In the spirit of International Women’s Day and Mothering Sunday, we share some of the unexpected challenges and unforeseen learnings that working women have experienced during this unique journey.
It’s well known that many things life throws at us require the need to dig deep, one of those top challenges is becoming a mum (and dad of course!).
To mark Mother’s Day, we reached out to a range of working mums to find their most surprising learnings on the crazily challenging yet rewarding journey that is motherhood.
"I was very shy when I was younger and had a rather stern, old-fashioned dad who had an expectation that children should be seen and not heard. Once I had my daughter, I wanted her to be more confident and outgoing than I was. I challenged myself to speak up more and forced myself to be a good role model for her."
"The realisation that suddenly you are utterly responsible for someone else and not just yourself. It’s a difficult transition to get your head around and I had to learn how to take charge of situations."
"There are always so many choices to make and you will almost always be judged no matter what you choose. If you bottle feed instead of breastfeed, you’ll be judged, if you work, or choose not to work, you’ll be judged – do what is best for you and your family and own those choices!"
"I hadn’t prepared for the baby blues and didn’t realise they would hit so hard. It seems so silly – why would you feel depressed after giving birth to your beautiful child? I learned to go easy on myself and take each day at a time. Especially the first time, it’s all new and you shouldn’t pressure yourself to feel a certain way."
"It was a challenge at first to not compare myself with other mums and their children’s progress. I learned to listen to others’ tips but remember that every baby/child is different, and that they progress at different rates."
"I’d got married and become a mother within a year. Suddenly I was on maternity leave having moved house so felt totally alienated and alone. I totally lost my sense of self. My biggest challenge was to find myself again and work out who I had evolved into."
"You have a plan of what type of parent you’d like to be, then you become one and your biggest challenge becomes a battle over getting your little one to wear pants or get in the buggy. It keeps you grounded."
"One of my most frustrating parenting fails is that neither of my children eat fish – at all. It’s been an ongoing challenge for the last 13+ years and, despite trying everything from fish n’ chips to nuggets, curry, seafood, tuna salads etc - I’m still fighting the fight…and losing."
"I learned how strong I could be, and that I could juggle a lot more than I ever thought possible before having children."
"Remember not to lose your sense of self. I found it important to make time for myself and to see my friends. You are still you, even when you’re a mum."
"If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. You’ll be stuck on the floor playing lego by yourself but will secretly quite enjoy it!"
"Baby paraphernalia is surprisingly eco-unfriendly! I try to be quite conscious about the environment, so I looked into cloth nappies."
"My second child didn’t sleep for the first six months as he had horrible reflux. I learned how little sleep I could survive on and still (just about) function."
"One of the best things is the unbeatable power of a child saying ‘I love you Mum’ and giving you a cuddle unprompted! No matter how cross, sad or overwhelmed you may have just been feeling, hearing those words can make everything all right in your world again."