I carry many roles…daughter, wife, friend, therapist. But the most rewarding and greatest role is that of mother. However, being a mom is hard! I had no idea how challenging being a mother could be, but now I experience it, I hear it from my friends, and I work with clients who struggle with the responsibility. Stepping into motherhood is a beautiful experience yet there is an enormous transition from being independent to being responsible and accountable for someone else all the time. Even if we have partner who is supportive and shares the workload, as moms there are many tasks that fall on us: meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, mess cleaning, playmate, and perhaps working an outside job as well. We maintain schedules and work to ensure our children are engaged and socialized. We juggle a lot, which can be physically and emotionally draining.
If you find yourself yelling more, losing patience easily, irritable, and overall feeling overwhelmed, you may be experiencing mom burnout. Everyone experiences daily stressors, but moms share the unique experience of not having much of a chance to settle or de-stress. Whether you work during the day and come home to children, or spend the day at home caring for children, many times we don’t have much of a break until the children are sleeping. Even then, there may be tasks to complete like putting the dishes in the dishwasher, cleaning up toys, paying bills, finishing up work from the day, or even planning for the next day. A mother’s job is never done. In order to prevent burnout from motherhood stress, it is important to take steps to care for yourself.
Each week I will give you one helpful tip to reduce stress and help you experience the joy motherhood can offer:
Tip 1 : Schedule
Having and maintaining a schedule is beneficial for you and your children. Most children do better with the structure that schedules offer. For younger children (infants and toddlers), having set meal and nap/sleep times works wonders for ensuring those things happen without hesitation. It is also helpful for you to know that an escalating tantrum may be due to an approaching nap or mealtime. Another benefit of having a schedule is that you will know when you will have some “free time” and can plan on how to use it best.
A lot of times women feel alone in their struggles, so it's helpful to hear that others are going through similar things. Women have the same thoughts, same feelings, same anxieties and same worries. Dr. Andrea Tesher facilitates a support group, Moms With Anxiety Group at the Lukin Center for Psychotherapy, in Ridgewood, NJ. This is a small, confidential, and supportive group that meets to explore and discuss skills to cope with anxiety or stress related to being a mother and balancing all that comes our way. It's a judgment-free zone.
Dr. Andrea Tesher, Psy.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Lukin Center for Psychotherapy, specializing in the treatment of adults with anxiety disorders, depression, substance abuse, difficulties regulating emotions, relationship problems and women's issues.