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Inspiring Mums

How Changing Your Mindset Can Make a Huge Difference To Your Life As A Working Mum…

For those of you not familiar with my story, everything changed for me when I had my son four and a half years ago.

Up until that point, I had been career focused and thought nothing of working from early until late to get the best possible results for both my clients and the company I worked for. But I struggled with returning to work, mainly because I was only getting to see my little boy for half an hour every day Monday to Friday. It’s not what I’d signed up for when I became a Mum. Added into the mix was a severe case of Separation Anxiety and what it culminated in was a very unhappy person indeed.

Nicola J Rowley Author and Founder of the Working Mum Association

Something had to change and without realising it at the time that change had to come from me.

I spent a lot of time looking at where I wanted to be, what kind of life I wanted us to have and how we could get there. And the unavoidable truth was, I had to change the way I looked at things. I had to embrace positivity and make things happen myself.

Never being one to shy away from a challenge, I began looking for ways that I could improve so that I could become the best version of myself. A lot changed for me when I read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, and I started to embrace a more positive approach to everything. I began getting up early, journaling, exercising for just 10 minutes every day and almost overnight I felt much better.

By this time I’d just started a new role where I’d successfully negotiated working one day a week from home as well as starting and finishing hours that worked better for me and my family.

Admittedly international travel was involved, but it was also a Maternity Cover contract and that was a conscious decision that helped me know that an end was in sight at the end of the 12 months.

And whilst I was in this job, I successfully self-published and launched my first children’s book and I started the Working Mum Association.

Both of these things fed into my dual purpose in life that I’d identified during that period, where quite frankly I pretty much hit rock bottom. But now both of these things, (helping children love reading and writing and building a supportive community for working mums so they would never feel alone) were starting to take shape.

Working Mum Association

And I want to let you know that no matter where you are in the world, or what your life is like as a working mum right now, you too can make a change.

Step by step, day by day. It’s so true that anything is possible. I’m living proof that you can change and make the changes you need that will make you happier and eventually be able to do what you always wanted to do.

And yes, of course, there will always be challenges along the way. Life isn’t going to just be plain sailing once you have this all figured out. But by embracing change, no matter how small, things start to shift and align and opportunities you had never considered before start to come your way.

So please know that if you’re looking to change your job, or start your own business or just spend more time with your family, all of this is achievable.

You just need to draw up a plan. Get intentional about where you want to be and by when and then really focus on setting yourself goals and targets that are measurable so you know when you have made it there.

And celebrate every little win along the way, bearing in mind how far you will have travelled to get there.

We’re all on a journey and as working mums hopefully by now you have worked out that as part of this community, you’re now no longer alone.

To join our hugely supportive Facebook Group for the Working Mum Association – just visit it HERE

Why Working Mums Need to Know They’re Not Alone

Nicola J Rowley the Founder of the Working Mum Association on Loneliness and Working Five years ago J was born and just like most first time mums experience, my world was turned upside down and inside out. It was far more than just the lack of sleep or that initial lack of routine. Something in me literally shifted. I had so much love for this little person that I immersed myself so fully in his well-being and care that I lost my own identity.

And then there were the tears.

At first, everyone assumed it was the so-called ‘baby blues’ but there is never really a one-stop explanation as to why you feel this way. Why something so seemingly innocent can set you off.

I remember the day that I was waiting in line in the Apple store as my iPad had seemingly given up the ghost. J could only have been about five weeks old at the time. I’d taken my number and had sat patiently for 45 minutes waiting to be seen. Thankfully, this was also the longest time that J had ever slept during the day. But as a new mum still finding her way in the world, after an hour I knew he wasn’t going to last much longer. So when I went to the counter to ask about my number, which hadn’t been called – and was told “Oh that was called half an hour ago, and when no one came forward, we moved on. We’re on to seeing other customers now,” I spontaneously dissolved into tears in front of everyone.

That poor sales assistant probably didn’t know what had hit him and I’ll admit it wasn’t my finest moment but the iPad had come to symbolise, in a very short space of time, a way to stay in touch with the outside world. The world with no spit up, no smelly nappies, no endless walks around the block to ensure there might be some rest from the crying of which there was a lot.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course, but the truth was, despite having so much love for this little person, I had never felt so alone.

The mental health charity, Mind says that people usually feel lonely for one of two reasons:

  • They simply don’t see or talk to anyone very often
  • Even though they’re surrounded by people, they don’t feel understood or cared for

During my maternity leave, knowing what I know now – I can identify with both of those.

We’d joined an NCT group, though because I’d wanted to do a specific maternity keep fit class, which was only held on a Tuesday night, I’d had to look at classes outside of the village where we live. I naively thought it wouldn’t matter.

In reality what it means was that each member of the group although not far away was more scattered.

We used to meet regularly on a Wednesday afternoon, the same time when all the local mums to me were going along to the nearby children’s centre and forging those early friendships.

But it didn’t take long before I felt like an outsider.

It didn’t start that way of course, but it became apparent that there was a lack of understanding if I was tearful about something and after the sleep training (which had to happen to safeguard our sanity), myself and J were always the last ones to arrive. Then on any rare nights out, I couldn’t afford to spend as much, and would always be the one bowing out early, mainly because I had work commitments the next day.

I was lucky in that I had a lovely friend who was introduced to me not long after J was born whose daughter was the same age. We used to meet and go for long walks to catch up. But outside of those times, it was very much just myself and J.

And then of course after a year I went back to work.Working Mum Association Supporting Inspiring and Motivating Working Mums Everywhere

Now, this is the point for most mums where they start to feel more isolated. They are no longer able to hang out and have playdates or meet by the swings because they have now swapped mid-week nappy changing for meetings and achieving a decent ROI for their companies, whilst they focus on their KPI’s.

I was talking to a fellow working mum just last week and she mentioned how when she did have a day off, she would go along to the toddler groups and just feel like she was completely by herself. There were the mums who all knew each other, and then there was her, sat on the sidelines with her daughter.

And that’s why I launched the Working Mum Association in July 2017, because I never wanted any other mum to go through what I had done. The massive shift in returning to work, feeling that I was doing a daily juggle whilst missing my son terribly was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do.

And that is why no working mum should feel she is alone. The Working Mum Association provides an online community of like-minded women and mums, who do what you do – the daily juggle. The mums who balance work life and family life and miss their children so much, and some days it really sucks.

But there is also so much to be grateful for. The fact that we’re setting an example by showing our children we’re strong, independent women who work hard for a living. And the fact they will grow up knowing their mum did all she could to give them a better future.

Together as a community of working mums, we’re stronger.

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