcium. And what it does is it depletes your calcium levels in order to grow and thrive. So you have to keep replenishing that.

When you’re looking for pickles or, you know, the way sometimes people look for those salty vinegary flavors. That’s the taste that you’re looking for. It’s the electrolyte. It’s your body, you know, when you take, dehydration, you look for salts and sugars. So when you’re looking for those things, that’s your body going, struggling here a little bit. So that’s about hydration, making sure there’s sufficient water going in to be able to provide everything the body needs and also then making sure that you have enough energy to keep going each day.

Helen Thompson: Yeah, because your baby does take a lot of energy from you, which is perfectly fine, but you’ve got to start replenishing that.

Sinead Kavanagh: To give an example, to help people. I am a mentor and an educator. A really important thing for me when I’m working with my parents is for them to develop an understanding of how their body works. So I will teach anatomy and I will teach physiology. I will teach you about your body and how you can grow your baby and then what’s happening with your baby as they grow and thrive in the womb but also through the birth process. What’s going on there? I’m, quite a scientific person, so I love the mechanics. The literal mechanics of birth, it’s incredible but it’s also very important to understand it because then you can kind of go, ah, I know what’s going on there.

And a perfect example because we’re jumping in and out of different genres here, but from the anatomical point of view, a friend of mine, a number of years ago fell and she broke her femur or her humerus, which is in the arm and thankfully she was okay.

She fell on stairs and she fractured her humerus but during the healing process, obviously she was off work and had to kind of give up and say, I have to let this heal and she became pregnant. She actually could have been a couple of weeks pregnant, maybe when she did fall or whatever, but, you know, the timeline was very tight and about four weeks into the healing process, her x-rays were not coming back very well. The healing wasn’t happening and the surgeon said, this is strange, there was healing and now the healing seems to have slowed down, it seems to have stopped, are you feeling well, otherwise, is there anything we should know about or anything else? And she was like, no, no, everything’s grand, I’m off work, minding myself, I’m eating well and all the rest. And for whatever reason, the surgeon said, are you pregnant? And it turns out she was, and the baby was taking the calcium from her body in order to grow.

And so the healing wasn’t happening. So major calcium supplements had to be had and all of the rest of it and it did take about 12 weeks for that bone to heal fully enough to be out of the cast. So she spent her first trimester in, in a full shoulder cast, but it just goes to show how incredible our bodies are because that very bottom level of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is survival. So even as a fetus in the womb that baby’s gone, I got to do stuff and it will impact you. And you need to pay attention to that. You need to pay attention to that.

So that’s the blueprint, blueprint has so much in it. There’s so much importance in getting that, right, but it comes all the way back to you without any baby in mind, do you know who you are? Do you know what triggers you? Do you know how you cope with life when it throws you lemons? What is your modus operandi? Are you aware? And look at that portion of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Are you fulfilling those for yourself? Don’t be looking for anyone else to do it for you. Are you fulfilling those for yourself?

Helen Thompson: Are we going off track if I talk about the blueprint and your intuition? That’s part of you as well because my intuition is very strong. I listen to it sometimes. I don’t and things happen if I don’t. Not nasty. I hear this little voice inside of me saying told you, so,

Sinead Kavanagh: That’s one of our inherent traits that we’re born with, personal intuition and that’s different for everybody. Some people are very intuitive about emotions, some people are very intuitive about logic. You know, there’s so many different elements for that intuition. I am a practitioner, so my intuition is very much about healing and I trust my gut implicitly, absolutely implicitly. Well that’s because I understand how my gut works, so I trust that solar plexus, which is a chakra right off the solar plexus.

It’s not an anatomical body part, which confuses a lot of people because I do have a science head, but I’m very much holistic. So that chakra, the site of it is actually where our tummy is and our tummy therefore is seen as the seat of our worries. The first place, that we will be affected when things are really good or really bad, if we’re listening, we can feel it first and foremost in our tummy and that’s the gut feeling. It’s as simple as that. Now from a biological point of view what happens, your stomach is an organ that’s not very important. So when we get heightened, either positively or negatively, because the physical feelings are the very same.

So when we get excited and when we get nervous, we get butterflies and they’re tummy on both. Our brain tells us which one we’re experiencing it, depending on what’s externally in our viewpoint, that will determine whether that’s something I’m nervous about or something I’m excited about. We can actually turn that on and off.

We can flip that, with a really strong mindset we can flip that and go, no, this is fine, I have this one. And it changes your attitude towards the situation. Well, physically from a physical point of view, the butterflies start in our tummy. And that’s the reaction to whatever is happening externally. And what’s happening there is blood flow is disrupted. So your tummy gets a little spasm going on because blood flow is interrupted because the body understands or the brain has accepted that there’s something seen as a possible threat, good or bad. Cause either way, it impacts our blood flow and all of that.

And so the brain, the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the liver, get everything and the stomach goes zip and it’s like the restricted blood flow to the area and you get that funny feeling in your tummy. That’s your gut reaction. So you need to be aware of that and some people confuse that with hunger.

Some people confuse that with the need to defecate. Some people confuse that with upset. Is it any wonder that one of the most prominent medical issues that we can have is to do with our digestive tract and we have overeating or under eating because for some people when the stomach spasms, do we put food in there in order to expand that stomach because then we don’t feel quite so tight or are we not able to put food in there because it’s so tight, there’s nowhere for it to go. So there you have people who’ve turned to foods to solve that feeling of unpleasantness or upset in their stomach, or you have people who turn away from food in order to not have that nauseous feeling because of anxiety and stress.

Helen Thompson: From a holistic point of view, if you have that feeling and you actually say to yourself, right, I’ve got a feeling in my tummy, let’s try and work out what’s wrong. Why have I got this feeling in my tummy and relax and do meditation and go through your chakras. And that’s the sort of holistic side where you ask your body, let’s try and heal this together.

Sinead Kavanagh: I see the first step is to become so self aware that you feel that feeling in your tummy and go, hold on a second what’s going on here? And then you don’t have to go to one or other of those extremes in order to sort it out. And that’s to do with the psychology of things it’s to do with how we have learned how to cope with things in life and so this is why it’s very important to the journey of self-awareness is really important because what it’s doing is it’s teaching us to dig deep and find out where those four corners sit, and when we become self-aware, we can recognize and acknowledge and accept and take responsibility for where there might be some cracks in the foundation. When we become fully self-aware we take responsibility for repairing those cracks.

And I love that Japanese art of care. I can’t remember the name of it now, but everyone needs to look it up, it’s very easy to find, but basically when they find a crack in something that is meaningful, they repair it with gold. The most wondrous, abundant precious, precious, solid, strong kind of material to use, to repair. And for me, gold from a holistic point of view is love. So when we find those cracks in our cornerstone, we heal them with love, our own love. We recognize that it was a need and we take care of it. And by doing that, our level of self-awareness not only becomes so solid and strong, we’re nearly invincible. We can cope with whatever life is going to throw at us. I think that’s really, really important. There’s no one in your life that doesn’t have cracks, but not everybody wants to see them. And very often people look for somebody else to prop up those corners or some thing else to prop up those corners and that’s their crutches.

And, you know, that’s like putting the scaffolding around a beautiful building and hiding the building, and we’re never going to be able to see that building again because the building would become so reliant and so dependent on that scaffolding that you never get to see the building again, really, in its true glory.

So for me. I don’t know if that’s too visual or graphic the way I’m describing it, but that’s how passionately I feel about this parenting journey. You have to acknowledge and love the person you are in order to become the parent you aspire to be.

We get knocked off course all the time. What I say to people is, and this is going to sound very airy fairy, but if you were on the ocean and you’re sailing and you’ve set a course for somewhere in particular, the waves and the moon and the tides of the weather are all going to change that course from time to time.

If you really are determined to you will get there. And that goes for everything in life. That goes for healing. You know, maybe your childhood, wasn’t what it could have been. Maybe your parenting experience wasn’t what it could have been. You can take that and take responsibility to heal, to repair that. It might delay your journey to where it is you want it to be when you were 25 or 35 or 40 or 50 or 70, but you can still keep going. The course is for you to plot. But nobody goes to sea in a leaky boat. That’s the cracks.

Helen Thompson: That’s a really good analogy, I like that one. And it’s very simple to understand as well. You’ve explained it simplistically.

Sinead Kavanagh: It’s very pertinent at the moment, because a big thing that was coming out during the pandemic. The expression that was used was, you know, the rising tide lifts all boats.

And you know, this is the storm, we’re all in the same storm together and everyone was like we’re all in the same boat. And, you know, the big thing was no, actually we are all in the same storm, but some of us have bigger boats than others and that’s recognizing that not everybody is as fortunate as you might be, and you may not be as fortunate as others. It’s about recognizing what’s your own boat looking like.

Don’t be worrying about what everyone else is telling you. Yeah, take a look at your own boat. Is it as good as it could be? Work within your resources, work within what you have. Don’t be looking for somebody else to give you the answer. And that’s back to that locus of control. We all have a boat. It’s up to us to make the most of it, and we all have the ability to make the most of it, but sometimes you have to just repair the cracks with a bit of love.

Helen Thompson: And we also have the choice to make the most of it as well. We have a choice to decide which raft we’re going to go onto as well. We have a choice to build that raft and to say, right, okay, this is the raft I choose to go on and accept the consequences if it’s the wrong one.

Sinead Kavanagh: You’ve used that word choice and choose. I love that because for the last 30 odd years I have had this conversation. Every so often it comes up. A very wise old man told me when I was about 13 or 14 years of age. It was one of my first jobs. And I said something, it was a news agents and we were doing whatever and I said, oh, I forgot to do something or I did something. And I remember saying to him, oh, I should have done that before I finished up on Saturday. I forgot to do it and he stopped me there and then, and he said, I’m going to teach you a lesson here that you’ll never forget. He said, there’s no such thing as should. He said you could have done that before you left, but you allowed yourself to be distracted by X, Y, and Z but your duties are X, Y, and Z and the one thing that you must do before you go is to top the newspapers and you could have done it, but you made a choice and that meant it didn’t get done. Now he said to me, I’m not giving out to you. We all make mistakes, but mistakes are lessons. And he said, I’m giving you this lesson. There is no should in life. Should denotes that somebody else somewhere has dictated how you need to behave but your behavior is, all yours. You always have a choice and it doesn’t matter what anybody says.

Sometimes the choices are shitty, sometimes you get really crap choices. Well, there’s always going to be one a bit better than the other. And the choice is always yours to make. And when you make that choice, you must take responsibility for it. That’s accountability, that’s autonomy.

That’s your locus of control and your self efficacy. It’s all wrapped up in there. It’s choice. And I’m delighted that you’ve brought that up because that comes back to when parents are saying no, oh, I’m not managing this and I’m not coping with that. An experience recently with, just a conversation overheard and I heard a mom who was expecting and telling her friend and being really vociferous about it and giving out about her father-in-law, was making her so stressed that he was doing this and doing that, making her so stressed. So I really wanted to say, no pet, you’re actually choosing to allow it.

Yes, people will trigger us all the time, but if you’re fully self aware, you’ll know, that’s a trigger for me. That’s something that just gets up my goat, that’s something that’s going to kick me off. I need to not be around that person, or I need to change the mindset with which I deal with that person.

Or I need to have a conversation with that person and say do you know what?. Why I’m expecting, I really don’t need this. And we need to figure out a way of it not happening. And it always strikes me there are times in life where we will all want to blame the world and we will all want somebody else to take responsibility.

And that’s when we’re feeling the child within. You know, the inner child. Yeah. The child within sometimes needs to be parented and sometimes we all go I’d love to not have to adult today, could somebody else mind me? We all have those times. Well, you need to realize that as an adult, as you know, growing up in the world and becoming older in life, yes there is an element of hopefully becoming wiser. But also it’s you have rights. You’re not dictated to by society or life. You have the right to choose to take care of yourself. You have the right to choose what environments to be in and not in and you have the right to choose whether you converse with people or don’t, you have the right to choose how you live your life.

And the big one is for parents, especially for moms, especially something weird happens in your head when you’re pregnant, that all of a sudden you forget about all the abilities that you have and all the skills that you have, how I, we started listening to other people who we believe are more informed or more intelligent or more experienced or whatever else. There is nobody more experienced of being you than you!

Helen Thompson: Yes, that’s right, exactly.

Sinead Kavanagh: For some reason, the doubt creeps in, but that’s not as a new mom. That doubt was always there. You always had that sense of not being good enough or not being clever enough. That was always there. That doesn’t just appear when you become a parent. That’s not when that happens, that’s always there. It just becomes very apparent to you because all of a sudden, it’s not just about you and being able to mask it and wing it through life. All of a sudden another human being is dependent on you, fixing and curing those emotions and feelings and behaviors in order for them to feel secure.

So kids are the challenge in life that make us focused on being the best version of ourselves we can be.

Helen Thompson: They help to make you as a person stronger because you are giving so much of yourself. You may think that your kid is challenging, but in fact, it’s you that have got to work out a way to support and help that child, whether they’re challenging or not challenging. It’s not the behavior that you’ve got to work with, it’s it’s more how you deal with the behavior and how you put yourself out there. I mean, 20 years I’ve worked in childcare and I’ve got frustrated with it at times. I’ve pulled myself back at times, but in the last 10 years, I’ve realized that’s what brought me into baby massage.

Sinead Kavanagh: Something to remember is that when we see a behavior in somebody else that we don’t like, it’s a mirror. Babies are our own mirror. If they’re behaving in a way that’s causing you difficulty, you need to look and see why. So a baby that’s not resting, that’s fretful. Are you worried? Are you a worry wart?

Are you taking on the woes and challenges of the world? Are you trying to be perfect? Because what I see, and this is over 15 years of working hands-on with parents and babies, babies presenting with physical difficulties that parents are like, I just don’t understand it and medically there’s no issues, but there are physical difficulties there and I can see them.

And then you talk to the parents and you go, well, guys, you know, do you suffer from constipation, because your baby’s constipated, do you suffer from constipation? That’s about holding on. So that’s the energy that we emit. You know yourself, we all come across people in life where you can sit beside somebody on a bus or a train and you can actually kind of go, oh, I feel a little bit uncomfortable and there’s no reason for it, but it’s because the person beside you is feeling uncomfortable and they emit that energy. And sometimes, you might go, I’ve actually got to get up and move ’cause I don’t like this. Where you go into a space, a party, or, an environment in work or whatever, and you just kind of go, oh, you don’t like the feeling in here.

I don’t like how I feel in here. And that’s about being very much aware. And you know what, not enough people are that in tuned to recognize that at the very outset and what tends to happen is that they become tuned into it when it has become really problematic. That’s because it has kind of chipped away at them over a period of time.

A lovely one for everybody to do, no matter what age you are, no matter what stage in life you’re at, whether you’re becoming a parent, planning it, are a parent, have seen your kids leave or whatever is the four cornerstones as I spoke of before.

I attach each of those also to the elements of who we are. So body, mind, heart, and soul. And so if you look at your self efficacy, your locus of control, your autonomy and your resilience, they all can correspond to body, mind, heart, and soul, because one of those works on each of those, if that makes sense. Okay, and I’m going to leave people to figure that one out for themselves. I can’t do all the work for them. They have to sit down and just see how they match up.

So there’s four elements that provides energy that provides a charge that provides a way of recharging. So body, mind, heart, and soul each morning, when you wake up and you’re lying in the bed. Imagine you have that four plug socket block line on your tummy and body, mind, heart and soul, there should be a plug in each of them because they should be charging. If you don’t have a plug in each of them really think about this. So if it’s your body, if your body’s a bit out of kilter, what are you doing with your body? Where have you removed that plug and where have you plugged it into, because if it’s not plugged in with you, you’ve given it away somewhere else.

So where have you plugged it into? Find that plug and if you have to extract it and replug it in, or if you need to leave it where it is, you need to find another source, for a re-energizing of your body from others. from those who are in love with you, who are close to you, who are around you. So if I’ve depleted my energy resources, physically in my body, I’m tired.

At the moment I have a fractured bone in my wrist. So load-bearing is how it’s going to repair, but it’s going to take a while to repair. So there’s things I can’t do. So I’m taking back the plug because I was doing an awful lot of physical stuff. I’ve plugged it back in. Or if I have to leave it out there, I will plug it in fill it up with somebody else in my household and get them to do all those physical things for me that I can’t do and they’ll do that because of love. And we share experiences and we share our lives. And the same with the mind and the heart and the soul. So each morning are you fully charged? And if you’re depleted, where can you get your charge from? And when you get into bed at night, before you turn out the lights, or when you’ve turned out the light, put your hands on your tummy. So you create and it’s around that solar plexus, which is at the base of the sternum. You place the hands there and you think to yourself, body, mind, heart, and soul. I recharging will I be able to recharge overnight? Our bodies do such a huge amount of healing at nighttime and all aspects of our physical and your logical passions.

So putting that thought in your head, my body, my mind, my heart and my soul. Am I caring for them? Because again, take the body, mind, heart and soul and put it on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And it just means that no matter what’s going on in the day, we’ve taken the day back for ourselves. No matter what happens in the day, we’ve started the day with our own intention and putting ourselves first, minding ourselves and that energy. That energy then gets shared with every person that you meet throughout your day.

Helen Thompson: I really, really like that, it’s a way to help me, because I used to do all that and it’s a way to help me bring it back . So, thank you. It’s a really good tip to finish off with Sinead. I think if everybody did that in the world.

Sinead Kavanagh: You know, people can think, you know, happy or whatever else, but I’m a scientist first. As a label, I am a holistic person, that’s my inherent being but I’m a scientific holistic person. And so for me, the biological and anatomical impact of that holistic living is enormous.

And I suppose it’s Testament to the fact that, you know, I’ve never had any chronic illnesses. I’ve never had anything major. I’ve had lumps and bumps and whatever else, and I’ve always recovered well. Life hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve never stopped smiling. I’m not on medication and I don’t say that lightly because I’ve had times in life where I’ve had to put up an umbrella.

And for anyone who is using medication in order to be able to get through their days, it’s very important to do that with a conscious thought, that’s the umbrella you need when the storm is in. And so, you know, and I’m a firm advocate of talking and talk therapy, so I think I’m doing okay.

I think for the path that I’ve chosen and the life that I’m living on my cornerstones, I think they’re standing as Testament to me. Life is not too bad.

Helen Thompson: I think you’ve done a very good job and it’s been delightful talking to you. And before I do go, with all this wonderful information, you’ve empowered me., if my listeners want to be empowered by you how can they do that?

Sinead Kavanagh: So I’m available to work wherever you are in the world. I’m more than happy to work with people. I work on a basis of three program sessions, when it’s one to one work. What I am putting together now are some resources that I will have an online membership for a nominal fee per year.

Inexpensive 15 and 30 minute sound bites that you can download to be able to look at with all those little things that we’ve talked about. Some of those have actually been recorded for use as individual little pieces. So I am the Holistic Parent and my website is the I’m on LinkedIn as Sinead C. Kavanagh and I’m on Instagram as the.HolisticParent and on Twitter, it’s THolistic, so Tholistic Parent, because people have used them before. But you’ll see the same picture on all of those elements. So you’ll know it’s me. And you can also just get into all of those through the websites as well.

And are you on Facebook? Oh, sorry. Yes, I’m on Facebook too. The holistic parent and Pinterest I think. And I’m on. Yeah. There’s a lot of those that you choose. It’s only, there’s a YouTube channel actually. Last year during lockdown, I did the lessons from lockdown. So there’s like 15, one hour lunch and learn sessions on there.

Now they’re not very professionally produced. It was me in my living room. I got better, you’ll see, as the weeks went on but they’re all learning sessions. So there’s some anatomy, there’s some looking at personal growth and development. So there’s, there’s lots there for people .

Please feel free to reach out and say, hi. I have a private Facebook group as well for parents, whether mums or dads or otherwise that people can join and it’s The Holistic Parents Village.

Helen Thompson: Okay. Well, thank you very much Sinead. It’s been a pleasure talking to you and I’ve learned so much from you. So thank you for supporting mums in developing their blueprint.

Sinead Kavanagh: Helen, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much from my corner of the world in Navan, County Meath, in Ireland on the Northwest coast of Europe, all the way to you on the south east coast of Australasia in Tasmania.

I really enjoyed talking with Sinead and she inspired me a lot. I do feel that it is very important for all of us to set aside time in our often busy schedules to help cultivate our self-awareness and as a parent you owe it to your little one to show up as the best version of you always! After all, it will help get their life off to a great start and set some really good foundations. I’ve included links in the episode show notes to Sinead’s website, as well as her Facebook group, Instagram page and YouTube channel, so please check out what she has to offer and value that all important family time.

The show notes can be accessed at