Alongside the joys being a mother can be difficult; dealing with emotions of others whilst also having to manage our own issues and emotions can be challenging and lead to overwhelm.
A classic sign of this can be fight, flight, freeze or fawn: wishing we could be somewhere else, feeling like we are wanting to get away, change the situation, wirthdrawing into ourselves or excessively putting others needs before our own.
So what can we do to support ourselves as mothers when our children feel challenging and time, privacy and external support may not be readily available?
Here are 5 things you could try:
Take a Break
The to do list can feel endless, the children are in overwhelm and every sense bit of patience within feels like it’s escaping. This can be a good time to stop, take a pause and re-group. Take a break with a cup of tea, step out for a walk, go to another room and do something that’s about you.
Ask for Help
A partner is not always available but where else can we get physical and emotional help from? When we are in need asking a friend neighbour, friend or family member can open up a line of support. Whilst many of us now find ourselves fairly alone as a mother, the role of motherhood was never meant to be done solo. Mothers require care and attention in order to be able to fulfill their role and take care of others, it’s okay to ask for help.
Professionals are also a great resource for emotional support and tools.
Have Emergency Tools
Grounding techniques like deep breathing (a deep inhale and a long slow exhale) is a great way to connect to your body, relieve tension and giving you some inner space. Affirmations such as ‘I am calm and patient’ can also soften the mind, natural visualisations such as a beach can help de-stress quickly.
Tapping is another accessible tool: say out loud or in your head ‘even though I’m angry, I know I’m okay’. Here is a good video that explains tapping and a tool you can use.
Ditch the Guilt
Whether it be thoughts about being a good or perfect mother or something from the last ditch the guilt and empower yourself by recognising all the amazing things you give your children and others everyday. Guilt and shame can zap our energy and hijack our subconscious thinking, limiting our ability to feel clear and present. It’s okay to put on the TV when you need to so you can have a moment on the trickiest days, it’s okay to talk to your kids about the bits that felt icky and it’s okay to reflect for yourself, as long as difficult feelings aren’t internalised or reaffirming negative self beliefs.
Make Yourself Important
This one is because you are. Know that your needs are important and taking care of them isn’t selfish but essential. You can’t give to others without filling your own cup. Your children also need to see you empowered and well, it not only offers them security but a base of navigating their own importance in the world, as well as yours.
Sakina is Founder of Tranquil Birth, a mum of 2 boys and a Hypnobirthing and Birth Trauma Resolution Practictioner.