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Posts Tagged ‘mothers’

Whether it’s ‘Mother,’ ‘Mom,’ ‘Mommy,’ ‘Momma,’ ‘Mum’, ‘Ma,’ or another name, the individuals who hold this role have an impact on society. Biological, adopted, step, assumed, pet, foster, etc., mothers and mother-figures have an enormous role in the lives of those who look to them for guidance, reassurance, assistance, comfort, knowledge, understanding, compassion, patience, and love.

This past weekend many celebrated Mother’s Day. While some are fortunate to still have mothers, others are not. Whether you spent time with your mother or not, hopefully, you were able to reminisce the past. I have fun memories of my mom from my childhood and beyond and I hope my children do with me. While I am not perfect, my goal as a mother has always been to guide, encourage, comfort and soothe, correct, and cherish and love each of them for the uniquely wonderful human beings they are. The love, or sometimes lack thereof, a mother provides is one of the most influential parts of children’s development. I regret many things, but I have tried to learn and do better. I want to show my children that life can be difficult, and we can overcome and be better.

Family, Love, Mother, Daughter
Woman hugging her mother

While it is common to be upset and even depressed with loss and or other difficult situations, it is important for mothers to take care of their own mental health for their own sake as well as to help reduce the negative impact it may have on their children. Some things that can help foster good family mental health include:

  • Regular involvement in activities that bring about positive emotions.
  • Maintaining a balanced, healthy diet.
  • Prioritizing developmentally appropriate sleep hygiene.
  • Seeking support from care providers as needed.
  • Using social support and participating in extracurricular activities that promote the development of positive peer relationships.
  • Caregivers remaining in contact with other care providers.
Women, Girlfriends, Nature, Walk, Friendship, Together
Three women walking holding hands

Having all three of my children here for dinner along with my parents, was the best Mother’s Day gift. While my daughter and my 23-year-old son live here, my 21-year-old son lives in an apartment while attending college. This is the first year he will not be coming “home” for the summer, and this momma is not prepared. As happy as I am that he is independent and self-sufficient enough to live on his own, I have sometimes wished he needed me a little more. I try to remember that this is typical for a young adult, but it’s not always easy to realize I have done my job of raising my kids to be the adults I always hoped they would become. Fortunately, my job as their mother will continue as they navigate life. It seems as though it was just yesterday that I brought them home from the hospital and watched them sleep. Now, one is a college graduate and working, one is a junior in college working part-time, and one is working a first part-time job while finishing junior year of high school and deciding what college to attend next fall. How is it possible that my babies are almost all grown up?

Mother, Son, People, Family, Hug, Portrait
Woman hugging her son

A few years ago I wrote a blog, “Mindful Parenting: Enjoy Every Moment.” I wrote about how fast time goes and why it’s important that we are present for our kids. As I re-read it preparing for this blog, I started to tear up at how fast time has passed. I often tell parents of young children to enjoy EVERY SINGLE MOMENT because time will pass fast! It’s important to enjoy even the tough and trying stages of their child’s development and not wish those moments away because one day they might be wishing their child would call or come home to visit. If you are wondering how to get started with mindful practices, my colleague wrote this blog about apps you can use. I hope you will take time to be present in all of your interactions, because one day you realize it was the little things that were the big things.

Written by Misty Harmon, MS, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Perry County

Reviewed by Patrice Powers-Barker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Lucas County

Sources:

Dryden, J. (2016, January 13). Mom’s love good for Child’s brain. Retrieved May 10, 2021, from https://source.wustl.edu/2012/01/moms-love-good-for-childs-brain/

Pugle, M. (2020, July 6). Children of Mothers with Depression More Likely to Develop Depression Themselves. Retrieved May 10, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/children-of-mothers-with-depression-more-likely-to-develop-depression-themselves

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Every year, a few new words or terms that make their way into common language. While they’re usually words that describe new trends or technologies (glamping, cryptocurrency) one that I’ve heard a lot lately is Mom Guilt. And while the use of the term has only recently gone mainstream, I imagine that the emotion has been around since the beginning of motherhood.
Mom and toddler daughter

Guilt, on its own, is an emotion experienced when we perceive that we’ve done something wrong. Add “Mom” as a prefix and, it’s clear that we’re referring to instances when we feel we could have done better by our child.

While many triggers exist, Mom Guilt is often associated with the times when we are not physically with our children. If you hesitate to plan a weekend with friends, pass on date night with your partner, skip your workouts, or even feel badly leaving for work, all because you feel you shouldn’t be leaving your child, you may be experiencing Mom Guilt.

That most likely means that you recognize how critically important you are to him or her. According to the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, “The single most common factor [in resilient children] is at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive [parent or other adult.]”Mom in script text

So, it’s wise and admirable that you would be thoughtful about how you use your time, and that you see the value in devoting the better part of a given day, week, or month to time with your child and your family. However, for loving and attentive parents, perhaps a feeling of guilt (which remember, refers to feelings of having done wrong), each time you leave home, should be reconsidered. Here’s why:

  1. Your child needs the opportunity to exercise independence. In many of our parenting classes, when we ask parents what their goals are for their children, we almost always unanimously agree that we want our children to grow into happy, independent adults. Children need the chance to exercise their independence by being away from you at times.
  2. You are your child’s first teacher, and always a role model. Let them see how you can manage the many responsibilities adulthood, including heading out to work each day. I hope to inspire my daughter by showing her that every day, going after what needs to be done with a positive attitude, which includes leaving for work, is good for me, for her, and for our family.
  3. Happy parents create happy families. Taking care of #1 has rippling effects for your family. So, if you need to take a break without your kids, whether that’s going to yoga or having lunch with friends, know that it’s nothing to feel guilty about. When you’re back, you’ll feel more peaceful and rejuvenated, and can be present with your child, the beneficiary of a happy mom!

What do you do to relieve your “Mom Guilt?”  Respond in the comment section.

Resources:

The Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, Resilience https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/resilience/

PBS Parents, Fostering Independence in Children http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/learning-disabilities/fostering-independence-in-children/

Writer: Joanna Fifner, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Medina County, fifner.2@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

 

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