Whether you are returning to work or working in your own business after having a child, there is no denying; it is certainly a huge adjustment.
My motherhood journey began when I was four years into leading my Sydney based Speech Pathology company. I had all three of my children in two and a half years, and although I didn’t have access to a traditional form of maternity leave; I did appreciate the ability to customise ways in which I could work with flexibility. The challenges of course remained at various levels; emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally; serving to steepen the personal growth motherhood has to offer.
Sonia Bestulic is a Multi-Award nominated Author, Founding Director of Talking Heads Speech Pathology, Podcaster of Chatabout Children with Sonia Bestulic, and highly regarded Speaker.
If I had to acknowledge the one key ingredient to set me on the path to successfully thrive as a working mum in business; it would have to be, making the decision to do the inner work to nurture the relationship with myself. So what are my top three ways to do this?
Partner up with the BIG G factor… GUILT!
Returning to work for mums, in any capacity, almost always seems to be somewhat guilt ridden. Feeling guilty about ‘leaving the children’; feeling guilty that you might actually be looking forward to returning to work; feeling guilty that you are not as ‘present’ as you used to be with your children; … the list goes on.
How different would the experience of parenting be if we could partner with guilt! What does this mean? When you consider a partnership, it is a dynamic in which there is the element of working together; and listening and responding to one another. This is the dynamic you want to achieve with guilt.
How? Tune in. You want to tune in to when the feelings of guilt arise; and check in with yourself as to whether those feelings are warranted or unwarranted. Why have those feelings of guilt surfaced? Where have they stemmed from? Take some moments to reflect on those questions and the answers you receive.
Also be mindful of what fuels your decision making. Are you making decisions purely based on guilt? Dig deep and practice making your decisions fuelled from a place of love.
Embrace patience – your parenting groove is everchanging
Parenting involves growing with the children in your life. And with growth comes continual change. Returning to work when you have children requires a great deal of patience with yourself. There is often a cycle of worry and doubt, that alternates with reassurance seeking.
For some, returning to work is an option, for others it is not, for whatever individual reasons. No matter the reasons, you are adjusting to a new routine, and a new system of priorities in your world. Allow yourself the space and time for patience. You are honing your skills of resilience, as you learn to adapt, pivot, pause, delegate, collaborate, reflect and boundary set. And these, are all skills that contribute to the richness you bring in, to any workplace.
Remember that you are a unique human.
Adding the role and label of ‘mother’ to your life; is not ALL of who you are. You are an individual, with needs, wants and desires; that are unique to you; and make you, YOU!
So go inward to get to know yourself in this new dynamic of motherhood; without the noise of societal, cultural, and social media expectations. If you were to describe yourself, without including the various roles that you play in life, what words would you use to do this? Come back to yourself and remember who you are; so you can share your beautiful unique self with the children you share your world with.
One of the wonderful aspects of motherhood, is the reprioritisation shift. Why is this wonderful? Because it means you are more aware of how you use your time; and become more focussed on making the most of the time you have; to focus on the things most important to you.
And YOU are ones of those important things. Investing time and attention to yourself, allows you to experience your daily activities and interactions with a deeper fulfilment.
Let your work be something you enjoy, that lights you up and energises you. Because mums… you matter. You are valued. You are loved.