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Coaching support for first-time mothers (long)

(10 Posts)
Pinchypants Mon 06-Aug-07 14:25:08

Hi guys,
As a member and fan of mumsnet, I would really appreciate your feedback on a new venture I'm planning, called The Mother Mentor. This will be coaching and mentoring support for first-time mothers throughout the wonderful bits and the challenges of the first year. It will be a mixture of one-to-one telephone coaching sessions, and email, text and online support. I've also got plans for a book, and group workshops and seminars. The mothers I would like to help specifically are professionals who are used to being in control of their lives, maybe having children a bit later, who are used to performance reviews at work and would appreciate some coaching and mentoring support as they step into the most important role they will ever have. It's not about advice, or replacing any other professional or organisation.

The Mother Mentor coaching will be led by what my clients want and need to talk about and do something about, and might include things like personal beliefs, expectations and emotions around motherhood, being a 'good enough' mother, their birth story, relationships and communication with partners, parents and in-laws, support or lack of it, and decisions around practical areas such as feeding, weaning, sleep, routines, childcare and whetherto /when to return to work.

It's intended to complement the work of health visitors, midwives and the NCT, and extend beyond that early-days support to the baby's first birthday. It's about linking my experiences of being a mum to a one-year-old DD, and my professional life coaching skills, to create something I'm absolutely passionate about.

I'm drawing up a series of packages, with something like this as the main one: One 1hr introductory face-to-face meeting; One 45min telephone coaching session every two weeks; One 10-minute quick check-in every week; Email and text support between sessions; Monthly email with tips, things to think about, and links to stuff of interest; Access to members-only section of The Mother Mentor website (under construction).

I want to get the offer right before I officially launch, so I would really value your thoughts. Do you think this kind of support would have been useful to you during the first year of your first child's life? What do you think about the package I'm proposing? Would you like the option of having the telephone coaching sessions in the evenings 'after bedtime'? What would you be prepared to pay for this per month? When would information about The Mother Mentor be most useful: anytime during pregnancy, just before the birth, in the first month of motherhood, during the first three months, anytime during the first year?

Thanks so much for your help, and for reading through this long post. Have a lovely afternoon. I'll keep you posted and promise to advertise on mumsnet when I'm up and running!

Pinchy xx

Pruners Mon 06-Aug-07 14:39:14

Message withdrawn

Pinchypants Tue 14-Aug-07 09:45:49

Thanks for your comment Pruners - I agree that most of my own problems were down to it not feeling like a partnership and my other half just not getting it.
I will definitely be including dads in several ways - first, by helping mums with some tools to help them communicate more effectively with their partners and deal with conflict and lack of understanding and their needs better. I'll also be doing an online coaching programme for dads.
There will also be the offer of a session where dad can be there too, so I'll act as facilitator for an honest and calm discussion between the two parents about what type of parents they want to be, what they want to say to each other and what they need from each other to keep their relationship strong and to both feel supported. My strapline is 'it's not all about the baby', and that partly refers to the fact that a strong relationship between parents/carers is important too.

HonoriaGlossop Tue 14-Aug-07 10:21:22

I think you will find that there will be a market for this pinchy, how creative you are

I totally agree with pruners. Sometimes THE hardest bit of having a baby is not dealing with the baby but dealing with the changes in the relationship, expectations of each other, etc. My Health Visitor was always making a bee line for DH when we went to clinic in the early days as I don't think they get many dads along at all; and she said "the best thing you can do for your baby is love his mother" which I thought was a good thing to say. When the dad can't feed the baby sometimes his most important role is to support you and just make you feel loved, and tell you what a good mum you are. So many men seem to forget that we don't get a manual, and that we need to be told we are getting it right. I think some dads may need...ahem, SIGNIFICANT help with, shall we politely say, shifting the focus from THEIR needs to that of their child

So I think if you keep the focus on the family even if you're dealing mainly with the mum, you'll be a great help.

oh and I meant to say I think you might have to work really hard on your quick ten minute catch up calls weekly; I think it will be very very easy for people to monopolise a hell of a lot of your time; use a timer and get good at cutting people short in a positive way!

Good luck.

boo64 Tue 14-Aug-07 21:50:25

Agree with Honoria

I've done some work around this area - I'm a journo and wrote a piece on baby care consultants (more of a hire a Gina Ford/ Tracey Hogg type offering than yours) for a magazine. Their clients all try and monopolise their time. You will have to be firm (but your a life coach so I guess you probably don't need me to tell you this!?) If you want to keep your sanity too, you will need a separate mobile phone for the work calls so that you can switch it off out of work hours. Do not let anyone have your other contact details or you will inevitably get calls at all sorts of weird hours!

Market in the areas with lots of middle class new mums - Muswell Hill, Chiswick etc.

choosyfloosy Tue 14-Aug-07 22:00:14

I have to say the idea causes me to come out in hives. I don't think that's really relevant, as if it doesn't appeal to me then I can't be the right market for it. I do think that for the market you are approaching, The Parent Mentor may work better as a concept? It's great that you have a passion for it and I hope it works out.

miniegg Wed 15-Aug-07 19:14:50

from what you say, your proposed service is aimed exactly at people like me - i'm a "career woman" (i hate the term but you know what I mean) struggling with adapting to being a mum for the first time. i like the general sound of your idea, BUT, and it's a big but, 1 x 45 minute telephone call and ten minute chats weekly would mean absolutely NOTHING to me and wouldn't seem worth the fee, whatever it was. new motherhood is so overwhelming that the scale of support/interaction you are suggesting would seem a pointless drop in the ocean..
I can get that kind of support (down a telephone line) from family/friends. I think you should look at something more hands on or intensive -new mothers want and will pay for support every day, preferably from someone who comes to their house, not once a week down the telephone...
hope this helps, and good luck with the business. i do believe there is a big potential market out there for help for young professionals as they adapt to being new mums...

Pinchypants Thu 16-Aug-07 12:15:11

Thanks Honoria, Boo, Choosy Floosy and Miniegg for your comments and thoughts - I really appreciate it.
I hadn't thought about the separate mobile thing - but I know from one friend who I have been informally 'mentoring' for the past couple of months that she rings when she has a problem or a dilemma and there is an assumption that I am free and can drop everything for an hour-long chat, which can be a little tricky sometimes since I have a business and a one-year-old DD myself.
I know one full coaching session a month might seem like a drop in the ocean for women who need a lot of support, which is why I'm going to be offering a series of packages from one session a month to one a week with a quick call every other day, and unlimited email/text access in between sessions. For someone to hire me effectively full time is unfeasible in terms of my time and their costs, and the coaching relationship shouldn't get to the stage where the client is dependent on the coach. The sessions give you a boost and get you back on the right track. The thing with coaching is that it's not about advising anyone, but listening properly - which 'interested parties' like partners, parents etc rarely do - and asking questions to help mums work out stuff for themselves. There's no manual, but many of us first time mums are convinced there's some sort of 'right' way to doing things, and one of my big messages is the 'right' way is whatever is 'right' for you, your baby and your family, not anyone else. For me, Tracey Hogg was a complete lifesaver, but I also became a bit of a fundamentalist about sleep and naps as a result of reading her books. In many ways this has served us brilliantly, but in other ways I got very inflexible and anxious about DD not getting enough sleep at the right time (and I mean to the minute!) and eventually slipped into PND. If I can help even one anxious new mum relax, become more confident and trust herself to be a good enough mother, I will be happy. I live in Surrey and have good networks and contacts nearby, but I'm also planning on offering a limited number of free or significantly discounted places because I honestly think what I'm offering could really benefit so many women. If I won the lottery like that lucky lady in Scotland, I'd set up a charity and do it for free!
Any other thoughts, mumsnetters?
Have a lovely day,
Pinchy xx

Peachy Thu 16-Aug-07 12:19:39

Sounds like a good business idea, there's a charity I am sure you know of- HomeStart- who do something similar (used to work for them) but frankly they are so under resourced that any help / input into the sector is a amrvellous thing! HAve you thought about volunteering for them, for experience perhaps? they have a website

Pinchypants Wed 12-Sep-07 13:34:08

Hello lovely ladies,
Thanks for all your feedback. Just wanted to let you know that my one-to-one coaching programme for new mums during the first year of their baby's life, The Mother Mentor, is now up and running. Find me on

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