Lost - Guest Blog Post from Melanie Firth, Life Coach

Tuesday, 2 April 2013  |  Admin

A guest blog post today from Life Coach, Melanie Firth. It's a great start to this series of blog posts and one that certainly struck a chord with me...Lost‘The rest of the world doesn't fall away when you have children. But your priorities are with your family. You're not exactly asleep but you're in the dream of family life.’Meg Wolitzer – author of The Ten Year NapNew American research indicates something that most full time mums already believed, that, being a full time mum can be more stressful than working. A study of more than 60,000 US mothers have found that‘ 41 percent of those not in work experienced worry compared to only 34 per cent of those employed.’ Of course all research has its kinks and all mothers have their own experiences, depending often on the kind of support they have, the kind of children they have and their own life experiences. However, do the findings of this research tell us that work can sometimes be a distraction from the intensity of motherhood? Do full time mums give too much to their children, losing so much of themselves, they forget who they are, who they wanted to be and what they wanted to achieve in their own lives? This feeling has been described to me many times as feeling ‘lost’.How do so many women who choose to stay at home end up feeling ‘lost’? I have discovered that it can be a number of triggers. Sometimes they feel guilty that they are not contributing to the financial income of the household, especially if finances are tight. They can be plagued by jokes about ‘sitting on the sofa all day watching Jeremy Kyle or Loose Women’ and often their role is not respected by those close to them. They miss the social interaction of the workplace and feeling like they are achieving something. Often they have put motherhood on a pedestal and found out it is not a ‘gingham wearing, cake baking, rosy cheek kissing heaven’ (an actual client quote!). When you discover that motherhood is not perfect and in particular you are not the perfect mother (let’s face it – no-one is!), the disappointment can be overwhelming.So, is there an answer? If you choose to be at home, full-time with your children can you take steps to avoid feeling ‘lost’ at some point on your journey through motherhood?Firstly, full-time doesn’t need to be 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, every mother should take a break, it’s good for the children and you. You feel refreshed and better able to cope and the children build their trust in other adults, in turn helping their confidence and self-esteem.Secondly, ask for help, this is SO hard, it can feel like you are failing in some way. I have heard mothers say ‘they are MY children, MY responsibility’. Everyone needs help, if you don’t have willing family near you, you could consider doing swaps with other mums you trust, this can alleviate the guilt! Help can come in lots of different forms, it doesn’t always mean handing your children over to someone else, it may be extra help around the house, or asking a friend to pick up a pint of milk for you, rather than having to go out again yourself (dragging the children behind you!).Thirdly, when you are ready, consider doing something else, something in addition to your role as a mum. It’s difficult to motivate yourself to do this if you are not financially pressed but it can still be of great benefit. Draw on any previous experience you have had, try helping out local businesses, charities, schools, they will always be looking for people, particularly if you can offer your time on a voluntary basis. Even if you can’t, look at part time jobs, you will be amazed how many opportunities there are that fit in with school/nursery hours, particularly nowadays, businesses can’t afford lots of full time workers so an experienced, motivated mum, looking for a few hours a week might just be a perfect fit. If you aren’t ready to take this step, and that’s ok, then consider joining a gym, book club, community group etc. or look at part time courses at a local college, any time spent doing something different will refresh you, it will keep you in touch with who you are and may just be the start of something amazing.Melanie Firth is the lead coach at Life Practice Brighton, part of the UK wide Life Practice UK, run by renowned Life Coach, Mentor and Author Mark Shields. She works with a wide range of clients but particularly enjoys her work with mums, helping them to overcome anxiety and depression, confidence issues and low self esteem. ‘When you feel lost and overwhelmed, the most important thing is to have a plan, a simple plan, a way out. It may involve stepping out of your comfort zone but if being there is making you miserable then you need to do something different. Find someone to hold your hand and go on that journey with you, just until you are on the right track and you can’t turn round.’Melanie Firth, Lead Coach, Life Practice Brighton.www.lifepracticebrighton.co.uk

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