I firmly believe that moms can’t take care of others if they are not taking care of themselves. If you’re feeling down or overwhelmed, try to engage in the following strategies to improve your mindset little by little. With time and practice, it could become as easy as A-B-C!
Adjust Your Perspective
Strive to be kind to yourself and give yourself grace. With a compassionate-focused therapy approach, you can overcome your self-critical tendencies by highlighting the positives, the same way you likely would for a friend who came to you for guidance. It’s also helpful to accept any negative feelings, which are natural. Being mindful of your emotions in the present moment and acknowledging that it is just a moment – meaning, temporary – is an extremely effective way to create calm. A conscious shift in perspective can change a distorted thought (“I’m a bad mom for not being able to put my kids to bed because I have to work instead”) to a to a rational one (“I have a lot of work to get through tonight and I need time to focus. I am feeling sad right now because I won’t get to tuck in my kids, but I know they are safe and that they love me. I will feel relief as soon as tomorrow when this project is complete, and then I’ll be able to really focus on family time.”).
Be an Advocate for Yourself
The ability to advocate for yourself, whether at work, home, or otherwise, is integral to achieving your goals. Try speaking honestly and directly with your partner and family’s inner circle about your mental load and what would be valuable to alleviate it (if applicable, for example, perhaps the kids’ dad can handle their doctors’ appointments and school meetings). In the corporate world, many companies and industries are still behind when it comes to their family-friendly policies; they may simply need a request for change to be made, and who better to make a request that would improve your life than you? To learn more about how to successfully advocate for better workplace policies and find support while doing so, please join me on June 17, 2021 in Scarsdale at a free happy hour & shopping networking event; optional contributions will be donated to a nonprofit committed to accelerating equity for working moms of color.
Connect with Your Community
After all these months of isolation due to literal social distancing, it’s common to feel lonely and like your network is in shambles. But it is more crucial than ever to foster relationships and build your village. Try going for a walk or running an errand with a friend. Catch up with a long-distance relative on the phone while driving or cleaning. Rely on a trusted neighbor to watch your kids while you handle a meeting or other things on your to-do list, and you can return the favor at a later date. And if you’re feeling a bit lost, perhaps because of a pandemic-related move to a new town or other life transition, look for opportunities with others who share your interests or current life stage. It’s been meaningful to see how several moms in the parent groups I facilitate, who were in quarantine for most of their pregnancies, appreciate the opportunity to share with others who can relate to their daily struggles while offering ideas and encouragement. Everyone requires various forms of assistance at different times for different reasons. It is so important to get the support you need!
Written by Lauren A. Tetenbaum: a social worker, lawyer, professional coach, and Westchester Mom whose mission is to empower and support women, including working and new moms. To learn more about her clinical therapy and consulting services, please email Lauren@LATCounseling.com.