By Victoria Smith
Stress is on the rise, particularly with women. But, I don’t need to tell you that, do I? Intuitively, we feel overwhelmed. From acting as a perpetual chauffeur to coordinating play dates, or from healthy meal planning to juggling sick days and attempting to work from home, motherhood is stressful. Here’s the deal, though, it can be less stressful when you have the right tools, strategies and mindset in place.
Before we get into five strategies that you can implement immediately, we need to start with mindset. If you think your day is going to be stressful, it will, because that’s how you’ve primed your brain. You’ve given it the signal to find evidence of stress wherever you look. To counter this, what I want you to do is start every day by setting an intention. Believe me, I know that if you wake with the kids, it can be hard to find a moment for that, so a fall back can be to write out your intention and set it next to your alarm clock. What should that intention be? I put it back to you – how would you like your day to go? For example, my daily intention is to show up as an engaged parent, wife and friend, and a Rockstar entrepreneur. Yours could be to a search for gratitude. Or to be mindful. The intention is personal to your needs and desires, but set one and start each day reminding yourself of it. Only then will the following strategies take real effect.
1. Stop comparing yourself to other moms
It is so easy to get into a shame-spiral of how you are performing as a mother when your friends or Insta-community are throwing Pinterest-perfect parties for a two year-old. Or maybe you pick
up your child from daycare only to find out that they’ve bitten another child – of course it would be the most well-behaved child of the seemingly put together momma. We are all on our own motherhood journeys. We all have our own past, our own challenges, and our own beliefs to grapple with. Just because you do things differently doesn’t mean you’re doing them worse. First step if you find yourself in this comparison black hole? Take a social media break. If the comparison is coming from in-person interactions, before each encounter remind yourself that you are doing the best with what you have, and your kids are well-loved. Because at the end of the day, your child won’t care about the perfect party or baked goods or that they were potty trained a year before all the other kids. They’ll remember time spent one-on-one with you, the cuddles and bedtime stories. Presence and love matter most.
Each month, we play 10 questions with one of the Alberta’s most interesting mamas. This month we hear from Dr. Stephanie Liu who completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary and subsequently completed a Masters of Science in Clinical Nutrition at Columbia University in New York City. Her medical school and residency in Family Medicine were completed at the University of Alberta. Currently, she practices community family medicine and acute care at the University of Alberta Hospital.
Five months ago, she started Lifeofdrmom.com, a website providing families with medically credible parenting and health advice. Dr. Liu is wife to Graeme, an ENT surgeon and mommy to Madi, her sweet and spunky toddler.
1. What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job at the University of Alberta Hospital?
I practice inpatient family medicine at the University of Alberta Hospital and have a community family medicine practice in south west Edmonton. I love both inpatient and community medicine and find them both very rewarding for different reasons. In my community family practice, I am fortunate to develop a long term relationship with my patients over months and years. The physician-patient relationship is so important to ensure that patients can meet their long term health related goals. In inpatient family medicine, it is extremely rewarding to help a patient return home to their friends and family after a critical illness. In both settings, I work with an amazing interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals
We recently shared a blog about Edmonton’s River Valley being the best running spot in Canada.
Now, maybe you don’t run but what about a walk?
I’ve been making a habit of going for a walk with a friend every weekend I can. Alberta is an hiking, walking, running playground. We’ve even got some suggestions for you here.
Here’s why I head outside – with a friend!
- Ummm nature is beautiful.
- Sunshine and fresh air are good for you!
- Exercise! Walking will lower your risk of heart disease and stroke – Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
- I sleep better – probably both the fresh air and the exercise!
- It’s FREE….well, we do usually buy a cup of joe to take with us.
- It is good for my emotional well being. We spend the whole time talking, venting, catching up – it feels like a form of therapy.
As I regularly do, I took my youngest two children with while I ran a few errands. When we reached our final stop of the day, I parked my vehicle, hopped out of my seat and quickly threw back the sliding back door.
To all the parents who send cards and gift bags to school for my kids on Valentines Day, thank you. I know the time and effort you put into those cards and if you send them, gift bags, take. Pouring over the lists, sitting with your kids making sure they’re spelling the names right, making sure no one was forgotten.
Sometimes you just have to get away from it all. As we all know, being a mom can simply be exhausting. The physical and mental load can take its toll. Everyone needs a break from time to time. I’m a firm believer that you can not take care of others unless you are also taking care of yourself.
A few years ago, when my kiddo was only a toddler, I did it. I left for some me time.
WAHM/D, SAHM/D, Work out of the home or other?
* Work full-time outside of the home
# of Kids? Ages?
* Son (8) Daughter (4 – going on 16 in personality 😉
What movie makes you cry?
SkirtsAfire Festival in Edmonton is self-described as “diverse and daring”. When you visit the festival be prepared to be immersed in powerful, beautiful, engaging performances, exhibits and workshops in Theatre, Poetry, Spoken Word, Design, Art, Dance, Cabaret, Music, Comedy, Yoga, and more.
We have taken in their 2017 & 2018 MainStage Productions. In 2018, The Romeo Initiative, written by Trina Davies was half romantic comedy, half spy thriller, and all entertainment.
Last week I got excited. I was thinking about my health, and honestly, I tried on a pair of jeans that fit nicely not two months ago. They now wouldn’t go over my hips. This wasn’t a matter of washing machine shrinkage and the timing of New Years was purely coincidence – promise. It had more to do with the brie and crackers I was consuming, pretty much daily.
Something had to give and unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be my jeans.