Selfish (adj) - concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.
May is mental health awareness month. Did you know such a thing existed? I’ll say it again in case it didn’t get through the first time: May is mental health awareness month.
Topics: Religious Abuse, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Relationship Struggles, Anxiety in Women, Anxiety in Men, LGBT Anxiety, Self Care, Mom Stress, Clergy, Child Mental Health, Young Adult Mental Health, Grief, Family Therapy
You cross the stage, ceremoniously receive a diploma, switch your tassel to the opposite side, and smile bright. As a parent, you both dread and anticipate this time for years. As a teenager, you look forward to ‘being an adult’ or ‘being on your own’. Graduation is rolling near. Within a few short weeks, high school seniors around the state (and the country) will be bidding farewell to that required school agenda and, with it, childhood as well.
Forgive and forget. Okay, so that’s two “F” words, but I have your attention now. Alexander Pope has been famously quoted as having said, “To err is human; to forgive divine.” While I can see where he was going with this, I would venture to modify by adding that perhaps to forget is divine. In my experience, both personally and professionally, sometimes it is easier to forgive than to forget.
Spring forward. Spring break. Spring cleaning. Spring is in the air...or at least pretending to be for the moment. It’s the time of year when we all start to thaw (and dry out!) from cold weather, gloom, and clouds, looking forward to warmer weather, sunshine, and finally releasing ourselves from hibernation mode. Many make their New Year’s resolutions, which have at this point primarily gone by the wayside, but what about spring time resolutions?
“It takes a village to raise a child.” I believe the majority of us have heard this saying at some point or another. Sayings of this nature stick around and translate transgenerationally because they are true. So where is this village?
As a parent, you learn early that raising a child(ren) is difficult. Ideally, you surround yourself with friends, colleagues, relatives, child care workers, a nanny, and/or babysitters in order to allow yourself, and yourself with significant others, to enjoy some adult time or just decompress. Every parent needs a break now and again in order to maintain the sanity that enables you to be the parent you long to be.
So, what happens if you live in a land that is less than the ideal? What about the parent who relocates for a spouse’s job, the parent who does not live near family, the parent who does not have family or close friends as support, or the single mom?
Last summer, I started up an 8 week support group for mothers that slated weekly meetings for an hour and a half. Group therapy is amazing because it allows you the opportunity, within a safe space, to connect with other people who understand what you go through and struggle with because they go through it, too. Groups allow individuals of similar circumstances or backgrounds to share their stories, successes, failures, and tips with one another. It is a nice way to gain support and not feel so alone when perhaps you do not have another venue.
If you find yourself searching for the village, reach out to local churches, parents day out groups, or check those bulletins at Panera! Facebook has groups for local mothers to chat with one another, though I’m uncertain of the security or screening measures there. Think of activities you do often with your child(ren) and make casual conversation with another mama while on the playground, at the park, crawling through tape tunnels at MOD, or walking through the neighborhood.
I get all the hard work that goes into being a mom. I understand that you have good days, bad days, and ugly days. I get that it is hard to move past that mom guilt or let yourself off the hook for worst mom of 2019 because you made a mistake. Reach out to others. And if you can’t locate your village, I’d love to listen.