Finding Balance In The Thick Of Motherhood
This time of year, the winter blues can creep in. Or, maybe it’s a struggle to figure out your identity with this new title of Mom. –I’ve been there! In fact, if I look back and examine the biggest issue I’ve faced in my motherhood journey, it would be getting my mind, body, and spirit in balance. My symptoms have taken on different forms: bonafide Baby Blues, feelings of overwhelm, loss of identity, postpartum anxiety and rage. As a first step (and we should all do this if feelings persist), I got tested. Two different medical professionals determined that I did not have clinical Postpartum Depression. So, it was up to me to get proactive and find a way to clear the fog and find my way back to a new normal.
Here are some tools I’ve used to find balance in the thick of motherhood:
- Meditation: My first attempts at meditation were all pretty much failures — I couldn’t get myself to stop thinking! I’ve heard it called the “monkey mind” — this condition of your thoughts bouncing all around during mediation. Well, quieting that monkey mind was super tough for me until I found guided mediation. I downloaded and currently use the Headspace app, which provides a whole library of voice-guided mediation sessions. Plus, they focus on a ton of subjects: mindful eating, sleep, happiness, and finding focus. Even if you don’t use an app, simply putting on some spa-like music and setting your phone on a 10-15 minute timer is a huge help, too.
- Going back to work: About six months after the birth of my second child, I found myself craving a job outside the home. The past four years as a stay-at-home-mom were special, but I was wanting to contribute in the workplace again. It was tough finding the right fit that worked for both my skills/interests/experience and for my kids’ varied schedules. I’m so thankful to have found something that works for me right now! My part-time gig is a welcome chance to close my mental computer’s 37 open browser tabs and focus on something that has nothing to do with all those mom-related responsibilities. Plus, it’s nice to chat with co-workers (grown-up conversation with other adults!) and get paid a bit, too.
- Committing to fitness: What an aha! moment it was when I realized that I need to workout not for my body, but for my mind. Now, I typically never feel like going & am not the happiest camper during class, but I’ve never once walked out of the gym regretting that I went. Being present, sweating, and moving our bodies is one of the best things we can do for our mental health. Finding a fitness center with childcare was crucial for me and more & more places are offering options. For that hour or so of working out, the kiddos get an opportunity for healthy socialization while you get a little personal time to take care of your health & nurture your physical body.
- Self-care: Yes, everyone is talking about self-care but what is it really? Well, it is figuring out what fuels you and making time for those things. Self-care isn’t selfish. Flying with your child is the perfect illustration of this: the airline attendant makes a point to tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others with theirs. We must care for ourselves before we can care for others. Self-care can be a spa day but it can also be completely free and basic. Some ‘No Budget – No Problem’ examples include taking a walk outside, getting enough sleep, an undisturbed bubble bath with candles lit & a glass of wine in-hand, or my personal fave: a trip to Target alone…just browsing the aisles with no agenda, sniffing candles and drinking a hot Starbucks.
What are your favorite ways to find balance for yourself in motherhood?