Hey there, fellow mamas! As a single mom of two with a master’s degree in child development, I know firsthand the beautiful chaos and incredible joy that comes with being a parent, as well as the struggles of doing it alone and having to face overwhelm and the many burdens that come with adulting and parenting. Motherhood is a journey filled with love, growth, and adventure, but it’s also natural to face moments of overwhelm and stress. Stepping into emotional regulation is a game-changer that can empower us to find our ease and flow in motherhood. In this blog post, I’ll share research-backed tips that have helped me and other mamas navigate the emotional rollercoaster of parenting, allowing us to create a loving and (mostly) harmonious environment for ourselves and our children.
1. Breathe and Be Present: When the day feels overwhelming, take a moment to pause and breathe. Mindful breathing is a research-backed technique that calms the nervous system and reduces stress hormones. By being present in the moment, we can ground ourselves and gain perspective, making it easier to respond to challenges with patience and understanding.
I love starting my day with a guided breathing practice or meditation to make sure I’m not carrying the stressors of the previous day into the new day. You can find a ton of options on YouTube if you want to try a guided practice.
2. Practice Self-Compassion:
As single moms, we are superheroes juggling multiple roles, and it’s normal to have moments of frustration or self-doubt. Instead of being hard on ourselves, let’s practice self-compassion. Acknowledge that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and remember that we’re doing our best. Embracing self-compassion fosters a positive self-image, which impacts how we nurture our children’s emotional well-being.
Post some of your favorite affirmations around the house (my Becoming The Wild Mother Journal includes some awesome affirmations you can hang around the house). Our society can be critical, constantly reminding us of where we can be better, so we have to act as our own advocate in reminding ourselves we are already enough just as we are.
3. Seek Support and Connection:
Building a support network is crucial for single moms. Reach out to friends, family, or join online communities of fellow intentional and conscious parents. (Be careful to not join groups that tell you how you should be but rather support you on your individual journey, my community Becoming The Wild Mother is great for support and connection without judgement!) Research shows that having a strong support system reduces stress and improves emotional well-being. Connecting with others who understand our journey helps us feel understood, lessens the emotional burden, and gives us a safe space to share experiences and seek advice.
4. Embrace Mindful Parenting:
Mindful parenting is about being fully present with our children, observing their emotions and needs with non-judgmental awareness. Research has found that mindful parenting strengthens the parent-child bond and fosters emotional intelligence in children. By practicing mindful parenting, we create a loving and secure environment where our children can thrive emotionally.
This also gives you some mental space as you realize you do not need to redirect and micromanage your child but rather can be a present support providing a safe space in which you trust your child will turn out well rounded as you lead by example.
5. Prioritize Self-Care:
Remember that self-care is not selfish; it’s essential for our well-being as moms. Research-backed studies show that regular self-care reduces stress and enhances emotional resilience. Carve out time each day for activities that bring you joy, whether it’s reading, exercising, or indulging in a hobby. Taking care of ourselves models healthy behavior for our children and teaches them the importance of self-love.
6. Teach Emotional Regulation:
As moms, we can teach our children essential emotional regulation techniques. Research supports the effectiveness of methods like identifying emotions, using positive affirmations, and engaging in expressive arts to enhance emotional resilience. By equipping our children with these tools, we help them navigate their emotions and build resilience.
One of the best ways to teach is by leading through example. Pick up habits of deep breathing and self regulation to show yYour child we can bey upset and still express our emotions in a regulated and safe way.
Regulating a dysregulated nervous system can greatly improve emotional well-being. Here are some techniques that can help:
1. Deep Breathing: Engage in slow, deep breathing exercises. Inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your diaphragm, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Tense and release different muscle groups in your body to release physical tension and signal relaxation to your brain.
3. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness to stay present and reduce rumination. Meditation, even for a few minutes a day, can calm an overactive nervous system.
4. Grounding Techniques: Focus on your senses to ground yourself in the present. Notice things around you—sights, sounds, textures—to shift your focus away from distressing thoughts.
5. Sensory Stimulation: Use sensory tools like fidget toys, stress balls, or scented items to provide calming sensations that can regulate your nervous system.
6. Exercise: Engaging in physical activity can help release built-up tension and stimulate the release of endorphins, which promote feelings of well-being.
7. Hydration and Nutrition: Proper hydration and a balanced diet can positively impact your nervous system’s functioning.
8. Limit Stimulants: Reduce or eliminate caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants, as they can exacerbate nervous system dysregulation.
9. Yoga: Gentle yoga and stretching can promote relaxation and help release physical tension.
10. Aromatherapy: Certain scents, like lavender or chamomile, can have calming effects. Consider keeping these herbs
hand to smell or make tea.
11. Visualizations: Use guided imagery or visualizations of peaceful places to evoke calming responses.
As mindful mamas, we have a deep understanding of our children’s emotional needs but not always our own. By incorporating research-backed emotional regulation tips into our lives, we can find our ease and flow in motherhood, supporting our own emotional needs. Mindful breathing, self-compassion, building a support network, and practicing mindful parenting are powerful ways to enhance our emotional well-being and create a nurturing environment for our children. Prioritizing self-care and teaching emotional regulation to our kids paves the way for a harmonious and fulfilling motherhood journey. Let’s embrace emotional balance and continue to thrive as strong, resilient, and loving moms!