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working mothers

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How post natal depression made me a savvy business woman.

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10 years ago everything changed.   July 2008.

Not only did I become a mum for the first time, but ironically I also lost who I was. 

It was the first time I didn’t believe I could do something that I ‘should’ have been able to do naturally. 

I felt like a failure. The biggest failure of all time. Alone. Just me.  I realised I was carrying around the feeling for years that if I can fail at being a mum,  I’ll probably fail at everything else.  This realisation was the game changer for me and my businesses.

 

Post natal depression is hard to describe.

That feeling of hopelessness. That nothing I could do would ever be good enough. The anxiety and worry every minute of every day. The huge responsibility that was often too heavy to bare.  The dark cloud that followed me around. The fog. 

But looking back it also had a profound affect on me. It made me reassess what I really wanted. What makes me tick. And not what I thought I ‘should’ be under the pressures of society. 

 

It taught me to listen to my instincts.

That when I listen, really listen, they are super specific and usually spot on.

They know. I know. What’s really best. 

Accepting that working and making a difference to other people’s lives is in my blood. I needed it like I needed the air I breath. 

Not because it was satisfying some empty void, but because it was a sense of purpose. A determined purpose to make things happen. To create change. To unlock potential. A purpose I’ve felt deep inside since I was a little girl. Knowing I needed to aim high no matter what. To do the things that can’t be done. 

Because of this I didn’t think I could be a good mum. Because I didn’t crave to be with my children every minute of every day and I wanted to work instead. That feeling this way was bad. That I was bad. 

 

But I proved myself wrong.

By listening to what I needed, I could be EVERYTHING to my gorgeous baby girl. 

I see her today. Strong willed. Fiercely independent. Oozing confidence. A sense of belief in herself that she is capable of anything she sets her mind too.  And she is. 

 

I see me. The real me. 

The me that was once crushed by this sense of having to do the ‘right thing’ whatever that was. That I wasn't good enough if I didn't do what was expected of me - to stay at home and care for my children for all of the hours in the day.  The pressure and guilt associated with choosing to go to work instead.  I say choosing because I was.  I wanted to build a business from scratch and I knew that would take up a lot of energy and time.  Time away from my family.

 

Do I regret working so early on when she was little?  No. 

Do I regret not spending more time at home in the early days?  No. 

Do I think she’s lost out because of the decisions I’ve made?  No. 

 

Because I know that I had to find me before I could be the best mum to her and her brother. They are my world.

When I look at them. I mean really look at them. My heart stops and they sum up the sense of purpose. 

To not only teach them, but show them everyday that they too can do the things they may think they can’t. That they can be, do and have whatever they want. 

 

I couldn’t have planned or predicted the last ten years and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m more of the woman I had hoped I’d be. An inspiration to others.  Doing things that scare me. Making a difference. Taking risks. Trying things that others wouldn’t try. And things they didn’t want me to try either. Being the change I wish to see in the world. 

 

Am I still scared? Of course. 

Because if nothing else the last ten years have shown me that curveballs are around every corner. Waiting to test you.  Waiting to teach you.  A look. A comment. A loss. 

Those feelings still show up. But I spot them coming now.  I know them really well because I decided to get up close to them. To see them for what they are. 

 

Every experience we go through defines us.

The good, the bad and the ugly. Look for the lessons and embrace it by believing in yourself and how much you are truly capable of getting whatever you really want. 

 

 

**Gemma Stow works with female entrepreneurs who are introverts and are ready to take themselves and their business to the next level.  To find their fierce and take that all important action.  As well as private coaching, she runs a membership called Club Fierce that gives that personal touch to women who are looking for support, accountability and an environment that breeds self belief and results.  More info HERE. **

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#Stop Comparing Yours to Theirs.

Comparison is the thief of joy.  That's what they say - what do you think?

I can really understand this statement and it can be very overwhelming when you start to compare yourself to others and the impact that this can have on how you truly feel about yourself.

I did a #FierceTalk was on this very subject - if you missed it check it out.

Comparing where you are right now with someone else in a negative way is not good for you.  Especially when you use it to find faults with yourself.

The problem is that you don't recognise your own strengths and beauty as you are far too busy comparing yourself to others.

You start to feel undeserving, inadequate and inexperienced.  Who am I to do this? I don't have what she has? I am not good enough who will listen to me?

Do you find you do this?  We all do it at times and it can be detrimental to our self esteem.  If this becomes a habit then we start to lose confidence in our own abilities and the pressure and overwhelm creeps in and we stop moving forwards - we give up, we think what's the point?

Social media has only served to increase these feelings if we allow it to.  Do you know what I mean? Watching someone else's movie reel and all their highlights about what they are up to!  The thing to remember is that it is only their highlights - not everyone would have the lady balls to show up and show off their down days - those moments where everything has gone to shit.  It isn't easy sharing this with the world because of the fear of being judged - what will they think of me if I do show up and I haven't got my shit together?

Constant comparing of this nature will not end well.

Constantly comparing yourself to others in a negative way can lead to depression and anxiety because you ultimately tell yourself you have a shit life because it is not like those other people's lives you see on your phone.  Now there is a sentence I wouldn't have thought I would write - but it is so true.  We have all been there and I know you have too.

Well it is time to stop.  

You have an incredible life and can use it to inspire others.

Firstly you cannot compare your chapter 1 to somebody else's chapter 20.  It just doesn't work like that.  Of course there will be differences, of course they will have experienced more things, and you will too as you create more chapters in your life.  

Secondly, at least you have a chapter 1 right?  There will be others comparing themselves to you too - only thinking about starting to follow their dreams, but are too scared to show up yet.  They don't even have a chapter and will look to you and be amazed by how you did it.

I was watching my 8 year old daughter in her dance class last night.  I love seeing her dance and the passion she has.  She shows determination and commitment and never misses a class.  

She does get concerned about how far the other girls have got and how they can do this move and that move and she can't.  But what was interesting last night was that another little girl was asked to do the finale move - an amazing cartwheel without hands - which she was brilliant at but only on soft mats.  

The tutor wanted her to practice it on the hard floor ready for the real competition.  Se was scared to do it.  She cried.  Her dance class buddies were all staring at her, and then out of nowhere, they started clapping - it gives me goosebumps to relive it to be honest.  

It was amazing to watch.  Her girls had her back.  She knew it.  And she bloody did it.  And yes all the girls were probably thinking they wish they could do that move (I know my daughter was) but they didn't sit there feeling negative towards their team mate - they encouraged her to be the best version of herself, to push her out of that comfort zone, to do the thing she really wanted to do, because that is what is needed in these times where we think we can't go on.  

We need encouragement.  Which by definition is the action of giving someone support, confidence and hope.

And all those other girls who did the encouraging will feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that when their time comes they will have a huge team of other girls who will encourage them to do the same.  It's bloody inspirational and it is what I am all about.

Watching that unravel last night brought me to tears because it kinda sums up everything I stand for.  
 

Women having each other's back.  


So yes you may feel that someone is better than you and maybe they are further on their journey - but remember they were once where you are right now, and there are others who are only dreaming of being where you are.  

It is time to stop the negative comparison BS.

And instead start using comparison to your advantage.  Truly believe that if she can do it then it is possible for you too.  

Don't forget that.  

If someone is paving the way for you then this is a great thing, as it means that you can run along that path knowing full well what will be at the end of it.
 

Her success is definitely not your failure - it is only your beginning.


 


FM x

 

If you have not yet joined our amazing group of Fiercemums then come on over. 

And if you are ready to figure out what you really want and to discover that passion you can turn into work you love then grab my free gift here.

 

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#Find the Confidence.

So do you consider yourself to be a confident person ...depends on what you are doing?  Yeah me too.
 

We are all confident in some things and less so in others.  It is only natural.  The key is to figure out what you don't feel as confident in and face that fear.

This is a big deal for us mums as having babies and starting a family can sometimes knock your confidence.  Spending so much time being obsessed with everything baby while you are pregnant and then obsessed with everything new mum and baby after your little bundle of joy arrives is a whole life change to adjust too.  Having time off from your normal work and social circles can really take its toll on your self confidence.  

For me it was such a shock and a massive learning curve becoming a mum that I doubted myself straight away.  I didn't think I was cut out to be a 'good enough' mum and I know this can happen to so many like minded professional women who are so used to being control of their own lives, and then your little bundle of joy throws all that out of the window.  It can be a scary time.  The unknown.  But then that is true for most things we are unsure about.

If you haven't done something before then your primal brain starts telling you to be fearful and on alert as this could hurt you.  

You decide to fight, flight or freeze.  If you decide to fight and do it anyway and don't get hurt, your brain gets the message that 'ok I didn't die so maybe this isn't as dangerous or scary as I first thought' - the more you do it, the more you grow in confidence.

Taking action is the best way to reduce your fear.

Are there times that you can think of << Test First Name >> where you have felt like this or experienced something similar?  I have lots.  And I know the women I work with are often trapped by fears that they don't even know exist.  I was for years until I decided to figure myself out.

I have been live on my Facebook Business page every evening to share a tip to give yourself that boost of confidence when you need it.  If you have missed them go take a look and let me know what you think.  

I would love you to share any thoughts or experiences on growing our confidence in our amazing group of supportive ambitious mums.

Remember - If you can dream it then you can do it.  Anything is possible.

You've totally got this.

Love FM
x

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Am I good enough?

Let's talk about the emotions that surround the 'Am I good enough?' feelings that we all get from time to time.  When we become mothers this can be a regular feeling that crops up and sometimes even though the thoughts are irrational and make no sense - we still sometimes feel that we aren't good enough and we are winging it.  And sometimes we have to.

It can also be known as 'Impostor Syndrome' - have you heard about it?  It is where we believe that we are not good enough at what we are doing and therefore feel we shouldn't really be there or even doing it.  

This fear can stop us doing anything or even starting.

Some people feel like they may be rubbish at parenting or bringing children into this world - so decide not to, or some first time mums feel so inadequate it can lead to postnatal depression, some mums who have younger ones running a muck feel like they can't manage the school run and absolutely dread Monday mornings, but don't tell anyone for fear of being seen as a 'crap' mum.  These feelings are always around whenever we take on new challenges.  

And yes I wing it at being a mum a lot of the time because as soon as I get used to a phase of my kids development - they move on to the next and I have to play catch up.  If I haven't done it before, then it's new territory for me too.  


This is the same for most areas in life, parenting, work, new careers, new hobbies, exercise, self care practices... All of which require you to push yourself out of the safe and cosy space called your comfort zone.  


However as the saying goes - it is a nice place to be (your comfort zone) but nothing ever grows there - and this is so true.  Think of the last time where you really pushed yourself?  Where you were feeling so nervous and excited all at the same time?  Spend a couple of minutes thinking about that time and what you learnt from it ....

I am guessing that it is something around just going for it and telling yourself about the amazing feelings you had after the event and that if you can hang onto those feelings then you could push yourself again and again - good.  

Well you can.  

You are no impostor - and Amy Cuddy talks about it in her ted talk saying 'fake it until you become it' because putting yourself out there and just doing it - is the only way you can become something you want to be.

Amy talks about the importance of body language but also impostor syndrome and that we can all feel like this, but we can work at it until we become it.  Grab a cuppa or glass of vino or whatever you fancy and check it out here.


Let me know your thoughts on this or come over and share with us in our amazing group of Fiercemums - where working mothers are supporting each other through our ups and downs.

You got this.  You are good enough.

 

FM x