Here is a great article written for Natural Transition by Dr Melanie Strang who is a doctor and a telephone counsellor with the Post and Antenatal Depression Association (PANDA). She has a passionate interest in the wellbeing of mums and dads and runs well mum well baby workshops, private consultations and interactive emails to discuss the emotional wellbeing of mum, dad, and baby in those first few months at home.
Read on for sounds advice mamas and take a look at the well mum well baby website for more information
As a mum of 2 young children I try to not only look after myself physically (healthy diet and exercise) but I try also to nurture my emotional wellbeing- this takes time and effort, just like scheduling in some exercise or preparing a healthy meal.
Here are my top 5 favourite tips to help care for mum’s emotional wellbeing:
- Rest is not idleness
Taking time to recharge your batteries is a priority- whether this be half an hour sitting alone in the sun or grabbing a coffee and reading the paper, regular planned and “ in the diary” time to yourself is essential . If babysitters are too expensive and extended family are not around, try a roster system with close friends or neighbours with children where you take turns to give each other a break.
- Manage the Guilt
Often guilt is of the unhealthy variety- this means that we feel we are to blame for something we didn’t actually do wrong. Guilt is often anger in disguise- ask yourself: do you feel angry and if the answer is yes, then deal with the issue at hand. If we reframe our guilt as regret we feel more at ease as there is no longer an element of blame.
- Go easy on yourself
We mums can be really hard on ourselves- we sometimes set ourselves unrealistic goals and then when we are unable to achieve them, beat ourselves up. Be a friend to yourself and understand and accept your human limitations. Striving for perfection is a sure recipe for failure.
- Stop competing
Live in your own comfort zone- do what feels comfortable for you without comparing to others. There will always be someone who looks like they are doing it better than you. Mums can be competitive at times- we all have value to add but in our own individual, unique and diverse ways. I am forever telling my daughter that she can’t be the best at everything- some things she is talented in and other skills are not her strengths- I try to take my own advice on board!
- Playfulness and Joy
When I’m not too tired, I enjoy being silly and rolling on the floor with my kids…..and then going on a date with my husband. Something to look forward to like a short break with the family or a fun activity is what keeps me going at times. Not everything for our kids has to be educational, serious or healthy- let’s break the rules once in a while, ok?
By Dr Melanie Strang