Being a working mother is an understandably difficult proposition, requiring the combining of both a career and the rigors associated with raising a child. Many times, working mothers may find that they feel pulled between two disparate roles or even struggling to ascertain their true identity. It can truly be a time in a woman’s life that causes her to lose her confidence. However, it does not have to be this way. The reality is that a course of reflection, goal setting, and implementing proven techniques form positive psychology can help working mother’s redefine their goals and pursue them.
The first step in this process sounds quite simple, but actually requires a great deal of reflection: goal setting. Goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. For example, instead of “advancing in my career,” a smart goal would be “attain a manager role within 18 months.” Goals for the working mother do not have to only be career related. They can be interpersonal, recreational, financial, or any of another myriad of things. Once goals are set, the next step is to outline the steps that need to be completed on route to achieving the goals.
However, what happens if you feel like you are unable to meet your goals? What if the responsibilities of working, parenting, and the many other things pulling at your time feel too much? It is normal to feel overwhelmed from time to time. I myself used to feel overwhelmed and overthink situations, allowing my mind to talk me out of my true potential. Does your mind do that? You know that little voice that says “be cautious” or “you can’t do this?” That is what is called “the thinking mind,” and it can be paralyzing, breeding anxiety and self-doubt.
This can be combatted with techniques from positive psychology. Too often we find ourselves focusing on what can go wrong and our weaknesses. However, positive psychology teaches us the importance of focusing on what can go right and our strengths. It sounds like a simple switch of the mind; however, it is anything but. This reframing of thoughts takes effort and immense concentration. Yet, over time it will become more natural. Imagine thinking how you will put on your pants. Which leg do you put in first? Is it your left? If so, try putting your right leg in first. Doing this the first few days will prove incredibly difficult without thought. However, over time you will build a new habit. This is the same concept with reframing our minds. Once this cognitive dissonance is overcome, the potential is incredibly powerful.
What specifically can be done to rewire your mind to build self-image and prepare for success? Here are a number of potential methods for countering the thinking mind:
These are but a handful of strategies to begin cultivating a renewed self-image and realistic appraisal of your true ability. As someone who has been through this journey in my own life, I can attest to the power of focusing on the positive. This gradual process will ultimately pave the way towards your success. Before you know it, you’ll see yourself moving closer and closer to your ultimate goals, excelling both in your career and as a mother along the way.
Written by Maria Karefilakis
Maria is a business owner, psychologist, educator and mentor. Her goal is to inspire change to help people meet their potential and goals for a more fulfilling and purposeful life. She is the Clinic Director of Kare Psychology in Melbourne and Founder of The Unshakeable Series.