Not Just Mum: What Next When Your Kid(s) Start School

Sep 7, 2016 | Parenthood, Women at work

September is a time of new beginnings, transitions and often changes in childcare dynamics for families.

When our children start at school (or any childcare setting) it can be a really weird time for us, as mothers. There are times when you will have longed for this moment. This moment when the little one is no longer under your feet or in your arms 24/7. We will have all had those moments, when we have barely slept, not been to the toilet on our own for months, and drinking a hot cup of tea is a distant memory, when we have longed to have our little darlings in childcare or school. Or been scrolling through your newsfeed on Facebook and seeing your childless friends, doing those things you miss, that you never fully appreciated before kids. Maybe you have had a break from the ‘day job’ and wistfully think back to those days when you were ‘you the professional’ rather than ‘you, so and so’s mum’.  And now you have that dream. They are safely, and happily, being cared for elsewhere, for a bit of time (whether it is half days, or full days; a few times a week or a full school week). Now what? A big, confused, mix of emotions that is what!

Even if you have a plan and you know what you should be doing, it can be an overwhelming and wobbly time. You need to work out the new landscapes of your family dynamics and how things work. You are still mum, afterall.  Yet, you might be faced with a new window of opportunity. You might be reconsidering your career options? Maybe you have taken a career break, and now are questioning what to do next? It might be that work is sorted, but you are feeling like this is a time to start rediscovering who you are in addition to being mum.

Don’t fear. You are not alone. We all go through these times at different stages of motherhood. You need to allow yourself the time and space to listen to your real desires and pleasures in life, to allow yourself to think about the whole you, not just mum. Follow these steps, to start the process off.

Firstly, empty your head of all the million and one things whizzing around it. Until you do this you won’t be able to think straight, I share 3 steps to get to grips with overwhelm in this blog.

Once you have emptied your head, it’s time to think about what you want. Not what you think you should do. Not what you think is expected of you. Not what you have always done. Follow these 5 steps to start the process:

  1. What does your ideal Monday look like? From the moment the day starts to the moment you go to bed. Think about the whole experience, all of five of your senses and what they will be experiencing. Where will you be, who will you be with, what will you be doing with them, what will you be doing?
  2. What inspires you? People, places, activities.
  3. What are you longing for? What is your desire?
  4.  What do you do that makes achieving 1,2 and 3 difficult? What blocks do you put in the way? What excuses do you tell yourself?
  5. What single action can you start taking now to address your answer to 4? Remember small changes become big ones over time.

Once you have reconnected with the things that really inspire you and that you long for, you will allow the whole you to flourish. It can be hard when your days have primarily been focused on being a mother, to remember what else it is that is important to you. These 5 steps will start the journey of self-discovery again, so that you can be the mother you want to be along with the other parts of you that are important to you.

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