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Mums go back to school to rediscover passions

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Catholic Women’s network - The Catholic weekly
An original piece by Alessandra Doyle.

Like most modern mums, 33-year-old Blue Mountains artist Alessandra Doyle can split her life into two very distinct chapters – before kids and after kids.

There was the “old Alessandra” that loved painting and saw the world in splashes of blended watercolours.

And there is the current Alessandra, relishing the chaos of raising six children aged between two and 12.

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As a woman of faith and devoted mother, the last 10 years has given Alessandra a life she previously had only dreamed of and wouldn’t swap for all the world.

But sometimes, with a sense of guilt, she missed the other ‘artistic’ Alessandra.

That Alessandra was like an old friend she’d lost contact with, who was no longer on Facebook and not returning calls.

She wanted to find and reclaim her, but she felt guilty. Wouldn’t reviving that former part of herself detract from her role as a doting mum and dutiful wife?

That’s when the Catholic Women’s Network from the Sydney Centre from Evangelisation pointed her in the right direction.

On the CWN Instagram feed, Alessandra found it promoting an online course for Catholic women promoted called ‘The Woman School’—a six-month coaching program established by social entrepreneur Thérèse Nichols which promised to help her find her “authentic femininity.”

Catholic Women's Network - The Catholic Weekly
Alessandra and her pieces of art. Photos: Supplied.

Alessandra enrolled and found herself among mums of all ages undertaking the online course which promised to provide practical tools to manage the busyness of modern motherhood while tapping into long-dormant life-giving gifts and passions.

She found it revelatory and says it armed her with strategies to help her commit to her creative calling without the ‘mothers’ guilt’ which she felt had been crippling her artistic aspirations.

“I found this course really pulled together the gifts that I’ve been given in a way that allowed me to use them most effectively,” she said.

“It crystallised for me that when I am being very creative, I am also at my best as a mother because the two feed each other.

“When my cup is filled as a creative the best of my motherhood tends to come out. And so, my kids and my husband get the best of me as a wife and a mum.”

Alessandra believes the course empowered her with “mindset tools” that enabled her to focus on herself while managing the various roles in her busy life as a mum and wife.

“It helped me to observe my strengths and weaknesses in those areas and through that observation I was able to find and implement tools and strategies to help me to work towards goals,” she said.

Women’s School coach Gemma Macaulay, 26, previously ran two courses here in Australia.

“What the course does for women is teach them how to pursue what they desire without guilt, because a lot of women feel like they don’t deserve to do so,” she said.

“Or they feel like they should have their focus on things that are more important, like their career or their family life. But it’s actually crucial that you pursue what you love.

“It’s really grounded in Catholic teaching, which is why it’s so harmonious with spiritual formation. And with the women that I’ve spoken to, they just want to not be afraid of taking the action that’s required in order to use the gifts God has given them.”

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