Mental Health and Motherhood: Can You Have Both?

Mental health and motherhood

As a mother, you are expected to be the chef, the cleaner, the taxi driver, the doctor, and everything else in between. Whether you are in the new baby bubble, trying to survive the terrible twos, or even clawing your way through the rebellious teenage years, it's very easy to find yourself feeling lonely. You are so busy scrambling to fulfil your numerous duties, that you don't have time to wipe your arse, nevermind get dolled up and hit the town with friends!

Even without children in the equation, women are still expected to work, keep a tidy home, maintain a trim physique, check up on your partner, stock the fridge, and look after ourselves. Despite recent feminist movements, society perpetually sets these elevated expectations for women: the flawless housewife with the perfect family in the picturesque suburban home.

What if you don’t want to be the carefully put together mother with the Boden stripes and oversized sunglasses? Why should you be expected to fit into a mold? Society and social media, in particular, are setting these standards and showing young girls that this is the ultimate goal, when in reality, Susan bribed her children with a Kit-Kat and a bag of wotsits just to say 'cheese' for the camera. Don't let social media fool you - we all struggle, some people are just better at hiding it.

A recent study found that 68% of women with poor mental health were parents. The emotional toll upon a parent can feel crushing sometimes. I am a single parent to two young children, one with additional needs, and I also suffer from BPD. Dealing with poor mental health is exhausting, and it also affects you physically. You may stop wanting to look after yourself and caring properly for your appearance. Self-care may turn into distant relative, when she used to be your BFF. 

Self-care is essential as motherly love. They say you cannot pour from an empty cup, so I suggest we all fill our cups to the brim in the same way we fill our wine glass during girls’ night in.  Self-care can boost your mood, your self-esteem and even your confidence. Providing yourself that undivided attention reminds you that your needs deserve to be met too, that YOU matter. It also gives you time to relax and unwind, to soak your troubles away and start fresh. I always say I feel as if I've been rebirthed when I come out of a nice hot bubble bath!  Please know that you CAN order take-out when the kids have been little devils all day. Buy the facemasks, pick up a boujee pack of bath salts, and pamper yourself, mama, because you deserve the world and more!

Written By: Stephanie Waddell

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