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Time out

Never Giving Up…

Never giving up…

One of the biggest and most important things that my mum instilled in me, was never to give up.

It’s stood me in good stead over the years, even when the going has been tough and I’ve questioned whether I could do what I started out to do.

Long before J even entered our lives, I knew that I wanted a child; I had too much love to give for it to not be invested in a little person who could be nurtured and guided. But life has a way of throwing you curve balls and he took at least three years to arrive.

During that time there was plenty of despair, tears and sadness, but above all else an unswerving belief that one day that little person would arrive. And I never gave up even when I was told it just wasn’t possible. Even when against the odds and a severe case of tokophobia later, we then went through a further week of him being in intensive care.

Sometimes deep down, you just know. And you don’t know how you do, but it’s as if it’s your destiny pointing you in the right direction.

Sometimes though it’s easy to ignore the path that is in front of you – and what you originally think you want isn’t where you end up.

But life has a funny way of working out in the end, and whilst it’s hard to see where we’ll be in a few years, let’s celebrate each and every moment of the here and now.

What is the best piece of advice that you have been given and what have you learnt from it?

What’s Your Vision?

At the start of this year, I created a vision board of things I wanted to achieve and I set goals for each month to ensure that I stay on track to get to where I want to.

One of the key things for me is getting a balance between working and being a mum to J. It’s not easy and at the moment, I am like the proverbial stretchy man but I know that I’ll get there.

I said that I wanted to book 12 more weddings in by the end of this month – and I’m pleased to say I’m almost there – having secured eight already. I also wanted to be able to take the family to Disney World Florida and this is also now about to become a reality.

You see the more you set clear intentions, the more likely they are to happen, and the harder you will work to ensure they become a reality.

So what things would you like to achieve this year? Let’s see if we can help and support each other to get to where we would all like to be.

Here is my vision board so that you can see how I set about everything… x

Setting Goals…

The importance of goal-setting…

Have you ever tried to set yourself goals and if so how did you get on?

The reason I ask is that at the start of this year, I began to get laser-focused on what really matters to me and I thought about how I could achieve it.

So I began to set goals for the year and then broke them down into monthly and where I could weekly ones so they became more achievable.

And lo and behold it’s working!

In January, I said that by the end of April I wanted to have booked in 12 more weddings to photograph. By 30th April, I had secured 10 bookings, and have just taken the 12th booking in addition to the others I already had. I’m seriously so excited that everything is coming together as I’d hoped.

When have you become intentional about something and what has happened as a result?

Would love to hear your stories… x

One Step At A Time…

This morning I really struggled to get out of bed and head out for a run.

Something was telling me that it wouldn’t be a good idea – probably the need for additional sleep and the warmth of the duvet. But I forced myself to go out and run the 5k anyway.

You see, I had mentioned to someone last week that no matter what the weather, every Friday morning I get up early and I run.

And then they sent me an email yesterday about work and ended by saying, “I hope you have a good run tomorrow morning.”

Knowing they would probably follow up on this next week, it spurred me on.

Accountability is a wonderful thing.

Having someone or a group of people who can encourage you to get to the next level, who will call you out when you don’t do something is so important.

So what one thing would you like to do, and what steps do you need to take to get there? Even if it’s the dream of booking a family holiday somewhere totally amazing or you’re planning to write a book, or you really want to ditch the day job and find something else.

One step at a time, what is it that you need to do? The more you write down your intentions, the more likely you are to follow through on them. And the more likely you are to achieve them. And this page can help with the accountability too.

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.

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