When I became pregnant with my first one I panicked thinking that there is no way I can follow my career ambition and have children. My own mother story was resonating in my head.
My strong belief was that be a successful professional and a good mother you need to be very good at distributive attention and multi-tasking and I know I am pretty terrible at it. I asked for advice from some ‘experienced’ working mothers, but unfortunately what I found wasn’t encouraging. They were all trying to keep all the balls in the air.
To deal with my anxiety I decided to take a whole year as maternity leave. It was an extraordinary year with many changes that took over my life, but it was also the year to slow down and allow myself to enjoy motherhood. The biggest lesson I took in that year was how my own mindset and beliefs define my actions and the result of it.
A lesson about the spiral ‘mindset – belief – action – result’ and how to get out of the negative loop.
If you have the mindset that a working mother, in order to be successful, has to master multitasking and constantly managing competing demands, your belief will be that you need to master efficiency and planning. That will drive all sort of actions and a busy life which, in the end, could lead to you ignoring your own recovery and health.
On the other hand, if you replace that belief with the belief that being a mother is actually being the leader in the life of your children by influencing their education, you will step in the work place as an informal leader with increased confidence in own ability to diffuse tensions, see the bigger picture and influence difficult stakeholders. After all, you learned all those skills the hard way …with your own children. Others will soon notice your confidence and attitude and this will have impact on your career chances.
I tried this myself and I was surprised to see that it works and indeed my own thoughts and insecurity were most of the time the real obstacle.
So, my encouragement is… try this at home and at work and you will see that others will also notice that motherhood did you well. It brought you confidence and leadership.
What do you think? Any comments, suggestions?