With Mother's Day just passed, and as we wrap up Mental Health & Maternal Mental Health Month (May), we find it necessary to touch on the importance of maternal mental health. Society places a huge responsibility on mothers (and all parents) to have it all together, all the time: to raise happy, healthy, children, regardless of circumstance. However, much like any care-taking position, parenthood can take a toll, and it is certainly not always easy.
Firstly, we just want to say to each and every mother: you are doing a great job. You are doing the hardest job. You are doing the most selfless job. Each day since you became a mother, you have been doing the most important job. There is nobody more important to your children than you, there is nobody more valuable. Be sure to remind yourself of this every day, even if you don’t necessarily feel like it’s true.
Secondly, in the age of “Mommy-blogging” and social media, we want you to remember that people typically only showcase the good stuff. Nobody is going to post a picture of their children having a temper tantrum in the grocery store, or of the huge piles of laundry in their living room - but that doesn't mean that these aren't their reality. When you see fellow moms posting pictures of their sweet children in color-coordinated outfits on Instagram, remind yourself that motherhood is not picture perfect. It is all too easy to fall into the comparison trap when we are constantly flooded with other people’s best moments. However, you can combat this by again reminding yourself of the amazing job you are doing, not relative to others.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, it can be easy to let parenthood take over your identity. Sometimes being a parent and caring for your child means forgetting to care for yourself and this can be quite detrimental to your mental and emotional health. Make sure that you are still considering your wants, needs, and desires, and that you take care of yourself. To be the best mom, you need to be the best you!
Listed below are a few small ways that you can continue to care for yourself in the midst of being an ever-busy parent.
-Wake up 20 minutes earlier than usual, giving yourself some alone time to start your day
-Make your favorite meal for dinner
-Find a few minutes a day to further a hobby or interest of yours
-Schedule a day/night for yourself at least once a month. Look forward to it, and follow
-Say “no.” Make sure to prioritize your time/energy - no one can do it all!
-Listen to your favorite music in the car
-Get outside- go for a walk, go to the park, just get some fresh air and Vitamin D!
If you’re reading this and you aren’t a mom, consider reaching out to the moms, grandmothers, and caretakers alike in your life, to remind them of the good job they’ve done or are doing. This will mean more to them than you know!
If you’re reading this and you are a mom, dad, grandparent, foster parent, guardian, or any kind of caregiver, I want to remind you one last time that you are doing a great job. Post-partum depression is the number one complication of childbirth and pregnancy, and left untreated, depression and other mood disorders alike can become long term mental health issues.
Motherhood can be hard, and feelings of frustration, hopelessness, anger, and much more are both normal and common. It’s okay to ask for help. You aren’t and don't ever have to be alone. HopeLine is here to listen - and to thank you for all you do! Call or text us at 919-231-4525 or 877-235-4525.