Most mums struggle with the transition from intellectually engaged career woman to full time mum, so don’t beat yourself up if you are feeling overwhelmed and as though your brain has gone to mush.
The good news is there are lots of actions you can take to help yourself make that transition successfully:
Don’t be afraid to share how you feel
A lot of mums worry about sharing their feelings with their partners, fearing negative reactions and misunderstandings. However, talking things through can help to ensure you get the support you need at home. Partner’s aren’t telepathic – they need you to communicate with them if they are to help you.
Find supportive communities of fellow parents that you can tap into
These can be virtual or physical. It is important to be in touch, talk about your challenges, share experiences, listen to other people going through the same journey as you. By connecting with others you will know you are not alone – and what you are going through is completely normal.
Ensure you have ‘me’ time
You may have heard this before but it is even more important when you become a mum. There are no longer days off, weekends or a sick leave… so you must ensure you have a chance to switch off and have time for yourself.
Adjust your expectations and reflect on each day
Ask yourself: What have you learnt today? How did you feel about it? What were you really proud of today? Answering these questions each day will help your own self-exploration and allow you to recognise and build upon your progress.
Stay engaged with outside world
Learn a new skill – maybe try that course or craft project you never got around to. Joining a class is a great way to meet new people outside the ‘new mums’ network, give you time away from the childcare, keep your brain engaged, and give you a sense of achievement.
Make sure you are happy with your childcare arrangements
Nothing is worse than constantly worrying about your child while you aren’t with them. It isn’t healthy or pleasant and will leave you feeling mentally ragged. Invest your time in finding the right solution for you and your child.
Explore the local children’s centre
These are fantastic places which offer so many free courses with crèche facilities – including parenting courses and peer to peer support groups. You need never feel you are struggling on your own again!
Share your skills
Build on your strengths and support others in the community with your unique skills. Consider a skills swap as a way to learn something new.
Using mindfulness is a great way to stay calm and avoid that overwhelmed feeling, especially when parenthood gets really tough. Just a few minutes each day for yourself could make a huge difference. There are apps, books, YouTube videos and podcasts to help if you feel you need some mindful guidance.
Keep things real
Don’t ignore the outside world. Engage with your partner and their life and work, take an interest in the world outside your baby. Stay in touch with what is happening in the world and how it impacts you and your family.
The family budget is a common cause of conflicts and misunderstandings. Check out the free options available in your area; community groups offer fantastic free opportunities for parents to learn, for children to develop and play and for parents to relax and have ‘me’ time. Make sure you budget appropriately and don’t bury your head in the sand over finances.
Enjoy every minute
Having a child is incredibly rewarding and almost every parent will tell you it’s the best thing they have ever done and its all over far too fast! So enjoy it, make the most of the it, and savour every moment.
And when you are ready to go back to work remember that you were employable before you had a baby and you are even more employable now as you have learnt so many new skills. You also have expertise in human development… something you cannot learn in educational institutions. Remember you are getting a new degree through your experience – so make sure you reflect this on your CV.
Yuliana Topazly, Founder, BuddyWith.org.uk