Motherhood is probably one of the most fulfilling and satisfying yet thankless and exhausting jobs on the planet. Mothers take charge when it comes to taking care of their children’s academic, nutritional, health and safety needs. Ironically, these are the very needs that most of them ignore themselves – out of which mental health needs lead the pack.
Mothers, though, are now taking care to stay fit and are starting to value their own nutritional requirements, but still their mental health needs are more often than not overlooked!
Here are a few reasons why this happens:
- Mothers burden themselves with self-guilt when they feel they are not able to meet any expectations laid down by society at large, their immediate family and friend circle, or even by themselves.
- They have endless responsibilities when it comes to running a home and raising a child and they often shy away from asking for help in sharing those responsibilities. Even when they do ask, they do not get the desired support from the immediate family.
- Most of the mothers suffer from body image issues. They are fed ‘ideal’ body images of mothers by media which makes them lose self-confidence and self-worth and can also lead to eating disorders.
- Many mothers try and raise ‘perfect’ children along with keeping ‘perfect’ homes and while even running ‘perfect’ jobs. Perfectionism is not a mother’s best friend and often leads to severe disappointments when even one aspect wobbles a little.
- Mothers are their biggest self-critics and the moment they see red flags around the child somewhere, they start questioning their parenting skills and techniques.
Here are a few simple suggestions on how mothers can start taking care of their mental health:
- Outsource/ delegate as many menial tasks as feasible. You need not be the ‘do-it-all’ or the martyr in the family.
- Build a strong support system with other mothers who can act not just as a sounding board but can physically and emotionally help you when needed.
- Treat yourself with love, kindness, and self-acceptance. Feeling guilty and being critical is not going to do you any good. Motherhood, after all, is all about learning on-the-job where everyone makes mistakes.
- Visit a therapist today if you feel the need! Schedule the appointment with a mental health practitioner, just like you do for a parent-teacher meeting, and stick to it.
- Lastly, remember that you matter! There will be days when you won’t feel it and think that your role is mere of a caregiver, a nanny, a butler, a teacher, and so on; but the fact is that you are more than the sum of these parts, and nobody can replace you.
Motherhood is a physically and emotionally challenging role. Things become especially difficult in cases where mothers are also a victim of sexual abuse, domestic violence, or are single mothers. These situations make building resilience even more crucial.
Taking care of your physical and mental health lies in your own hands. It is your own responsibility! After all, self-love and self-care are something your children will learn only by watching you.
Remember, a mother’s mental health matters!