Hello, My name is Bryony Hasemore, I am a hypnotherapist and hypnobirthing practitioner who specialises in helping women with their emotions throughout their motherhood journeys.
Motherhood is full of love and joy, but can also be incredibly overwhelming, with so much expected of us from so many people. Carrying the mental load for a family, and feeling like your own needs are not met can have a strain on your mental health. This blog is going to address some of the feelings we can end up having during motherhood and what we can do to feel calm, confident and in control instead.
Mum guilt is an emotion that we all feel from time to time, one of the important things to remember about it is that it comes from a place of love that we have for our children, we love them so much that we want the very best for them, and then we fall short of the impossible standards that we set for ourselves. Then the mum guilt sets in.
Lower your Standards – This can be a tough one but no one is Mary Poppins, if you are expecting to work full time, have an immaculate house, feed your children nothing but homemade organic food and have zero tantrums a day you are setting yourself up for failure. When we can lower our standards to be more achievable, it makes us feel less guilt because we are able to congratulate ourselves on sticking to, or even bettering those standards.
Talking to yourself like you would a friend – When Mum guilt crops up it can be helpful to ask yourself what you would tell a friend who was in the same situation. Feeling guilty for working a lot? What would you tell your friend who is experiencing the same guilt? It can be so much easier to rationalise and work through other people’s problems. And then give those kind words to yourself, giving yourself permission to let go of that guilt.
Build a Positive Affirmation or Mantra – Having some kind words ready to tell yourself when you start feeling guilty can be really helpful. Here are some examples that you can use, have a little play around with them and see what feels right for you:
‘I know that right now I am doing the best job I can do, and that is enough’
‘I release this guilt because I know it is not helpful for me’
‘I am the best parent for my child/children’
‘I make decisions with everyone’s best interests in mind’
‘I can’t get everything right 100% of the time, and that’s okay’
The noise, the mess, the being constantly talked at, answering a million questions, constantly worrying about your children, remembering dates and events for everyone, the noise again! It’s no wonder we are feeling overwhelmed! Here are a couple of things that you can do that can help relieve the overwhelm or keep it at bay
Self-care – It is important to have regular self care every day that we are mindful about. If you are feeling overwhelmed at the moment try taking 15 minutes every day to do the things that make you feel happier, and more you! Before you take that time say to yourself something like ‘I am taking this time for me, because I deserve it!’
Change the mood/scenery – When you feel your overwhelm building is there something you can do to change the situation. Can you go outside for 5 minutes? Have a quick kitchen disco? Find something silly to do? By changing our situation even briefly it can give us a little ‘reset’ and let it go for a while.
Staying Organised – Having some of the things that are playing on our mind written down on paper, either a calendar or to-do-lists. Writing lists for others if you have a partner or older children can help spread the load out between the family.
Mum rage generally hits when we are feeling totally burnt out and our needs aren’t being met. It can be a small thing that tips us over the edge and we find ourselves shouting and getting so angry and feeling like we are no longer in control of our emotions, which generally leads up back to feeling mum guilt when we manage to calm down
Know your triggers – Understanding your triggers can help you minimise them, try and note down when mum rage hits you and see what connections you can build. Is it when the kids are under your feet when you are trying to cook dinner? Could you have dinner prepared earlier in the day so it is easier just to throw it in the oven when things are harder at the end of the day? Is it when you are trying to get out of the house and get everyone ready? Is there anything you could do the night before to make it less stressful.
Stop and take a breath – When you know you have reached your limit and you are about to go full shouty mum, before responding to anything just close your eyes and take a breath. You can slowly count your breath in and out, or say to yourself ‘I breathe in calm and breathe out anger.’ Whatever you find works best for you. Remember showing your children your emotions is fine, and teaching them healthy coping mechanisms is even better!
Ask yourself how long this will make you angry for – When you are concentrating on your breath you can ask yourself, will I still feel angry about this in an hour? Tomorrow? In a week? Next month? Generally it will just be a small thing that has pushed you over the edge, which has added to all the other small things that you have managed that day, when you stop and rationalise it you realise it is not really a big problem.
Thank you so much for allowing me to write this guest blog Bear Town!
If you have any concerns about your mental health, remember there is help there for you, please reach out to your GP or a registered mental health practitioner. They are there to offer you non-judgemental support and guidance.