As many mothers know, one of the most significant questions you will face as an expectant parent is: “How will having a baby change my life?”

Some women will wait and see, taking a ‘go with the flow’ approach; some will attempt to retain a sense of control, planning routines in advance; while others will defiantly declare life will remain unchanged. But becoming a parent isn’t just black and white. Parenting delivers many shades of grey.

As parents, we quickly discover that parenting provides little respite. We find time for ourselves becomes lost in the unending responsibilities of parenthood. As mothers, we make sacrifices and give so much of ourselves to others, often without thinking of the consequences of ending up with little or nothing left in reserve.

Looking after children, families, homes, careers and other areas of our lives can leave us feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and isolated, and drained of both time and energy. We might feel under-valued, insignificant and even ‘invisible’ as a person. Feelings of loneliness and loss of identity can descend upon us without our even realising it. We may feel disconnected from society, our friends, partners or families, and even ourselves.

If you find yourself relating to some (or all) of the above, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. Many mothers feel or have felt the same way.

3 steps to rediscovering yourself – How to Keep the YOU in Mum

There are three main steps rediscovering your identity and enjoying a well-balanced family life:

1. Identify your vision, values, strengths and passions.

2. Reconnect with who you are and what’s important to you.

3. Prioritise time to include these in your life.

Despite being a busy mum, you can start living the life you want right now by:

Identifying your personal or professional vision.

Defining your personal values, strengths and passions.

Increasing your motivation.

Enhancing your confidence and self belief.

Learning and applying positive habits daily.

Here’s some Quick Tips to get you going on rediscovering yourself:

  • Take time out to identify your vision, values, strengths and passions.
  • Having a clear picture of your personal vision and ideal life is important for rediscovering who you are.
  • Your personal vision provides you with focus and clarity, enabling you to form a strategy and set goals towards achieving what you want.
  • Commit and prioritise time to rediscover who you are.
  • When you reconnect with who you are and become clear on your personal vision, you will find that your goals will follow and become apparent.
  • Write your thoughts down, or draw or use images, to identify and display your personal vision.
  • Describe your vision using positive, future-tense language, as if you’re already there – when you begin with the end result in mind, you move towards your vision and who you aspire to be.
  • Consider all possibilities by putting aside any barriers, obstacles, limiting beliefs or excuses, allowing you to think clearly, freely and positively.
  • Review your current situation: are you being the person you want to be right now? If not, what do you need to stop or start doing to move towards being authentic and living the life you truly want?
  • Write down changes you want or need to make, creating a step-by-step plan for achieving your goals.
  • Reconnect with what’s important – do something just for you every day.
  • Build a strong personal foundation, supporting confidence, self-esteem and positive thinking.
  • Remember, you’re not alone.

Now that you’ve got the low down, and made a start on 3 steps to rediscovering yourself – How to Keep the YOU in Mum, you’ll want to keep some momentum. Check out some more great articles in our Balancing family life section.

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Karyn Riley is a time management and life balance coach, author of “How to Keep the YOU in Mum”, inspirational speaker, writer and mother of two. For more information see www.rileylife.co.nz

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