About Alex

Here’s a bit about me…

My name is Alexandra Hughes. (But everyone calls me Alex).

Pre-children, I traveled the world, learned 4 languages and was nicely climbing up my professional trajectory.

I was a self-made woman on a mission to stay strong, accomplished and succeed. I was organized, did power yoga and considered myself a together-kind-of-person and pretty chilled out.

The thing is…I learned 4 languages and became cross-culturally sensitive, but never learned how to effectively speak or navigate baby land or toddler world.

In fact, when motherhood came, it chewed me up, swallowed me whole and then spit me out as some new unrecognisable, mad, crazy, woman.

In the beginning I didn’t really think much would change, so I kept living at full speed.

High stress became the flavour of the day.

The weight of responsibility for young lives, my lack of freedom, my ever confused identity, my altered relationship with the man I loved, the isolation from friends and social events that had been such an active part of my life – these drove me to the brink of insanity.

It was the confusion, the exhaustion, the frustration, the resentment, the overwhelm of it all.

And the guilt of not getting it right. (Oh the guilt!)

Today my experience and research tell me that these are all feelings shared by mothers around the world.

The myth. The romantic myth that motherhood is blissful.


It did not take very long for that myth to come crashing down on my sanity and self-confidence – both as a stay-at-home Mom and as a working Mom.

As a stay-at-home Mom I questioned who I was and I regretted my financial dependence. (What of my commitment to feminism and all those working Moms out there?)

I missed adults and their rational, reliable world. My brain was melting and my beautiful wardrobe gathering dust.

Worst of all, I hated feeling busy all the time, constantly asking myself: “but what are you actually doing?” I yearned to feel accomplished, to have something, anything, in my realm of control.

So I went back to work. It would be better that way. The financial burden would lessen. My mind would be challenged. I’d have adults to talk to. I’d come home happy and fulfilled. I’d yell less.

But here’s what actually happened when I went back to work:

Life became a guilt-plagued balancing act. A box ticking repetitive groundhog day. Every day. Rush.

Get the kids ready. Get myself ready (sort of). Drop them off. Go to work. Leave work. Pick the kids up. Get the kids down. Finish work. Drop dead for the night. Start all over again.

So as both a stay-at-home Mom and as a working Mom, I was miserable, stressed, overwhelmed and completely disconnected from myself and my family.

Interactions with those I loved were anything but calm, because I’d lost my cool (myself!) along the way.

All the “small stuff” (which really represented bigger stuff) was getting to me and I was losing it.

My poor kids!

So when baby number three made his appearance he brought along with him a moment of awakening.

Maternity leave with baby number three shone a mirror on what I had become.

My high-strung-hamster-wheel-guilt-plagued lifestyle was getting in the way of the most important moments and relationships in my life.

My reactions to life’s Mom-stress were explosive and my connections with those I loved, unhealthy.

I had turned into a hot head monster Mom.

And, not only was I modelling crap emotional intelligence…

But my kids were getting to know this crazy woman who I didn’t even recognize as their Mama.

These were moments I would never get back.

So I stopped.

I relearned motherhood.

I learned to stay calm and enjoy the ride.

Since then I’ve retrained as a professional life coach and have worked with dozens of mothers from around the world to help them do the same – find calm and joyful living.

Because the truth is:

  • You know that these moments of motherhood will fly by
  • You know if you keep on this same path, you will have regrets (and they suck)
  • You know what is most important to you right now.

And now you know what you can do about it.

The  STRESS LESS | LOVE MORE CHALLENGE is a free on-line challenge designed to help busy mothers ditch overwhelm, clear their minds, own their time and begin loving life again. 

The CALM MOM PROJECT is a group coaching journey designed for busy Moms who suffer from overwhelm and stress in a way that impacts their relationship with SELF and with those they love. 

Mom's UP! retreat is an annual 3-day retreat. It is a glorious investment in your motherhood experience, in your family relationships, in your health and well-being, and in your quality of life.

And here’s my sweet bio…

Alexandra Hughes launched In Essence Coaching, LLC in 2011 after training with the International Coaching Academy to become a Certified Professional Coach.

Prior to this, Alexandra dedicated 18 years of her professional career to social change as an international development researcher and practitioner. She got her BA in Environmental Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and her MPhil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in the U.K. She’s lived and worked in Africa, Europe, South and North America, and speaks English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

In Essence Coaching, LLC is Alexandra’s private coaching practice dedicated to helping mothers suffering from stress, to find balance, joy and self-empowerment.  You can find her at calmjoyfulmom.com where she shares her heart-on-her-sleeve blogs.

Alex also hosts a Stress Less Facebook Community and a free Stress Less | Love More Challenge for busy mothers suffering from overwhelm. She also offers on-line Calm Mom Project to mothers everywhere, and works one-on-one with a small group of women.

Alexandra loves her coaching projects second only to her three mischievous and vivacious children and her loving (ever patient) husband who are about to embark on their forth international move to…Brazil!!