‘Years of being a stay-at-home mum has wrecked my confidence’

Dear Coleen

I worked as a costume designer for many years before having my son, 11 years ago.

Another son quickly followed and, because my husband was working long hours and travelling overseas, we decided that I’d give up work to care for the kids full time.

I’ve loved being there for them, but it’s been hard work, and along the way I feel like I’ve lost a bit of myself. All I ever do is cook, clean and tidy up after everybody and I’m going out of my mind.

My husband has colleagues and Christmas parties, plus a sense of going out the house and doing a good job. Meanwhile, I’m envious and feeling quite depressed and lonely.

This is especially so because most of the other mums at school have jobs so there’s nobody to hang out with.

My husband now works locally and his hours are better, and the boys are at school, so in theory I could go back to work.

But my confidence is at an all-time low and I’m not sure how to go about getting a job after nearly 12 years out of the workplace.

What would you advise?

Coleen says

Firstly, try not to feel depressed or down about it and instead focus on the positives.

You have a husband who works locally and two kids in school, so that’s a really good start.

Next up is finding out what you want to do.

Even though you may not go back to your old job or your old industry, you must have so many transferable skills that you can still use.

Could you go into personal styling? Or become a seamstress? Or upholstery?

When my daughter had her school prom a local lady altered the dress – could you do something like that from home?

Or even design and make dresses? Or perhaps now is the time to try something completely different.

I went through a similar thing when my boys started school and I just wanted to get out the house and earn some money.

I couldn’t look at the same four walls anymore.

So I got a job in a shop, before moving onto other things.

It’s about getting your confidence back, so even if you don’t immediately go into your perfect job or something highly paid, it’s good to just to get out there.

The internet and social media is a great tool as well. Put any business you start on Instagram, for example.

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