As moms, of course we get stressed! But often the stress comes from being afraid to make mistakes…and some of the stress comes from feeling like we shouldn't talk about our stress!! So we bottle it up, and that's not good for a mom's mental health!
Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, a child and family therapist, says many of the moms who come to see her…and unload all this stress they don't tell anyone about in real life… could have actually skipped therapy if only they felt like they could talk about this with their friends!
Dr. Ziegler even said that if all the women who came and saw her had a best friend, her practice would be cut in half!!
So, as moms, why don't we have best friends? OR why don't we have best friends that we feel like we can vent to sometimes? Well, both Dr. Ziegler, and YouTuber mom Emily Norris, chalk it up to one reason:
You're Too Busy!
Dr. Ziegler talks about how moms can become isolated, and miss out on friendships, if they try to DO too much!
If they're chauffeuring their kids around in the car all day, and they're also really focusing in on their career goals, and trying to keep their house perfect…that doesn't leave a lot of time for very necessary hangouts with girlfriends.
And of course, social and quality time with our kids and husband is so extremely important and rewarding…but research shows that women really need a friendship network of other women too.
If a mom has let her friendships go by the wayside and not made time for them, she can feel alone and lost. Dr. Ziegler talks about a 1963 book by Betty Friedan, where women say that the new transition of society to suburban life has made them feel lonely, because they aren't as close to all their friends.
Now, you might think this is a 1963 type of problem, because now, we can chat and text with our friends, and it's easier for us to drive to them.
But the truth is, a mom's mental health nowadays can be just as affected by not making real, face-to-face time for friendships. Dr. Ziegler says women are feeling isolated, but they're also ashamed about it…So they don't talk about it…So they don't know how to fix the problem!
And after all, you can't just magically make more time appear, right?
Well, that's where YouTuber Emily Norris comes in.
She offers up ways that moms can make more time in their day, stating that some of the things we overload our plate with can be taken off.
For example, she talks about how her son didn't like being in certain play groups, but she was taking him every day. She started taking him less often, and he was a lot happier…Plus, it made more time for her, too!
So her takeaway from that was, if your kid doesn't like doing something that's supposed to be fun for them, who is this really benefiting? It's just a time sink for everyone involved and you can take it off the schedule!
Emily also talks about how moms will spend time in moms' groups with women who AREN'T friends. She says that the moms' group she was in was actually not a positive experience for her, because people would judge her for everything, from the type of stroller she bought to what she was feeding her son.
I think we all tend to feel obligated to keep going to a group that we've been attending for so long…but, again, if you don't like it, why would you keep going?
That kind of group toxicity can negatively affect a mom's mental health.
Spend time with people you actually enjoy spending time with: it seems obvious, and yet SO many of us end up spending precious free time with people who aren't supportive.
Nowadays, we moms have access to things that the 1963 women would have never dreamed of, like social media. Yet we can still feel lonely and isolated if we don't cultivate those friendships…someone to vent to, listen to, and spend some important free time with!
My biggest take-away from Doctor Ziegler's TED talk was what she said at the end, about how even if you're tired, you need to pick up the phone and call your best friend. She says:
"Let’s call a friend. Anytime.
After we kiss our kids goodnight and we’re tired. Let’s contact a friend. For no other reason than to say, how are you?
Let’s get together with a friend. Let’s make a new friend."
A mom's mental health can only be strong if she spends quality time with her kids and spouse…but makes time for friends outside the home, too.
One really great way to make new girlfriends is through health and fitness. Because, we in this space are all ENCOURAGING each other and we are all trying to reach the same goals!! We're here to motivate each other in my fitness group. If this sounds like something you're interested in, all you have to do is fill out this form and I'll give you more info. We'd be happy to have you join us!! 😊