I know what it is like to be a working mum as I have always been one, though I am very fortunate that whilst on maternity leave, I changed my job from something I dreaded and cried about returning to, to something I felt passionate about and that I wanted to make succeed. I went self-employed and 5 years later have never looked back, despite the struggles and often worrying times of being self employed and being in an industry that is often not accepted and frequently ridiculed. I was fortunate that in my mind I was able to direct myself towards achieving those goals because I wanted to make sure I was going to be happy, would get to watch my child grow up and that one day, my daughter would be proud of me. Today I am hosting a guest post from the amazing Rachel Smith who is a life coach for working mums. She believes we all have the right to be happy and that is so true. She’s talking about life as a working mum and how each and every one of us has the ability to reach our end goals… sometimes we just need a helping hand.
Life as a working mum is a journey…but I truly believe you can have it all…
My true calling, I think came to be about 7 years ago, probably linked with turning the big 3.0. but also returning to work after my first maternity leave. The words I heard when negotiating my new contract were “Rach, you’ve committed career suicide now you’re a Mum”… Yes, the person I was talking to was male, but this was like a red rag to a bull to me.
The short version of this story was I was livid. But in the years following this conversation, I turned my anger into action. I negotiated doing my same role on a 3 day a week contract and after my second maternity leave, I received a pay rise and a promotion to a bigger role. But this was not the bit of my life that was exciting. I was deeply unhappy and desperate to leave this business. I set to work….
I spent 2 years retraining as a Master Practitioner in Life/ Business Coaching and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). This was a massive commitment from me and my family, not only financially, but it also meant 1 weekend every month I was away. My husband worked weekends (as did I), so my parents, who lived 3 hours away, used to travel to look after the kids, it really was a team effort. In a hurry to achieve my 2nd year of training I started the course whilst on maternity leave, with the thought that it would be easier than juggling when I returned to work. With a baby 100% breastfed… this came with its own challenges, but with determination (a lot of breast pads!) and even more support we all got through it and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Since qualifying and to gain lots of experience I set up Rachel Smith Coaching, working with all sorts of clients, men and women from all different walks of life. But my true calling came to me when re-evaluating what I wanted from life, something I do about once a year to check how on track I am to achieving my goals and checking I’m on the right path. I used to do this on my own, but now I do this with the support of a mentor and this investment in me is so worth it as having that support and sort of cheerleader on the side has led me to push myself further and believe in myself more.
Nearly two years ago Thriving Working Mums was born! I now focus all my coaching expertise and efforts to support Mums, transitioning through life and into Mummy hood. This can often mean changes in career or changes to their current ways of working. After being in a career pre-child the most common words I hear my working mum clients say is I’m stuck. Stuck in a career I know I’m safe in, I’m comfortable in, I’ve built up my pay, my benefits etc BUT it doesn’t fit my life anymore. Lots of mums also feel ‘bad’ negotiating new contracts or suggesting to leave because their boss or this company has just supported them through maternity leave.
I used to be this person, I totally get all the feelings that other mums may be facing and I will share with you some of my tips to help you ‘have it all’. It is possible to have a fulfilling career and be the mum you want to be. This is different for all of us, we all have different wants/ needs/ priorities and that’s why I love working with mums, no two conversations are the same.
I now work part-time in a job I absolutely love, that fulfils my purpose and I look forward to going to. I also run my coaching business which beautifully intertwines with my employed work but also allows me to grow as a person in a different way. My biggest piece of advice is to start taking action, it doesn’t matter how big or how small but do something that will help you get to where you want to be.
- Spend some time doing some soul searching. To be able to get to where you are going you need to know your destination, well, have a pretty good idea anyway! It can be flexible and it can certainly grow, but what I find is Mums can be really clear on what they don’t want but not so clear on what they do want. A great tip is to decide your end goal and then work back from there and think about the steps you need to take.
- Set clear boundaries. Setting boundaries can mean there is a clear divide between your mummy life and your work. It allows you to be 100% committed to your work when you need to and 100% committed to your family. I remember this took some real adapting for me, who was always taking work calls at home or catching up in the evenings. Also, you’re laptops, your phone, your gadgets, they all need charging every evening, give yourself that time to recharge also and bring some really great energy into the next day.
- There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback. As I titled this blog, life is a journey and the only this that is constant is change. Being on this journey hopefully comes with lots of happiness, excitement and success, but with the up’s there are always downs. This is OK and we need to use these low times to learn from and grow. Give yourself some feedback and get going again!
If you are ready to make a change and you’d like to book a career planning call with me click this link https://bit.ly/WMCareerCall1