Lacking mental health support, too many American women experience emotional crises as they navigate contemporary motherhood. As founder of ESME.com (Empowering Strong Moms Everywhere), every day I witness mothers who are lonely, exhausted, anxious, depressed, suffering from PTSD, and pushed to their psychological limits. “Sexism is making women sick,” warned Jessica Valenti in her now-classic column for The Guardian. The constant threat of being attacked, insulted, and dismissed instills in women a sense of hypervigilance that’s associated with psychological distress.
Motherhood taps out women’s depleted psychological resources, making them especially susceptible to mental health issues. Many moms don’t have the time or energy to understand why they feel so awful. As a result, they internalize their feelings and do the best they can, day after day. Continue reading What Moms Need Most is Their Mental Health
When I was a single mom, I started a tradition of buying myself a pair of sandals on Mother’s Day. My kids were too young to take me out to brunch. Instead we went looking for sandals for Mommy.
I began this ritual because the thought of Mother’s Day brought up a storm of negative emotions: Regret that I’d decided to end my marriage, guilt that my kids didn’t have happily married parents, and self-pity that I didn’t have a spouse to make my day special. Sandals represented the optimism that accompanies the warmer, longer days and joys of summer. My new shoes were a reminder to stay positive on a day that, for single mothers, can be fraught with a myriad of negative emotions.
Obviously I’m not suggesting that all single moms should run out and buy sandals on Mother’s Day. I’m sharing my story to encourage single moms to create their own strategies for optimism and joy, especially on days when it’s common to experience negative emotions.
The buildup and hype surrounding Mother’s Day can be emotionally challenging for moms parenting on their own. As someone who works with and on behalf of single mothers, here are some insights I’ve learned along the way about regret, guilt, and self-pity. Continue reading Single Moms: Celebrate Yourselves on Mother’s Day
Many of us wear our lack of sleep as a badge of honor. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2013 sleep deprivation was responsible for 72,000 crashes and 800 deaths. The numbers may be slightly underreported; the real number could be closer to 6,000 fatalities.
Many of us look at sleep as a barrier to success, fun and self-fulfillment, even though sleep deprivation is physiologically and psychologically dangerous. Lack of sleep has been cited as cause in disasters such as the Chernobyl meltdown, the space shuttle Challenger explosion and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. It’s time to face up to the risks associated with our culture of sleep deprivation. Continue reading How Sleep Deprivation Hurts Your Mental Health
Imagine you suddenly had sole responsibility for two children, earned around $26,000 a year, found your friends drifting away, and continually felt judged for your parenting, no matter how well you handled it.
Welcome to the life of a typical single mom.
As the founder of ESME.com (Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere), I’m astounded by the resilience and fortitude of single moms, who currently are raising 23 million children in the United States alone. The route women take to single motherhood varies, but parenting alone is physically and emotionally demanding. For some single moms, it can take a toll on their mental health. Continue reading 8 Mental Health Challenges Single Moms Face