Being a mum can often seem a thankless task, which is why you need to recognise your achievements.
Waking at 4am for the baby’s feed, dragging children off on the school run, working your way through piles of laundry, cooking a healthy meal only to get a “That’s yuk!” verdict: all in a day’s work for mums.
Being a mum can be a rather ungrateful job, as you will no doubt have discovered. Changing gears from a full-time career – with appraisals, feedback and recognition – to the endless, relentless self-sacrificing conveyor belt of chores you’re faced with when becoming a mum, even if it's just during your maternity leave, can be quite a shock to the system.
Suddenly – no one takes any notice of you even when you’re working harder than ever, often way out of your comfort zone and juggling a multitude of tasks. There is little or no appreciation or positive feedback for the work you do at home. The only time your partner or children seem to notice you is when the wheels come off the bus and for once during a weak, sleep-deprived moment you’re not on top of everything.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve praise. You do! You’re amazing, you’re doing an excellent job – even if you have to say so yourself. And you should!
This year – don’t wait for others to praise you – pat yourself on the back – often,give yourself the recognition you so crave and reward yourself – no-one else will!
Reflect on your achievements
Mull over everything you’ve achieved in the last year and since becoming a parent.
Write them all down, as well as any positive character traits you’ve demonstrated over the past year. They don’t have to be major. We can’t all run marathons or climb mountains – just day-to-day things that you are quietly proud of:
Surviving a day without losing your temper with the children, being a calming influence in the family when things get out of hand, helping your child to learn to read, getting your children to eat more healthy snacks…
List new skills you’ve learned
While you’re at it, remind yourself of all the skills you’ve developed since becoming a parent – perhaps you’re more patient (OK, scrap that one), a better listener, more organised or more confident and sociable than before. Or perhaps you’ve come through a difficult time and out the other side.
So often I see clients who’ve achieved so much since I started seeing them, but who don’t acknowledge their own achievements. Be proud of what you’ve achieved, take a moment to bask in self-glory and celebrate!
Remember your own kindness
What about those times when you’ve looked after a friend’s sick child when she had to work, volunteered at the library, listened to a friend who needed to share their problems with someone.
Ignore your inner critic
If you hear yourself (or your inner gremlin) saying ‘Yes…but,” silence the voice and turn the thought into a positive one. You might hear yourself saying “OK, so I’m better at multi-tasking than I used to be… but I often feel I don’t get enough done in a day.’ Just break off that sentence after the positive thought and congratulate yourself for being better at multi-tasking.
Keep a record of your achievements
If you find it hard to acknowledge the great stuff you’ve done and learned – here’s a great tip I saw somewhere the other day – keep a jar in the kitchen all year round and write down little notes about your achievements, things that made you laugh, positive moments. Simply write the note, pop it in the jar and at the end of 2014, you’ll have a collection of notes to remind you of all the amazing things you’ve done and experienced during the year!
Go on tell yourself how amazing you are – and the rest of the world will appreciate you more too.
Let me know how you get on.
*Fiona Clark is the founder of Inspired Mums. She’s a qualified Career & Confidence Coach who specialises in helping Mums gain a greater balance and sense of fulfillment in their lives. For help with any aspect of your confidence or career development needs please contact Fiona on 07789 597209 or firstname.lastname@example.org. www.inspiredmums.co.uk
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