Its been awhile since I have last shared a blog but since this is one of my favorite topics, I thought I just had to!
Enjoy the read, leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts 🙂
Challenges of a busy Mom
- Mom guilt
- Body image
- Sleep deprivation
- Work/family balance
- Ahhhhh the dreaded mom guilt. Yes, we’ve all experienced it. Guilt for working too much, guilt for counting down the hours until their bedtime, guilt for wanting or needing a break, guilt for not being able to afford that cute teddy they really want and the list goes on. This is a killer for moms and always leaves us feeling like we are doing something wrong. Guess what guys? The most important thing that kids need is love. Love them hard. It’s free, you can love them when you are not with them or when they are sleeping. I know you may not feel you have any more love to give, and this is when I ask you to stop and ask yourself – “when last did I fill my cup?” However that may look. You cannot drive the car when it is empty. So ‘put in some petrol’. Look after you first so you can be the best version of yourself for them.
- Comparison is the thief of seeing beauty in others and ourselves. It is a human condition to compare and again one that always leaves us feeling as though we are not measuring up. We haven’t lost as much baby weight, our baby isn’t talking as much, we don’t make as much money, can’t afford that private school or have as nice a house. Become aware of this and pause. You don’t need to be like anyone else. All you need to do is your best. The results of that may look different to those around you but it’s time to start practicing some self-compassion.
- Body Image I am not sure there is a population more unforgiving or critical of their bodies than moms. Yes, our bodies change. They will change more over the years but again, we need to practice self-compassion. You are more than your body. Talk to yourself the way you would want your child to talk to themselves. You wouldn’t communicate that they are disgusting, fat or gross, so why say that to yourself?
- Sleep deprivation. The only words I have for this is torture, slow torture. When we are exhausted, we are not ourselves. We can become anxious, irritable, and depressed. In the beginning stages we need to understand that we will not be ourselves, but it is temporary. If we can accept this instead of beating ourselves up for it, we will not feel as much shame for the behaviours.
- Work or family balance. In most cases, due to the South African financial climate, it’s not possible for one partner to stay at home with the kids. Saying that, many of us also love to work and maintain that independence. Working a 9-5 and then continuing into the second shift takes its toll. Often, we don’t get to put our feet up until bedtime and then we pass out from the load of the day just to repeat the same process the next day. Finding time to feel peaceful, present and balanced is not easy. The load often results in us feeling constantly stressed.
These are serious topics that cause mums to experience anxiety, stress and depression. The scariest part is that with so much going on, so much to do, and so many responsibilities, moms often feel like they are treading on water and although they are aware they are struggling, they have no ‘time’ to get the help they need.
What can help
- Talk about it
Share your experiences in a safe space. Do not share with people who will judge you and perpetuate your struggles. Find a safe space, be it with a friend, a therapist, or a family member. We have all heard of ‘Mom shaming’, it’s real and it’s ridiculous. Stay away from places where this happens. Shame does not live where there is empathy and compassion. Find a space where you can experience this kind of healing.
No, this doesn’t mean you are going to be the next Kayla Itsines, doing extreme HIIT workouts. Simply getting out of the house for a 20 minute walk in fresh air or a quick yoga session does wonders for our mental health. Exercise does not need to be about weight loss. If you focus less on the pressure to lose weight, who knows, it may just be an unexpected by-product.
- Get professional help if you need it
You may need a therapist. You may also need medication to help you manage your intrusive thoughts, anxiety and depression. This needs to become normalized. If you feel like you are unable to get out of a dark hole, you may just need a little push in the right direction with some professional help.
- Eat well
Running on a few hours of sleep often leads us straight to the cookie jar for a quick pick me up or the super convenient takeout. This is not to say that takeout isn’t amazing every now and then, but remember your body is a working system. If we are not fuelling our system correctly, we will malfunction in different spheres. A healthy balanced diet is now a proven protective factor against anxiety and depression.
- Practice sleep hygiene
Little sleep is an inevitable part of the early days. You cannot control when babies or toddlers are going to wake up. Sorry momma, it does get easier. You can however, control what you are doing in the time that you are awake which may contribute to you not settling when they do. Mindlessly scrolling on Instagram, Facebook or any of the other social media platforms or even lovingly looking at baby pics at 1am is going to overstimulate you. Try and put devices away from 10pm-7am and get whatever sleep you can during that time.
The days are long but the years are short, girls. The only way you will come out on top is if you prioritize your health. Our mental health needs to be at the top of that priority list. You’ve got this 😊
Love & Light,