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Working life

Celebrating Women…

Why we should celebrate other women rather than compare or compete…

Today is International Women’s Day and it’s a perfect opportunity for us to celebrate everything that we have and continue to achieve.

But rather than comparing or competing with each other, it’s a chance for us to stand united and proud with how far we have come.

As working mums it comes as second nature to look after everyone else’s needs before our own.

But by supporting, encouraging and inspiring each other every step of the way – together we can become a true force to be reckoned with.

A community in spirit, living in hope whilst knowing that just around the corner amazing things are going to happen to each and every one of us.

So here’s to each and every one of you ladies who works hard to get to where she is, and deserves the recognition for doing so.

Today is a day to celebrate, and to pat each other on the back.

Because we’re juggling superstars every single day – and step by step, no matter how hard it may seem, we’re nailing it.

Staying Positive

Sometimes it’s really hard to stay positive when it feels like everything is working against you. But in those moments where you’re about to say why me, have you ever tried to look at your situation in a completely different way?

So the parking ticket that you just received, instead of it being a source of major irritation, is it a message that you just need to slow down a bit and think more about your actions. Or that person who just barged past you to get onto the train, yes it was rude, but surely that’s more a reflection about them as a person rather than how you should allow it to then affect the rest of your day.

Are you starting to see where I’m going with this?

The thing is, as soon as I started re-framing situations, which I previously would have seen as negative. Everything began to shift and change for me.

I’m not saying I’m a saint, far from it, but I try whenever I can to think of the positive in any situation and it has genuinely made everything feel so much better.

Smiling more has had a huge impact too – as often it impacts on those around you too. A smile is infectious, so maybe on this Monday – why don’t you try and spread some happiness and positivity.

It would be great to hear how you get on with this… x

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