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Overcoming the ‘Early Motherhood Crisis’

The motherhood crisis (3)

What is the Early Motherhood Crisis?

It is well documented that the ‘quarter life’ is the transition of a person into society, and usually occurs up to and into the early 30’s.  It is also well acknowledged that as we reach our 40’s and into our 50’s, we have reached our midlife and shifted out of society to become our own person; a shift from social competition to social connected-ness.  A quarter life crisis is when a person becomes doubtful about their life thanks to the stress of becoming an adult.  What I wanted to share with you is an emerging and common crisis,  the early motherhood crisis.

The Early Motherhood Crisis (as I coin it), is the period between the quarter-life and mid-life, and is brought on by the changes of motherhood. 

Somewhere in this period of time (commonly 30-40 yrs old), a reflection period presents itself, whereby we have the opportunity to evaluate what has changed.  In times of old, perhaps the changes occurred without a mother challenging it, but in an environment where females have had greater freedom for longer, of course the risk of a crisis as result of reflection is greater than ever before.

The confusion over happiness in modern times can generate a mis-conception about the root cause of the Motherhood Crisis.  If we misconceive the cause, there is a greater risk that we place blame upon others for our change in situation or that we feel helpless in ever changing the situation.  Some mothers in this crisis may be unhappy, but happiness is just a feeling.  Of course we can increase this feeling of happiness through short-lived,  extrinsic actions, or we can create happiness which lasts longer through becoming aware and increasing our intrinsic self-worth.  The challenge is to allow time to reflect on the intrinsic rather than filling the growing emptiness with short lived pleasure or materialist gain in the quest to achieve the extrinsic short-lived happy feeling.

So what do we do?

Of course we go deeper within ourselves, and begin this reflection process by looking at each core area of well-being and discovering which we have allowed to dissolve during the transition into motherhood.  These questions can help to begin the process provided you look at them as opportunities for growth rather than opportunities to become disheartened.

  1. Positive Relationships

Did I stick to a routine so stringently, that I became isolated from friendships?

Did I become consumed by comparison and competition?

Did I become fearful about my ability to socialise because of my isolation and reduced experiences?

Did I get so busy running my children to so many things, that there is no time to nurture my own relationships?

Is my time with my partner ever just about our relationship?

  1. Health

Did I allow pregnancy to be the reason to let go of my healthy eating and exercise habits?

Did I allow my tiredness to be my permission to choose less nourishing options and to exercise less?

Did I allow my crying child to dictate when I could and could’t take actions toward better health?

Do I just want to zone out to the TV rather than using these opportunities for purposeful relaxation or inspiration?

Did I limit my sleep because it was harder to change the sleeping habits of my children?

  1. Sense of Meaning or Achievement

Am I watching  my unmet aspirations disappear?

Are my days disappearing without a sense of achievement?

Did I fill most of my early (not-working) parenting days with unsustainable habits (lunches, coffee dates, social media, napping etc) or materialistic gain (shopping)?

Do I still have goals or aspirations?

Do I feel so overwhelmed by a ‘to do’ list that I miss the moments of life?

Am I envious of my partner working and growing?

Do my children require less from me now, so I feel less useful?

  1. Positive Emotions

Do I react to a situations emotionally because I have no energy to react with control?

Do I feel so tired and undernourished, that it is difficult to find the joy?

Do my hormones dictate my mood and energy?

Did I believe that my child/ren would create my happiness?

If we truly look into each area of our life, we can begin to recognise that we do have a choice, that some of the areas lacking are not forever, that communication and honesty with ourselves and others is the best way to support the change and challenges. We do not have to be perfect or have it all under control.  We can set some timelines on when we can re-introduce some missing links, or we can choose to begin taking action ourselves slowly and mindfully.

The beauty of this Early Motherhood Crisis, is that most mothers are going through it.  The timing or the root cause are never the same, but as we become more honest and ALWAYS look within, we can find what it is for us.  If we can then be brave enough to take action or to put up our hand and ask for help, we can face what we find with strength. 

Take care and be well,

Erin xx