Nothing quite prepares you for becoming a parent. Sure, you can research the best buggy and car seat, you can stock up on baby grows and nappies. But I've come to realise that one of the most significant aspects of parenting is actually really tough to get your head around in advance. It's hard to prepare for the constant flow of change that comes with the many phases of your parental journey. Change that sometimes makes you feel like you've just stepped out of a washing machine... especially if you're sleep deprived or your to-do list seems to double every week!
If you're a mum in the latter part of your mat leave, you may finally started feeling like you've found your feet, and now you're facing the next step, heading back to work. The reality of parenting and juggling a career can easily feel daunting. This is one of those very early, and significant steps on the mum-hood journey that pretty much every working mum I have ever spoken to, has found overwhelming and in some cases, has dreaded.
Whilst most working mums do find their feet eventually, sadly too many step away from their careers or stop moving up the career ladder because of the pressures and challenges of parenting, that still fall more on mums' shoulders than dads'. For those who do find ways to navigate through those early years of juggling work and parenting, there's lots of adjusting and adapting to do with the constant ebbs and flow of change that comes with your child / children's growth and development. Settling into childcare/ heading back to work, first day at school / getting used to school holidays every six weeks, (not to mention the homework battles!).
The truth is, whilst nothing quite prepares for you parenthood, there are many ways you can and should equip and support yourself for each and every phase of your mum journey. The problem is, far too many mums are just so used to looking after everyone else and not getting round to looking after themselves sufficiently. Too many mums simply aren't equipping themselves or getting the support they so desperately need in place to feel they've got some sort of balance. Hence the mum stress, mum overwhelm, mum exhaustion and worst case, mum burnout.
Even as a self-care coach I constantly have to work on this - there is no silver bullet (or pill or potion) that will make the to-do list go away, or energy levels double, or allow you to perform like super-mum day in day out, without burning out. We all have to press pause, check where we're going, put boundaries in place and build the tools and resources that gives us the strength and confidence to balance it all and make working parent life work in a positive and healthy way.
The sooner you start putting you first and ensuring your self-care is a priority, the sooner you'll feel equipped to be your most resilient, healthy and productive self.
If you're feeling frazzled by the ever growing list of tasks and responsibilities, you've probably noticed that what worked before you were a mum just ain't cutting it now. Now you have to be ruthless with your time management and boundary setting. You have to reinvent how you approach time.
If you used to be super confident and now find you're second guessing yourself, you'll need to re-discover your superpowers and how to unleash them as a working mum. The exhaustion and brain fog might not disappear over night but you can still feel equipped, capable and empowered.
Once upon a time you didn't need to ask for help but now you really do need to build a village to support you. This can feel scary and uncomfortable but it has to happen if you want to navigate the world of work and parenting without feeling lonely or like you're carry the world on your shoulders.
And the reality is, whilst the odd pamper session and bubble bath might have done the trick for self-care in the past, these are far from sufficient in your new gig as a working mum - you have to see self-care as a basic human need that must be nurtured each and every day, and built in to your daily routine.
None of this just happens - you have to prepare for change. The good news is, you don't have to do it all alone. Come and join us for Momentum.