Mother’s Day 2021: A Year for Extra Care
In a typical year, we use the month of May to celebrate mothers. We use Mother’s Day in particular to pamper our mothers, give gifts, or provide much needed time for relaxation. This year we acknowledge the toll that the past year has taken on mothers everywhere and look for ways to support them as they continue to carry the burden of the ever-changing years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the spring of 2020, an overwhelming number of primary caregivers have had to leave their jobs, have taken on extra childcare duties, and have had to become in-home teachers while parenting and working. All of these extra stressors impact a person’s mental health.
If you are a mother or primary caregiver, it’s important to pay attention to alleviating the impact of these stressors. When your environment limits your time and other resources, it is vital to acknowledge your efforts, needs, and intentions. Take breaks if you can. Say “no” when you can (although sometimes this may not feel possible within the limitations of pandemic life.) Validate what you do, what you feel, and what you need in order to feel better.
Try this quick breath exercise with some self-talk, or mantras, to help to create some self-validation:
- Breathe. You are doing it right.
- Breathe again. Let go of the tension in your jaw and your shoulders.
- Breathe again. Into your belly this time. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed.
- Breathe again. Create a mantra or statement for yourself that reminds you that you are doing the best that is possible in this moment.
- Breathe into your belly. Say the mantra out loud. (“I am doing the best that is possible for me in this moment, today, this week.”)
And here are some ideas for alleviating the burden of the mothers around you:
- Check in and offer something specific that you can do for the mother or family. Too often we ask “if anything can be done”. This sometimes gets lost, because simply thinking of something to be done may be too much for the mother!
- Let the mother know when you’re on the way to the store and ask if anything needs to be picked up.
- Offer to take the kids for an hour or two if safety protocols can be followed.
- If you have the means, purchase and drop off books or other independent activities for the kids.
- Call and offer to simply listen to what’s happening.
-Erin Klein, M.A., L.C.P.C.