It seems like overnight, every single person on the planet has had to adjust to a new way of living. People have lost loved ones, jobs, support systems, and overall, we cannot do the day to day things we were all accustomed to doing. For most of us, the sense of uncertainty can be overwhelming.
For moms, specifically, the burden is uniquely felt. It’s hard being a mom right now... for so many reasons.
As I have written about before, it seems that with motherhood, there is an unspoken expectation that mom-ing should look a certain way; global pandemic or not. All moms feel this pressure, and we are all impacted by it. There is a notion that we “shouldn’t complain” and should do all the 45887665366 motherly duties with a smile and positive attitude.
But let’s be honest...
That’s NOT reality.
And it’s certainly NOT the reality in a global pandemic.
As a mother, and a therapist who specializes in maternal mental health, I have had numerous conversations with moms about their daily struggles and how they are coping. I can tell you from those countless conversations (and my own experience) that despite whatever your circumstance is with motherhood, THIS IS REALLY EFFIN HARD.
Moms are burnt-out!
Here are some of the top things I am hearing right now:
It’s hard to keep coming up with creative ideas to entertain your kids and it’s hard to continue wanting to.
Shifting between mom-mode and professional-mode is exhausting both physically and mentally.
Being at home with kids all day long with no breaks is draining and emotionally taxing.
The house work never ends, and it leads to irritability and frustration.
Cabin fever makes you feel like the walls are closing in.
You are impacted by societal norms telling you that you should feel grateful and not complain.
Moms are expected to maintain all the responsibilities they had pre-pandemic while adjusting to a whole new existence (with less help and less resources).
So what can we do about it? What are some coping skills that have been helping other moms?
Here is a list I have compiled after talking to lots of moms in this pandemic:
Reach out for social support: Talk to friends who get it. Make time for zoom dates, front yard dates, or if that’s not possible, calls and texts. Connect, connect, connect. This will protect your mental health, and will help you feel less alone and less isolated. We all need our experiences validated from time to time.
Exercise: For so many women, this is a mental health choice. It is a cathartic release. Research supports the importance of exercise when it comes to our emotional health. Get outside, go for long walks, prioritize staying active in any way you can.
Practice self–care: Make this a priority. This looks different for all moms. For some it can be an uninterrupted long bath, for some journaling, for some its time with friends, for others it’s a long bed-time regimen where they can take time to care for themselves: blow drying hair, applying a skin care routine, etc.
Communicate with your partner: It is important that you voice to your partner that they may need to help you in more ways than they did before. Negotiating and adjusting to this new normal, may mean that household tasks and childcare tasks may need to look differently and be divided up differently. Speak to your partner about how they can help, and what you need from them. You can’t do it all, and you should not have to.
Start your day with a positive practice: I can’t emphasize this enough. Starting your day with thoughts that orient you toward gratitude and positivity are crucial. Intentionally set the tone for the day and make it a positive one. One good way of doing this is creating a list of 5 things you are thankful for waking up that day.
Give yourself grace: Your house isn’t going to operate the way it did before. ITS OK. Learn to be okay with things being a little more off kilter. Dishes may pile up, ‘Frozen’ may be on repeat. You have to do what it takes to give yourself time to recharge and as long as your child is safe, and knows they are protected and loved, I promise they will be okay. And remember, they deserve the healthiest YOU… And the healthiest you needs to take breaks, needs time for herself, and needs to remember that she matters.
This is an extremely stressful and overwhelming time. We are all feeling that in different ways for different reasons. Despite it being a crazy time, I think we can all agree that there have been some pretty special moments sprinkled in. Those are the moments I hold on to, as I brace myself for the road ahead.
To all you moms out there, I see you, I am with you, and I am here to tell you that it’s okay to feel the way you feel. This is really F’n hard. Please reach out for help if you need it. I am always here if you need extra support, and just a phone call away.
We will all get through this together, one very long day at a time. For moms out there who need my help, I'm offering phone or video sessions through a secure platform, click here to schedule an appointment today.