Time to Belong


I love being a woman and a Mum! I’d say it has been the most fulfilling ‘job’ of my life. But honestly, there’s so much hidden turmoil that no one tells you about before having children! There are days when I overthink everything; times when I panic as I wait for a text from my son to say he’s arrived safely; or disappointment that I haven’t had 5 minutes to talk to a friend about anything and everything in weeks.

It’s not an easy job. I’d say the mental exertion is the toughest part, and its one we sometimes ignore until…well, we just can’t.

Just lately I’ve noticed the mental toughness becoming something I can’t ignore. I’ve felt a sense of isolation; like I’m on the outside looking in; like I just don’t fit in anywhere. It’s made me feel sad and exhausted; my brain running overtime trying to work out ‘what’s wrong with me?’.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a great circle of friends; a loving family and a huge network of colleagues in the life coaching world, as well as elsewhere for work. Yet, something had been nagging at me about why I just didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere, which led me to explore why that was.

I started doing what I love to do most, and that’s to ask questions. I asked others how they felt and I have been blown away by the honesty of those I’ve spoken with on this topic; by how many other Mums feel this way.  Through the coaching space, and amongst my friends and others, there seems to be a pattern.

It feels like our sense of relying on social connections as a tribal species is the key factor at play here. We know that the absence of this social connection can trigger similar primal alarm bells in the same way as hunger, or physical pain can. Our brains rely on connection socially, and so if we are not getting it, our brain and bodies will tell us.

But why now?

From the conversations I’ve had, and through my own experience, it seems the transition from primary to secondary school hasn’t just been tricky for our children. It’s hit us too. And we’re finding the loss of those ‘school Mum’ connections somewhat isolating. Not only that, but there’s also a sense of  losing control, with the drop in communication from secondary school teachers and simply not knowing as much, which causes an increase in worry and uncertainty around our children’s education.

For some of us, we’ve now got  a little extra time on our hands, which can leave a space that feels uncomfortable, strange and damn right lonely. Many of us are questioning our identities as a woman, friend, and Mum who isn’t ‘needed’ so much physically, even while being mentally drained by the pre-teen changes occurring in our children, and perhaps wanting to change jobs or go back to work if there has been a break and…did I mention perimenopause!?

A quick look at ONS research (2022) around loneliness shows that some 3.3 million people in the UK are lonely all or most of the time (‘chronically lonely’) compared to 2.6 million people in 2020. That’s huge. Temporary spells of loneliness are normal and can pass us by quickly. However, loneliness can be a chronic condition and can cause serious, harmful effects on both one’s physical and mental health. This is why I feel so strongly about supporting others who feel this way. We do not have to feel alone.

I get a sense that other women need a place to belong at different stages in their life.  It’s something I’ve been working on myself, and thankfully I’ve started to find my feet again in a new world as a Mum of children who are spreading their own wings.

With this in mind and following a small pilot of coaching women through PROJECT:ME, I’m proud to say that the team at PROJECT:ME has developed a new programme, specifically designed for women.

We’re looking forward to welcoming our first group of women onto the programme soon, with a view to helping them find a place to belong with other women and in their community. The programme, aptly named ‘Belong’, is designed for those who want to live, love, laugh and learn more, at a stage in life when all these elements can seem harder to hold on to.

During the programme, a group of women will get together for regular meetups to share and learn from qualified life coaches, tools to empower them to progress and live a more fulfilled life. We want to support women to decrease that sense of loneliness and disconnect, and see this as an opportunity to gain a greater sense of well-being and connection. We will also head out for a walk to and continue to grow those meaningful friendships and connections and ‘get your steps in’ to improve fitness. (we will offer other activities as our groups grow).  Women will also have the opportunity to volunteer as a ‘Belong Ambassador’ to help us to keep our groups going for the long term, just like the friendships, we want the meet ups them to continue past the 12 weeks.

In another programme, (coming later this year), we’ll also be introducing women to a range of diverse activities to inject a little fun and perhaps inspire a new favourite hobby; be it baking, painting, singing, yoga, personal styling, or even outward-bound activities.

If what I’ve said in this post resonates with you and you feel like you would like to live, laugh, love and learn more then this programme might well be for you.

It’s time for you to feel like you belong.

Find out more:

Phone: 07596 919903