Since this is Mother’s Month, I wanted to write something that was really encouraging, insightful and helpful for moms. While this is a completely worthwhile pursuit, I immediately hit an obvious roadblock: I’m not a mom. So how was I going to emphatically write edifying words that would strike the very heart of the mothers reading this? It seemed an unbeatable hurdle.
But an obvious problem needs an obvious solution, and after a few days of mulling over the issue (this was submitted SO late) I got it! I couldn’t give great words of encouragement to moms… but I know some moms who can. Who better to talk to moms about self-care when motherhood gets tough than the very people who have experienced those moments?
So, I hit up the community online, thinking that I might get one or two responses… but I apparently underestimated how keens moms are to help other moms.
Seriously…I wish dads had a bit more of that support!
Here’s what I asked:
“Moms – tell me what really is the nicest and best advice you would give to a mom that is feeling frazzled and burnt out? What tips can you give her about self-care and feeling less stressed about motherhood?”
Here are some of the great replies:
Michele Engela: Acceptance – of help that is offered, that it is ok to ask for help, that your loved ones want to help but unless you actually say something they might not know what you help or support you need; that your life will never be the same again and that this moment, how you are feeling right now, will pass and the ‘oh wow!’ moments will make you forget all the “bad” moments; that you do need “me-time” and “us-time” and, lastly, that no child is the same. Trust your gut and, heck, if it fails you so what, you will learn. You are enough.
And for me – find that one friend that you can talk to and share your true self and issues of motherhood and life with, without judgement. It helped me and still helps me every day to have that one awesome friend who has my back no matter what, and me, hers.
“We’re all doing our best, and it always surprises me that mothers are so hard on each other, given that we know first-hand what it’s like.”
Christie Mae Roberts: I’d tell her that she can give herself permission not to be perfect. Not to have it all together. Not to do everything. To say no to things that drain her. To accept more chaos and muddle if it buys her more time to rest. To say NO to mom guilt, accept help, and say YES to activities that will energise her, whether it’s a warm bath and a book, a glass of wine with her good friends, a pampering massage or a nap. If we want to model self-care to our children and teach them to look after themselves, we need to do the same for ourselves.
Alexa Russell Matthews: Practically, find someone you trust to hold up a mirror of where life is actually at, rather than allowing ‘frazzledness’ to condemn, judge and fail you. Ugly cry when you need to and be okay not being okay for the moment, but if the not being okay lasts a long time than it’s also okay to say so and get some professional support where possible. Sometimes we need to nap, step back for a bit to step forward. That’s not failure. That’s wisdom.
Samantha Elizabeth Coogan: Surround herself with an amazing mom tribe. Moms that will support her and listen; who will jump in if necessary. That’s been my saving grace. There are good people out there.
Amanda Le Roux: Don’t even compare yourself to those picture-perfect FB/IG moms. You don’t know the chaos behind the pic. And remember, it takes a village to raise a child. It’s okay to ask for help.
Keri-Lee Stroebel: Make things easier for yourself and don’t feel bad about taking shortcuts sometimes and taking time for just you. Mom life is filled with guilt, so try and make it a priority. You don’t have to do it all and be it all to be a good mom, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Our lives and our families are all completely different. We’re all doing our best, and it always surprises me that mothers are so hard on each other, given that we know first-hand what it’s like.
Carlene Muilwyk: Can I hold your baby? Do you need some time out and I will come over and clean? ‘Cause let’s be honest – moms don’t need advice; they need a helping hand and a support system when they are frazzled.
So, if you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by everything that comes with motherhood, it might be a good idea to listen to what these amazing moms had to say!
AfroDaddy, a.k.a. Terence Mentor, is a place for parents, especially dads, to come together and share in the “duality of parenting” – the fact that being a parent can be fantastic, wonderful and beautiful, while simultaneously being exhausting, frustrating and awful. A husband and father to two boys born 18 months apart, AfroDaddy shares his unique view and experiences, while opening himself to new experiences, learnings and people. You can find him at AfroDaddy.