Becoming a mother is supposed to be blissful, natural and instinctive. But for many women, that is not their experience. Women have an internalized sense of expectation that might have been learned from her family or from the culture that surrounds her that says that a woman must be the keeper of the home as well as the nurturer of the children. While partners and fathers have taken on more of that shared load, at the end of the day, many women still feel it.
At one end of the spectrum, when this message is internalized, new moms might feel anxious or depressed when they see that they are not able to keep up with the perceived expectation of “doing it all.” It is OK if your laundry doesn’t get done or if the dishes aren’t washed. It’s also OK to have carry out for dinner most nights. Lowering your expectations is the first step to feeling more balanced.
As a psychologist who works with mothers with post-partum mood disorders as well as moms adjusting to this new role, feeling that the world is on your shoulders is a shared experience. Asking for help is not only OK, but also a wonderful tool to help you establish equilibrium. No one says you have to do it alone.