Many baskets. Photo credit - Pexels

The Ultimate Guide to Dealing with Adversity in Motherhood

To the mother who felt like a failure because your baby can’t sleep through the night like what your midwife says.

To the mother who felt like a failure because you had a heated argument with your husband about how you should care for your baby.

To the mother who felt like a bad mum because someone asked you why you under-dress your baby in such cold weather.

To the mother who felt vulnerable and judged because you overheard a lady commenting on your parenting style.

To the mother who is on the verge of explosion because apparently, you day doesn’t seem to get any better and you don’t know how you are going to get through.

I feel your pain.

Motherhood is not an easy gig. It doesn’t help that there are endless soul-destroying sources out there and that, giving is not an option (and you don’t want to give up as well!).

The ugly truth in motherhood is: we can’t control our external world. But the good news is we can control our internal world. The ultimate way to deal with adversity in motherhood (or life in general) is to strengthen our resilience skills, the ability to bounce back on your feet.

One and easy way to quickly develop your resilience is to diversify your sources of esteem. This was the most valuable thing I learnt from reading The Anxiety Toolkit, by Alice Boyes (you can find a copy here* and reviews here)

(*Disclosure: at no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link. Thank you for your support).

Dr Boyes advocates that our self-esteem is like eggs and if we put them all in one or two baskets, we run the risk of cutting ourselves short if we lost the one or two baskets. The benefit of diversification is that when one egg gets lost, you can rely on the other eggs in the other baskets.

My background is in financial planning, so the idea of diversification makes a lot of sense to me. I therefore quickly bought the idea and started to evaluate my own situation.

It occurs to me that the reason why I have been struggling a lot in the past 8 months (I.e. since having my baby) was probably (nothing is 100% in life) because I only had a couple of sources of self-esteem:

–    one for motherhood

–    one for marriage

–    Nothing else as I had taken a 12 month maternity leave and have no time for yoga nor toastmasters.

I used to have other interests and hobbies like bikram yoga and Toastmasters. However, it is not possible to sustain these hobbies because like you, I simply have no spare time.

Another common obstacle may be, you simply cannot continue the activity, as in the case of a friend in my mother’s group, due to the high cost.

It may also be you cannot consistently carry out the activity for reasons like, you are not motivated enough to do (e.g. wake up early every day to go for a run, which is true in my case).

Or, it may be easy for you to continue the activity but it is not really good for your body like for example eating chocolate.

So, with so many traps, how can you identify the right hobbies/interests to get this diversification thing happening today?

After contemplating about my own situation, I developed a check-list which you can use to help you identify the right hobbies/interests that will fits well with your situations.

The check-list is as per below with the acronym (Have Some Chocolate!) to help you remember:

  • Have – is it emotionally and/or physically healthy for you? For example, playing video games too much is not mentally and physically healthy (someone please tell my husband as well).
  • Some – are you able to sustain the hobby considering factors like money, time and effort? For example, can you afford to attend baby yoga in the next 12 months?
  • Chocolate – is it something that is consistent with your lifestyle and preference? For example, are you able to get up at 6 am to go for a walk if you are not a morning person to begin with (this may be possible for some of you but definitely not for me!).

To help us build our ability to get back on our feet again despite whatever life brings us, we can start find interests/hobbies that are: (1) healthy, (1) are sustainable on the long run and (3) are consistent with our lifestyle and preference.

If you love this article, please share it with your tribe! Sharing is caring.

Love to hear what you think

Have you tried to diversify your sources of self-esteem?

Have the check list been helpful with the selection of interests/hobbies?

Or any comments or feedback in general?

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