Being confident in any given situation is seen as the key to living a successful, happy life. But there are so many times that as a working mum, our confidence can elude us.
If you think back to those first sleepless nights and the moment when it dawned on you, that little person was reliant on you to survive; it was a big thing right?
Being a mum doesn’t come with a guide book. The first time around, let’s face it you wing it, until you get into a routine of how things should be done. Most of that is led by your child, and them letting you know how they feel; usually by screaming in public. Red faces anyone?
At the start you’re surrounded by people wishing you their best, making the effort to visit and generally being hands on, which is very gratefully received. But what happens when the door shuts and they have all disappeared almost as quickly as they arrived?
For me, J had bad colic and used to scream the house down, sometimes for hours. He refused to sleep during the day, and was up every two hours at night. Here I was, a new mum – alone for the most part of a day, trying to entertain him.
So when it came to returning to work, having spent 12 months nurturing and caring for him, I think it’s fair to say my confidence wasn’t where it once was.
For a start I’d had a loss of identity. My priorities had also changed significantly; I was no longer the career-focused girl I once was. I’d forgotten lots of what I’d previously done, and whilst trying to get back up to speed the technology had also changed. When you spend time at home, you also get little in the way of feedback as to what a great job you’re doing. You’re just expected to carry on as that’s what you do.
As a result, you can become more self-critical, feel like your life lacks as much focus, and without meaning to, you take things more personally. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
It didn’t take me long to realise that I could turn all of this around by looking at things in a completely different way, which is exactly what I did.
For you as a working mum, no matter what stage of your journey you’re on, if you’re feeling that your confidence could do with a boost – here are some things that might help:
- Take on any situation with a can-do positive attitude. Remember, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is a good thing its how you will learn more.
- Ignore that critical voice that can appear. You have so got this. Listen to your gut instinct it will guide you to do what’s best for you.
- Write down all of the things that you feel confident about. Think about these things daily to remind yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to.
- Carve out some space for you to do the things you enjoy. Go for a run, take an exercise class or treat yourself to a massage. Whatever will make you feel good about yourself will really help boost your confidence?
- Put yourself in the position of someone who believes in you. And if they do, then why shouldn’t you?
And above all else smile. Even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing. You may well need to trick yourself into appearing happy initially, but colleagues will respond far better to it than if you’re miserable.
If you’re feeling that you need additional training to get used to new tech on your return to work, ask for it.
And if you’re asked to stand up in front of everyone and give a presentation and you’re dreading it, channel your inner Angelina Jolie. Give your best performance, not as you, but as you wearing a mask – no one need know how you’re really feeling.
Hopefully the above tips will help you as you navigate any tricky moments as a working mum, but if you have any others that have worked for you, please get in touch as we’d love to hear from you.
And if you would like to join our community of working mums, supporting, inspiring and motivating each other – please head on over to our Facebook group here.