Gifts for Dad ➔

As a therapist we have to be careful how much we disclose about ourselves, always checking in to see if why we are sharing it is for our own benefit or that of the client. But at times, it serves a clinically appropriate role, and I believe this is just that. 

Soin full disclosureI am a mama. And a therapist who works with women. In all walks of life, having chosen various paths and transitioning through milestones, like mama-hood. And what I have seen time and time again is the constant state of anxiety that is our mama-hood baseline for so many of us, myself included (again, with this whole self-disclosure thing).

NOTE: This is not an attempt to address postpartum anxiety or postpartum depression. That absolutely requires the attention it deserves including that of a licensed perinatal clinician and/or medical professional. (And again, staying true to myself, I see one. Hoping that that self-disclosure helps to normalize asking for help.)

I’m literally just talking about the constant state of mama-stress we ALL have the moments after we pee on the stick. 

And then the nerves set in, the butterflies take flight, and our heart races. Because that’s just it. We’re in the race now. The best/perfect mama race. 

RELATED: I’m Not a Perfect Mother, But I Love Them With All of My Heart

We fill up our amazon shopping carts with every single What to Expect book out there. We research every different kind of birthing option and parenting style possible, and we buy those books too. We join all the Mama-Facebook groups within a two-hour driving radius and begin to post. “So I am 15 weeks pregnant and . . .” We listen to every single podcast from celebrity hosts to IG influencers about how they parent, products they’ve bought, and how to raise the most “empathetic, kind, adventurous, confident (insert any positive adjective here)” kid. 

And we get inundated. We get so many perspectives (too many). So many thoughtful, yet often overbearing, pieces of advice (too many). We have options, decisions to make, choices to live with, consequences to bear. Again, too many. 

Personally, with more self-disclosing, I couldn’t handle it. I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle the books. Every time I would browse one at the library, I’d immediately put it down. It’d scare me even before any of their advice was appropriate for the stage I was at in my pregnancy or parenting. But of course, I would pick up the next book. And without fail, it gave me a totally different approach/style/advice. Again, completely undermining what I had just read by another “expert,” and I was totally derailed.

Despite my hopes to find a parenting path through all my lousy attempts at research, I kept coming up empty-handed and even more, anxious.

How would I ever get this right? Because with every choice, there is a consequence. And I was avoiding messing this little being up with all I had. 

And the Facebook groups and friends were really no different. I never got what I was looking for. It just added to my anxiety that somehow I was doing it all wrong. Because everyone has their own opinion, and in their eyes . . . they’re right. 

More and more women came into my office, sat on the couch, and tears welled up in their eyesso many of them had one thing very specific trait in common. They had stopped listening to themselves. They were so caught up in the race. The race to fit in, do it right, look put together, raise the perfect kid, say the right thing, discipline the best waythe list goes on. When I asked them why they believed in what they were so closely identified with, they had trouble answering it.

And that’s when I realized for myself that as a greater collective, we as mamas have stopped listening to ourselves. Our intuition. Our gut. Our hearts. 

But herein lies the problem. We have too much external white noise that distracts us ultimately from ourselves. We need the quiet, the silence, the void (however incredibly uncomfortable it might be), to really check in and hear ourselves. Because mama, your body knew just what to do for 10 months as this little being grew inside you. And you have so much of the wisdom and insight to care for her or him outside you too. It’s how we have survived as long as we have as a human race. We just know. It’s kind of a mama thing. 

RELATED: You Are the Mom. Period.

Yes, there is a time and place for science, research, “data that suggests . . .” etc., and I am forever grateful for the virtual communities that make feeling like you are not alone possible for so many.

If only we could limit our intake (hey, we put restrictions on our kids’ screen time), pay the research the weight it deserves, and balance it with our own intuition, then we might be on to something. Dare I even say, begin to feel good enough just as we are as mamas. Each on our own path, honoring that diversity is what makes us so rich.

After all, mama, good enough is ultimately all we need to be for our kids. Striving for perfection as a mama is a moving target and sets our children up to believe they should be perfect too. Let’s aim for good enough, practice some self-compassion, and remember that with a little practice, we might begin to trust ourselves as mamas.

Chelsea Robinson

Chelsea is founder of Mamas Modern Village. She is a motherhood therapist, a postpartum doula and a matrescence coach, specifically focusing on a woman's transition to mother. In addition, Chelsea is a wife and a mother, of which, in her own transition to motherhood, made her pivot her career focus. Realizing how much little support there is for a woman as she ventures into her motherhood journey, let alone after birth, Chelsea has since dedicated herself to being a part of, what Chelsea calls, "the motherhood renaissance."

To the Mom With the Anxious Soul

In: Journal, Mental Health, Motherhood
To the Mom With the Anxious Soul www.herviewfromhome.com

I see you, mama. You’re the one sitting alone at the family party. You’re the one hovering a little too close to your sweet babies at the park. You’re the one standing in the bathroom at work for just a moment of quiet. Your thoughts are swirling constantly, faster and more fearful that a “regular” mama. You find yourself spaced out at times, and hyper aware at others. You’ve heard the words “just relax” and “everything is fine” more times than you care to count. Sometimes you wish you could make everyone understand why you are the way you are...

Keep Reading

Why Tired Moms Stay Up Late

In: Motherhood
Woman sitting on couch at night looking at smartphone

I got up around 5:30 this morning. I do that five days a week so I can get my son to daycare and my daughter to school before I report to work at 7:30. Don’t worry, I start drinking coffee before I even leave the house. When I arrive at work I pour another cup of coffee, then make my way through eight hours of work that’s unrelated to raising my family. I clock out the moment my shift ends, rush to pick up the kids, and start dinner as soon as we arrive home. Dinner is often rejected, because...

Keep Reading

I Have Anxiety and Depression—and I’m a Good Mom

In: Faith, Motherhood
I Have Anxiety and Depression—and I'm a Good Mom www.herviewfromhome.com

My name is Lauren. I have depression. And I’m a good mom.   It took me a few months to be able to tell what it was. I was withdrawn. Sad. Uninterested. Joy stripped. Resentful. It took everything I had in me to get out of bed in the morning, let alone take care of the kids. I was alone in my sorrow, and drowning in my shame. I knew that something needed to change. My name is Lauren. I have depression. I take my antidepressant. And because of it, I’m a better mom It took me a few months...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections