How To Find The ‘u’ In Mum

Lyndsey segal
Motherhood……everyone tells you it’s ‘life-changing’ and it certainly is! How do we find the ‘u’ in ‘mum’?
Mum and professional coach, Lyndsey Segal, shares some words of wisdom for new mums or mums-to-be. In fact, these are tips we could all do with following!
Lyndsey’s wise words:

Nothing can prepare you for it but sometimes we need to feel prepared and equipped for change. Despite having nine months to get used to the idea, it still isn’t enough time for the reality and enormity of motherhood.

It’s changed my life for sure. I have two other people to be thinking of all of the time, my time isn’t my own, I can’t go to the toilet without being followed or called after and my identity has changed.

So many Mums who have been used to being independent, successful, ambitious and energetic find the change in identity, loss of identity or a new identity difficult to adjust to. They grieve for the life they had before having children. The way they perceive themselves and the way that their partner, family members, friends and colleagues see them can become a great source of anxiety, stress and uncertainty for many women and can often lead to loneliness and isolation. This, in turn, can affect a woman’s confidence, self-image and self- esteem.

Some women feel like they can’t share these feelings with their partners, family or friends so they keep it all bottled up, which can exacerbate the feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Many women find themselves at a crossroads during motherhood – to stop working, take a career break, work part-time, explore the possibility of a career change or setting up their own business but find that their change in identity has affected their confidence and self-esteem as they feel they are ‘just a Mum’. Many women face a redundancy situation and are forced to explore new possibilities. Many Mums adjust to a new identity as a single Mum and many find themselves wondering ‘what now’ when their children go to nursery, school or leave home?!

Others throw themselves back into work either out of necessity or choice, only to find they are overwhelmed and exhausted and feel guilty about the time they’ve had away from their children. They long for a greater work/life balance.

I understand all of this because I’ve been there myself. I’ve struggled with the change in identity, I’ve changed my career, I’ve set up my own business, I’ve chosen to strive for a healthy work/life balance as it’s so important to me. to be there as much as I can for my two young daughters. This experience has driven me to help other Mums navigate their way through all the trials and tribulations of motherhood.

So what words of wisdom can I impart?

Communication is the key.

Be honest and open with what you are feeling and experiencing. Write a blog, a diary, talk to your partner or relative or friend.

Join meet-up groups

With or without your children to share experiences and build friendships.

Create time for yourself

And create time for the things that are important to you and that were important to you before having children, such as seeing friends, hobbies or exercise. Spending time away from your child is really refreshing and it reminds you of who you are outside of being a mum.

Taking time out for yourself is so important but that is something that Mums find so hard to do as there is always something else that needs doing. Stay connected with your qualities and achievements.

Try and make time for the things you enjoyed and that you were good at prior to becoming a Mum, in order to narrow the gap between your old life and new life. Share these interests and experiences with your partner, family and friends. Try new experiences too to help you feel excited and challenged.

Think positively and proactively.

If you’re not entirely satisfied with certain aspects of your life, identify what you would like to be different. Visualise it and explore it with all your senses and then make steps to how you can make this a reality. It’s so empowering.

Goal setting

It’s extremely important. It helps to keep focused on what’s important to you, where you are in your life personally and/or professionally and where you want to be. It helps to create a bridge between the two. Write your goals down and talk about them. It makes them more real! Make sure your goals are written using positive language and that they are realistic and achievable and allocate a time frame to achieve them. Reward yourself for your successes along the way to keep you motivated.

Remember in order to be a good Mum, you have to be happy and confident in yourself. These are qualities that you want for your children and that they want for you too. It’s important that they know that you have other roles and purposes in your life as well as being their Mum. So yes, motherhood is life changing but it’s a wonderful opportunity to make your life change…for the better.

I feel passionate about Coaching for Mums – to help Mums through all the trials and tribulations of being a Mum in our world today. Whether that be to help you navigate your way back to work after having children, to support you in changing career, starting a business, being a successful working Mum, feeling fulfilled, feeling balanced, feeling empowered. To help you find or redefine your identity, to help YOU find the ‘u’ in Mum.

businesswoman and mother, career and motherhood divided

About Claire Jones-Hughes

Founder and co-editor of BrightonMums.com, Claire has been blogging since 2009. She has posted on a variety of sites including The Argus, The Huffington Post and The Guardian's Comment Is Free. Known as The Contented Mummy on social media, she is dedicated to honest, unsponsored blogging so that parents can benefit from shared experience. Can also be found at www.fitfaband40.co.uk - sharing her journey to health & wellness.

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