Who doesn’t love the films where the main character transforms from drab to FAB! A few come to mind but the one I particularly loved was Ann Hathaway’s character Andy in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Maybe it was due to the great unobtainable fashion. However, my point is that we really emotionally invest in these characters and cheer them on from our lounges. They are taking a chance on themselves by taking life by the horns and doing it with great style. These fictional characters represent an ambition or a take charge attitude that we are too scared to adopt for ourselves. Especially, after your identity has been consumed by motherhood and you are sometimes no longer referred to by your given name. People refer to you as ‘Jack’s mother’ or ‘the Smith family’ as your identifying maker.
How can we turn these inspirational movie characters strengths into our own?
I really enjoy watching women succeed whether it is through films or in real life. Maybe we are all guilty of living vicariously through these fictional characters or other successful women. I guess the challenge is how can we empower ourselves? Below are some ideas I have gathered from mothers who have worked hard to reclaim their personal identity. I think they are really practical and adaptable ideas which makes them obtainable to us all.
1. Ask yourself…….
‘Who was I before having children?’
‘What were my interests before becoming a mother?’
‘What are my interests outside of the family?’
These questions were from a women I met who formed a small business after being a stay at home mother for 12 years. She asked herself these questions because she felt lost after her youngest started school. Her answers helped her to find her focus and direction.
Whether it’s motivated by personal interests or career ambitions, it is always good to challenge yourself. I’ve met a few mothers who have used this opportunity to discover career direction which differs from the ones they had before motherhood. Moving back into the workforce can be scary but it does present new avenues to explore and the opportunity to find something that feels right for this stage of your lives.
3. Workshops and Community
I know a mother who started doing loads of Bunning’s workshops in her free time and ended up finding a really passion for landscape gardening. She never had any desire to work outdoors before doing these free workshops but has now dedicated herself to study this area. The point of her experience is that by going out and trying new things you may discover a direction you haven’t considered. The other thing about getting out and doing workshops are the new people you have the opportunity to meet.
4. Volunteer Work.
This can help to widen your horizons and introduce you to a more diverse selection of people. We often form friendships with other mothers which is awesome but it is good to have contact with people outside of that network. Also, there is a real sense of contribution and productivity when you are involved with volunteer groups. It’s a good chance to apply yourself to an organisation whose work you value and contribute to their cause.
5. Dress up like Andie
Get out of the ‘mummy uniform’. Invest and refresh your image by regaining your style. Get out of the comfy leggings and buy a few dressy pieces that make you feel stylish. A new hair colour or style can also helps to make a women feel confident. Sometimes we need to physically revamp ourselves in order to psychologically see ourselves in a new light. It’s amazing the positive body language you exude when you feel good with the way you look.
6. Bucket List
I personally don’t like the above term because it makes me think of dying. However, I like the concept as it’s a good way to create a list of personal goals that you would like to achieve which don’t involve your partner and/or kids. These may include short-term or long-term personal /professional ambitions. I think as adults we tend to not include ideas because we see them as ‘silly’ or ‘unobtainable’, so consequently we don’t follow our dreams. This ‘bucket list’ is private so there is no need to hide your true desires or limit your ideas. Besides I think the ‘silly’ or ‘overly ambitious’ goals are the best. It’s the old adage to try to live your life without regrets.
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