Deadlines. Doctor appointments. Recitals. Rehearsals. Homework.
There’s no denying, moms (and really all caregivers) tend to have all of this and MORE on their to-do lists each day. It’s no wonder, then, that taking time for themselves and their mental health can easily fall off of the radar, especially during extra busy times like the holiday season.
As a pediatrician and mom of two littles myself, I know all the work that goes into raising happy, healthy children. What we’re doing is not a task to be taken lightly, but there are some ways we can work to manage all the stress and pressure that comes with parenting. It is so important to stay mentally healthy while momming, and here are four tips to help.
Stay in a routine as much as you can
Do you normally stop working at 5 p.m. but had one more to-do sneak onto your list that you weren’t expecting? Do what you can until 5 p.m. and tell yourself you’ll get back to it first thing tomorrow to finish what’s undone.
Got caught in some crazy traffic after basketball practice and now everyone’s eating dinner later than usual? Don’t push bedtime back, too. Accept that the traffic happened, and was out of your control, and this is good enough for today.
Whatever the scenario, try to keep to the normal structure of your family’s day as much as possible. In the long run this practice will help keep us from stretching ourselves too thin and keep us mentally healthy.
Don’t underestimate the power of sleep
This reminder directly correlates to #1 and the importance of staying on track. If for whatever reason it’s time for bed and you didn’t accomplish as much as you wanted, take a moment to accept you’ve done what you can and will finish the rest another day, and then go to sleep. So many times, people choose to compromise and sacrifice sleep but really, we must prioritize and protect it as much as possible.
Sleep helps keep us healthy, both mentally and physically. It impacts our appetites, immune systems and even the hormones related to stress, so getting adequate amounts of it each night should become a non-negotiable in your routine as much as possible.
Don’t forget to do something for YOU!
Make a point to do something for you on a regular basis. Do you like to read? Carve out time to catch up on some books. Do you want to learn a new hobby? Sign up for a class. Whatever fills your cup up as an individual, do it. The time away from your kids will not hurt them. In fact, it should leave you feeling fulfilled and ready to take on the next parenting challenge. Plus, it models to them the importance of “self-care,” which is a good skill to teach early in life.
Seek help when you need it
Sometimes, no matter the mindfulness practices, routines, or self-care habits we try, we need a little extra help processing our reactions and feelings to the world around us. Thankfully, there’s a myriad of local resources available including those listed below where individuals can turn for help to stay mentally healthy.
- The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD (Harris County)
- The Gulf Coast Center (Galveston County)
Also, having a conversation with your or your child’s health care provider is another great place to start when looking for help or solutions that may currently be out of your reach.
Parenting is a full-time, all-hands-on-deck effort, and it can be exhausting. Remember to prioritize and restore yourself and give yourself and those around you grace.
Many Blessings, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Website | (800) 917-8906
The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB Health) system of care includes hospitals and emergency departments on four campuses, a network of primary and specialty care clinics, urgent care and walk-in services, and collaborations with physicians throughout the region. UTMB Health serves patients throughout Texas, and features an extensive network of primary and specialty care clinics and centers that complement hospitals on three campuses.
Check out UTMB’s various locations
around the Houston area:
Dr. Rodriguez Lien is an assistant professor of Pediatrics and is a board certified pediatrician who cares for patients in the League City area. In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Rodriguez Lien is heavily involved in medical student education and resident education at UTMB. She has a passion for preventative medicine, specifically the maternal-infant bond and health benefits from breastfeeding. Additionally, mental health is another one of her specialties. She currently she leads the primary care behavioral and mental health clinic at the UTMB Pediatrics Bay Colony location.