Returning to work: opportunity or dead end?


Are you a new mum…

  • Experiencing challenges balancing your family and work priorities?
  • Feeling guilty about needing/wanting to go back to work?
  • Struggling with the pressure to “do it all”: have a successful career, family, relationship AND time for yourself?

Birth. Motherhood. Career. Relationships. It can be a time of overwhelming excitement and fear, love and confusion, inspiration and worry. It’s a time of intense re-evaluation and really discovering who we are.

Before having children, I was a high-performing, highly motivated, ambitious and driven woman – in fact, I still am. Following the birth of my first son, I returned to my job to discover a deep-seated personal conflict between my career ambitions and my newly developed values and priorities that centred on my family. It was a surprise to both my husband and me.

I rationalised a sideways move in my corporate job to eliminate travel, felt grateful for the opportunity to achieve a semblance of work-life balance and coped with the situation. But a life-threatening stroke following the birth of my second son made it clear that my coping strategies and rationalisation hadn’t worked as well as I’d thought.

I took more time off than I’d planned, as maternity leave extended into sick leave. The health issues caused significant fear and anxiety; meanwhile, my already-vanishing professional identity felt unrecoverable, causing more stress and worry. Combined with the pressure I felt from the deluge of articles announcing that “City mothers could have it all!”, I was barely holding it together.

At the same time, I needed to work. I wanted to work. So much of my identity had been tied to my career: I was respected, my input was valued, client work was incredibly engaging and I loved what I did. I wanted to do work I was passionate about, and I also wanted to do something that would support the family life I’d created for myself.

That’s when I discovered the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), the world’s leading accredited coach training programme*. iPEC’s training offers an internationally recognised professional qualification, teaches you how to realise your own and others’ potential and gives you everything you need to establish a successful coaching business.

After a discussion with an iPEC graduate, I started wondering, “What if there really was a solution that allowed me to do work I love, with people I care about, make a meaningful impact, and do it all in a way that enabled me to participate fully in my life as a mother, wife and successful business woman?”

It was an enticing opportunity. The training was only 7 months long and the fact that it was delivered through a combination of 3 live weekend modules and home study provided all the flexibility I needed to support myself – and my family – as I returned to work.

iPEC’s programme built on my strengths, raised my confidence, allowed me to develop a professional qualification around work and family commitments and has given me practical, solid, business experience so I could – and have – hit the ground running.

I never thought of myself as entrepreneurial, but now seven months after discovering iPEC, I have my own coaching business, with paying clients before I’ve even graduated, and most importantly, I know who I am, what I want and I have complete confidence that I know how to get there. I feel more in control of my thoughts and emotions; and my identity and values are now consistent with my profession. My husband attests to the fact that I’m happier at home and I feel more present and competent with the children.

Times like new motherhood present us with an incredible opportunity to literally re-write the rules of our life in a way that supports who we want to be. I now draw upon all the experiences I’ve described by working with new mothers who are grappling with issues around returning to work. We work in partnership to help them choose whether to:

  • re-engage with their careers, really focus on work (while there) and make a step-change in influence, seniority or expertise;
  • realign career choices with a newly acknowledged change in values and priorities; or
  • reinvent themselves by harnessing the power of their own creativity to strike out in a new direction.

If any of this strikes a chord with you and you’re looking for support:

  1. Go ahead and contact me for a free 30-minute coaching session. Visit me at, email [email protected], or call 07753 627 504 (mention Working Mums). For the first 3 people who enrol through Working Mums, I’m offering a 20% discount on my Discovery package.
  2. Contact iPEC – their training gave me the priceless gift of self-awareness, self-confidence, clarity of purpose and a solid business foundation. If you’re interested in coaching as a career or as an enhancement to your current role, click on the logo below or call 0800 008 7647.
  3. If you’d like to give coaching a try to see if it’s for you, join the next iPEC introductory training weekend 8-10 November 2013. As a special offer to Working Mums subscribers iPEC are offering 2 for the price of 1 for the November training weekend ONLY. Redeem this offer by contacting [email protected] quoting “Working Mums”.

Patricia’s passion is partnering with career-oriented mothers to re-write the rules of their lives to re-engage with their current role, re-align career choices with new priorities, or reinvent themselves.

A mother-of-two with over 15 years of international experience in corporate individual and organization development, Patricia engineered her own career transformation after recognizing that a disconnect between her true passions and her job was drastically impacting her health.

Contact Patricia and discover who you really want to be and how to make it happen…, [email protected], or +44(0)7753627504.

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