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Space and Permission…

Giving yourself space and permission…

I don’t know about you but sometimes being a mum, let alone one that works, can feel like it’s all consuming.

It’s hard when a little person is so reliant on you for their every need. I’m sure it gets easier as they get older, although I’m sure that their needs just change over time.

But in amongst everything associated with being a mum, and a busy working mum at that, don’t forget to give yourself a chance. Moments to yourself, that you carve out in any given day, that are just for you.

Because by doing this, you are remembering who you are. Who you used to be and what makes you happy.

I must have read it several times over how a happy mum equals a happy family.

And giving yourself permission to think about what you really want from your life it’s the first step in making you and those you love the most, truly happy.

Taking that step to think about what your life could look like and then knowing that you really can make it happen, means that you are on the initial stages of an incredibly exciting journey.

It’s so easy to sleepwalk through week after week, attending meeting after meeting, and then wondering where the time has gone.

So please if you do one thing this week, take half an hour out on your journey to or from work, or when you’re able to just sit and write it down. What do you want from life?

I did this back in 2015 and it was a real turning point for me.

It’s Not Always Plain Sailing…

Sometimes it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a situation or by something that is going on.

And when you’re up close and immersed in it, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees.

I’ve had quite a few days like this recently where I’ve been working on things and it feels as if I’m wading through treacle.

The other day, after a particularly busy and frustrating few hours sat in front of my computer, I took myself outside and even though it was bitterly cold and the wind was doing its utmost to blow me over, I went for a walk.

Because that walk gave me a sense of perspective and distance and time to think more clearly about everything.

And in that ten minutes, I was able to breathe again and just appreciate the world around me once more; the birds singing in the trees and the fact that I was able to actually walk somewhere.

The fact that I have my health right now didn’t go unnoticed, nor did the fact that since the start of the year, I have finally started making great strides in the direction I need to be heading.

Wedding photography bookings are coming in, and since January I have secured six more clients; something I previously thought wasn’t going to be possible. But maybe for once I have been getting out of my own way and not allowing myself to hold me back.

And with that, has come a new found belief in myself and what I’m able to achieve.

And with that walk and sense of perspective, I came up with a way of doing things slightly differently. The hours of staring at a screen, and wading through proverbial treacle are no longer an issue. I found a solution and have made a start to implement it.

So I guess my message for you on this chilly Monday morning is that no, it’s not always plain sailing especially for us working mums, but if you dig deep, you will find the solution.

And maybe it’s something that’s been staring you in the face for a long time, but you just didn’t want to admit it… x

Positive Surroundings…

As we round off another working week, I’ve been reminded yet again about the importance to surround yourself with like-minded people.

I’ve always been an optimist and see the glass as half full. But if you have people around you constantly looking at that proverbial glass as if it’s always empty, you are already facing a bit of a struggle.

I’m fortunate enough to be a member of a few online communities, which I’m glad to say are wholly positive. Lots of connections are being made with other like-minded women. Some of them mums, the majority of them all striving to make a better life for themselves and their nearest and dearest.

Sometimes this journey can be tough. But as I have said before, how you look at things can make a massive difference to your whole experience.

If you view the world as gloomy like Eyeore then it will no doubt feel this way. However, if you think of it like a balloon bobbing along in the breeze, it will start to make you feel as uplifted too.

I just wanted to share this with you today, because sometimes it’s hard if you have people in your life who don’t quite get where you’re coming from, or why you find some days harder than others as a working mum.

Hopefully through the Working Mum Association and our lovely Facebook group, which is growing rapidly, you will find a sense of community. And you will be able to make connections with like-minded mums who value what you have to say, and will help lift you up when everything feels like it’s too much.

Thank you for reading this and for being part of this amazing movement for us to support, encourage and inspire each other on our journeys as working mums.

There’s No Such Word As Impossible

One step at a time…

It’s often the case that we can procrastinate and not get anything done, held back by fear or those around us who say, “Why would you want to do that?”

But if you allow your life to be governed by what if’s then you will never be able to move forward at all.

When I first put a line in the sand and said that I was going to be a children’s author, there were some people who at the time scoffed and said “Yeah, right!”

Needless to say I’m no longer in touch with those people, because why would I want to surround myself with negativity or with people who don’t believe in me?

Why would you want to have those messages going round and round in your head.

This is one of my favourite quotes – it’s from Audrey Hepburn and looks at possibilities, discounting negativity.

Because if you are to get to where you want to be right now – it requires you to start taking action. To move forward, one step at a time.

When I first returned to work after having J, everything was misaligned and I wasn’t where I wanted to be at all. I missed him terribly, and there was no balance.

I’m not saying that everything is perfect now, as it’s far from it – but I’m getting there – one book, one wedding, one more client at a time. And I’m building the life that I believe I deserve.

And I really hope that you get to do the same too. That if you have an idea, rather than allowing those around you to knock it down – that you take the first few steps to start making it your reality. Who knows where you could be in a few months or a year from now.

Isn’t it better to try and find out, rather than wondering what if?

 

Why making time for you is just as important as making time for others…

This morning my three-year-old sobbed as I did the nursery drop off.

Lots of cuddles, dancing and setting up a train set later, meant that I could leave the room.

But this is the reason why up until now, I’ve avoided doing drop offs. I don’t know about you, but it’s also one of the hardest things I find about being a working mum.

That and him saying to me this morning, “I cried yesterday at the nursery.”

Me, unaware that this had been the case replied, “Why J?”

“Because I missed you and wanted you there.”

And yes my heart broke almost instantly because I never feel as if I’m around enough but I made sure he had extra cuddles and quality time with me this morning.

And come Monday, after spending three days with me non-stop, he will hopefully be fine once more.

In amongst looking after everyone else’s needs, what has struck me most this week is how important it is to look after myself.

As a working mum it’s easy for you to always come last – your needs, your dreams, your hopes all get buried in between the practicalities of daily life. But, and here’s the but – it’s really important to make time for yourself.

It has been a busy old time at this end as of late. I was photographing two weddings back to back in Reading on Friday and Saturday, and any moment I’ve had in between editing and copy writing for my clients, I’ve been finishing my new Middle-Grade book.

So on Sunday evening, I took a well-earned break and had a relaxing bath and started to watch a DVD that I’d been meaning to see for ages.

And I have to say I can’t remember the last time that I’ve given myself permission to have time out to do something just for me.

Something relaxing; something rewarding. Not something that is work or client focused.
And it felt good.

It also meant that come Monday morning, I felt refreshed and was able to get through loads of work, and am now even up to 28-thousand words in my new book.

As mums, we owe it to ourselves to try to take this time out for us. For the office politics/clients to take a back step just once in a while so that we can spoil and invest in ourselves.

It’s Thursday and already this week is slipping away as we head towards the weekend and more family time.
Please try and make a point of setting aside some time this weekend just for you – where you get to do something for you.

A happy mum = a happy family.

They’ll also appreciate you even more for it when you step back into your usual role of being a fabulous multitasker.

Happy Thursday!

Nicola x

Make Time for Yourself The Working Mum Association

Working Mums and Entrepreneurs: Why We Can Have It All

 

There was a collective sigh of relief at our end when the government announced its plans to introduce 30 hours of free childcare in September – a month after our son turns three.

I’m sure it was a familiar response in many homes across the UK. What now remains to be seen is if the nursery local to us, actually adopts the policy. It’s fair to say that we have spent the last 16 months being crippled on a monthly basis by nursery fees.

It was of course a decision we made that I would return to work full time after having our little boy.

But it’s not been all plain sailing.

I suffered from separation anxiety, which became all consuming. I couldn’t see beyond the fact that I was only getting to see my son for half an hour a day Monday to Friday. It literally broke my heart every single day.

But with a complete change of mind-set (thanks in part to writing my first children’s book), came a much happier me, a much more balanced mum and a more rounded family life.

I was talking to one of my friends the other week, and asked if she was planning to return to work after her second baby. We both agreed it’s not easy but the choice has to be made, (rightly or wrongly) as to what kind of mum you want to be, and how present you choose to be in your children’s lives.

Everyone is different and looking at my circle of mummy friends, there’s a real spectrum of those who work full time and try to juggle everything (some successfully), those who run their own businesses so have a degree of built-in flexibility, and those who are able to stay at home looking after their children full time.

Being a stay at home mum is a big trend at the moment, especially amongst women in previously high flying corporate careers. You only have to look at the number of mummy bloggers who are making great strides in their online enterprises, as they try to find the elusive balance and earning power that a successful business can provide.

I would argue that balance is the key to everything. Unlock the balance and then yes absolutely women and mums especially, can have it all.

But striking this balance can feel like you are walking a tightrope 24/7.

Many parents I know talk about the guilt of not being with their child as they’re growing up. This of course has to be weighed up with the many benefits of early social integration that childcare can provide.

For me it’s never been about the guilt. It’s more that I always knew the sort of mum I wanted to be. And yes, for now, I miss my son every single day.

But I’m also determined to be at the school gates to drop him off and meet him afterwards. It’s also why I’m laying the business foundations that I am now, no matter what it takes.

When J was born, my world was literally turned upside down and inside out, and overnight I lost my identity.

My Health Visitor put it succinctly after meeting me just a couple of times, “You know you’re still Nicola, not just J’s mum.” I guess you could say I have a tendency to throw myself into things whole heartedly.

It’s part of the reason that I went back to work. It took me a long time to find myself again and I needed to have more to focus on than just my son and his well-being.

The one thing I would say to mums who are able to stay at home without earning is – make sure you carve out some time for you.

My work ethic has always been strong. It’s why after much studying, I launched my own successful photography business, and still run it to this day, whilst working full time.

Writing and publishing a children’s book at the same time as all of the above, and juggling being a mum, hasn’t been easy, but it somehow feels right.

It’s the path I know I should be taking.

Writing is also the thing which comes most naturally to me. It always has done. It’s also why I’m offering copyrighting services for those who need it.

  • The busy entrepreneurs / small businesses who don’t have time to write their blog posts regularly
  • Those who need help finding their tone of voice
  • The authors who are just published but don’t know what will help to engage their fans in the way they would like to

With a background in Journalism and Communications I understand what works, and more importantly what the media looks for.

At the end of the day, being a mum is an incredibly rewarding and hugely enjoyable experience.

Yes it’s hard work, yes there are times where you feel unappreciated, and yes it can feel as if you’re wading through treacle at times, when no amount of distractions will stop a tantrum.

But it’s also by far the best thing I have ever done. And I’m beyond grateful to have the opportunity to be one.

At the end of the day, being able to help guide, nurture and shape a little person, to become the best version of themselves is an incredible privilege.

Whatever path you have chosen, know that you can have it all if you really want it.

Re-visit your WHY on a regular basis. Your reason for wanting to achieve what you want, get to where you want to go, and be the mum and person you want to be.

Nicola x

Nicola J Rowley is the author of children’s book James and the Amazing Gift, which can be purchased from Amazon UK. For every copy sold, £1 goes to raise vital funds for UK charity Contact the Elderly.

Nicola is also offering copywriting services for entrepreneurs and details can be found on her website.