As Mother’s Day is approaching, I reflect on all the joys and struggles of being a mom. In my mind, one critical point continues to be underemphasized in the world of parenthood – self-care. While self-care is essential for everyone, I’m going to focus on its importance for mothers.
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This blog is written by the clinicians at Jonah Green and Associates, a mental health practice based in Kensington, MD that provides quality services for children, teens, families, and adults. It is intended as a resource for families who are seeking to expand their knowledge about mental health and mental health services, and also as a resource for families who are seeking quality mental health services, especially in the mid-Atlantic region. Please feel free to post questions and comments on any of the entries as well as on any topics or articles from our companion web site www.childandfamilymentalhealth.com.
At this time of year I enjoy looking through the flood of catalogs and matching up items that catch my eye with people that I know. Rarely do I actually buy these things for them, but it’s still fun. There is one slogan t-shirt I keep returning to, but I’m not sure who would receive it in the spirit I intend. Maybe they would if I wrapped it in this blog. The shirt proudly announces, “I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, I think I’ll make a few more.” I like the reminder that our best learning comes from our own experiences and mistakes. Or as another favorite quote of mine, attributed to Mark Twain, says, “Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from bad decisions.”
Summer is almost over and the school year has already begun. Most days, outside temperatures are becoming manageable as the summer heat retreats to the middle of the day. As I reach for the thermostat in my house, I am reminded of Dr. Gary Landreth’s analogy of parents choosing to play the role of thermostats rather than thermometers in the family.
The end of the year is often a natural period of reflection where we take inventory of our lives over the past 12 months. For some of us, our thoughts naturally gravitate toward the moments of individual and familial triumph and success in the last year. The moments when we met our goal of having a date night with our spouse once a month, shared a quality conversation with our adolescent, or spent time in play enjoying our children throughout the year. When such memories come to mind we feel proud, joyous, and grateful! For many others of us, our end-of-year reflections more readily remind us of the disappointments, setbacks, or hurts of the year—goals we set that have yet to be achieved or maintained with consistency, fights with partners and children where mean things were said and remembered, or even the loss of loved ones. These memories are often accompanied by regret, sadness, or anxiety. [Read more…]
We love our children dearly, and they also make us furious. We may find ourselves angrier at the things our children do, whether they are two or seventeen, than we can remember feeling towards anyone else. And yet we know that forcefully expressing this anger rarely helps a situation. Feelings escalate, until everyone becomes more upset. Not much learning takes place. We tell ourselves over and over not to get mad, but sometimes the feelings well up and we feel helpless to our own explosion. Yet the level of anger we experience is directly related to the depth of our love and concern for our children.