Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
We’ve all experienced the mommy blahs – moments or periods where we’ve been dissatisfied with our role, resenting the life changes that parenthood has brought, or mourning the loss of pieces of our selves. Periodic waves are normal, but prolonged episodes could be a sign of depression and should be addressed with the help of a physician or mental health practitioner.
When the mommy blahs are manageable, there are steps you can take to overcome your negative feelings more quickly.
Acceptance Moms can spend a lot of time beating themselves up for not being perfect. Surrender to the imperfections of life – and especially motherhood – and allow yourself a period of discontentment. Recognize your feelings, identify them, name them, and allow them to be.
Change It Up Motherhood is all-consuming and we are constantly creating new rhythms and schedules to keep everything in order. Sometimes, those rhythms turn into ruts. If the tediousness of your daily tasks are weighing you down or if your children seem to be at each other more than usual – shift the routine. Do something random and sporadic. Adjust the daily schedule. Rather than the dreaded anticipation of the same old thing, make it something different. If I notice my children bickering more in the late afternoons for a period of time, I’ll take them to a park to break up the monotony. Instead of becoming stressed that we are using homework time, I realize that the needed energy release and playtime will help my children settle into homework later. Something as simple as taking a different route to pick the children up from school can change the dullness of a repeated routine.
Ignite a Passion Time for self is critical to a mother’s sanity. Just as important is what you do with that time. Don’t use it for catching up on laundry or paying the bills. Don’t use it to do your grocery shopping or straightening the house. Find something that inspires you, lights up your soul, and makes you feel good. Read an inspirational book. Sign up for a yoga class. Go for a hike. Paint a picture. Enroll in an online course. When moms have something in their lives that inspires them and encourages personal growth, the mommy blahs can pass more quickly.
Talk To A Friend Too often, moms are afraid to give voice to the feelings they are experiencing. Sometimes, just naming what is going on inside does so much to alleviate the pressure. It might surprise you to discover how many of your friends can relate to what you are undergoing and how willing they are to offer help, guidance, or support. If you are leery to speak to people, there are other outlets to release your emotions. Try journaling, calling a hotline for an anonymous conversation, or connect with a mom’s group.
Speaking of mom’s groups – find a new group (or your current group) of moms whose sole purpose in coming together is to support each other. Beyond friendships, these moms are connecting because of motherhood, and these groups are a great place to learn about recommended products, seek advice for certain childhood behaviors, and to talk with other women about the whole motherhood experience. There are national moms groups you can join. Local hospitals and mental health centers are also good resources for mommy-support groups.
You can also find support indirectly by connecting with a group not focused on parenting but centered on one of your interests – a hiking group, a gardening group, or a book club.
Motherhood – while all consuming – is only one piece of your total being. Often times, when we become overwhelmed in the role of motherhood, it is because we have lost touch with ourselves. When our identities become blurred, it is time to step back and focus on ourselves for a bit. The time we “take away from our children” will actually end up benefiting them in the end.