I’m not totally sure when exactly my confidence took such a hit. Don’t get me wrong I was never a total extrovert or an overly shy person, probably safe to say I was somewhere in the middle. I might not have been the loudest person in the room, but certainly not the quietest and what I did pride myself on was having a good amount of inner confidence in my own ability. But somewhere along the way I feel like I’ve lost this and I am desperately trying to get it back.
Although I may not be able to pin point exactly when my confidence took a hit, it was definitely around the time I had my children. What is most interesting is my confidence as a mother was pretty high. While a lot of my friends were questioning their own mothering skills, I’ll be honest I was feeling pretty good in that area. Don’t get me wrong, I was no Mary Poppins and was without a doubt making things up as I went along, but I felt good about it. I was keeping the kids alive on a daily basis – I was superwoman!!!! It was the other stuff I started having anxiety about, it sounds a bit stupid (even as I type it) but what I was struggling with, in fact what I’m still struggling with is actually just being me!
The Katie pre-children was ultra-ambitious, someone who was going to take on the world, be the expert in any room and stuff anyone who told her otherwise. The post-children Katie felt lost, alone and to be honest completely useless. I felt like I just couldn’t get a grip on who I was anymore. I knew I was a mum and without blowing my own trumpet a pretty good one, but did that mean I couldn’t be Katie too?? And even if it did, I had no clue who Katie even was anymore!
Before having the children, I ran a couple of small businesses with my partner, which I loved. You could say in a lot of ways they were my first born. A lot of people I think assumed that I wouldn’t want to go back to work after having our first, especially as in so many ways I was loving being a mum. But I knew I wanted to go back and after about 6 months of being home I realised I needed to go back. I had started to feel like I needed to do something that made me feel like me again so when Max was 10 months old he started at a childminder and I started going back into the office 2 days a week, soon increasing to 3 days. The problem was – everything was different!
No that’s not strictly true, I was different!
But the issue was I wouldn’t admit it, not to myself and certainly not to anyone else! I was a power working mother and would not admit weakness. I struggled on for a couple of years, and became pretty good at keeping things together and acting content and then out of the blue found out we were expecting baby number two. I say out of the blue because we were in no way trying for another baby, wanted another one day but hadn’t decided when that day would be. But now knowing my daughter she was always going to come along when she jolly well wanted to and has done exactly as she wants ever since.
Once again, I relished motherhood, but once again I knew I wanted to go back to the business and so after 11 months my daughter started nursery and I went back into the office. But the fog was still there. I just wasn’t the old me, Ifelt like I was being judged for my mind being elsewhere, for not being as quick as I was or as organised as I was, for questioning my own judgement on everything – how was a team supposed to believe in my ability when I didn’t believe in myself!?! What didn’t help was my partner just thought I’d lost my grip on the business. Which I guess in some ways was true but it was out of my control. I was so organised when it came to the children, especially once our eldest started school. I mean you have to be, there is so much to keep up with once they are at school, they practically need their own PA! But I had that down, it was my own stuff I just couldn’t get a proper grasp of.
It’s been in the last year that things came to a head, I had to admit I wasn’t happy and was feeling pretty low. Something I struggled with as I don’t ask for help easily (but that’s for another post). In the end, I think I had to admit that I was a different person since having my children and that’s ok, but what wasn’t ok was how hard I was on myself and what little opinion I had of myself – that had to change!
So, I made a big change, Ieft the business I was working on with my partner and thought about what I wanted to do. This was a huge step in itself as I honestly couldn’t remember putting myself first in anything! Even the businesses I was previously working on were really my partners and I worked on them because I could be super flexible around the children. I decided Iwanted to get back to my passion, marketing, but as time has moved on and we are now in more of a digital world I trained with the Digital Mums in social media management. I now work in social media and if I’m honest I still fight my insecurities of ‘not being good enough’ everyday. I know that I am currently at risk of jeopardising my own success and the silly part is I know I can achieve what I set out to, I’m just trying to make myself believe it!
I have a long list of goals and aspirations and plan to list them on the blog and write about how I am going to achieve them so that you guys can hold me accountable. I was nervous about writing this post but if I’m honest it has been therapeutic and the more blog posts I write about my industry (the industry I love and am pretty good at) the more I’m hoping I’ll believe in my own ability. I also wanted to let anyone else who is feeling lost and insecure know it’s ok and you are most definitely not alone!