I didn’t think motherhood would be this hard. This motherhood thing doesn’t come with an instruction manual (I wish it did lol.) No one ever warned me how my sleeping days, shower days, and peaceful days would all be over, or just how overwhelming this would be.
At first, we’re so excited about having a baby and as you go through the pregnancy you start to worry about whether you are 100% prepared. You worry about being the perfect parent. You worry about how other parents will judge you. Not everyone is perfect, not every parent is the same and what works for you may not work for the next mother.
However, one thing no one ever told me was how much motherhood can affect you mentally. From the constant waking up at night, getting spit up on, poopy diapers, teething, constant crying, and the list can go on. It’s no longer about you. You start forgetting about who you were before becoming a mother. Your mental health is so important and as a mother, I feel it is extremely important to make sure you are mentally well.
For me it definitely has been an emotional rollercoaster, I’ve lost friends. I noticed family doesn’t reach out anymore. I feel like when you’re a first-time mother it is so important to have that support system and when you don’t have that it affects you mentally. Thankfully for me, I had the support of my mother and of course my partner. However, even with that support I still felt alone. I felt mentally and physically drained.
Nowadays I don’t really get time for myself. Being a mother is a 24/7 job, it’s hard to take breaks, and adding a full-time job to that really can be draining. You are constantly working working working with little to no breaks. You start putting your child’s needs before your own, however, I realized that sometimes you need to put yourself first because how can you take care of your child if you haven’t taken care of yourself first. Sometimes living to please others (even your own kids) can really have a huge impact on your mental health. It’s important to sit back and ask yourself; Am I happy? Am I doing what I love? How can I improve my mental health? Don’t ever feel guilty for taking care of yourself first.
A lot of moms have that “Mom Guilt,” they feel like because they are choosing to take care of themselves first they are a bad mom.
There’s a saying:
“Remember to take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
If you’re not taking care of yourself how can you take care of others or help others? How can you be the best mother, wife, daughter, or friend, if you are running on empty? Putting yourself and your needs first are not being selfish at all.
Treat your body the same way you would treat someone you love. It took me a while to understand that I need to take care of myself first before I can be the best mother to my daughter. If I wanted a day for myself and dropped my daughter off at my mother’s house, within an hour I felt so guilty like the worst mother ever, however, slowly I realized it is important to have that ME time.
I started researching ways to balance motherhood and mental health and these are the things that help me:
Wake up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than your kids and partner so that you can have ME time even if it’s for an hour it can really help.
Find your person. Someone you can be 100% real with.
Don’t compare yourself to other parents or what you see on social media.
Don’t put yourself down.
Take care of your child the way you think works for you. You know your child best. Don’t listen to other parents about how you should parent.
SLEEP! Make sleep a priority. When your newborn sleeps you sleep to or have your partner watch your baby while you sleep.
Do things that you enjoy doing. Whether it’s reading, cooking, catching up on the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy, etc.
Don’t compare your child to other children. Every child develops differently.
Have a night out with your partner.
So, even though motherhood has definitely had its challenges and affected my mental health I would say now my mental health is improving and I wouldn’t trade being a mother for anything else in the world.
To all the moms out there struggling with their mental health, I hope this helps you. Please remember to take care of yourself first so that you can be the best mother to your child/children.
Nancy Rojas is a boss babe/mom. She is originally from the Bronx and currently resides in Central Harlem. She is a mother to a 3 year old who keeps her on her toes. She currently works for the New York City Department of Education as a Paraprofessional. I just had to feature her as a guest writter for my blog to help other moms out there(especially since May is Mental Health Awareness Month) Please share with a friend, comment, and subscribe. Thanks so much Nancy and warriors xoxo