Going back to work when your brain feels like mush

May 28, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Posted in General Advice, Something for Mum, Work & Life | Leave a comment
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Melanie Greene, Chartered Occupational Psychologist and NLP Master Practitioner has 22 years experience as a consultant, coach and trainer and gives us mums some tips on getting much needed confidence back when returning to work.


When you go back to work after having a baby it is easy to think and feel that you are not doing a good job at home or at work.  You can doubt your abilities and undermine your confidence.  Using the following ideas each week will help you to build and maintain your confidence levels.

Start by appreciating yourself – Each day write down three things that you appreciate about yourself. This could include characteristics that you like, things that you do, and challenges that you have overcome. Even things in the past that you have not appreciated yourself for. This counters any negative messages you send yourself.

Practice balanced debriefing – it is easy to focus on all the things that go wrong, rather than get a balanced view of what you do. Ask yourself all of the following questions: 

  1. What did I do that went well? How can I celebrate this?
  2. What could I have done differently/better? What can I learn from this?
  3. What would I do the same another time?
  4. If someone else was in my shoes (a trusted friend, colleague or mentor) how might they have handled it?

Listen to your fears – many of us have an inner critic that often dismisses our fears and belittle us for having them. The problem is that when we ignore them they just grow inside us. Instead listen to them and use your wise self to decide how to deal with each fear in an objective way. 

Master your mind: become your own best friend – start to become aware of your thoughts and what you are saying to yourself. Are you being positive or negative? If we tell ourselves that we are tired, useless, a failure or a bad mother or colleague etc. we will feel this and it will affect our behaviour and performance. Challenge these negative thoughts, and when you are facing challenges and need encouragement ask yourself ‘what would my best friend say to me?’ I bet they would be very encouraging and supportive!

Celebrate – again people with a strong inner critic often do not celebrate their successes and achievements. Instead, they have the ‘glass half empty’ mindset and always look at what they still need to do, which can be very demotivating. Celebrate with your family or friends the fact that you have gone back to work, the time you spend with your baby and your ability to be a working mother. And if you think you don’t have anything to celebrate then take a look at your daily appreciations!

Start to feel more positive and confident about yourself and your life, and start to enjoy more of your life.

For more information visit www.grovelands.org.uk and sign up to Melanie’s free email newsletter for useful hints and tips.  Melanie has also written a fantastic book called ‘Master your inner critic, release your inner wisdom’, email mg@grovelands.org.uk for more information!


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