“Should I breastfeed?”
“Or should bottle feed?”
“Am I getting enough rest? Or am I not spending enough time with my baby?”
“Do I work too much? Am I a good mother? Am I a good wife?”
These are just a fraction of the questions and doubts that run through a new mother’s mind daily. You can turn to gurus, social media, books, or friends, and everyone has a different answer for what good parenting looks like. It is taxing. It is confusing.
If you are a new mother, no doubt you have experienced the further stress that has come with it. You are constantly worried about whether you are doing enough or too much. Are you taking care of yourself, or is it selfish to take time for yourself? This blog will break down five tips for new mothers caught in the whirlwind of motherhood and how you can manage the stress.
Take Time for Yourself
Let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way because this is the one most new mothers struggle with. It is commonly referred to as “mom guilt.” The term “mom guilt” is a broader term that new mothers are most susceptible to when they worry about whether they are doing enough and is often rooted in an idea of what being a perfect mother should look like. This is something we discuss in therapy for new moms in Florida.
However, “mom guilt” can kick in overtime regarding taking care of yourself. A “perfect” mother spends all of her time with her children. Or, a “perfect” mother sacrifices her own needs so that the needs of her children can be met. A “perfect” mother does not complain about not having time to herself. These thoughts can compound over time and cause the guilt to strike even thinking that you might need a break. To be a more attentive and present mother, it is essential to consider that time to yourself is crucial! If you are tired, stressed, and overloaded, it will come out in the time spent with your kids, whether you are a stay-at-home mother or a working mother. Self-care can be anything from a monthly spa day, time in the gym, reading, gardening, girl’s night, or even a nap.
Making time for yourself should be a top priority.
Ideally, you should have several ways of practicing self-care. Something small you can do daily: reading, meditation, hot bath, exercise, etc. Think of something you can do weekly: A night out with friends, an exercise group, therapy for new moms, a hobby group/church group, etc. Something you can do monthly: A spa day, a day off, etc. You will likely experience mom guilt when you first begin this practice, but it is essential to implement it into your new life as a mother. It will help manage the stress levels of being a new mother and make being present with your beautiful child more profound.
It is essential to be compassionate to everyone, but in the case of managing the stress of being a new mother, it is necessary to show compassion to yourself. Being a new mother, you will experience a broad spectrum of emotions and feelings. Knowing that some days will be more complex than others is essential. There will be days when you are not as happy as others. There will be days you feel as though you are failing as a mother.
Be kind to yourself. Give yourself grace. You are a new mother, no one has ever mastered anything the first time they tried it. Making a mistake—or feeling like you made a mistake—does not mean you are a terrible mother. It does not mean you don’t love and care for your children. And it means you are human. It does not reflect on you as a mother if you feel angry, frustrated, tired, or even as though you “can’t do it” that day. What it does mean is that you are burning the candle at both ends and need time to engage in something you enjoy outside motherhood.
These emotions will come and go in waves and often in each new stage of motherhood.
Remind yourself that they are normal and natural and it is not harmful to experience these different feelings. The grace you show yourself will help combat the stress. It is upsetting to experience a wide range of emotions in short periods and not allow yourself to share them.
Additionally, there is a transition period post-partum where your hormones are off balance, and your body is working to return them to their natural state. Some women will experience postpartum depression; motherhood’s new stresses can also magnify this condition. If you struggle with postpartum depression, True You Always Counseling can help you deal with the depression and learn to show yourself compassion.
Nourish Your Body
I know, I know. With all the stress and chaos around you, it is the last thing on your mind. You are probably lucky to eat anything at all some days. I get it. But it is essential to manage the stress of being a mother. It’s the old airplane mask analogy- you have to put your mask on first to put the child’s mask on. Have I ever noticed how cranky or tired (or both ) you or others around you get when blood sugar levels are low? Hangry is a thing!
On a psychological level, nourishing your body with food and water is, in a sense, permitting you to take care of yourself. You are making your well-being an essential part of your life which alone can improve your mood. You are also allowing yourself to be important in your own life, which often for new mothers does not happen.
Additionally, nourishing your body will help give you more energy. When you have more power, you are less likely to get frustrated and will not feel as exhausted. You will also feel more motivated to do things you may have put on hold.
Connect With Others
When you spend 24 hours with your bundle of joy, you can expect to feel more stressed as much as you love them. As humans, we require a connection for our mental health and wellness. Whether it is with friends, family, or other new moms, it is essential to connect with other people. It will help you feel linked to the world, supported, and less isolated.
Being connected will not only help reduce overall stress but also help with the depression that stems from stress. It is easy to get lost in motherhood and for that to become your whole identity. But you are much more than just a mother—even though that is a great title—and staying connected allows you to embrace those other parts of your life.
Say “Yes” to Help
Society puts a lot of pressure on women to be “super moms.” To handle everything on your own, single-handedly run the family, and do it all alone. When you fall short of this—because it is an impossible task no one can succeed at—mom guilt will kick in. You will quickly feel overwhelmed and begin to feel bad for the things you are not doing. This can lead you not to acknowledge all that you do.
When others ask how they can help, if you need a babysitter, or if you need any assistance, SAY YES! Remember to show yourself grace and take help when help is offered. No one can do it all on their own, and there is no shame in accepting the use of others. Lessening what is on your plate will be lighter and decrease your stress. Therapy for new moms in Florida can be a source of support and asking for help.
Begin Therapy for Moms and Therapy for New Moms in Florida!
Remember that you are a Super Mom, but that does not mean you have to do it all yourself. It does not tell that if you feel you fall short in something, you are failing as a mother. You can feel stress, anxiety, and every other emotion that comes with being a new mom. There is nothing wrong with that. Show yourself grace, make your needs an essential part of your routine, and connect with others.
If you need someone to talk to about the stress of being a new mom, contact True You Always Counseling and learn how they can help in this new chapter of your life. True You Always Counseling offers telehealth therapy to all Florida residents. So, no matter where you live in Florida, you are not alone.
Other Services Offered at True You Always
Here at True You Always, we offer many services with a wide range of therapists. We are here to walk alongside you no matter what you’re dealing with. Our goal is to provide a safe and accepting space for you to breathe and be your authentic self. Along with therapy for teens, we offer additional services at our Florida practice. You may also be interested in therapy for first responders, work stress, anxiety, and stress treatment, or PTSD treatment and trauma therapy.
Additionally, we offer couples therapy, family therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, therapy for disordered eating, therapy for teens and tweens, support for families with a loved one struggling with ED, therapy for new moms, treatment for adults, substance use disorders, therapy for spouses of first responders, play therapy, therapy for allergies, and chronic illness. All services are offered via online treatment in Florida so that you can get help from the comfort of your own space.