Therapy for Parents
Do You Feel Overwhelmed By parenthood?
Are your endless responsibilities as a parent creating stress, anxiety, and depression? Caring for your child may be taking up so much time that there is none left for yourself. As a result, your health and hygiene are slipping. Your child may also be trying your patience with their tantrums or other misbehaviors.
Do you keep hoping things will get easier, only to be disappointed? Perhaps have a lovely house and a beautiful family but still feel like something is missing. You are grateful for what you have, but you have also sacrificed a lot. You sometimes wonder what life might have been like without children, but thoughts like these just make you feel guilty. You may even wonder, “Am I a bad mom/dad?”
Is your life hopelessly out of balance? If parental duties often fall to you, you may resent your partner’s freedom. You may have a strong desire to keep working or go back to school but feel trapped by your responsibilities. The only things that offer relief are vices like food, shopping, or alcohol. You know they aren’t long-term solutions, but you don’t know any other way of easing your anxiety and depression.
Mothers Are Under Incredible Pressure
Motherhood is extremely demanding, both physically and mentally. Caring for another person is a full-time job, even for parents who are lucky enough to have access to childcare or other help. The stakes are high, and most women worry that their best isn’t enough. “Why am I struggling so much?” they wonder. “What’s wrong with me?”
Many mothers habitually compare themselves to other parents who seem to be doing better, increasing their self-doubt. “How do these parents do so much?” they wonder. These “super parents” they see on TV and online seem able to balance motherhood with high profile careers, happy marriages, and vibrant social lives—and look good doing it
Despite Western culture’s utopian ideals about motherhood, real parents can’t possibly do it all. Motherhood in the real world is about compromise and sacrifice. There are always difficult choices: “Should I stay home with the kids or go back to work?” or “Would it be worth the extra stress to go back to school, or should I give up on the idea?” Choices like these inevitably result in guilt, regret, and/or added anxiety, regardless of what these parents ultimately decide to do.
I have spent more than 10 years serving as a therapist for parents and parents-to-be. I can assure you that every parent struggles from time to time, even if she doesn’t show it. If you were to see one of these parents on the street and ask how they are doing, they probably wouldn’t tell you that their child has been driving them crazy. Or that they’re hopelessly depressed. Or that they are struggling to conceive their second child. They probably won’t ask for help either, even if they need it. Like them, perhaps you are also reluctant to share your struggles, but you don’t have to face them alone.
Therapy For Parents Provides Much-Needed Support
As an experienced therapist and fellow mom, I can fully empathize with women who feel overwhelmed and who face impossible choices. I offer therapy for parents who feel overwhelmed, struggle with mental health concerns, and wonder how to balance work (or school) and motherhood.
Every mom faces unique challenges. If you decide to work with me, I will start by getting to know you. We will spend some time discussing your current situation and goals. We will also talk about your most significant pain points right now and what is driving them.
If you struggle with self-doubt…
…we may start by identifying situations that make you feel vulnerable. Do you feel guilty because the cookies you brought to the bake sale “weren’t good enough”? Maybe you assume other mothers are judging you, so we’ll examine that assumption. We will also consider worst-case scenarios. Would it be the end of the world if you brought in store-bought cookies instead of homemade ones? Or would life go on?
We will also explore your beliefs about motherhood and where they came from. For example, your mother may have raised you to believe that there should never be a single dish left in the sink at the end of the day. Perhaps you have internalized that belief and follow it religiously, but is it serving you?
Whatever your long-term goals may be, therapy can help you achieve them.
If you’re a perfectionist, you might struggle to let go of certain things. I won’t tell you how to run your household. I will ask thought-provoking questions that invite you to explore what kind of mother you would like to be. Would you rather have a spotless house or have time to read to your child every evening? Whatever your long-term goals may be, therapy can help you achieve them.
I will also teach you how to pause and check in with yourself during times of stress. If—like most mothers—you habitually ignore your own needs, I will encourage you to reconnect with your body. When you take the time to look inward (“Am I feeling tense? Or perhaps hungry?”), you will recognize opportunities for self-care, such as having a quick snack or going for a walk. The body and the mind are intricately connected, so this approach can help you start feeling better more quickly and more completely.
Life as a mom won’t always be perfect, but counseling can help you ignore the little things and focus on what’s important. You can also learn to accept yourself without judgment. As your self-confidence improves, you will be less likely to beat yourself about minor setbacks. Your perspective will shift from “nothing is working” to “this is good enough,” setting you up for success at home, at work, as well as other areas of your life.
You May Wonder
As you consider therapy for parents
“Is my situation really bad enough to justify seeing a therapist?”
Maybe your life looks good on paper. You’re not seriously ill, living on the streets, or being physically abused. It is normal to experience some anxiety and depression as a mom, so you might feel silly coming to therapy. On the contrary, there’s nothing silly about wanting to improve your mental health. You don’t need to be a train wreck to benefit from therapy; you’re welcome to come in even if you just need a mental tune-up. By getting ahead of things now, you may be preventing larger issues from appearing up down the road.
“If I come to therapy, does that mean I am a bad mom?”
Many women think that going to therapy is somehow admitting weakness or failure. But let me ask you this: If you decide to take a daily vitamin, does that mean you’re weak? Does it mean you’re a failure if you choose to work with a physical trainer in order to become more physically fit? Of course not! Emotional health is just as important as physical health, and there is nothing wrong with getting some support in this area.
“What if my child is causing all of the problems? Can you still help?”
Your mental health and your ideas about parenting may be affecting your child more than you realize. When you were a child, your parents taught you how to handle conflict through their own actions. They may also have left some emotional scars that are unwittingly sabotaging your interactions with your child. By working on your mental health, you can create an emotionally healthy environment that can support our child.
That said, your child may indeed benefit from counseling. My goal is to add a child counseling specialist to my practice sometime in the future. In the meantime, I would be happy to refer your child to one of my trusted colleagues. If you are unsure whether you or your child should get therapy, please contact me for a phone consultation. After learning a bit more about your family’s needs, I can recommend how to proceed.
You Deserve To Feel Supported
As a mom, you probably spend most of your time thinking about serving your family. You may be reluctant to set aside time for yourself, especially if you also hold a job or attend school. I know it’s hard, but I encourage you to prioritize yourself and your emotional wellbeing, even if it is just once a week. As a hardworking mom, you deserve to take care of yourself and to feel supported. Contact us to learn more about my work as a therapist for parents.