HOW TO COPE WITH MOTHERHOOD STRESS

My Handbag is from Dagne Dover I love the inside, it is very mommy friendly and yet stylish. It has little compartment for bottle, iPhone, iPad and more. My Scarf is from Burberry My boots were from London but I have included one from my wish list here which is very comfortable and stylish for women seeking comfort and style. The coat is an oldie but got a similar one here

“She who fails to prepare, prepares to fail”. This is one of my favourite quotes. A quick background story. Today my husband went back to work. He is based in their foreign office and for the past 6 years now, I am left alone to hold down the fort. When we were in England despite having my mom, grandma and several aunts and uncles and cousins around, often times I end up doing it all by myself. Yes we have friends who occasionally chip in to help and we have used hired help but there is nothing like having a steady consistent support around especially from the other parent who cares for them equally.

Then we moved to America where the people we know are thousands of miles away from New York City. People say it takes a village, some of us have no village and when people say “I don’t know how you do it”,I find it a little confusing like they expect me to have a choice. I often tell them why do you think I have a choice “doing it”. I take my role as a mother very seriously. Just like you get your suit ready for work, don’t go out at night partying so you can go to work the next day, I too do things that will not interfere with my job as a mother and wife. I understand that life is stressful. people without kids go through stress as well. And parenting is one of the toughest jobs on earth. Having people depend on you for their every needs is tiring. There is no room for error. If you forget to take them for their flu shot and before others judge you you are already judging yourself. If God forbid they become sick you immediately take on the blame. Thank Goodness for the All-new Echo Show (2nd Gen) which you can use as your personal assistant to remind you of important things.

If we already know that life itself is stressful and parenting is hard, why do we not prepare for it? That is why I started with the quote. You need to understand your triggers and avoid anything that will make you feel bad about yourself. Who are you following on social media? Even if it is your mom being passive aggressive or your older sister always fact checking you, any contents that makes you feel bad about yourself, unfollow them. Its nothing personal, you are not in that zone quite yet, when you feel better and can handle all the drama (although you should never put up with anyone that disrespect you or hurt you), you can follow back. I used to follow a very popular instagrammer but I stopped resonating with her contents, she wasn’t following me back officially but she was ghost following me. Whenever I post something and I express my vulnerability to my followers because I like to keep it real sometimes, the next day, she will post something about being able to do the thing I said I could not do. I wasn’t upset about her strength or anything, I just didn’t want people who were fact checking me. Or think they have to prove they are better than me.

We are like taps, we are constantly giving out something. We give our time, love, energy, affection, resources and wisdom. Some of us over stretch ourselves too much by opening too many taps all at ones. You are your girls best friend, checking up on her, calling her and dealing with her problems, you are your parents ATM machine, you are your siblings second parents sending them to uni or trying to get them a job. Your pastor loves you and that your neighbour who lives downstairs can’t stop singing your praise. You respond to every comment on your social media account, follow, like and comment on every post. You do it all. No wonder when it comes to mom duties you are stressed and tapped out. You cannot be everything to everyone at the same time. You are a human being, not a superwoman. You matter too.

I cut off several family relationships that weren’t serving me or bringing me joy. Same with friendships. My best friend understand that if I don’t call her in six months, it doesn’t mean I don’t love her. Others have given up. I don’t mind. my kids are happy. I am happy. Your (own) family is your priority. Just to be clear about that, I mean your children, especially when you have little kids. They don’t have another mom. My kids don’t even have another person to take care of them if God forbid I breakdown. Their dad work away from home, their family members live far away. Why should I spread myself too thin that I am unable to look after them? Yes the house will be messy sometimes and you will forget to do shopping in the fridge but overall, you are good and they are good. If you have good extended families and friends, they should understand. Instead of using you as their ATM, they should be encouraging you to save for your children’s future. If they are not buying your kids nice presents they should understand that your resources is going into getting them things. You might not be able to stay with them in their feelings during their drama, you are saving your mental energy for when your kids do have a meltdown or you are trying to solve a fourth grade algebra homework. But they should know that doesn’t mean you don’t love or care about them. It is ok to be selfish sometimes. Whenever my husband is around or I have a minder, I meet up with friends. You are not bad for not showing up for Friday drinks every week.

Winter is one of the hardest seasons. Winter blues is real, prepare for it. During the winter months, we often times want to stay indoors because it is cold and miserable outside. You can still go for walks. Just layer up. Pad up the kids, hat gloves, scarf and everything. Stop for hot chocolate and come back home. 5 mins outside is better than nothing. There are so many indoor activities like playing a game of chess. Go to Malls for window shopping or coffee. Meet up with another mom friend not because you are snobbish and only hang out with moms, but because they are in same situation as you and understand when you have to talk over your food to correct your child. If you have single friends who understand, meet them up. Go to each others house. This is when you should plan that play date for the kids while the grown ups settle down for a cup of tea. It doesn’t matter what your house look like, if they are your friends, they won’t judge you. If they do, whatever. It won’t kill you.

Again, who are you following on social media, avoid it. Take off the App and only log in through the web. The stress of doing that will sometimes stop you from constantly checking for updates. Social media isn’t all bad, you have to learn to use it well. I love following pages that make me laugh or inspire my creativity. Some people may be braggy but they are only joking. Seeing other people’s accomplishment pop up on your feed constantly can make you feel like you are failing, even though that is often not the case. There is a lot to be grateful for in your life. You just have to look.

SIT BY THE FIRE

December last year I bought a faux fireplace with a surround for our apartment. Not every apartment in Manhattan comes with a fireplace and I love them. I wasn’t prepared to go through the cold winter without the feeling you get when you sit cozy up by the fireplace. So I got one. This fireplace with surround was one of the best things I got. It burns and looks like real log burning. Looking at the flames burning while sipping homemade cocoa or wine in the evening after the kids have gone to bed makes me so happy. Even my husband who was feeling a little low because of a news he received the other day said he loved seeing the flames burning.

GET LITE UP

Whenever I am in a bright light I feel happy. We all love the sun, there is something about sunlight that makes us feel happy, the fact that is it winter does not mean we cannot create our own sunshine, quite literarily. Use Artificial sun like Carex Day Light Therapy

EAT FOOD THAT BOOST YOUR MOOD

Food like squash which is a great source of magnesium and potassium, eggplant which contains fiber, copper, vitamin B1, and manganese, Spinach, Kale, sweet potatoes which is full of pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin, and anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and turmeric which assists with immune-inflammatory or stress pathways and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis activity. You can sit by the fire and read more about mood foods that can change you and your family’s life.

DE-CLUTTER YOUR SPACE

Believe it or not, your physical environment can affect your emotional wellbeing. Other than decluttering your physical environment, declutter your mind. One of the best book that changed my life and was Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking. Remember when I said I had to let go of things and people that were not bringing me joy. I feel happiest than I have felt my entire life.

WEAR CLOTHES THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

One of my New Year plan is to dress more and look good. If you look good, you will feel good. You don’t even need the compliment although it will make you feel good when someone say you looked nice in that new scarf or red shoes but looking at the mirror, you will definitely feel nice seeing yourself in that outfit you once admired. It could be a bag or a shoe or even a pair of sunglasses. They call it retail therapy for a reason.

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Manolo Blahnik
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