self before help: Focusing on the woman before focusing on the mum

By Shirin Tahmasebi

If someone asked you to run a mile, I bet you would… in the opposite direction.

In hope of changing that, Emma Stott, wellbeing and parenting coach, believes that exercise and mindfulness, can improve your anxiety and stress levels significantly.

“I wanted to help other mums like me who were craving balance and lacking time and feeling lost as I have for many years without recognising my purpose or passion. I don’t think I ever knew that.

Lacking confidence and self-esteem, not coping well but doing everything for everyone else and leaving myself till last. Now I teach mums to put themselves first.”

Working in Education

Emma has spent most of her career life in schools, starting out as an assistant support specialist, to becoming a learning mentor, however, also trained as a personal trainer through her time in education.

This training is where Emma started to recognise her passion for exercise and how it positively impacted her wellbeing, but is also a time where Emma took the pressure of becoming a single mum.

Emma came to notice a common theme throughout her time working in schools; the parents always questioned her about ‘fixing’ their child rather than helping their child.

“I noticed there was a theme underlying, ‘fix my child’. They would say ‘there’s a problem with my child’ but then I remember I was thinking to myself, is it the child? It may be but I thought, we need to work with the parents, and then see if we can get them to regulate their emotions because children copy what the parents do.”

Emma soon took up a job in adoption as a family support worker and has worked there for the last three years. Here she deals with a lot of emotional dysregulation trauma, attachment difficulties and behaviours.

It was here, in April 2020 where the thought of parents found its way back into Emma’s head once again.

“That led me to think again about maybe how we need to do things a bit differently and maybe it’s the parents that need a bit more support, which came to this bit where I wanted to be where I am a parent, wellbeing and parenting coach, so I’m doing the job.”

After April, Emma decided to retrain as a personal trainer and life coach but found herself becoming sick regularly and was experiencing the worst burnout she has had up to this day and never understood why she felt so rundown and sick until recently, when she was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory arthritis. A mix of her being off sick and the pandemic meant that Emma couldn’t return to work until June of 2020.

It was only then that she recognised how much she overworked herself and decided it was time for change in her life.

Time for Change

Emma took on less hours at work to focus on herself, and to avoid the impossible of juggling equal time for her health and work. But balancing work and health also came with the responsibility of being a parent.

Having three children can be hard for some parents, but with one at University, one living with his mum and another being the dream child helping around the house, Emma is currently at that point in her life where she can mostly focus on herself. 

The Pandemic vs the business

Emma had hoped to be a one-to-one coach but was forced to revert to online coaching as the country faced a national lockdown last year. 

“Everything had to be on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, if you could do that. Then I was trying to work on three platforms at once which messed with my head because it was too much.

Then I realised that I was going to have to go live, so that means I’m going to have to be more confident in selling things and saying what I do.”

Tackling self-confidence became a prominent factor in the success of Emma’s business.

“I needed to be seen for my business, so that means I need to step out of the comfort zone, and I’m used to doing it at work and training and doing adoption, but it’s different than it is online, just feels a bit weird. I think I’ve gotten over that now.”

Emma found working online a difficult task as body language is an important element when it comes to figuring out and helping someone. Nevertheless, she adapted to the situation and has found a way to help her clients using her own personal experiences.

During her time coaching and helping people, Emma finds herself relating to many of the issues that come up with the fellow parents. 

“Lots of my clients are saying that they’re really grateful. I think because I’ve experienced what they are currently going through, I just get it. You just understand. So, you know when they’re talking and you say, ‘Oh, I bet you felt like that, didn’t you’ and they say, ‘Yeah, how did you know’ and I reply with; ‘because I felt it too’. 

You can’t tell them what to do, unless you’ve gone through it yourself. That’s how people know you’re genuine because they know exactly that you felt what they felt to or are feeling separately.”

Well-being and Parenting

Emma currently offers a one to one coaching and therapeutic programme which uses CBT and EFT and the tried and tested, personally by herself, techniques such as tapping, meditation and mindfulness.

The programme is targeted at mums who struggle with stress or anxiety or just general feel overwhelmed and hoped to calm them initially.

The process of the programme looks at the different stages your brain goes through when experiencing anxiety or stress. Emma discussed the stages with us:

“Your brain will go into fight, flight, freeze mode and it thinks that it’s under attack, so you have to come up first because that part of your brain will let you access the logic. Here, you’re in your primitive brain, and you’re just absolutely out there and you don’t know what the hell’s going on. 

So, we have to get them come first and into the next part of the brain, which is the limbic brain. This part is all about attachment, belonging, love, support, and then you move them into the logical brain, which is where you can process things and kind of help make sense of everything that’s happened.”

After these stages have been identified with the client, Emma intends to go through a time management plan and talk through what the client hopes to achieve within the time they have in the programme.

What Emma hopes they will achieve is being able to manage and discipline those intrusive thoughts of self-doubt and self-loathing and for mums to be able to go be at home with their kids and project none of those anxious feelings onto their children.

After the nineteen weeks of the programme are up, clients will then be offered a ninety-minute consultation where a plan will be made with scheduled actions then can do daily for themselves to keep up the positivity. For example, one of these actions may be the likes of mindfulness, meditation or tapping techniques, already taught within the programme. 

“My mission is to empower mums to create time and balance and find themselves again. I focus on the woman first then the mum.”

Thank you to Emma for sharing your story with us!

To find out more about Emma’s wonderful campaign, Follow her Instagram and join her Facebook group below:



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