Motherhood is a prime source of anxiety and stress
Before becoming a new mum, you would never have believed the amount of stress that could come from expecting yourself to be perfect. Not only do mothers expect themselves to be the perfect parent, but there is added internal and external pressure to be the perfect partner, friend, employee, family member and so on... So it's no wonder so many mothers report feeling stressed about not being able to get enough done in their day, or feel anxious about regularly falling behind. These feelings often lead to further stress and a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.
The best cure of stress is to take control
When you are feeling anxious or stressed, it can be very debilitating and can lead to procrastination or inefficiency as your mind is not is an efficient state to cope with all the demands on your plate.
However, one of the keys to feeling calmer and more composed is to take stock of what you can and can't control. For instance, as a busy mother, you may have a huge list of tasks to get through in your day. You have made the assumption that you can achieve this 'monster' list because you expect that when you place your child down for a nap today you will have 2 hours of 'free-time' to get everything done. Unfortunately, something has upset your child today and she has taken much longer to settle and only sleeps for 30 minutes. You normal reaction might be to feel like a failure, to get angry or upset and to even criticise yourself for not being able to control this situation and have your child in a regular sleep routine. But what if you decided to rethink about what you can and can't control. This scenario is a very common one for mothers with young children. There is an expectation that babies SHOULD just follow and routine. What mothers are often not considering is, like adults, children are not always predictable. How many times have you struggled to get to sleep or to sleep well because you were feeling sick; it was too hot; you were uncomfortable; you were upset; you were too cold and so on? A young child or toddler is unable to explain why he/she is having difficulty sleeping, yet parenting experts claim children just need to be placed in a routine to sleep and everything will work out fine. So it's no wonder that mothers blame themselves or their child when things don't go according to the experts' plans.
If on the contrary, in situations like these, you stopped yourself from feeling upset about the 'uncontrollable' situation and you re-evaluated your list of tasks, you would begin to take control of your emotions and amend your routine throughout the day accordingly. For instance, you may decide to play with your child for a while and then engage in the activities you had planned together. Even if you were planning on getting some chores done, you could let your child play next to you whilst your cleaned. You could also make the safe assumption that your child will most likely be extra tired that evening, so you could get those chores completed then. Either way, YOU have taken control and adapted to the 'uncontrollable' in a way that has reduced your stress levels and still enables you to complete the things on your list - with much less stress.
Gaining control reduces depression
Depression comes from a feeling of being helpless and hopeless, so it makes sense that when you regain a sense of control, you begin to feel happier and more hopeful about the future.
When you take control of your own health and wellbeing, you also reduce stress and boost self confidence
Some good examples of this are taking control of your:
- Wellbeing: Committing to reducing salt and sugar intake
- Self esteem: Being mindful of negative self-talk
- Relationships: Taking a breathe to think before speaking in a 'snapping' tone to your partner or kids
- Finances: Making an appointment to see a financial planner
- Career, Taking stock of what will truly make you feel happy and balanced now that you have a family
- Personal life: Feeling comfortable with your parenting decisions and your personal beliefs and values
All these examples above are ways that you can regain control of your life. It is through this behaviour that you can boost your self confidence in times of stress and provide guidance and support for those you love most.
Take a few minutes now to think about what you would like to regain control of this week and commit to doing this as soon as possible.
If you need any additional tips on self esteem, jump on to the Help For Mums
website for great free support.
All the best
Personal Development Coach
Happy Life & Help For Mums