Here’s how to help a mom in the trenches of motherhood.
Being in the trenches of motherhood is no joke. Although it looks different for everyone, it comes down to an overwhelmed and overworked mom struggling to meet her own basic needs.
Whether you’re in the trenches yourself, or know someone who is, Life Coach Chelsi Rasmussen shares ways to help lift the weight moms carry.
Find more advice from Chelsi, on Instagram @chatwithchelsi.
How to Help a Mom in the Trenches
Recognize a Mom in the Trenches
- Overwhelmed/over-worked mom
- The “trenches” can mean and look different for everyone (single mom, many young kids)
- It comes down to a Mama in the trenches spends the majority of her time tending to the needs of her kids and is most likely struggling to meet her basic needs (think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: physical needs “has she fueled herself adequately, what about sleep?” and the need of loving and belonging, “does she feel like she has social support, many moms in the trenches feel isolated”
- Dreads running normal errands because it is a battle with kids
What makes it so difficult? What is to be understood about this phase of life?
- We must be careful of well-meaning statements that can actually end up being shaming. Example: “Enjoy every moment because they grow so fast”
- There are so many outside sources (age of information) telling moms how to raise their kids and what they should/shouldn’t be doing. Unless asked, do not give advice (they are already getting it from everywhere else)
If you are in the trenches yourself:
- Prioritize self-care (basic needs)
- Saying “no” is self care too! Do not take on anything extra
- Social Media breaks (comparison game) don’t compare yourself to someone else’s highlight reel
- Self-Compassion: its ok and NORMAL to have good days and bad days
- Create a bubble of support: practice asking for help
- Prioritize doing your own emotional work
How to support a mom in the trenches: How can we help?
- Don’t assume that everyone feels “called” to be a mother
- Stay away from making well-meaning statements like: “Enjoy every minute because it goes by so fast.” While this is meant to be helpful, it can be shaming to moms in the trenches because momming is so hard for them right now and they are probably not enjoying every bit of it.
- Keep it simple, sending a text that says, “I’m running to the grocery store do you need anything?” or “I’m running my kids to the park, can I take your two older kids with us?”
- Asking “what can I do to help” is helpful but many times mom who are overwhelmed aren’t even sure what they need. Offering suggestions is going to be more helpful.
- Before asking how their kids are doing ask how they are doing first. This sends the message they are first and foremost an individual with needs. “How are you doing TODAY” can feel less overwhelming instead of “how are you doing.”
- Encouraging Mama’s to do their own work. When they are able to look inside and heal themselves it is so powerful. Someone who has done their work will be able to hold space for others who are in need of (emotional) support.
- Support them in doing self-care, encourage & give them space and time (watch children).
- Steer clear of toxic positivity: allowing space for Mom to show up and talk to you even about the hard days.
- Showing up imperfectly ourselves, allows them to feel safer to open up when things are hard.