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5 Steps For Becoming a Well and Balanced Mother

Navigating the competing demands of being good to your family and yourself.

Key points

  • Ensuring balance and wellness in motherhood requires intentionality and support.
  • Many mothers struggle to find balance and wellness due to overwhelming and competing responsibilities.
  • Clear and actionable steps for seeking wellness in motherhood must be taken, ideally in the beginning of the journey.
Prostock-studio/Shutterstock
Source: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

As with any endeavor, embarking on a motherhood journey takes time and effort. As a result, it is often that when we find ourselves in the midst of this journey, we tend to reflect on what we have been through and how we could have done better. It is important to remember that the process of becoming a mother is not easy, nor does it come with clear instructions, so it is okay to look back with regret on how unprepared you were. For the mothers at the beginning of their journey and for the mothers who still haven't found their groove yet, this article serves to inform you of important steps to ensure balance and wellness during your motherhood journey.

The first step in ensuring wellness as you experience motherhood is to become intentional about what you hope to achieve during this time. By clearly understanding your intentions, you can increase the likelihood of being able to move forward and progress.

My Motherhood Journey

When I was younger, I was never certain that I wanted to become a mother. I realized that I wanted to pursue the opportunities presented to me in terms of my education and career. After this revelation, I recognized a deep desire to help and serve other people, which led me to pursue a career in psychology. I liked understanding people and their communities, and I dreamt of becoming an amazing psychologist that made a change in the world. I didn't want anything to stop that. When I think back on this time, I do not even recognize who I used to be. She is so different from who I am now. A testament to how our life experiences, journeys, and the things we go through can change who we are.

With this in mind, I started to love myself more than I ever had before. As a teen and young adult, I was very shy, soft-spoken, and non-confrontational. I would often try to alter myself to fit the needs of other people. I even prided myself on being this chameleon-like person. However, when I started to become more aware of who I was, I realized that I had to let go of that mindset and stop caring about what other people thought of me. I started to take really good care of myself and even ventured into different spiritual practices. I was dedicated to learning how to become a more evolved version of myself. Through all this, I still loved the old version of me and recognized that she is the foundation of who I am now. With that in mind, I created a new goal for myself, which was to never lose sight of who I was and what I wanted to achieve.

As women get older and fulfill new roles in their lives, such as wife or mother, they are expected to forget who they were as individuals. After a while, they realize that they have lost themselves to their competing responsibilities. Resolutely, I decided that was not something I wanted for myself. This led me to be fearful of becoming a mother. I had put so much time and effort into not only my career goals, but also my spiritual path. I did not want becoming a mother to get in the way of that. My individuality was valuable to me and I was determined to not let anything get in the way of it. With that revelation, I had found peace in having a good career, being a cool aunt, and being a well-rounded person. Over time, life began to change for me. After I got my first job as a psychologist, I reconnected with my now-husband and realized that there were some possibilities that I hadn’t considered before. I had to ask myself tough questions. Is it possible for me to be a mom and still take good care of myself like I am now? Is it possible for me to be a mom and still pursue my passions and goals?

In the end, I have my husband to thank for helping me to open up another realm that I didn't know could be possible. I thought I was already living abundantly when he came along and showed me that there is even more to life. I'm so glad that I changed my mind and decided to join him in partnership, marriage, and parenthood because my life is what it was plus so much more.

For a lot of women, the journey is somewhat different. It may begin like mine, but when partnership, babies, and hard work come along these women lose track of themselves. However, it is important to acknowledge this loss and work to rediscover who you are outside of being a mother.

Five Challenges Moms Want to Overcome

Through Balanced Working Mama and my in-depth work with mothers, I've been able to source some common challenges moms face when trying to reclaim their individuality during motherhood.

  1. “I feel like I lost myself in the process of becoming a mother.” In this motherhood journey, our needs, desires, passions, etc. struggle to compete with our other big responsibilities such as your baby's needs, your partner's needs, and the like. Unfortunately, the things that make us unique get pushed aside.
  2. “I feel pressure to do everything and I don't ask for help enough.” Ask yourself this question: Where does this pressure come from? For many, that pressure is coming from societal expectations, their experience of watching their mother figures, and even from their own idealized views of what motherhood should entail.
  3. “Taking care of myself is always last on my list.” Again, this often happens when there are so many competing responsibilities that tend to take precedence over the mom’s needs. It is easy to believe that the family's needs should be taken care of first but it is important for everyone to put themselves first.
  4. “I don't know what I like anymore.” What happens here is that in the pursuit of devoting time to our families, we completely lose track of the other things that bring us joy in life. For a lot of mothers, losing touch of what they enjoy is a problem.
  5. “I feel guilty.” Mom guilt surfaces frequently, especially when mothers try to put themselves first.

Steps You Should Take in Your Motherhood Journey

The point of this is to examine ideas that will help ensure balance and wellness in the motherhood journey. Regardless of if you are a new mom or an experienced mom, you should take the time to consider these things.

Step 1: Ask yourself, “What are my non-negotiables?” You should decide what factors of your life must remain in your motherhood journey. For instance, as I became a mother, I decided that I had to continue to find ways to take care of myself. For me, taking care of myself in this phase of life looks like working out four to five times a week for 30 minutes, drinking water, and having a balanced diet. For others, it may include spending time with friends, traveling, or connecting with spirituality. Whatever it may be, the most important thing to remember is to remain intentional about these non-negotiables. By bringing attention to them, we are more likely to bring that into our lived experience. So, find out what your non-negotiables are and how you are going to bring them into your motherhood experience.

Step 2: Accept that you will change throughout this journey. It can feel easy to reminisce and want to be the person who you were before embarking on this path. However, you will never be that person again. With the added experience of having a baby, you have to realize that your perspective and way of living have changed. Although with change, you still have your non-negotiables, you can also acknowledge that you are different now. Embrace the changes that are going to come because they are as inevitable as they are beautiful.

Step 3: Discuss with your support systems what warning signs indicate you may need help and support. Times can get hard and the people around you need to know when and how they should check in with you. Establishing this can help when, as a mother, you forget to voice your needs. Having your friends and family looking out for you will ultimately be one of your greatest assets.

Step 4: Get into the habit of delegating and asking for help. While many moms are ambitious and driven, they may also tend to be perfectionists at times. However, when you become a mother, you have to realize that this is not the time to prove that you can handle everything on your own. You have to practice asking for help from the people around you or even hire help if you have the resources. This will help ensure that you stay balanced within your journey.

Step 5: Determine what your wellness plan will be. How will you continue to take care of yourself? This is very important because it is easy for mothers to put themselves last. However, if you are intentional with considering how self-care will be incorporated into your day-to-day, you're more likely to ensure your wellness as you walk through your motherhood journey. Ask yourself these important questions:

  • How am I going to continue to take care of myself?
  • What does that look like for me?
  • What does that involve?

Even if your plan has to change, you will know that you have a plan and continue working towards it. Again, determine your wellness plan of how you will continue to take care of yourself during this journey.

Conclusion

These are the steps that I took during my motherhood journey. Through trial and error, I found that these actions helped me ensure a balance between individuality and my role as a mother. It is my hope that this information helps mothers maintain the same kind of peace of mind that these habits have brought me.

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