Moms Self care Archives - Best Mom Blogs For Self-Care | Mom's Hierarchy Of Needs

Is Good Childcare the Answer to Better Mental Health?

“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.”

“(I need) to just be able to breathe and take a moment to myself without worrying about the household.”

“I wish there was a “Mother’s day out” available so I could just have one day a week to myself. I wish there were more activities open for my child… there’s no story time, no toddler classes, nothing.”

Maybe. After studying the pandemic’s impact since March of 2020, here’s what over 2,000 surveyed parents, mostly Moms (97%) have shared. They’ve shouldered many of the essential roles at home and in the economy. And they’ve overwhelmingly powered through, while working (86%) without childcare or onsite school for their kids (87%.)

But this herculean effort, has been at the expense of self-care. And for many, the strain has eroded their mental health, marriages, and careers. When asked what they need for their wellbeing or productivity, childcare has been at the top of the list. But pre-Covid, finding affordable and reliable childcare, was a bit like Continue reading “Is Good Childcare the Answer to Better Mental Health?”

What if you Gave a Little Bit Less of Yourself to Motherhood?

“Les, I’m having trouble with this K,” my Mother said. I suggested, “can you do one for her last name instead?” She looked up briefly and nodded a silent, ‘no.’ Then she found a hanger to push more stuffing into the narrow corners. We were surrounded by letter-shaped pillows. Each one represented a guest for my birthday party. I held my letter, ‘L’ closely while Mum worked. I can still remember the hum of her sewing machine. And the bright, flowered fabric.

She was the Queen of birthday parties, every detail was planned with love and creative flair. And I was so proud of everything about the kind of Mom she was. I remember how growing up, our home was spotless. When I took off my coat, she usually hung it up before I had time to turn around. She was always there for me and our family. But also, everyone else who needed her. She volunteered in our school, church, Girl Scout troop and the community. She gave cheerfully to everyone around her.

She was and still is, a loving Mother. And I’m grateful for it. But I see her sacrifices differently now.

There’s a Cost to Chronic Giving

Through my early childhood, she was incredibly happy. Because she was living the life she planned. But by the time I was in middle school, things changed. And we faced a lot of trials. When her life became bumpy and difficult, the stress and all that conditioned-people-pleasing, took a toll.

She hasn’t just aged, she’s weathered. When we’re together, I look for traces of who she was. And I often wonder, what if she had pulled back a little from Mothering? And reserved some of that once voracious energy, for herself? I wonder if she would have had more resilience. And more peace now, in her senior years.

We’re Distanced from our Families

Today, we extend ourselves even more than my Mother’s generation did. We spend more time with our kids and more time on paid work. And running a household is a lot like playing chess. You’re always planning your next move. For school to happen on time, breakfast had to happen on time. So, if you’re lucky, everyone slept and ate dinner the night before, when they were supposed to. It’s a complex system that gets adjusted in real-time. Constantly. And it’s okay to be proud of pulling the pieces together. Because it’s a feat of mastery! But it’s relentless. And it keeps us from living in the moment.

Because We’re Doing More of Everything

Over 2,000 parents, mostly Moms (97%) have participated in our pandemic research study. And as a group, Moms are breaking. Covid eliminated most of the workarounds, we used to manage unsustainable, fragile schedules. And although most surveyed Moms (87%) faced disruptions to childcare or onsite school. Most are doing more of Continue reading “What if you Gave a Little Bit Less of Yourself to Motherhood?”

Trapped in the Stress Cycle? Take Back Your Mental Health at Home

“Our bodies and minds have so much innate wisdom, our job is to figure out how to honor it and take care of ourselves. Rather than looking at self-care as a luxury, because it’s essential. It’s a mindset and a lifelong journey. And we have the power and the tools to do this,” said Dr. Marni Chanoff, Integrative Psychiatrist.

The mental health crisis preceded the pandemic. And the strain of Covid-living has increased anxiety and depression. It takes a lot of energy to keep kids, careers and partnerships spinning in a positive way. And whether it’s finding doctors or space on the calendar, we tend to avoid dealing with stress. That is, until our bodies rebel.

But what if you can regain energy and peace in meaningful ways at home? Marni is passionate about unlocking the links between our habits, including what we eat, and strong health.

Meds Can Have Unintended Consequences

Marni developed expertise at the intersection of mental health and nutrition. Because she learned that many of the medications available, could harm nutrition and metabolic health. She said, “I worked with severely ill people for many years, which was what drew me to Psychiatry. When I started prescribing medication for acute psychotic disorders, I learned, that many of the most effective medications, can make some people gain up to 50 pounds. It’s a dilemma when you see someone start to get better mentally, as they put on weight, that can take years to take off.”

And Many Can’t Get Access to Healthcare Right Now

Pre-Covid, many people were on long waiting lists for everything from primary care physicians to specialists. And it’s much worse now. Particularly in underserved communities. Marni said, “Navigating the medical system can be awful, even if you have a solid education and good insurance. And so, for people who are struggling with any kind of mental or physical health problems, relying on the medical system as it is right now, can be Continue reading “Trapped in the Stress Cycle? Take Back Your Mental Health at Home”

Leadership Without Burnout. How to Build Your Capacity and Energy

“Maybe some people go into leadership kicking and screaming and other people go into it riding a wave that has kind of carried them through life. And with no hubris, I am among the latter. And I’m really grateful for that,” said Dr. Aisha Francis, Educational Leader and Advocate.

When imposter syndrome shows up to steal your joy, do you wonder why? Although there are many reasons, we often internalize the myth that we can become leaders alone. But as you advance in your career, leadership becomes the product of grooming, not just training. And for women, particularly women of color, sponsors become important. So, as you level-up professionally, remember that high achievers, from athletes to Nobel laureates, work with coaches and mentors.

Aisha became the CEO of her organization during the pandemic. So how do you bring your professional best and gain momentum in a time of crisis?

Think of Leadership as a Way of Being

Aisha explained, “I thought that leadership was just what people did.” She was surrounded by leaders growing up, “I had the chance to see what leadership looks like outside of the context of work. It was the way that you Continue reading “Leadership Without Burnout. How to Build Your Capacity and Energy”

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”

Is the Mental and Emotional Load Shared in Your Household?

“I need the older children in the family and my husband to step up and help out. I feel like I’ve taken up all the slack and their responsibilities have remained the same. My husband says I just need to ask him for “help” but that just puts it on me to manage everything. I’m frustrated and exhausted and he doesn’t get it.”

“I am literally drowning in overwhelm while my husband is having a great time working from home! Because I’m picking up all the pieces keeping everything together.”

“I told my husband that him “helping” around the house is not enough anymore. He’s an adult and he needs full ownership of at least 50% of keeping our lives together.”

Over 1,800 parents, mostly Moms (98,%) have shared their pandemic stories for our research study. And they’re drained from doing more of everything: housework (78%,) kids activities (54%,) and childcare (73%.) Although they’re overwhelmingly married or cohabiting, in the pandemic, only 30% state their partners are doing more housework or childcare. The gendered division of household labor for Moms partnered with Dads isn’t new. And it’s a corrosive undercurrent for many couples.

The consuming nature of parenting and running a home, has ballooned during Covid. Although the physical work is considerable, the mental energy to plan, triage and react to countless daily choices, adds strain to the situation.

Although some couples successfully divide the work, few share the mental load. And that’s often where the perception gap between Moms partnered with Dads lies. But what if we could make all that hidden work visible? Does it change the conversation between couples?

Mind the Gendered Gap

“I’m doing all the emotional work of parenting (my spouse does only non-emotional tasks like grocery shopping and lawn mowing)…)

“…My personal routine has been overshadowed by helping/dealing with everyone else. If I try to work out, I’ve got kids hanging all over me, when I’m trying to work during nap time my husband wants to chat always preceded by “I know you’re busy but, just real quick…”

A recent Morning Consult survey echoes the stunning Continue reading “Is the Mental and Emotional Load Shared in Your Household?”

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”

The Great Quest for Milk: 3 Ways to Reclaim a Positive Mindset, from Mel Robbins

“The challenge right now is focus and motivation. You may think, ‘why can’t I just tune it out?’ But it’s not you. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s very difficult to focus on things that matter,” said Mel Robbins, Author and personal development expert, at the Massachusetts Conference for Women.

The pandemic has pushed us past our cognitive limits. And she shared three simple rules to help us regain some control. She went onto explain one of the reasons we’re struggling to concentrate and practical steps we can take, “You’re experiencing something right now that psychologists call, moral fatigue.”

Moral Fatigue Zaps Energy (and Motivation)

Moral fatigue, is like the mental load’s evil cousin. Our brains are not comfortable with having every decision, including small ones, carry life threatening consequences. And in Covid-19, when ‘normal’ activities bring the risk of illness or death, it’s draining. Mel said, “If you’ve got parents or relatives that you’re worried about living through this pandemic, while working from home and doing everything that you’ve been doing, it requires more mental fuel for your brain to get through the day.” Right. Why aren’t we used to this by now?

When Getting Milk, Got Complicated

Mel explained why, “So, Continue reading “The Great Quest for Milk: 3 Ways to Reclaim a Positive Mindset, from Mel Robbins”

Be Choosy About What You Let Into Your World Right Now

Protect Your Mental Health Through the Pandemic

Over 1,200 parents, primarily Mothers (95%) have participated in the pandemic study since March 30th. They’ve shared how the prolonged lockdown has strained everything, including their mental health.

“(I need) some time to myself without kids or chores. For my mental health.”

“I just started taking Lexapro and that was a life saver…”

“Marijuana/cbd oil. I have ptsd, depression, and anxiety. These things help my mood.”

“I’m with my family 24/7. We could all use a break from each other.”

Without support, basic self-care like sleep and continuity of thought, are almost impossible for parents. And with the increased mental load, monotony and erosion of work/life boundaries, anxiety and depression continue to rise. It’s maddening to be needed all the time. Or to work without breaks. Although stress continues to peak, there are strategies we can employ to support our mental health through Covid.

Routines to Manage Stress Are Gone

“(I need) breaks. Naps. Dates with my husband. Play dates with friends. To see someone during the day that isn’t my child. To be able to go somewhere that isn’t my house.”

“… We have no outlets anymore. No long drives or dinners or lunches or adventures with the baby at a playplace or park. The tension only builds…”

Dr. Nicole C. Brathwaite, Psychiatrist, Activist and Entrepreneur said, “Many of the things that used to be easier are now complex. And there’s been an increase in complaints about Continue reading “Be Choosy About What You Let Into Your World Right Now”

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: