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A (Super)Mom's Guide to Mental Health

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

A supermom's guide to mental health, 8 tips to mindfulness for busy moms trying to beat the overwhelm

It feels like we're just getting into a season of open and honest conversations about mental health in general, but more specifically mental health for mothers. People forget that even the best moms who waited years for the title can still struggle with the role, the responsibilities, and the toll it can take. Post partum depression is a beast, and even if you are lucky to not experience that - momming is hard. Momming is exhausting. Momming needs a little breather sometimes.

The best parenting tip I received before having my son that I still implement to this day is that when things start to feel overwhelming - tantrums, clinginess, whatever the problem - put your kid in water or in nature and all your worries are gone for a bit. When my son gets bored, sad, cranky, or is just having a blah day, sometimes it's as simple a fix as putting a tub of water in the kitchen floor with his toy sharks and his whole mood is shifted. If only it were that easy for moms, right?! But maybe it is. Or could be, if we have an easy go to list of relaxing things to be more mindful and help us relax. With parenting, you don't always get the few minutes of peace and quiet to regroup and correct your mindset, but if you focus on it more before you hit the point of overwhelm then perhaps we can beat the stress before it fully hits us. We could all benefit from a mom's guide to mental health sometimes.

TIP 1: Awareness

Think of your stress levels as a thermometer. It fluctuates throughout the day, and sometimes certain things can push it to the point of boiling over. Being aware of where we sit on our thermometer at any given moment can help us prepare for the stressful events. We can better craft our responses and avoid the "mom's lost it again" moment when we have a complete meltdown over being out of crackers.

TIP 2: Get Outside

woman's bare feet outdoors

Yes, this can work for you, too! If the weather is nice, go for a walk. Your kids will be entertained by nature and won't need mom's attention, so you can get a little mental breather. Plus, sunshine, f

resh air, and getting your body moving can do wonders for your mindset. Even if you just take a stroll around your backyard, that can be enough of a reprieve from the daily grind that it resets your thermometer for a few hours. I love grounding (walking barefoot) in my backyard while my son runs and plays on his slide. He gets his energy out. Sometimes I just listen to the birds and neighborhood sounds, sometimes I put in 1 earbud and play a podcast. I take the time to connect myself back to my intentions for the day, the level my mood, to clear my mind, and slow my breathing.

TIP3: Find Your Peace

Maybe it's a certain scent. Maybe it's a weighted item or heated item. Maybe it's a specific song or spoken word meditation. Find what speaks to you and helps you feel centered and grounded. Whatever your thing is, take 5 minutes to focus your attention on that. Put on the dreaded Cocomelon (or in my son's case, "spooky stories on the tube") and set up a candle or diffuser, put in headphones to jam your go to pump up song. I like to put on a podcast - if you can't tell, podcasts are my JAM - and diffuse citrus oils in diffusers in my kitchen and living room. I've also added a weighted neck and shoulder heating pad to my Amazon wishlist with a little *hint hint* to my family for my upcoming birthday 😉

TIP 4: Maintain Boundaries

A tired mind is more susceptible to negative spirals, and when you're taking on things you don't have the mental capacity for then this is inevitable. Know your limits and maintain your boundaries. If you know you would be spreading yourself too thin to take on home baked cookies for the preschool class party, then just don't do it. Grab a Costco sized box and be done, and let your mind focus on those other things that truly need your attention. The comparison game is a beast and can often lead us to take on more than we can handle because we see someone else doing something that we wish we could, but it's so important to remember that we see other people's highlight reels and each mom is running a different ship under different circumstances. That never means that one mom is momming better than the next!

TIP 5: Bless & Release

This one is still very difficult for me. It is essential to accept the fact that some things will always be outside of our realm of control. Those things that we can't control or change have to be let go. I've adopted a mantra that has helped me stay centered when I find something is outside of my realm of control: "I can not control all things. This is not mine to fix. And that's okay." Simple and to the point, but it's proven quite effective in relieving some of the anxiety that I feel about situations that aren't going as planned. Provide as much helpful input as you can, then wish it well and return your focus to the things that are within your control. With time, this does get easier!

group of women with arms around each other

TIP 6: Connect with Others

I know you've heard the old "it takes a village to raise a child." But, the mindblowing thing is realizing that the village isn't necessarily for the child. I always assumed this meant you need help - sitters, grandparents, other adults to help you teach your child and shape them as they grow. Since becoming a mother, I've realized that the village is more for the moms. Parenting can often feel lonely when you're in the trenches and it can make a world of difference to just have those point people you can go to for advice, to vent, or just to be distracted for a bit that truly understand where you're coming from. It's a safe space - maybe in person, maybe virtually, maybe a combination of both - where you don't have to worry about judgement, facades, the fake-it-til-you-make-it falsities. It's a space to be honest about parenting and motherhood and feel the comradery in knowing that you are never alone, even in the loneliest moments. Connect with other moms who know where you're at in your stage of parenting and can help you process, plan, and refocus on the positivity.

TIP 7: Accept Bad Days

Even with the best system in place to maintain a healthy and positive mindset, you are still going to have hard days. Accepting that as fact won't change it from happening, but will make it easier for you to respond to and bounce back from when they do happen. Accepting that this is normal will reduce your negative self talk and disappointment when it occurs, because you will already know that it is not a direct reflection of your parenting skills or job performance as Mom. It happens to the best of moms, and it will pass!

TIP 8: Ask for Help

And lastly, never be afraid to ask for help! Again, this is not a reflection of poor parenting. Accepting that you despite your best efforts, you will still have a rough day sometimes, means that you should also know your limits on when you can't possibly get though the task at hand on your own. Maybe it's a physical issues - maybe it's a task you physically can not do with a kiddo in tow. Maybe it's a mental limitation - you're too tired and mentally drained from A, B, or C all piled on top of each other. Regardless of the reason, if you feel like you need help then it is legitimate and it is okay to ask! And that help can come in many different forms. Ask your spouse to pick up dinner on their way home so you can remove that from your to do list for the evening. See if the neighbor is okay with a playdate for an hour so you can get the pile of laundry folded and put away uninterrupted. Ask a grandparent or other extended family member or close friend to step in for a bit, or even hire a sitter for a few hours. Does your stress feel bigger than that? That's okay, too. Seek professional help. There is no shame in therapy and counseling, it is all part of the journey into a deeper understanding of self and therefore an improved ability to be the best version of yourself - wife, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, mother, etc. There is never a reason to be ashamed of putting in work to better yourself!

All in all, what I hope you take from these tips and this info is that normal parenting IS

sleeping woman in a superhero costume with a young boy and girl sleeping on each side of her

super. If you're a mother, you're a SuperMom - to your child, especially, but also to every other mom that can be honest with themselves and others about the realities of parenthood. You are absolutely a SuperMom to me, and I truly hope that through mindful reflection and self acceptance you, too, see yourself as the SuperMom that you are!


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