Dr Lucy Davey a successful coach who specialises in working with professional mothers. She has a medical background in psychiatry, and after transitioning from a full-time career to focus on raising her family, she soon began to feel dissatisfied and like she had sacrificed both her career and identity.
It took a lot of effort and self-reflection to move on from those feelings and set realistic expectations for how she could balance a career and motherhood. Now she helps other mothers struggling with similar experiences. Her coaching program OptiMUM guides women to find a structure that both individually fulfils them and supports their family life.
Here Lucy speaks exclusively to Start Your Business about OptiMUM and why it might be helpful to some mothers.
What is the ultimate aim of OptiMUM?
With OptiMUM, the aim is to help mums balance the demands of being a mum with a career, so there is never any tension about how to spend your time or risk of putting your family on the back burner.
It all comes from personal experience. As a mum myself I know the difficulty of making time for everything without having to neglect my job or sacrifice quality time with my children.
I wanted to help women new to motherhood, supporting them through the emotional and physical challenges ahead with a coaching program that had a strong foundation in medicine and psychiatry. I am a qualified doctor myself and so I wanted to turn my hand toward an area where I knew I could be of help.
From your experience, why would women need coaching as new mothers?
I left behind a full time, successful career to become a mother in my early to mid-30s. It was the same for many of my high-achieving friends who had first built a career and then wanted to create a family.
It sounded ideal, but in reality, I saw marriages become tenser, relations with extended family weaken and career opportunities run away. Many of my women friends were feeling unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and I was aware that it would inevitably affect the time they spent with their children.
And I was very aware of the strains in my own marriage too. We both needed change and adjustment in order to feel fulfilment in our new ‘family lives’.
Taking a structured approach seemed to be the best way to cope with these changes. Often reading books and confiding in family and friends is not enough. Plus, with my background, I felt that I was in a good place to provide this coaching program.
What are the main issues you see mothers experience?
As well as a common feeling of dissatisfaction, mother’s guilt is a common issue. In my coaching I address that as a priority. Preoccupations with mother’s guilt can hinder consistent, focused parenting, but a mother who feels fulfilled is more prepared for parenting in the long game. Addressing mothers’ feelings can help prevent friction developing between parents and encourage a home environment where children feel secure and content.
How has your experience as a doctor influenced optiMUM?
Few other careers provide such a concrete basis for coaching. As a doctor you quickly learn to think with an open mind and are rarely shocked by what people tell you. Plus, confidentiality is always at the very centre of what you do.
I have extensive training in psychiatry as well and that gives you an insight like no other into the intricacies of people’s lives. So, coaching is a natural extension of a medical background, and with a coach’s support the client can develop the clarity and self-belief to tackle many of their own dilemmas.
So, maintaining an open mind is fundamental. How else do you approach coaching a client?
I approach every coaching session with the aim to remain flexible and adapt to everyone individually. Coaching is a breath of fresh air for many. You work with your client, drawing alongside them and providing a non-judgemental space for them to problem solve and come to their own conclusions.
Parent’s thoughts and feelings are at the heart of how clients respond to their child. In my coaching, I encourage mothers to harness rather than fight how they feel. It’s all about empathy, designed as an non-intrusive course that mothers can take at their own pace.
For someone wanting to try OptiMUM coaching, what could they expect?
OptiMUM is a completely bespoke and tailored three-month coaching program, designed to create an adaptable and low-pressure environment for mothers. Meeting times are flexible, and homework is optional, although I do recommend that clients actively “make time” for sessions because it sets a precedent that it is worth taking time out for themselves.
The sessions are also remote which can reduce the pressure to travel or have a perfect house for visitors. Women can wear pyjamas, stay in bed, or do anything that makes them feel comfortable. It’s great to add some more relaxed moments during coaching.
Is your coaching solely for mothers?
Mostly. At the core of the program, I like to focus on the mother. Usually, it’s too early to involve anyone else. However, if women do want to bring a partner, nanny or relative along for the journey at any point we can also include an optional session once a suitable plan has been formulated.
Lastly, what would you say to mums anxious about balancing their career and family life?
Try not to approach motherhood with too many expectations. With so many uncertainties around being a parent, it can be discouraging if your career is not going exactly the way you hoped it would as well. But don’t give up just yet. Often some disappointment in the short term leads to things working out much better in the long term.
For more information visit https://optimumparent.coach/