Happy Mother’s Day! The Pain and Joy of Motherhood
by Heather Morris, LCSW
Have you ever sat on the plane half-listening to the flight attendant explain that in case of emergency you should put on your own air mask before placing one on your child? I think this is a metaphor to motherhood and our mental health. We can’t take care of our children if we don’t take care of ourselves first but how do we find the time for self care? How do we put ourselves first when we are used to putting others first instead?
Find your Village
No matter what stage of motherhood you are in, find others who are sharing the experience with you. There is no one who can laugh or cry with you like another mother can. Who would understand the joy and sadness that time your kid vomited on your favorite dress? What person could empathize with the awkward sex education talk you had with your teenager this morning?
Me Time is Sacred
Find the activities that bring joy to your life and make time for them. Carve out at least 15-30 minutes for yourself at the beginning or end of each day. Here are some ideas I have tried and heard from other moms: meditation, walking with a friend, morning yoga, coffee before the kids are awake, reading, knitting, crafting, baking, or listening to music. Whatever brings energy and joy to your day, find time to do more of it!
Feel It and Let Go of Perfection!
Be mindful of all the feelings that come with motherhood and remind yourself the negative ones will pass. Be wary of your guilt. Guilt is often a frequent companion of motherhood because you can never get it just right. Let that sink in. You can’t mother perfectly and no one expects you to. Forgive yourself and model to your kids what it looks like to keep trying even when you make a mistake. On the other hand, allow yourself to feel proud, confident, and joyful on those days when you are in the flow of motherhood. Be grateful when you are handling the details like a pro.
In closing, a mantra for motherhood that I have found helpful:
She made a promise to herself to hold her own well being sacred.
Happy Mother’s Day!
If you are more overwhelmed than you expected, please contact New Directions Counseling for a understanding, compassionate counselor to walk by your side. 724.934.3905