Monday, October 09, 2006

Cracking the Mom Code: 3 Mental Health Pitfalls to Avoid

My Mojo Mom philosophy has been developing for several years now, and what I find interesting is that the more I learn, the simpler things can become. I've had some recent A-HAs where the big picture has come into clearer focus. Last week I spoke to a Mothers & More group on the topic of "Cracking the Mom Code," which is really the simplest possible encapsulation of my work. I thought it was one of the best talks I've ever given. On this week's podcast (look for a new episode on Friday) Sheryl and I will pick up on this discussion, so I hope you'll listen in.

After all I have seen and studied I've found that there are 3 major pitfalls for Moms to avoid. The rest of my work with Mojo Mom is designed to give you the tools and inspiration to help come up with your own solutions and antidotes to these challenges.

Cracking the Mom Code...3 mental health pitfalls every woman must avoid.

1. Disappointment. The clash between expectation and reality.
Antidotes are: Realistic expectations and honesty.

2. Guilt. The clash between expectation and our own imperfection. Punishing ourselves for imagined crimes.
Antidotes are: Compassion toward yourself, accepting imperfection as okay. Realizing that guilt, worry, and anxiety are truly costly and not worth the damage they cause.

3. Depletion. Neglecting our own physical, mental, and emotional needs leads to exhaustion.
Antidotes are: Making yourself a priority, taking care of your basic needs, developing a sustainable parenting style for the long run. Embracing creativity as an undertapped resource for Moms.

Yes, this is a deliberate oversimplfication. I can talk for an hour on these topics, but I find that many causes of unhappiness can be traced back to these roots. There is so much built into the socialization of motherhood that leads us to disappointment, guilt, and depletion. It is liberating to peel off the mask of motherhood, and also to stop blaming ourselves for own unrealistic expectations and the shock of motherhood. I used to blame myself for having no clue about what motherhood was really going to be like. Once I became conscious of the entire industry and marketing juggernaut, not to mention social cues and roles, that had sold me a fantasy that didn't match reality, I realized that my individual naivete was actually a product of complicated social forces at work.

I like to say that the birth industry is to mothering like the wedding industry is to marriage--they build you up for the "big day" then drop you off at the doorstep of the rest of your life and wave goodbye. Unromantic concepts like disappointment, guilt and depletion are not voiced in most women's prenatal education, and that's why Mojo Mom is here--to give you the truth straight up, let you know that you are not alone and that you are strong enough to do survive and thrive throughout the journey of motherhood.

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