mental health for moms Archives - Best Mom Blogs For Self-Care | Mom's Hierarchy Of Needs

Why Stress Is Contagious and What you Can do About it

Concern For Kids Mental Health Has Reached a Dull Roar

“Working with everyone home and watching my kids’ mental health decline. My straight A son is a Sophomore, and he is failing. Our school system flip flopping on saying when they can go back F2F. So frustrating to have no control and feel helpless and hopeless at this point.”

“The increased responsibility and decline in available resources for myself and my child. Our outlets and interactions are limited and it’s taking a toll on the mental and emotional health of myself and my son.”

“Seeing my kids suffer and grow depressed and uninterested in life.”

“(I need) free social programs for me and my children. We are not doing well mentally.”

Over 1,900 parents, mostly Moms (98%) have shared their stories in our pandemic study since last March. Most felt pretty good about their ability to lean into parenting and make impossible tradeoffs in the beginning. Although it was often at the expense of their roles as workers, partners and caregivers to themselves. But in our recent survey wave (November through January) as mental health declines for many kids, for the first time, most (60%) cite doing ‘terribly’ or ‘not as well as usual’ as parents (an increase from 46% in the prior wave.)

Your Home is a Little Ecosystem

The growing concern, that their kids have “hit the pandemic wall” reached a crescendo. And without self-care, parents aren’t doing well either. And households are a bit like terrariums. If the conditions are right, everyone flourishes. But if anything is amiss – the soil, the light or health of other inhabitants, the whole system is at risk.

Sheltered-at-home, the strain is rippling through families. As social beings, we’re wired to Continue reading “Why Stress Is Contagious and What you Can do About it”

The Traumatic Effect of World Events on our Mental Health

“(I need) positivity for moms, free therapy, anything to help me from being crazy.”

“The increased responsibility and decline in available resources for myself and my child (has been hardest.) Our outlets and interactions are limited and it’s taking a toll on the mental and emotional health of myself and my son.”

“A deadly virus, reduced access to health and therapy resources, increased isolation, no alone time and homeschooling while entertaining a toddler (has been hardest.)”

Since our pandemic study began in March, mental health has remained a top concern among over 1,500 surveyed parents, mostly Moms (96%.) And absent self-care or childcare they’re pretty distraught about what’s happening at home. But the murky big picture is adding pressure. After a fraught US election season and social justice reawakening, world events continue to trigger sadness and fear. And for many, political issues are also, deeply personal. So, it’s vital to protect our mental health. “I tell people to guard your heart. Guard your time, guard your energy, guard your personal space and be very intentional about who and what you let into your space,” said Dr. Nicole C. Braithwaite, Psychiatrist, Trauma Specialist and Entrepreneur.

Because There’s A lot to Stress About

“Social unrest and COVID-19 surges.”

“Racial violence, highly polarized country.”

“The loss of Continue reading “The Traumatic Effect of World Events on our Mental Health”

The Reasons You Feel Torn in Two

And Why it May Not be Time for a Drastic Career Change

“Every form of employee appreciation has been cancelled. There are no raises or bonuses. Work is being packed onto skeleton departments because all of the ‘fat’ has been trimmed. Employees are burning out.”

“I hate putting my son in front of the TV just so I can work.”

“Trying to give 100% to my job during work hours and 100% to my kids for their school work has been impossible. Both my work and my kids’ education have suffered from that.”

“I’m working full time in a hospital while my husband is working full time at home trying to take care of our 5 and 3 year old boys. No one is getting the time and attention that we need from each other right now.”

Almost half (44%) of surveyed parents (1,300) in our pandemic study say they’re doing ‘not as well as usual’ or terribly’ as workers. And although the majority (60%) feel they’re doing ‘as well’ or ‘better than usual’ as parents, 40% do not. They’re exhausted from months of housework, work-work and childcare, without any self-care.

Many feel trapped by untenable schedules. And distanced from their core values. So, after months of life-or-death decisions, it’s not surprising  that parents want Continue reading “The Reasons You Feel Torn in Two”

Your Colorful, Messy and Perfect Life

“I didn’t realize at the time, how much anxiety or stress I was carrying, because I was just trying to make it through the day.” said Kyra Peralte, Entrepreneur and Author. When the pandemic hit, like many of us, she slipped into crisis mode. “We immediately started reorganizing our days to accommodate having the kids at home 24/7. Because we don’t know when this is going to be over, my husband and I made a pact, to pull together and be creative.”

What happens when stress moves from the mind into the body? When the weight of worry became a physical sensation, it terrified Kyra. But it also opened a deep curiosity. She wanted to know how Covid stress was affecting other women. And she didn’t want the polished version, she craved candid connection. This moved her to lift herself and others, from suffering in isolation, through the magic of story.

When Stress Takes Hold

“I felt a drop of cold water on my neck. I looked up and thought we had a leak. I was sitting in what I call my Corona-bunker.” Kyra continued to feel the cold water. “It kept happening in different parts of the house. I was taking a hot shower when all of a sudden, I felt the ice cold water and I thought, okay something is going on.” Scary! “So, I looked into it and discovered that it was a Continue reading “Your Colorful, Messy and Perfect Life”

You Deserve Time Alone. But Mindfulness Helps When You Can’t

“They said that they were losing themselves. Losing who they were. And didn’t know if they would be able to resolve it until their kids went off to college and I wasn’t okay with that idea. I wanted to find a solution to that problem,” said Melissa Mueller-Douglas, Founder of MYRetreat and Licensed Social Worker.

We spin ourselves in blurry, hyper-productive circles while our families rest. If we get a chance to sit down, guilt shows up to steal our joy. If you’ve fantasized about a retreat, someplace sacred to regroup, you are not alone. Personal space in lockdown is rare. Before Covid, there was growing acceptance that we need breaks, from doing everything for everyone else. Momcations were on the rise. But the idea that caring for our wellbeing needs to be extravagant or even ‘secluded’ is dangerous. It’s true, most Moms crave self-care alone, but that desire can be self-destructive when conditions make time ‘alone’ infrequent or impossible. Like in a global pandemic.

Bliss is the 90 Minute Reset

Melissa has elevated the concept of retreat to Continue reading “You Deserve Time Alone. But Mindfulness Helps When You Can’t”

How to Manage the Increased Mental Load Under Quarantine

I gave my son the same math homework twice, started my daughter’s Zoom call late and forgot to pull chicken from the freezer. That was yesterday. Because it hasn’t felt holiday-like, I forgot to buy jelly beans. Between debates about ‘carrying the one’ with my oldest and playing musical-rooms for video calls, I’ve been working at half-speed. When I spoke with my attorney, a mother of 3, to apologize for ignoring her emails, I admitted to fighting mental fog. She agreed and said, “I feel like I did when my kids were babies!” Exactly.

The mental load for Moms, from the to-do list in our heads, isn’t new. It starts when our kids are in diapers but it’s increased with COVID19. Big time. We’re relearning how to work, live and parent all at once, which strains our cognitive capacity. When the routines dissolve, school’s at home and housework multiplies, what are our options? Although we have to approach it differently, we can lighten the mental load during this surreal time.

Why we Can’t Concentrate

In most families, Moms remember the haircuts, permission slips and camp deadlines. This invisible choreography is at the heart of overdo and never-done. We tend to forget our brains have limits and it helps to understand what they are. I spoke with Dr. April Seifert, Psychologist and Co-founder of Peak Mind and she explained, “Any time we’ve got way too much on our mind that we’re trying Continue reading “How to Manage the Increased Mental Load Under Quarantine”

How to Make Healthy Choices Under Extraordinary Conditions

Social Distance Friendly Care for Yourself and Your Family

“Over the last couple of days, I’m recognizing I need to preserve my mental health to support my family, patients and colleagues. A lot of us who are caregivers and helpers, tend to have the urge to do as much as possible and often forget ourselves,” said Dr. Nicole C Brathwaite, Psychiatrist, Entrepreneur & Activist.

Moms, already Allstar-givers, have added homeschool and helping neighbors, while facing huge shifts to work, routines and income. It’s a gift to remain kind and resourceful in a crisis and with so many in need, it may be tempting to ignore self-care.  Caregiver burnout is real and strategies to protect mental health, become more critical in uncertain times.

Set New Boundaries To Preserve Energy

Nicole’s career is filled with meaningful work she’s passionate about. However, with the new obligations at home, she’s intentional about balance. “I have to make sure my family is safe and I’m well rested so I can provide the best care. It’s also the advice I’m giving to my colleagues who are working on the front lines of this pandemic,” she said. As we show up for our communities and families, we need different boundaries. Nicole said, “I’m setting aside time during my day for physicians and nurses who are directly exposed to COVID-19 and are completely Continue reading “How to Make Healthy Choices Under Extraordinary Conditions”

How To Find Bravery in a Culture of Perfectionism

A book review for Reshma Saujani’s Brave Not Perfect

What have you perfected? Whether it’s cartwheels, your backhand or public speaking, there’s a good chance you put in serious time to get great. Pre-kids, decent sleep, plus will and attention, can lead to mastery. But after kids, when our rest and thoughts are constantly interrupted, new pursuits can feel impossible. We’re not alone in feeling this way. Perfectionism is a slippery, unattainable bar, we’re taught to seek. Motherhood puts more at risk and we loose that desire to stumble. Possibly even fail. We double-down on trying to get everything ‘right’ at home and work.

Reshma Saujani, Author and CEO of Girls Who Code, gave an amazing talk at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference which lead me to devour her book, Brave Not Perfect. She eloquently states the problem, “We go from trying to be perfect students and daughters, to perfect professionals, perfect girlfriends, perfect wives and perfect mommies. …Hitting all the marks we’re supposed to and Continue reading “How To Find Bravery in a Culture of Perfectionism”

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