Have you ever been to a coach? You know, a Life Coach?

A Life Coach?! You mean, with high fives and affirmations and jumping on sofas and unlocking your potential and finding your passion?? Ugh, no.

Coaching is a goal-oriented approach to finding effective practical solutions to life challenges. It often gets a bad rap and to be honest, bad coaching can definitely be bad. But good coaching? Good coaching can be really, really good.

Mums who are busy navigating life with family and friends and work tend to seek evidence-based coaching to help with a whole range of complex parenting and personal challenges.

To give you a taste of coaching and how it works, here are Four Big Coaching Challenges for Mums and some fresh and effective ideas to help address them.

The Shoulds

So many mums struggle with their own and others’ expectations of how they should live and parent.

Deep down, they know what’s important to them but there’s so much noise out there that they find it hard to stick to and stay convinced by their own ideals.

If you find yourself battling the Shoulds, you might find the following activity helpful.

Activity: Take a piece of paper and jot down all the Shoulds and Shouldn’ts that come to mind. (There will probably be heaps). 

Stuff like: I shouldn’t be on my phone, I should work, I should spend more time with my kids, I should be more grateful, I shouldn’t get frustrated, I should…you get the idea. Now, put your list aside.

When you are ready, return to your list and assess your Shoulds critically, asking: where did you come from; do I agree with you; do I want to subscribe to you any longer; and if not, what do I really believe?

The next time you find yourself grappling with a Should, remind yourself of what you really know.


Heaps of mums come to coaching saying that since having kids they just don’t recognise themselves, that they want to rediscover who they are.

Becoming a mum is a massive shift. So much tends to change – how you work, who you speak to, what you read and watch, how you think, what you wear, how you feel, who you hang out with, where you go, what you do, and even what you carry in your bag as you head out the door each morning.

Coupled with extreme exhaustion and not-much-personal-space, these changes are incredibly challenging to consider, to understand and to integrate into a coherent sense of self.

Activity: Take a piece of paper. Imagine that you are 105 and dying and looking back on a life you know you have lived really well. What tells you that? The answers you give reflect what matters to you in life. Even if you don’t recognise aspects of yourself right now, staying focused on what you value can offer a much-needed personal anchor.


Finding Balance is a HUGE topic among women who come to coaching. Balance is definitely possible but it all depends on your definition. 

If you’re focused on ensuring a beautifully calm and equal sharing of your time between work and family and community and self then it’s unlikely you’ll ever hit that perfect equilibrium. But if your concept of balance is having a life that you love and that feels rich and abundant and [mostly!] not-stressy, then that is absolutely do-able.

Activity: Take a piece of paper and write down the key features of a great month in your life. You might list: playing with kids, time with your partner, exercise with friends, work, creativity, volunteering, gardening, joy, relaxation. Then, over the coming month, consciously build in time for each item you identified.


So many women are crippled by an internal voice telling them over and over that they’re not good enough. In most cases, the assertion is not supported by factual evidence. It’s just a statement fuelled by fear, which has managed to make its way into being believed.

If and when you find yourself struggling with these negative messages, it can be really helpful to remind yourself that thoughts are just thoughts. They aren’t necessarily reliable and they aren’t necessarily the truth.

Activity: Try saying out loud: “I am a banana”. Now, are you a banana? No, you just had the thought that you were a banana. The same is true for all the other thoughts that run through your head. They are simply thoughts.

So, the next time you find yourself crippled by an ‘I’m not good enough’ thought, try reminding yourself that it’s just a thought. And that you’re not a banana.

By Alex Kingsmill, Upstairs Coaching, upstairs.net.au