Who are you today, mummy?

Author and mum Amy Beeson shares her experiences of looking after a child over the summer holidays whilst launching a new book with workingmums

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After publishing three books with HarperCollins, running my own business and doing the school run I’ve learnt that women maybe multitaskers but focusing on what you want to achieve most of all each day and feeling fulfilled by small achievements is what success looks like for me. Book sales and client wins are fantastic but they’re intangible and can sometimes leave you feeling a bit flat. Focusing on putting on a great book event one day and then making pancakes with my daughter the next morning feels more real than striving for an end goal since I left the corporate world.

The corporate world is playing catch up; they talk about flexible working but we’re actually doing it.

I did find pregnancy and the return to work challenging because becoming a mum changed me. It changed my relationship with work. I love my job but I’ve got at least three full time jobs (I’m a mum, an author and business owner) but I can’t be all three at the same time, not in the way I want to. I ask myself who am I right now? Over the holidays I was a mum all of the time and an author most of the time, because our new book Our Country Nurse was published and my daughter was off school. There wasn’t much space for client work but that’s OK because most of my clients were away.

For me the biggest challenge is still trying to be present in what I’m doing. Not letting mummy guilt creep in whilst I’m writing and not thinking about emails when I’m with my daughter. And it never gets any easier, it’s never going to not be busy. What I’ve discovered over the last few years is that I need to take responsibility for feeling in control.

I’ve learnt so much by connecting with other mums about what works for them and I’ve discovered that being great at your job doesn’t mean you have to work all the time. I work best in bursts of about two hours – I can get a lot done in those two hours! Then it makes complete sense to go for quick walk, eat something nice, or do some yoga – that’s not slacking; it’s giving my mind and body some sustenance so when I come back to do another two hour burst of writing or client consultations I’m at my optimum.

When you’re in an corporate environment most of the time you have to follow someone else’s rules whether they work for you or not. I get to take a fresh look at each day and ask myself what I need to achieve and how best to set myself up to succeed. Flexible working enables you to pick the time and place that means you always do your best work.

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My mum is probably the kindest colleague I’ll ever have. Whoever you work with be a kind boss to yourself.

Once my daughter’s in bed if I’m working towards something big I’ll do another few hours on the laptop but I don’t do that all the time because it’s not healthy. During the run up to Our Country Nurse coming out I was working till midnight and we’ve had lots of book events and PR to do.

My mum said to me, ‘Let’s enjoy this. Let’s not miss out the pleasure of seeing our book come out by letting all the thoughts of what we need to do spoilt it.’ Sarah is always the first person to tell me to not do too much. Sometimes that’s hard to hear because nothing just falls into your lap; it takes hard work, but you have to ask yourself would you expect the same of someone else? I might expect a colleague to do long hours when it was necessary but not very often, so I try not to expect more of myself than I would of others.

When I do have to work long hours I make a deal with myself that I can do this for a week but next week I’ll need to change things because otherwise I’ll burn out. Part of the joy of working for yourself is doing what fulfils you and that changes day by day. Most of all I want to feel happy, to me nowadays that is what success feels like.

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Amy Beeson runs Wordsby Communications and has a successful writing partnership with her mum Sarah Beeson MBE. Their new book Our Country Nurse is set in a country village in 1975 and is bursting with stories of mums journeys during pregnancy and motherhood.

Can parents have great conversations?

By Amy Beeson

Quite a few of my friends and associates from different background are also Coaches. Although they’re incredibly supportive and insightful to talk to, they also don’t pull their punches from pointing out if the person who is holding me back from something is actually me.

When Mumsnet Babyfest connected us with Barefoot Coaching and suggested we check out their Coaching Cards for New Parents I messaged Coaching Friends to ask if they’d come across them. The resounding answer was “Yes, they’re amazing. I trained with them.” And I’m not a girl who asks for professionals opinions and then ignores them.

kindred spirits

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Kim Morgan and Sarah Beeson

My mum and writing partner (Sarah Beeson MBE) and I were invited to a getting to know you breakfast with Kim Morgan the writer of Coaching Cards for New Parents and one the UK’s most esteemed business and personal coaches and her daughter Saira Aspinall who is the Marketing Director of Barefoot Coaching. When we met it was like we were old friends within minutes because we had so much in common on parenting, being working mums and mother and daughter teams. There was a lot of nodding, animated conversation and women’s laughter in the middle of the dining room of a central London hotel that morning.

Saira and I both have a background in marketing and publishing and are trying to balance the whole being good at my job and at being a good mum thing, and confessed that both of our mums’ (Sarah & Kim) were our 24/7 hotline to letting go of mummy guilt.

Kim and Sarah discovered they’d both been greatly influenced by Dr Mia Kellmer Pringle’s work on the emotional needs of children which shaped Sarah’s research for our parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family. Kellmer Pringle is also a character in Our Country Nurse. 

We left with an advanced pack of Barefoot Coaching Cards For New Parents to take home and play with and couldn’t wait to see what each of the 50 cards within the pack suggested. Saira and Kim were invited to our launch party for our new book Our Country Nurse and it was great to spend more time with them there.

sarah beeson gives thumbs up for new parents coaching cards

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Sarah and I looked at every card and picked out the top ten cards that resonated with us the most. We came to the conclusion that opportunities for romance may be few and far between with a new baby but trying to be kind to each other and not loosing sight that you’re a partnership as well as parents benefits everyone.

Parents could use Kim Morgan’s Coaching Cards to give themselves time and space to talk about  their lives and share all the lovely moments being a new parent has brought so far. They could also be a tool to start a discussion on any  issues you’re experiencing such as feelings of guilt and self-criticism or feeling under valued by your partner. You might pre-select a card or pick one at random and see where the conversation takes you.

Picking a calm moment and card or two to have an open and kind conversation about your thoughts and feelings since you’ve becoming parents and actively listening to your partner will help you to appreciate how much you’ve already grown as a family.
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Sarah’s favourite coaching card in the pack said, ‘What messages did you receive about yourself as a child? To what extent have these messages stuck with you or become true?’ It’s definitely a theme that runs through our parenting advice and novels. We gave away one of these cards to every reader who came to our book launches for Our Country Nurse and they agreed whoever you are, this question opens  up discussion about your past, present and future.

ASK YOUR PARTNER TO PICK A card

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One evening I got our the pack of Coaching Cards and my husband Takbir and I took turns to pick one each at random. It did give me a opporutnity to talk about some issues I’d been bottling up but also it was good to listen to him. To consider how our very different childhoods are influencing our behaviour as parents and how our greatest strength is working together as a team.

It being the school holidays our daughter Ava had less strict bedtimes and soon wandered into our conversation. She took a turn to pick a card too and asked us questions and answered them herself about her own experiences. As a family it was a lovely way to spend some time together and I noticed we were all very present in the moment. All the devices were turned off and it was nice to have an open discussion about our lives and share in our happiest memories.

great gift for new parents

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Kim asked Sarah if she’d endorse the coaching cards which she did gladly. If you pick up a pack this is the quote you’ll see on the back.

“Using these cards to talk about the highs and lows of parenthood will be good  for you and your family.”
Sarah Beeson MBE, author of Happy Baby, Happy Family

Coaching Cards are designed to make honest, open conversation between new parents easier. They can be dipped into time and again, the cards can be used throughout the first year of parenthood and beyond into the toddler years. Easy to pick up and use, they make a great new baby gift if you’re shopping for a present for new parents or mums to be.

ABOUT BAREFOOT COACHING CARDS FOR NEW PARENTS

Coaching Cards for New Parents by Kim Morgan are available to Buy on Amazon. You can get more information on Barefoot’s Coaching Cards range at Barefootcoachingcards.co.uk and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @barefootcoachingcards.