‘Not just a mum’ – How to take charge of your career at home in five easy steps

It’s a frightening thing to share a goal. It’s as if once you put something out there, that people might hold you accountable. But in the same breath, they might be able to help you reach it or remind you of it when you are having a down day or if you are feeling like ‘just a mum’.

I thought that becoming a mum would force me to tread water in terms of my career while I stayed home to be with my kids, but instead it has opened up brand new doors. My career path has changed so much that my ‘old job’ is probably no longer the best fit for me.

How can you use parenting to your advantage?

Step one: Find your love.

The great thing about being home with children is that you can try new things every day and nobody can see you trying them. This means that the fear of ‘failing’ is much less fierce. You could try golf, watercolour painting, crochet or practice head-stands. You could jump on a trampoline or become a crossword expert… without the weight of ‘work’ on your shoulders, you are free to try anything you like – and ‘like’ should be the drive for whatever it is that you do.

If you loved sewing as a kid, why not take some online courses? If you loved drawing, why not draw?

For me, my loves are drawing and sewing. Both of these ‘old loves’ led me to start Outie.

Step Two: Upskill

It’s hard to believe that prior to having children I was an ‘anti computer’ type. I thought e-books were the ruin of reading (but then I realised how handy they are when you are breastfeeding), I thought painting had to be done with real paint (until I realised that digital paint couldn’t be spilled), I thought facebook was silly (until I realised that it is a valuable tool for connecting with people when you are stuck at home with your baby…). Enough said really.

I taught myself some new skills. I can happily say that I am now good friends with Photoshop, proficient with several social media tools and have become a better knitter and crocheter because I have been determined to make the most out of my time at home with my kids – for me as well as for them.

Some of the skills I have learned are not necessarily ‘career’ related, but they still mean that I feel like I am progressing in some way for my own sense of purpose/sense of being and becoming a better me as well as a better mum.

Things I still want to do include learning a new language, learning how to sew a perfect invisible zip and how to be more professional with my use of Illustrator for fashion design.

Step Three: Practise

Once you decide what it is that you love and/or what it is that you want to learn, it’s important to try to set aside time each day to do it. Of course, this is almost impossible once you tend to the needs of your baby/ies but making sure you find ‘some’ time ‘sometime’ is workable.

Five minutes stolen out of your day every now and then all adds up…

Step Four: Set Goals/Have a vision

I imagine future me is better suited to daily drawing/design and my ideal job would be designing fabric full time.

If I returned to my old job as a teacher, I imagine that I would be pursuing a more senior role. I like to think that my time spent at home with the acquisition of new skills all contributes to me being more employable if/when I return.

Step Five: Keep a record and share it

It’s a frightening thing to share a goal. It’s as if once you put something out there, that people might hold you accountable. But in the same breath, they might be able to help you reach it or remind you of it when you are having a down day or if you are feeling like ‘just a mum’.

It’s having a down day that prompted this post.

Today I forgot about all the personal progress I have made because I was bogged down with ‘mum stuff’ after a difficult day with the kids.

I had one of those days where if someone called me, ‘just a mum’ I would probably have just run with it even though it goes counter to everything that I believe about motherhood.

Being ‘just’ a mum is already quite the job description. It requires a big heart as well as managerial skills, behaviour management skills, gumption, enthusiasm, team-work, leadership, time management, organisational skills, social planning, accounting, hygiene management, active self esteem preservation, perseverance, accountability, other-centredness or altruism and more.

And it’s so easy to forget about your own development and your own path when you so carefully monitor and are embedded in the development of your children.

I don’t know where this is all heading yet  –  but I just wanted to share with you that becoming a mum has changed the way that I see my career because it has gifted me time to reflect on what I really want to do with my life, allowed me to try new things, prompted me to learn new skills and enabled me to try new things and maybe it will open new doors too.

fabrics for leggings feather falls batwing

It turns out that there are no predictable paths for creativity or for where your role as a parent might take you…

Thanks for following me and my family on our little journey.

Textile design showcase

sharkies sting ray master yellow unicorn duvetSaurus Saurus Saurus Roarus white

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2 thoughts on “‘Not just a mum’ – How to take charge of your career at home in five easy steps

  1. THIS.

    This post really resounds with me… the children, the teaching, the sewing and crochet. The stolen minutes and new business venture… and designing fabrics! That’s something I am currently trying… though only in its infant stages. My relationship with invisible zips…. And as a mother…( “Are you working?” They ask. “Harder than I have in my life,” I reply).

    Thanks for this post, hearing you speak my thoughts out loud has really made a difference to my day 🙂

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