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The Dynamic Identity of Motherhood in the Workplace.

As Mothers’s Day in the UK was Sunday 10th March, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about the role and Identity of The Mother in The Workplace. This also goes in tandem with my role as a CSW68 delegate with UN Women UK and their current drive to: Invest in Women-Accelerate Progress.Welcome aboard the wild wonderful journey of motherhood,  a rollercoaster ride through good and bad and where laughter is the ultimate survival tool. Strap in, folks, as we navigate the twists and turns of the world’s most unpredictable role. Motherhood.

First up, let’s talk about the good stuff—the moments that make you want to shout from the rooftops, “I am the master of this parenting gig!” Picture this: your toddler’s first belly laugh, triggered by the silliest of antics, or the heart-melting sight of your little one asleep. Or when you stage a negotiation worthy of a UN peace treaty in order to get a sulky teenage daughter out of her bedroom. As she comes downstairs for her Quinoa and Kale salad with dramatic sighs and eye rolls that could rival a broadway diva..seeing her smile when she sees its take out Pizza for supper. These are the moments that remind you why you signed up for this rollercoaster ride in the first place—the pure, unadulterated joy of being a Mum.But in truth being a working mum is more like juggling flaming torches while riding a unicycle on a tightrope, except the tightrope is made of spaghetti and the unicycle is missing a wheel! It’s a constant battle against time, where most mornings can feel like a high stakes game of beat the clock and the clock is winning! This is before you’ve even got to work!And so we meet SuperMum, the fearless multitasker extraordinaire who’s not just climbing the career ladder, she’s pole-vaulting over it! Armed with a can-do attitude that can move mountains, she’s on a mission to conquer the corporate world, with her eye on the prize and her heart in the right place, she’s proof you can have it all. At least thats what she’s aiming for.

However, amidst the celebration of SuperMum’s virtues, there exists a darker narrative characterised by societal expectations, judgment, and unrealistic standards. The pressure to embody the idealised image of a perfect mother often leads to feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and self-doubt. How many of you reading this have experienced these feelings? From the pressure to balance career aspirations with caregiving duties to the scrutiny of parenting choices, mothers navigate a minefield of expectations that can take a toll on their mental and emotional well-being. So the question is:Are our businesses reflective of the needs of working mothers?

In many aspects the answer in general is no.. But by challenging stereotypes, advocating for change, and supporting one another, we mothers, leaders and bosses can redefine the narrative of motherhood, reclaiming our agency and shaping a more inclusive and compassionate world for generations to come.Let’s work towards the support of working mothers, by celebrating the myriad ways in which mothers contribute to both society in general and to business.Because despite these challenges, the resilience and strength of mothers shine through, as they navigate adversity with grace and determination, it is a testament to the transformative power of motherhood.

Let me share some of my own story about navigating motherhood with my work as a busy Costume designer in Film and TV, it goes a little like this:

Imagine a film set bustling with activity, with lights, cameras, and action at every turn. Now picture me, a determined mum on a mission, manoeuvring through the chaos with the finesse of a cat burglar and the determination of a bulldozer. With my trusty sidekick, aka my son in his wheelchair, by my side. There were times, If I couldn’t get carer for him that I would have to take him to the shopping mall and load up his wheelchair with bags and bags of contemporary fashion!! To make a deadline for a fitting with an actor. My son proudly called himself my Assistant Costume Designer.

As I wheeled my son onto the set, I couldn’t help but marvel at the absurdity of it all. Here I was, a costume designer with a penchant for creating glamour and storytelling through clothing, navigating the whole process while simultaneously wrangling a wheelchair through a sea of cables and equipment. But did I let that stop me? Not a chance. I would wheel him into the costume or make up rooms and let him chat up the actors. No matter how well-known they were, he would hilariously give them critiques of their performances in other shows he had seen them in! There was always laughter and acceptance around me as I  got down to business, determined to prove that nothing—not even my autistic son in a  wheelchair—could stand in the way of getting the job done. I have so much to be thankful for, because the industry I worked in was one that encouraged diversity and hugely tolerated, if not celebrated the unusual. Perhaps it was no accident that I stayed in that world until he was fully grown.

I make it sound far easier than it was. I didn’t have a partner for the majority of the time he was growing up. It was demanding, the hours were insane and exhausting and yet creative and fulfilling…It was ALL of it. It was a huge part of what formed my identity. I took much of what I had learned into the coaching practise I have today. I acknowledge with every high achieving woman I work with, how important her family life is and how we must integrate all parts of our lives for real harmony and better energy at work and in business.So whether you are a partner, a friend, a colleague , a boss or a CEO and a leader yourself..I would like us all to think about how to break down those barriers that create difficulty for the working mother, shake up the status quo and unleash the unstoppable force of entrepreneurial and working mothers onto the world, because who says they can’t conquer the boardroom and the playground with style, sass and a killer sense of humour..Let’s just remember, no Mum is an island.If you’d like to know about how I work with busy woman around the subject of their image and identity in the working world, or you would like advice around creating the your image/identity for personal branding, please get in contact through IG @image_identity_coach and hit the link tree for all contacts and information about my services.

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