It’s funny how before having children I had all the self confidence in the world. Once the tiny humans came along my self confidence just disappeared without a trace, along with my previous life. The older I get the more aware I seem to be of my short comings, the harder I am on myself and the more I realise I have absolutely no idea what I am doing as a mum! But, the more women I encounter and share stories with, the more I realise that there isn’t a mum out there that has every ounce of her shit together.
The one thing we all seem to have in common is losing our self confidence, as individuals, not just “mums”, particularly when we return back to the work force after a period of time being the primary carer of our children.
Self Confidence can come easy for some, and for others it can be a little more challenging. Think of it as a muscle that needs to be worked and exercised to grow. self confidence doesn’t come from what others think of you, it’s all to do with what you think of yourself, it’s the ultimate mind game. And the winners of this game are those that actually believe that they’re awesome at what they do.
For me, there has never been a time in my life where my self confidence has been lower than what it was after I had children. In particular, the period from career to motherhood, and suddenly juggling both had me seriously doubting myself. This happens to so many mums, and that period of returning to the workforce after the birth of your baby is such a vulnerable time. So be gentle, be kind to your self. Its OK to find it hard, because it’s reeeeally hard.
So how can us mums find ways to prepare ourselves for returning to work after a baby, and allow us to boost our self confidence so that we are positioning ourselves in the workforce right from the start?
Here are some really quick and simple tricks you can use as ways to boost your self confidence. Some take just a few minutes, others take a little deeper understanding of yourself and self reflection, but hopefully they all make you feel a little bit better about yourself, and your decision to return to work after having a baby.
Think about the why
Think about why you are returning to work? Instead of thinking about the negative aspects (It’s too soon, financially I can’t afford NOT to work etc), – This will help shift the negative thoughts, and self doubt to a positive mindset of what the benefits are for you and your family (stable income means more opportunity etc)
Remember that our children and babies are more resilient and adaptive than we give them credit for. If you’re are not ready to return to work, but have to for financial reasons, then try to remember that your babies are going to love you hard no matter what, whether you are at home with them or working full time. What matters is being completely present in the time that you do get to spend with them. If you are feeling guilty for wanting to return to work earlier than planned, also remember that your mental health and well-being as a mother is the most important thing. If returning to work is meeting your needs as an individual, then this is allowing you to be a better parent for your child.
Reflect on all the amazing things you have done
Reflect on your achievements as an individual, and as a mum. This is a really simple and effective way to boost your confidence, it can be done anywhere, at any time! Close your eyes and take some time to reflect upon all of the amazing things you have achieved.
Start with your most recent achievements. What have you done lately that is amazing? It doesn’t need to be huge – just something you are proud of. It can be as small as keeping that catch up or playdate with a fried that you had scheduled for weeks but kept cancelling, meeting a recent work deadline or achieving a fitness goal. It is also important to remind yourself of past achievements, whether it be in business, work or education and the skills that you have developed as a result. This helps to remind you that although you are a mum now, you still have valuable skills to contribute. I like to remind myself that I managed to complete a post graduate degree, whilst working full time and pregnant. So that when I start to feel self doubt creeping in, or the need to prove myself, I remind myself that I have a lot of skill to offer, and I am just as capable as everyone else around me.
Resist the urge to add in anything negative. It can be tempting to add a ‘but’ to the end of any achievement you list… ‘Yes, I completed a Degree while working full time but….’ No. Stop right there. Do not add any ‘buts’ in!! This is a 100% positive and uplifting exercise.
Actions to Your Goals
Breaking down your goals and focusing on the specific actions you are going to take to achieve them forces you to take responsibility and you are more likely to actually achieve what you set out to achieve. For example, your business goal for the week is to post every day on social media. Yes, that is a defined goal that is measurable and has a definite time-frame, but HOW are you going to achieve this goal? By adding in actions, you are more likely to achieve what you set out to achieve which will only continue to boost your confidence.
So rather than saying you want to post every day on social media this week, add in that you’re going to plan your content and schedule the post for the day every morning before doing anything else, and each night after 7pm you’re going to edit and submit the post. Can you see how powerful that is?
Know your Confidence!
Take the time to really reflect on yourself, and think about what makes you feel your most confident? What makes you feel on top of your game? Then think of ways you can incorporate mini versions of these into your daily life.
For example, I feel confident when I’ve had time to prepare a boss lady outfit and people compliment me. Mini version – spend an extra 10 minutes each night preparing your outfit for the next day and write yourself love notes and leave them around the house or your car. Each morning my mirror tells me how babe’n I am, and that makes me feel good. Because one day, I might just believe it. 😊
A positive attitude and confidence goes hand in hand. How many confident negative nellies do you know? Think about some of the most confident people you know in your life, are they, for the most part a positive person? Does their positivity rub off on you when you’re around them?
It’s not possible to be positive all the time, after all, we are human and we experience waves of emotions daily. But, sometimes faking a positive attitude can be a great start to get us out of our funk. Throw on a smile and think happy thoughts and you might fool your brain into being confident!
It’s all in your posture!
Some of the most powerful, and influential people have a commanding presence about them. This can relate to their posture, because this is what we see first.
This simple task can have a profound impact on your self confidence. Your posture and position has a huge influence on how you feel about yourself and how you present yourself to others. Give this power pose a try.
- Stand tall with your head up, imagine there’s a string from the top of your head pulling you upwards. Ensure your shoulders aren’t bunched up and are relaxed down and slightly pulled back.
- “Wonder Woman” pose – stand with feet around shoulder width apart and feel your weight press down through your heels, hands on your hips.
- Make eye contact, regardless of how uncomfortable it is and feel your inner wonder woman shine through!!
Things to remember
It’s OK not to be confident all the time, this is perfectly normal. You’re allowed to have those days where you just want to curl up in the fetal position under your bed. But, for the days when you might need a confidence boost, try the strategies above and you might be amazed at how much they help!