Whether it’s postpartum depression, anxiety or that constant feeling of being completely worn down and deflated, most mums have experienced at least some wear and tear on their mental health. It’s common, it’s normal and it doesn’t take away from the fact that you’re still an awesome mum. Although mental health issues are not a choice, often there are small, daily choices that can be made to help tackle overwhelming feelings - and they can have a big impact on your overall well-being.
In addition to all of the other pressures of motherhood, mums are often the ones who carry the invisible mental and emotional loads for their families - leaving very little time to decompress. When you feel that everything is coming at you from all angles, anxiety, sadness, anger and frustration can start to take over. When this happens, it’s time for a mental health self-check. Ask yourself, “How am I doing?” This requires an ounce of selfishness by taking a time out to just breathe and be present. Giving in to this notion can take a while to get used to since many mums are so grossly out of practice at putting themselves first - but rest assured, the people who depend on you will be fine if you take 5 minutes to focus on yourself. It can be as simple as taking 5-10 slow, deep breaths a few times throughout the day and just paying attention to how you’re feeling, and what YOU need. It’s amazing how much clearer things tend to become after taking time to just breathe. Soon these mummy time-outs will become a self-care habit that you can’t do without.
It’s no secret that forming connections is good for the soul. Whether it’s with family, friends, nature, pets or even strangers, it’s important to feel firmly tethered to the things that make you feel good. Make a point once a week to plan a walk, phone call or coffee date with a close family member or friend who you enjoy spending time with. You can also benefit from making small connections with strangers throughout your day just by making eye contact and offering up a smile. In addition to feeling connected to other people, it’s equally as important to feel connected to nature. Dedicate a few minutes to spending time outside each day - smelling flowers, listening to the birds in the trees and feeling the sun on your skin. These small steps have the ability to bring moments of joy, restore confidence and do wonders for your mental health.
It’s commonly said that comparison is the thief of joy and that absolutely applies to motherhood as well. You don’t need to run 10k before 6am, volunteer for every school sports day or be able to host a last-minute dinner party for your in-laws to be an amazing mum. Being compassionate to your own personal needs is more important than keeping up with others. Self-compassion means acknowledging when you are going through a really difficult time and knowing when you need a little extra TLC. If that means slowing things down and declining social invitations or simplifying your family’s extracurricular activities, that’s completely ok.
As parents ourselves, theHipKids team knows the importance of taking care of your mental wellbeing. Dedicating time each day to acknowledge how you’re feeling can make a world of difference for both you and your family. With all of the pressures of daily life, sharing and addressing your mental health concerns can be hard, but it can also be extremely powerful and make a world of difference once you get the hang of it.
It is important to know that you aren’t alone in this! Parents everywhere can sympathise with you and have or are currently going through what you are now. It can be disruptive to the family dynamic; however, siblings fighting is also a very normal and necessary part of childhood development.
Take a deep breath, mumma – you can do this!