Financial freedom, beauty AND confidence after childbirth – holy moly do these things actually exist? While many of you might be reading this and shaking your heads in disbelief, author of Women, Motherhood & Independence: A Guide to Financial Freedom, Beauty & Confidence After Birth Penelope Magoulianiti says yes! they can. I ask her a few questions to find out exactly how we can make that dream come true in this installment of Expert Editions.
Attaining financial freedom, beauty and confidence after childbirth – is this epic trilogy really possible as a mother?
Yes it is. It is my belief that each one of us carries a unique talent and that each one of us has a lot to offer both to their loved ones as to the rest of the world. Becoming a mother should never stop us from fulfilling our dreams. Yes, there is the need to slow down and adjust to the new reality, to embrace the feelings and the overwhelm that many of us face the first months of becoming a mother, learn how to care for our new-born child (especially for those of us who are first time mothers) but there is also the need not to forget us and how important it is for us to look after ourselves and pay attention to our needs.
Becoming a mother doesn’t necessarily mean I am sacrificing and I am forgetting my dreams and ambitions until the kids are grown and are ready for the university!
What we need to understand is that our kids are not listening to us. Our kids are great observers and they watch closely everything we do, the way we handle or react to problems and they mimic us. No matter how many times we tell them that they need to follow their dreams, never afraid to fail, if we are not living by example they will never follow that advice.
So you’re saying we can have it all – being the mother you want to be, having the successful career you have always dreamt and having financial freedom???
Work – Life balance can be different for each one of us. What I presume and I am happy with the Work – Life balance I have created, it may not necessarily work for another working mother.
What we need to understand is that finding the right Work – Life balance goes beyond attacking our to-do lists and trying to working harder every day in order to delete as many tasks as possible from our endless to-do lists.
Work – Life balance has to do more with the beliefs we are carrying around to what we should and shouldn’t do on a daily basis. Our beliefs dictate our lives and if we believe that it is our sole responsibility to do everything at home (clean, cook, play- read to the kids, etc.) and then when at work, be at the top of our game and have the willingness to accept every request that comes to our way even when it is not our responsibility then we will never have a Work – Life balance.
Understanding our belief system and more specifically the negative beliefs we are carrying will help us get clear on what truly matters when it comes to our own happiness and to the happiness of our loved ones. We need to learn how to use the word “No” and not to be afraid to use it when necessary. Many of us are afraid that if we say “No” to requests and demands, people may believe that we are not capable or good enough. If we carry this belief, then we will always leave others determine our agendas and how successful we become in life.
Taking full responsibility of our actions, becoming aware of our thoughts and taking action is what is going to help us live our life fully and create the life we desire.
Wow how? Can you give us some practical tips on how exactly to do that in a broad sense?
The first step will be to get clear on what we truly want. For me it was to stop working for someone else and starting my own business. For another woman it may be to stay at home and raise her kids, for someone else it maybe to get a promotion at work or simply start a part-time job. Whatever we want to do we need to get clear on the outcome we want to achieve.
It may sound cliché but we don’t enter into the woods without a map but many of us are living each day as it comes without direction and without a clear vision to where we want to go.
Then once we are clear on what we want then we can start working backwards. What I mean by this. . . imagining that we have the end result in mind we write down backward steps until we reach the level we are today. This process helps us gain clarity on the steps that we want to take by seeing the end result first.
What about on a day to day level?
What I’ve found very helpful is what I call “The Juggler’s Task List for Mums” Basically is an A4 piece of paper in which I write the five most important things than need to happen within the day. Depending on the project that I am working on, what are the five most important things that are going to help me achieve the results I want? It might be to increase cash flow, or to do certain things around the house that it will give me free time, whatever it is that we are working on and it is important for us.
We start each day by working on these five things first. When we go through and finish with them and we still have time only then we add more tasks in our list.
Another technique is for a couple of days to write down everything you do on a piece of paper daily. Then again you take an A4 piece of paper and you divide it into three columns:
Column 1: Important Column 2: Delegate Column 3: Non important
Column 3 you forget as it does nothing to take you to the direction you want to go. Column 2 you delegate to other people i.e. you may need to explore the possibility of hiring someone to clean the house once or twice a week instead of you doing it and the time that you will save from not cleaning you devote it to column 1 which it has the most benefit for you.
We cannot do everything but we certainly can concentrate and do very well the important tasks within the day that will lead us to the direction we want to go.
So how important is having nurture time for ourselves in all this?
Extremely important. One of the biggest challenges we face as mothers is to finding time to rest and relax.
We need to schedule time to rest; like we schedule everything else. 1 – 2 hours a day just for us. During that time, we do the things we love and the ones they will help us re-charge. We might go for a run or a walk, we might go to the gym, we might sit down somewhere quiet to read a book or having a bubble bath. Whatever it is that we enjoy doing. During that time, even if it is for just 30 minutes, we allow no interruptions.
When we are relaxed we are able to handle situations better, we are even able to handle tantrums better. We need to take care of ourselves if we want to be able to take care of our family and business.
And what about the issue of losing our identities?
When we embrace our uniqueness then we cannot lose our identity. We are ending losing our identities when we try to become someone else. When we keep our true feelings hidden because we are afraid that we are going to be judged.
It is extremely important to be able to express our feelings and opinions without the fear of rejection or judgement. We need to have honest and clear communication with our partners, our co-workers, our friends and family. We need to let them know if we are tired, frustrated, stressed, overwhelmed or simply scared. How they can help us if they don’t know what is going on? Asking for help doesn’t equal to being weak.
If there is only one thing you could say to all mums who want to conquer their dreams and ambitions, it would be….
Take full responsibility of your life. Don’t be afraid to take action, start slow if your situation demands it but do start. Don’t wait for the right moment to come, the right moment is now. Plan ahead, don’t go to bed in the night before you plan your next day and don’t be afraid to fail. Use failure to learn and grow. As Erikson said when asked how he felt about the 1000 times he failed to make the light bulb work – it wasn’t one 1000 failures but 1000 steps to success.
Anything else you would like to add?
Be grateful and practice gratitude every single day. Unless we are grateful with everything we currently have; life, God, Universe – whatever we want to call it, will not send us more because we don’t know how to appreciate and see the beauty of what is ours now.
Penelope Magoulianiti used to work as a private banker for many years. From a very young age, she had to face many challenges, both financial and social. The challenges she faced through those difficult times make her more determined to succeed in life.
When she became a mum, she felt the urgency to pass to her own children a legacy that they would be proud of. She wanted to become a good example for her son and daughter; a successful businesswoman, and entrepreneur dedicating her life to helping her fellow women in becoming successful in their niche.
With the economy getting worse every year and the corporate world looking not so promising, she finally took the decision to quit her job and move forward in creating her own business. Her dream to help other women in gaining their financial independence while being good mothers and living their lives more fully became her ultimate goal.
Penelope’s book Women, Motherhood & Independence: A Guide to Financial Freedom, Beauty & Confidence After Birth is available in Kindle and paperback version on Amazon here. You can find Penelope on Facebook here and on Twitter here.