- Matrescence is a period of identity exploration for mothers, similar to adolescence in teenagers.
- It is normal to experience a rollercoaster of emotions during motherhood, and to feel ambivalent about parenting.
- Overcoming the idea of being a perfect parent is essential to embrace authenticity and enjoy the parenting journey.
- Reflecting on intergenerational parenting patterns can help establish more positive patterns and break free from unrealistic expectations.
Matrescence is like adolescence, but for moms! When women become mothers, their bodies undergo significant hormonal changes, much like teenagers during puberty. Dr. Alexandra Sachs discovered that mothers go through a period of searching for their new identity and may feel a bit confused. Becoming a mother changes women physically, emotionally, and mentally.
When a baby is born, so is a mother (or father!)
Most of the attention is focused on the baby, but moms need care and support too. The media sometimes portrays motherhood as pure happiness and constant joy, but that’s not always the case. Moms experience a rollercoaster of emotions, and that’s perfectly normal! It’s okay to feel tired, happy, and sad all at once. Matrescence helps normalize these feelings and struggles.
Ambivalence is normal in parenting
Parents experience various emotions simultaneously. They can feel happy, fulfilled, exhausted, and anxious all at the same time. It’s essential to recognize and accept these mixed feelings as it helps build a stronger bond with your little one. Feeling tired and needing time for yourself doesn’t mean you don’t love your children. You can embrace these feelings, knowing they are part of the journey.
Sometimes, parents think they have to be perfect, sacrificing everything for their children. But perfection doesn’t exist, and it’s crucial to overcome these unrealistic expectations. Embrace the path of growth and rediscovery as a parent. Allow yourself to be authentic and let go of the idea of being the “perfect” parent.
Understanding Intergenerational Patterns
Your own upbringing can influence how you raise your children. Reflect on how your own mother, father or caregivers took care of themselves, and whether those patterns are influencing your parenting. Keep an open mind about this – maintain positive patterns, and free yourself from those that no longer benefit you or your little one.
Every child is unique, and each parent’s journey is different. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Have confidence in who you are and what works best for your family.
Embrace authenticity and remember that being yourself is the best thing you can do for your child.
Strategies for integrating self-care and authenticity:
- Flexible thinking: Expand the gray area in life and question black-and-white thinking. Embrace self-compassion and avoid being too hard on yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them.
- Seeking help: It’s okay to ask for help! Social connection is vital to our well-being, and allowing others to support us also benefits our children. You’re still a great parent even when you need support.
- Practice self-compassion: Be your best friend. Treat yourself kindly, especially in difficult times. Embrace imperfection and remember that all parents make mistakes.
- Enjoy personal time: Take moments to mentally step away from experiences and appreciate them. Mindful breaks throughout the day can intensify positive emotions and help regulate your feelings.
- Social connection: Connect with loved ones and build meaningful relationships. Even small interactions with strangers can improve your mood and overall well-being.
- Mindfulness meditation: Practice mindfulness to be aware of the present moment without judgment. It can increase your well-being and reduce anxiety and depression.
Remember, it’s okay to be a “good enough” parent. Embrace the matrescence journey with authenticity, self-compassion, and a willingness to grow. Take care of yourself as you care for your child, and you’ll create a loving and nurturing environment for both of you. Embrace the imperfections and joys of parenting, and remember that you’re doing your best, and that’s enough!