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8 Tips For Raising Kids With Less Entitlement and More Gratitude

Raising Kids With Less Entitlement and More Gratitude Real Mom Recs

Before even having kids, my husband and I were already having conversations about how we planned to parent. One of the main themes that always came up was not wanting to raise kids who are bratty and entitled.

How did that work out for us? I think this meme just about sums it up:

raising kids with less entitlement

Like most things parenting-related, raising kids without entitlement has proven harder than we thought.

Not that my kids are super bratty or anything. I have certainly seen worse. But I thought my husband’s head was going to turn all the way around by the end of our last family vacation– after we had doled out money for treats, hotels, water park admission, and more- and the kids were relentlessly asking for extras. “I want to do the rock climbing wall!” “Look, they have an arcade! Can we go there???” “Can we get room service, Daddy? WHY NOT?!”

It wasn’t pretty.

After that experience, I started re-evaluating our approach on the entitlement front. We’ve been consistent with some of these strategies from the beginning, and others we just starting to focus on now. But here are the 8 ways we are working towards raising kids with less entitlement and more gratitude.

1. Hone in on your parenting goal

The first step to raising kids without a sense of entitlement starts with you, the parent, making a shift in your mindset. Like a you would with any business or job, come up with your parenting mission statement.

I always cringe a little when I hear parents say “All I want is for my child to be happy”. If your goal is simply to make your child happy, you are well on your way to raising a spoiled, entitled person who thinks life is all about their own happiness.

Instead let’s say your goal is to raise an independent adult, a contributing member of society, or just a general decent person. Would this change the way you parent? Instead of giving him things to make him happy, you’d be giving him skills to lead a productive life.

2. Teach empathy

Just look at any toddler and you can tell that empathy isn’t something that comes naturally to humans. Small children are completely egocentric beings, thinking only about what they want without regard for others. Clearly this isn’t a trait that we want to continue beyond toddlerhood, so it’s up to us to teach them. Here are some first steps:

-Model kindness and spell it out. Say out loud when you’re doing something for others and explain why. “I’m making a sandwich for Daddy because he is running late this morning and I think he would feel happy if I helped him”. “I’m bringing this soup over to Grandma because she is sick and I’d like to help her feel better.” Kids copy what they see us do.

-Give them the vocabulary to describe feelings. When I worked as a child therapist, this was always my starting point with clients. It’s amazing how many children think the only emotions are happy and sad. Some kids will throw in mad, but that is where it ends. Teach your children as many feelings as you can think of, including frustration, jealousy, pride, loneliness, and guilt. Name these emotions in real life when you see them. “I can see that you wish you had that doll your sister has. It looks like you might be feeling jealous. It is ok to feel that way, it’s just not OK to grab it out of her hand.”

-Ask them questions about how others are feeling. This can be from a book or real life. “How do you think the character felt when his brother was teasing him? How would you feel if that happened to you?” With enough practice, kids will begin to consider others’ feelings on their own.

-Have them come up with their own solutions. When kids fight with friends or siblings, don’t just force an apology. Have the child consider how the other person felt as a result of their actions. Then ask the child what they think would make the other person feel better. This will teach them empathy as well as problem solving.

3. Express gratitude

Gratitude is the antidote to entitlement. It’s about appreciating what you have instead of always needing the next thing.

Raising Kids With Less Entitlement

Having kids say “thank you” is a start. Remember, if they don’t say thank you when you hand them their PBJ at lunch time, they aren’t going to say thank you when they’re at a friend’s house or at school. (Have you ever volunteered in your kid’s class and only heard one or two “thank you”s when passing something out? Doesn’t it stand out in your mind which kids actually said it?)

The next step is to express what you’re grateful for. If you just ask kids what they’re grateful for, you will probably get the knee-jerk Thanksgiving response: “I’m grateful for my family” or the like. Be more specific. When something bad happens, have them look for the good. Teach them the skill of finding the positive in any situation.

One easy trick to work on this skill is to go around the dinner table each night and answer the question “what was something good that happened today?” Even if the child had a tough day, this will help them look for the good. Parents should answer the question as well to model (and it’s never a bad idea for adults to practice daily gratitude too!).

4. Contribute to the household

Raising Kids with Less Entitlement

Kids aren’t going to appreciate all the work their parents put into running the household if they have no idea what that work is. Doing household chores themselves gives kids a sense of how much effort goes into putting that meal on the table and having clean clothes in their drawers.

Contributing to the household gives children a sense of purpose and responsibility, which builds their confidence in an intrinsic way (without praise from outside sources). It also reinforces their role in the family and gives them a sense of belonging. There is so much written about the benefits of doing chores, it’s surprising how few families actually practice it.

5. Build work ethic

You know that feeling of elation you get when you’ve been working really hard at something and you finally achieve it? Don’t deny your children that feeling by doing everything for them. In fact, a good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t do anything for your kids that they are able to do themselves.

As parents, when we see our children struggling with something, our inclination is to swoop in and help. Instead, try encouraging persistence. If they still aren’t getting it, try giving them a strategy to try.

Have a kid who likes to quit as soon as things get tough? (I have one of those). Try to re-write their internal script. Reminisce with them about a time they achieved something by working for it, like learning to ride a bike or tie their shoes. Remind them how their hard work paid off. A can-do attitude and encouragement from Mom and Dad will get them a lot farther than having someone else do it for them.

6. Manners are a Must

via GIPHY

Yes, my kids shout demands at me sometimes like they are the master and I’m a doll-fetching robot.

If your kids ever do this to you, no judgement from me. But if you allow it and actually do what they demand, I’m throwing you some serious shade.

Do not let your child speak to you in a way you wouldn’t let your husband (or friend, or coworker, or stranger on the street) speak to you. You can’t expect kids to treat others with respect if they treat their family members like dirt. Feed them the appropriate words to use and don’t give them what they want until they ask politely. It might take 1,000 repetitions, but that’s how habits are made.

Hot tip: “MOMMYYYYY, I’M HUNGRYYYYYY!” is not an acceptable way to ask for food. 😉

7. Wanting something is not a good enough reason

Whenever we hear one of our children start their sentence with “I want” this is the reaction they get:

Raising kids with less entitlement

If it’s just a glass of milk they want, they can simply rephrase it to “may I have a glass of milk please?” But if it’s something along the lines of “I want you to buy me that!” they are consistently told that wanting something is not reason enough for getting it.

Differentiating between a want and a need is critical for children to understand. When they see something they want, you can ask, “Is this something you need?” Sometimes I will throw in “Did you bring your own money to buy it?” If the answer to these are “no”, then they are swiftly told put it on their birthday or Christmas list and we just keep on walking.

8. Get into the spirit of giving

After a few Christmases where our kids were very much focused on getting ALL THE THINGS, we decided to try a different approach. We took each child shopping individually (this was a big deal in itself because with 4 kids it’s always a big deal to do something with just one child!), gave them a budget, and let them buy gifts for the other three siblings.

Instead of writing a wish list about what they wanted, we had them brainstorm a list of ideas they thought their siblings would like. After they went shopping, they got to wrap the gifts with the help of Mom, choosing which paper each sibling would like and writing cards to their brothers and sisters.

This small gesture changed the entire focus of Christmas for the kids. After opening their stocking presents, they BEGGED to give out their gifts. Each child squealed with delight when the present they gave was being opened. The receiver of the gift appreciated the small toy so much more knowing their sibling had put thought and effort into the gift. Unprompted, they hugged each other after opening each one.

*Cue the proud, teary-eyed parents smiling at one another.*

By shifting the focus from receiving to giving, the kids acted much less greedy and more loving that Christmas morning. This prompted us to think of ways for the kids to “give back” all throughout the year. Here are some ways you can try:

 

Raising Kids Without Entitlement Real Mom Recs

With some creativity and lots of persistence, we are hoping these strategies help us to raise grateful, un-entitled kids.

Any other ideas that have worked for you to reduce entitlement? Leave a comment!

Parenting funnies: Reasons my 4 year old has woken me up at night

Parenting Funnies RealMomRecs

You know how kids can be so annoying and so exhausting, you have to laugh about it in order to deal with how insane it is?

That’s where I am right now with my 4 year old waking me up at night. For the most absurd reasons.

My kid isn’t like most little kids who rotate between the “drink of water” and “need to go potty” requests all night long. She prefers to torture me more creatively.

Reasons my 4 year old has woken me up at night:

  1. To ask me if I’m sleeping.
  2. She needs a bandaid for an invisible boo boo.
  3. Her pajamas have a tag that suddenly became itchy.
  4. To ask me why she can say “Mario” but she can’t say “Luh-lee-gee”.
  5. (15 mins later) Just letting me know that Mario wears red and “Luh-lee-gee” wears green and did I know those are Christmas colors?
  6. Checking to see if I remembered that a long, long, long, LONG time ago, she watched Frosty the Snowman.
  7. To ask if it is anybody’s birthday tomorrow.
  8. To ask how many days there are until her birthday.
  9. Screaming, terrified because she is sure she saw one of her stuffed animals move.
  10. (10 mins later) This time she’s not sure if it moved, but she wants me to get it out of her room anyway.
  11. Asks, “if sunscreen smells like bananas does that mean it tastes like bananas?”
  12. To have me dispose of a hangnail that she peeled off.
  13. She wanted me to tell her again what my name was before my name was Mommy.
  14. To let me know that she plans on swimming in the deep water when she’s 5. Or maybe 10. But she thinks 5.
  15. To ask if she will be getting the treat I’ve bribed her with as a reward for not waking me up in the night.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t understand how that bribe is supposed to work 🙄

What ridiculous reasons have your kids had for waking you up in the night? Share your parenting funnies with a comment!

Follow more of our family antics with Our Week in Crappy Cell Phone pics

The Worst Kinds of Moms the Rest of Us Can’t Stand

I’ve met hundreds of Moms in my 8 years as a parent. For the most part I feel like we are all doing our best with a job that’s insanely hard and doesn’t have clear instructions. I truly believe in Moms-supporting-Moms as we all are in this together. But sometimes support comes in the form of tough love. So if you are one of these Moms, the WORST kinds of Moms, I feel like I need to let you know.

Knowledge is power, my Mommy friends.

RealMomRecs The Worst Kinds of Moms the Rest of Us Can't Stand

1. The Pregnancy Police

She is the initiation to all the Worst Moms we will encounter in our mothering career.

After the joy of discovering we’re pregnant and trying to keep it on the down low for 12 weeks, we finally go public with the news. We are glad to join the club with all our friends who became Moms before us. We’ve been longing for their support and are eager to learn from their wisdom.

Unfortunately the joy doesn’t last long, because the Pregnancy Police rushes in with her “friendly advice”.

That coffee is decaf, right? You know caffeine is bad for the baby.

DON’T EAT THAT! How do you know if that cheese was pasteurized?!

Are you going to go natural with your hair now because you know you’re not supposed to dye your hair when you’re pregnant.

While she may have good intentions, the absolute last thing a nervous, vulnerable, first-time pregnant mom needs is the Pregnancy Police watching every move and throwing shame onto her unsuspecting victim.

2. The Constantly Excusing Mom

Her kid is a terror. The tantrums are one of top of another. He refuses to share, grabs toys away from other kids, and screams at his mother when she feebly asks him to stop.

But it’s not the kid’s behavior the is the Worst. It’s the barrage of excuses his mother makes.

She points to him while fake-whispering: “He really didn’t sleep well last night.”

She pretends to talk to her kid when her words are really directed at the other Moms: “You must need to eat something because I know you get cranky when you’re hungry!”

When all else fails and he’s still acting like a jerk, she’ll say “I think someone isn’t feeling well! Must be that bug going around!”

Any excuse will do for the Mom who refuses to assign blame or correct her child’s behavior. If only she’d say something like, “wow, he’s acting like such a little shit today!”, we could all be friends.

3. The Non-reciprocating Mom

Listen lady, I pretended to enjoy having your little hellion over to play at my house last week so that you would entertain my little hellion at your house next week. That’s how this works.

The worst offenders will even call you again and ask you to watch their kid so they can go do something. Regardless of what you think, I’m actually not a free childcare service.

4. The Humble-Brag Mom

This Mom just HATES to brag, but could you believe her 3 year old was allowed to play on the 4 year old soccer team? And she has no idea why, because he only scored 6 goals the first game when he probably could have scored 7.

Not to mention her daughter, who entered kindergarten reading chapter books, but seriously she had no idea all kids weren’t doing that!

Watch out for the humble-brag mom on social media. You will know her from how #grateful she is for her perfectly coordinated children who just surprised her with homemade cookies and a vase of fresh flowers! Isn’t she so #blessed?

5. The Flakey Mom

This Mom could actually be cool, if you were ever able to nail down a time to see her. She makes plans to come over, then texts to cancel an hour after she was supposed to be there. When she does show up, she’s gotta run after 30 minutes because she forgot about dance class. If she makes it to the pool party, you better have an extra bathing suit to loan her kid because Flakey Mom definitely won’t have one.

6. The Judgey Mom

She is the absolute WORST of all the Worst Moms No One Can Stand. Forget whatever you thought you were doing right as a parent, because this mom is here to tell you you’re doing it wrong.

Wait, why does he have a bottle? Didn’t he turn 1 last week?

Is that a happy meal toy? My kids don’t even know what McDonalds is!

I’m SURE you’ve heard about TV and how it’s bad for brain development.

If you recognize yourself as one of these Moms:

I’m sorry we can’t stand you. Take it as constructive criticism, reign in your Worst Mom behavior, and we can all Kumbaya while complaining about our kids once more.

RealMomRecs Worst Kinds of Moms

 

 

 

 

 

 

How my husband makes me feel SUPER sexy

Moms, I know your story.

I understand about how you feel touched out. I know your fatigue. I’m all too familiar with how your small children suck the life out of every fiber of your being. (Cough, cough Parenting Truths).

When you are tired, no exhausted, from GIVING GIVING GIVING all day, sex is just not on your radar. If you have any kid-free time you want to spend it showering, or getting your nails done, or catching up on Netflix, or better yet taking a NAP.

It seems like not wanting sex from your husband is another Mom cliché that everyone is on board with, like needing coffee to survive Motherhood and pouring a glass of wine immediately after bedtime.

Well if you subscribe to that sentiment then you need to share this with your man, because mine is doing something right.

Sex is still relevant in our marriage, and not like a chore (because seriously, I suck at doing chores). It is still relevant as in, he makes me feel like a sexual being. And feeling sexy is a pretty damn critical piece of enjoying sex.

I may not look like the media’s image of a sexy woman. Multiple pregnancies have crushed my dreams of ever looking decent in a bikini again. My hair is never done and I rarely change out of my basic mom uniform of yoga pants or some other form of athleisure. (Athletileisure? I never know. I don’t have time to be cool.)

But my husband writes his own book about what sexy is, and in his book it is me.

He notices when I’ve put in effort.

AND he compliments it.

If for some reason I’ve decided to put on jeans instead of yoga pants, he says “you look nice today!”

When I take an extra few minutes to put on some makeup he says, “wow, you look pretty.”

If it’s really a special day and I’ve spent an hour to actually style my hair, he says “what’s the occasion?!”

Ok I should probably spend more time on my hair. But you get the idea.

He still wants me whether I’m done up or not.

I love getting those compliments when I’ve put effort into my appearance, but sadly those are not daily occurrences.

The good part is, he doesn’t care.

He has made it clear from day 1 that he wants me whether I’m at my best or at my worst.

When you think about it, this is probably the best thing he could do for our sex life. If I felt like I had to be dressed up and looking my best before having sex, that would limit our days of intimacy to a handful of times a year!

Knowing he doesn’t care about that, he just wants me however I am at that moment, gives me the confidence to initiate sex whenever the mood strikes.

And Moms: I’m pretty sure your man wants you anytime, anywhere too. Maybe he just needs to express that more, or you need to let go of feeling like you don’t look good enough.

He flirts with me.

Something about this just really gets me going.

If my man catches my eye from across a crowded room, without fail he will smile and wink at me. After 10 years together, that small gesture still gives me a jolt of excitement.

Though we aren’t big PDA people, every now and then if we are out at a bar or party he will walk up from behind me and slide his hand across my hip.

When out with friends, he likes to poke fun at some quirky part of me. He does it to get a laugh, but also in a sweet “isn’t she such a goofball?” flirtatious kind of way.

All of these examples are lightyears away from our normal daily interactions at home. With 4 kids, our daily life is like managing a summer camp. We coordinate activities and schedules, serve food, clean up, hand the baby back and forth over and over. The daily grind can be brutal and overwhelming.

So when we escape from that and he actually FLIRTS with me, it reminds me that he still sees me. That I’m someone other than “Mommy-can-you-get-me-this”. He notices me and gives me attention in this fun, mildly-sexual way, and it never fails to give me a thrill.

He buys me clothes.

I see this one as “putting his money where his mouth is”.

As a CPA, finances are my husband’s game. Budgeting the household is part of his life’s purpose. So when he comes home with a dress from a nice store that he just passed by, it’s kind of a big deal that he bothered to spend the money on it. It means he wants to see me in it more than he wants to hold on to his cash.

And believe me when I say this is a man who likes to hold on to his cash!

Almost always when I open the box and see the slinky dress he picked out, my first thought is “I can’t pull this off!” I worry I don’t have the right bra for a halter dress or my skin is too pale to wear black in the winter.

This is where I need to swallow my pride.

He bought me the dress because he wants to see me wear it. He doesn’t think about the logistics of Spanx or how I haven’t had time to work on my summer glow.

If he thinks I’ll look sexy in it, I’ll let that decision be up to him. If he cared enough to walk into the store and buy it, how difficult is it for me to put it on for him?

As women we’re always looking in the mirror to find the flaw.

  • Does my post-baby belly roll show in this outfit?
  • Do my boobs look saggy?
  • Does my butt look wide and flat instead of round and juicy?

Of course when we are searching for our flaws, we will find them. But that isn’t how the men that love us see us. They aren’t searching for a flaw, they are looking at their favorite parts of us. And when they see their favorite parts of us, it makes them want all of us.

He takes me on dates.

We make it a point to spend an evening alone together at least one night a week.

There are two ways to achieve this:

  1. We get a babysitter and go out on a date, either just the two of us or with other couples. This is absolutely essential and for us, it is well-worth the cost. We don’t love how expensive it is to hire a babysitter, but we do love getting to go out and feel like a carefree young couple again! We consider these nights an investment in our marriage. (Another option if you can’t get a sitter: partner up with another couple watch their kids one night, then give them yours the next time.)
  2. We stay in and spend quality, screen-free time together.

These don’t happen every night. Most nights, after the kids are in bed we have chores to tackle or work to get done. A lot of the time we’re just exhausted and veg out on a couch. But regularly, we decide to spend the night just focusing on being together.

Typically we’ll start cooking a nice dinner after the kids are in bed. Early bedtimes help with this! Our kids are in bed by 8.

We take our time preparing the meal. My husband is more of the chef in our household, but he’ll give me some onions to chop or something (chopping = cooking when you’re a slacker mom). We’ll pour wine and maybe ask Alexa to play some low music. Then we just talk.

A screen-free date night done right can be great to re-connect

 

These nights are the ones where we’ve had all our best conversations. It’s where we’ve planned our family, reflected on our parenting, shared our dreams for the future and our biggest fears. These nights bring us closer than anything else we do.

And when we feel that close and connected, how do you think the night ends? (Wink, wink!)

He gives me his full attention.

Of course I can’t have his full attention at all times. I’m competing with four people who are louder and cuter. And when they’re around, they need his attention more than I do.

Then there’s work, and yard work, and “THE LIST OF THINGS THAT MUST GET DONE THIS WEEKEND OR LIFE WILL END”. (No? Just my husband?)

Somewhat of a typical guy, my husband isn’t the best at multi-tasking. One of the best things he did early on in our relationship is fess up to that. I had tried talking to him when he looked available, but his mind was elsewhere. Then I would get annoyed that he wasn’t listening. Eventually he told me, “when I’m doing something, I get really focused. If you need my attention just say ‘I need your attention right now’ and I’ll stop and listen.”

Now I know that tinkering with tools ≠ time to chat. That’s just how he operates.

And when I ask for his attention, he stops everything and gives it to me. Communication channels are open, and I know I’m his top priority.

He does housework.

On his own. Without being told. Every day.

A good man knows that his wife feeling overwhelmed is the antithesis of feeling sexy. That’s why they say the best foreplay for a husband to get his wife in the mood is housework!

This is something most men don’t get, but the ones who do have unlocked the secret to a great relationship and sex life.

Don’t believe me? Check out these headlines:

So the next time your man complains about the “headache” you’ve had the last four nights, tell him to put on some gloves and hit the bathroom!

He takes advantage of every opportunity.

This is actually something we both do. When you’re a busy couple without tons of opportunities to have sex, don’t let a single one go to waste.

Sometimes there’s that magical day where all the kids nap at the same time. Or they’re at Grandma’s and you don’t need to pick them up for 30 minutes. Maybe they’re all in school and you both have a chance to slip out for a lunch break.

When these opportunities arise, we don’t even need to use words. We just jump on them.

A lot of times, the excitement of knowing you’re doing something “sneaky” or that you’re in a hurry makes it extra fun.

Moms: we need to do our part too.

As hard as it is to do, we can’t let our role as Mom take over every aspect of our existence. We have to remember the person we were when we fell in love, and not let go of that person.

To feel sexy as a mom, you might need to re-define what sexiness is.

Hint: It’s not about having a perfect body.

“Sexy” in the context of marriage is about having confidence. Feeling connected. Having the same goals. Enjoying each other’s company. Feeling appreciated. Laughing together.

If you do your part and he does his, you’re holding the ticket to a long, healthy, and sexy marriage.

Ask Me Anything Series: Postpartum Depression

Ask Me Anything is a collaborative series featuring individuals and families that are facing challenges or are unique in some way. People can ask them anything they’d like to know about their story as long as it’s respectful.

The goal of this series is for people to gain a better understanding of those in unique situations. Open communication is key to understanding one another. If you would like to be featured in a future post, email me at caitlin@realmomrecs.com.

This post was written by guest blogger Jenn R. of This Mommy Is Real.

Ask Me Anything: Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

When did you realize you had PPD? Did you seek help right away?

Around the third week post birth I realized something was not right.  I had a difficult and unexpected birth process, and I suffered from insomnia and anxiety right after.  I felt really out of it and not connected to anyone or anything. I didn’t feel any motherly bonding or blissful moments. In my mind, my son was a baby, but not MY baby. While I provided care for him like every mother should, I felt like a shell or a robot doing a job.

My mind would not rest. I was constantly worried and scared.  In the third week, I experienced a very debilitating panic attack in the middle of the night. The next morning, I realized that something was very wrong and that I needed help.  I started calling the local urgent care office, but eventually spoke with an online psychologist the same day.

Can you share with us the signs or symptoms of PPD so new moms can recognize it better?

PPD and PPA can happen to experienced and first time moms. It’s not guaranteed that a mother will experience it with each birth. PPD and PPA are different from the “baby blues”, which are temporary and fade within a few weeks or so.

Some signs may include:

  • Excessive crying
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Irritability, anxiety or feeling overwhelmed
  • Insomnia or eating problems
  • A feeling that something isn’t right
What was it like parenting with PPD? 

Truthfully, to this day, I can’t remember all of it because I was constantly in a fog. I do remember that it was very difficult. My thoughts and feelings consistently affected my ability to function normally. I am a first time parent, so I was already struggling with childcare skills. PPD/PPA didn’t make it any better.

The lack of sleep and constant struggle with breastfeeding made it worse. Because I was anxious, I felt like my son could sense it when he nursed.   I felt like a complete failure. I was nothing like the person I used to be, and I could not recognize the person I had turned into. I was no longer confident. Instead, I was a fearful person who constantly suffered. I cried constantly.  Certain thoughts were always running through my mind:

  • I am a failure at motherhood.
  • My poor child is going to suffer because I am a bad mom.
  • I can’t do this. Please don’t leave me alone with this baby.
  • I am so scared. What if I hurt him?
How do you think your mental state affected your child?

A lot of mothers worry what affect PPD / PPA has on their children. The only issue I saw was when we were nursing.  I’m sure that my anxiety and lack of sleep affected the feedings and his ability to be comfortable. However, aside from this, the good news is that as babies, they are too young to commit this period to memory. As long as their needs are being met, and they are not neglected, they are unaffected. My son is proof positive. He is known as the “super happy baby” out of the baby groups. He smiles all the time, and is hardly cranky.

What was the most frustrating thing that people would say to you during that time? 

It was really difficult when people called it a “phase” or “just the baby blues”.  I know they meant well, but this is the time when the mother is so vulnerable, so statements like that feel dismissive.  Sometimes it seemed as if what I felt was not important or trivial.

It was also really difficult to see other mothers (both in person and on social media) have seemingly perfect experiences. I definitely didn’t feel that way, so seeing that made me feel worse and alone.

What was your response to that?

In the beginning, I would remain silent, or I would start crying without explanation.  I had no idea how to process my feelings and deal with their intentions at the same time. However, as I slowly began to cope and recover, I learned to be my own advocate. Because it has made such a significant impact on my well-being and my role as a mother, I started to share what I was really feeling and how it was affecting me.  I became more assertive and open which actually shocked people because they don’t necessarily understand PPD/PPA and its effect on mothers.

Did you use any medication to help battle your depression? Was it effective?

In beginning, I did not. I was very anti-medication because I was afraid of effects on my son (research shows little to none depending on the medicine). I attempted non-medicinal strategies for a couple months.

Eventually I decided to include medication in my recovery because I felt as if my recovery was stifled.  My body rejected the first medication. After a few weeks, I switched to the medication that I am on today. I haven’t had any side effects, and I feel as if a fog has been lifted. While I still have my moments, I am able to recognize them and deal before they overtake me. I am in a better mindset to utilize my coping skills. There is a new clarity, and I think it has given me the opportunity to take more initiative in my recovery.

What strategy was most effective to overcome your PPD?

I don’t think there is just one catch-all strategy for overcoming PPD and PPA.  For me, it was a combination of the following:

  • Having a strong support network (friends, family),
  • Consistently attending and participating in a PPD/PPA Support Group
  • Undergoing Therapy with a Psychologist that specializes in Women’s Issues
  • Seeking the assistance of a Psychiatrist that specializes in Maternal Mental Health –  she was in charge of reviewing my medication requirements

There is one thing that I did on my own which I felt was instrumental in my recovery: I challenged myself to avoid isolation at all costs.

Isolation has a profound effect on the intensity of PPD/PPA. Thus, it is important to take the steps to talk to trusted friends, family and mental health professionals. It’s important to take yourself out of physical isolation as well – having some freedom and a change of environment will help. Once you put yourself out there, it becomes easier to talk about the situation; it helps you become more receptive to care and coping strategies. You feel less trapped or stuck in time.

What advice would you have for new moms who think they might have PPD?

If you suspect that you might have PPD or PPA, don’t feel ashamed to speak up. Your OB should provide you with a simple post birth questionnaire. It asks you about your feelings and well-being. A certain score indicates that you might be suffering. You shouldn’t feel bad if that’s the score you get. It means you will be getting the help you need!

Don’t be afraid to seek help. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. You’re doing this for both your well-being and that of your child. Remember, you are NOT alone and this is common.  These moments are all but temporary, and you will find yourself again.   PPD and PPD ARE treatable and there resources out there to help mothers like us.

Jenn R lives in California with her husband, dog and young son. She began blogging this year to help herself and others recover from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. When she’s not in the blogging world, she works full time the import / export industry and sells on the Poshmark platform as a hobby. You can read more about Jenn at thismommyisreal.com.
Thanks to the wonderful bloggers who contributed questions to this post: