Diary of a mum returning to work part – New Year

Back from her Christmas break and raring to go, freelance journalist and mum of three Lucy Mason decides she needs a plan for 2014. And that plan is to really kick start her career again with some ambitious New Year work resolutions.

New Year

I gave up making New Year resolutions years ago as I never manage to keep them. But there’s something about the beginning of an optimistic new year to make you want to set a few challenges, make a few goals – at the very least wonder what, if anything, will have changed by the end of it.

So rather than make a list of vague promises to myself I know I’ll never keep, eg shout at the kids less, eat and drink less, exercise more – all unoriginal, lazy ideas – I’ve decided to set myself a couple of stimulating yet achievable goals for the year ahead.

There’s absolutely no point in setting yourself up for failure before you’ve begun, so the achievable part is vital. While I love the idea of shooting for the moon and hitting the top of the highest tree etc, you’ve got to be realistic in order to stick at it.

So, one of my goals for this year is to get a website up and running. I’ve already bought a domain name (for £6.99 per year), and it’s been sitting idle for months now. I’ve done a basic one-day WordPress course so am going to have a go at building it myself, but if this fails then there’s loads of help out there – you just have to google ‘build your own website’ and there are pages and pages of online companies that will walk you through it for very little cost. And my website doesn’t need to be all-singing and dancing – at the moment I’m just aiming for a kind of online business card so I have something other than my LinkedIn profile to refer to.

My other goal is to up my networking game, get out there and meet some potential clients. So far I feel like I’ve been hiding behind my computer a lot and not actually meeting real life people. It’s very easy (and safe) to do, but if people are going to think of me when they need some work done, then it makes sense to have actually met them in person – or even just spoken to them on the phone – rather than be just another email address. Basically I need to get my head under the water rather than just dip my toe in the pool.

I’ve done a bit of research and The Work and Family Show at ExCeL, London looks like the best place to start. You can visit workshops and seminars, get advice on career and personal development, and network with other working parents and potential clients. There are even image and style resources which, let’s face it, is probably an area that mums returning to work need a lot of help with. I know I certainly do.

So that’s my plan so far. I think my goals are pretty good, and if I’ve achieved them by the end of the year then I’ll be very happy. And who knows what else I’ll discover along the way? I’m hoping 2014 is going to be an interesting year.