Hi! I’m Natalie.
Wife of James and mum to Max (3) and Mini (9).
James and I adopted Max and Mini in 2016. Until I became a parent, I ran a corporate training company where I delivered workshops to leaders in businesses to help them improve their performance and communication and create high performing teams.
I was good at my job, had a great reputation and never needed to advertise because word of mouth did all the work for me.
Parenting was the game changer. It is the greatest challenge of my life and adoptive parenting adds another layer of complication (or maybe 3 or 4 or 100 layers of complication…)
Before adopting our kids, I felt like I had my big happy life in the bag. My company was doing really well, I was fit and healthy, I meditated, exercised and woke every morning at 5am to do my “miracle morning” routine. I felt like a high achiever and there was nothing in my life I didn’t feel totally in control of. Once I knew I was going to be a parent – and I had faces and names to put into my family vision – I felt sure I was on the cusp of having it all and totally ready to nail it!
Of course, that’s not how it panned out. I went from feeling successful and in control to feeling like an out of control failure. The motherhood domino knocked all the other dominos down. At least for a while. As far as I could tell I was a terrible mum which made me a terrible person which meant I wasn’t that good at understanding the needs of others which meant the training I’d been delivering must lack integrity, which meant everything I believed in was false. A dramatically oversimplified explanation of my thoughts but you get the idea. My mental health suffered, I stopped exercising, my relationship with my husband became more complicated. One by one, down they went, all the dominoes that made up my identity as I’d known it.
Have you ever played Domino Rally? All that work and preparation, then one domino and instant devastation. That image of fallen dominos entered my head often during my lowest times.
The cool thing about Domino Rally is that you can begin again – and with every rally, you get more ambitious, learn from your mistakes and create ever more impressive tracks. I’m learning and growing all the time and often feel seconds away from the carnage of domino rally devastation. I’ve also realised that having a big happy life means entwining many more domino tracks. I’m can’t control every single domino- nor do I want to – and I have to learn to relinquish control, share, trust and let go. I’m not the only one who can knock the dominoes down – but I’m not the only one who can pick them up again either.
Big Happy Life is all about making sense of the placing, adjusting, falling and righting of the many many dominoes that make up a life that is simultaneously brilliant, lovely, busy, frustrating, challenging, depressing, boring, purposeful, meaningful and wonderful.
Big Happy Life has two parts. The first part is launching in stages. The podcast is already live and the website containing resources and online courses launches in February 2019. On the website and in the courses, I share what I’ve learned and my thoughts on how to apply it in the hope it will help others make similar transitions. Then there’s this blog where I share my own experiences.
My hope is to learn and grow personally and to provide information that helps other people do the same if they so wish. Ultimately, my big dream is to “revolutionise the way we treat ourselves and each other.” I have a ton of learning and developing of my own to do in pursuit of that dream and this blog chronicles my efforts.