I am loving seeing all the Mother’s Day messages here in the UK. It is so nice to scroll through my social media feed and see such an outpouring of love and appreciation for the role lots of us are thrust into or strive to obtain.
Being a mum and thinking about our well-being and mental health throws up some interesting challenges for us. Sometimes the journey to becoming a mum is not always straight forward. Sometimes when we get there we are not prepared for the extra stress and worry being a parent can bring.
I know we all struggle with sometimes. So thought I would share some off the cuff thoughts on my experiences of parenting and well-being.
You have to put yourself first.
This may seam like an odd thing to say. The general consensus is to be a good parent you put your children first. From my experience this may work for some people but I think to be the best mum you need to be the best you and we can’t doing that without at least putting ourselves first some of the time.
I watched my mum who was a wonderful person consistently put herself last. She was an intelligent, beautiful, charismatic talented person. She gave up work, stopped her own education and every single day before she got really ill she would continually put herself bottom of the list.
Now it is fair to say my mum had a hard start in life and suffered with very complex mental health issues. Sometimes I wonder if she had put herself first a little more would things have got as bad as they did. I guess we will never know.
I am definitely learning in my own parenting approach to sometimes put my needs at the top of the list. I think it works best like a revolving door. Sometimes my needs, sometimes my husbands, sometimes my children, sometimes my family or friends. The important thing is not to feel guilty when it is your turn. Us mums carry a lot on our shoulders we deserve a chance to rest and recover.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
I knew when my mum was struggling and she would always be the last to put her hand up and say she needed help. Didn’t matter if it was struggling with the huge house we lived in, the five kids she raised or her mental health. Mum always asked last.
I don’t know if she felt she wasn’t worthy or did not want to be a bother. Perhaps it was both.
We should absolutely ask for help. The more I do it the more a learn if you ask sooner the problem to is often smaller. And even more importantly it makes other people feel good. I always feel great when I am able to help someone out so I remind myself when I need it I am passing that feeling on.
Example is more powerful than lesson.
I definitely see with my kids that modelling the behaviour I want is the best why for them to display it. Whether it is speaking kindly, respecting your things or helping others. The more they see it the more they do it.
So when it comes to my well-being I make sure my kids see me exercise or meditate. I am open about the times I am finding it hard. They know mummy went to the doctor about anxiety following the PTSD. I want them learn as much as they can about being happy and I think one of the best ways is to lead by example.
For all the mums out there or mums to be
For all the mums out there or mums to be, you are amazing. Keep trying, keep growing and keep looking for you too. Happy Mother’s Day.
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