Take Care Of Yourself Mama, Your Kids Are Watching

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take care mamaI had a hard time transitioning to motherhood after my son was born. I spent so much time preparing for a major life change, but I had no idea how I would feel once it happened. My new job was to be a mother, but I wasn’t sure what that meant for the old-me. I tried to juggle being both people and it was a challenge. A lot of women have a hard time with this transition, and some struggle with mental health issues like depression or anxiety. As parents, we’ve got our hands full. We’re managing finances, relationships, a home, and raising kids. It can be really overwhelming. Some of us have supportive partners or family to help ease the load, but not everyone is so lucky. What we can do is try to recognize when we’re starting to feel down, anxious, or frustrated, and figure out what works to manage those feelings. In the past few years, I’ve been working hard to take care of myself in this way. I’ve made some big lifestyle changes and found some new self-care practices that work for me. 

Being a parent comes with a lot of responsibilities. For starters, we’re in charge of keeping a small human alive…in this world. We spend our days teaching them how to do things, the difference between right and wrong, and what not to stick up their noses. They learn so much by watching what we do and how we react in certain situations. We should be modeling how to work through difficult times, but a lot of us have a hard time doing that. 

When feeling overwhelmed, down, anxious, or frustrated, I’ve found this simple tool makes a difference. Use the acronym HALT as a tool to help:  

HALT  (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)

Hungry – This one seems pretty obvious. If you’re hungry, eat. However, it’s not just about eating, it’s about eating well. Fuel your body with the proper nutrition to be and feel your best. For me, watching my sugar intake has been a big help. It wasn’t easy, and I had to moderate my cookie-eating! Instead of eating an entire sleeve, now I’ll have one or two. Little changes can make a big difference!
Hunger also can mean a need for human interaction. So often we hunger for time with our people. If you’re feeling this need, talk to your friends and plan a lunch date or an evening meet-up!  

Angry – Feeling angry is totally normal. Sometimes we get stuck in a bad mood, it’s hard to get out and it can rub off on others. Try to recognize when you’re starting to feel upset and find ways to work through those feelings. One thing that helps me is giving myself a time-limit to be angry. I try to work through it, and I do some self-care or things I enjoy. Most of the time I don’t even need the full length of time. Another thing I do is write out my feelings in a text or email, and then…I delete it! This gives me a chance to vent, but I’m not projecting my feelings onto anyone else. Bad moods are contagious, so it’s important to get a handle on it before it spreads to those around me.

Lonely – Building your tribe can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a mom. It’s important to recognize when you’re feeling lonely so that you can reach out to someone. It’s so amazing how much better we can feel after a little bit of time with our people. A few weekends ago I met up with some friends for lunch. We spent the day laughing and catching up with each other. It had been a while since I laughed that much! After the day was over I had SO MUCH energy and I was in a great mood. It made me realize just how important that socialization is to me.

Tired – A pretty obvious one, right?…Or is it? We know that when we feel tired, we need more sleep; yet so many of us are not getting enough. We live in a world where being busy and hustling is celebrated. We forget to prioritize rest. For so many mothers, getting enough sleep is easier said than done. Our kiddos aren’t sleeping through the night, so how are we supposed to? Try going to bed earlier or take naps if you have a chance. Getting those extra ZZZs might make you feel better than doing that extra chore or watching another episode on Netflix before bed. 

Use HALT to give yourself a quick checkup. Figure out what works for you to get yourself closer to 100%. You will not only be working on yourself, but you’ll be teaching your kids how to get through difficult times too. And, the next time you notice someone else struggling, offer to spend some time with them. Ask if they want to go on a walk, or share a podcast you’re really into. They say it takes a village to raise kids, but sometimes the adults need the village too.

 

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Blair is a wife to Rodney and mommy to Kyus (2016). She grew up in Red Wing and has lived in Rochester for 15 years. Blair works full-time at the Mayo Clinic as a Psychometrist (she tests people’s thinking). She finds mental health and psychology extremely interesting and loves learning about wellness. In her spare time Blair likes to do all things relaxing. This includes, but is not limited to: napping, going for walks, taking baths, and watching reality television. On the weekends you can find her thrift shopping, and attending fun events around town with her family of 3. Blair loves to make people laugh with her sarcastic and blunt personality, and she doesn’t take life too seriously.

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