Maternal Mental Health Day 21


Once a time of relaxation and leisure…enjoying the sun, or snuggled up warm when there’s snow…Sundays are now a source of anxiety and panic for many mothers.  Even those who are not diagnosed with or suffering from specific PMADs often experience an increased sense of stress, anxiety and edginess on Sunday.

And no wonder…Sundays are no longer days to lay in bed together and waste away the day, or go on long drives or watch back-to-back movies.  For new moms, Sunday feels like every other day now…full of work.  She gets up with the baby…feedings, diapers, entertainment, chores…

And the preparation for the week.  If your baby/child is in daycare/school then you have to make sure clothes are clean, lunches made, bags packed…

If your home with your child, weekends may be the only time you and your partner have together to take care of joint decisions, larger projects or bills.  All with a child or more in tow.

Sundays bring a sense of urgency and tension.  We lose our ability to enjoy each others company.

Moms often are unable to stay present in their day.  This happens often but Sundays are the worst culprits.  Mothers who are struggling are either thinking about having to return to work the next day themselves or thinking about their partner going off to work and leaving them with the baby again.   Feelings of anxiety, sadness, depression and frustration can set in even when none of the precipitating factors have even happened yet.  Sunday feels like it’s over when it’s just barely began.

Anxiety has a way of taking over your mind.  It finds it’s way into your thoughts and causes them to become negative, catastrophic and repetitive.  It causes sadness, loneliness and difficulty enjoying the present.  So, how do moms get their heads out of Monday and back into Sunday?  How do you take Sunday back and make it part of your weekend again?

1- Start by making a reusable master checklist of things that have to happen every Sunday.  This might include “make lunches, pack school bags, lay out clothes for tomorrow, pack the trunk, give kids baths, wash clothes for the week” or any other things unique to your family’s routine.  Now look at the list and see if there is anything you can move to another day, even just one thing.  And talk about the list with your partner and kids if they are old enough to understand.  When both partners have an understanding of what needs to happen in a given day, it is more likely to get done and the work be shared.  You could even decide who will do each thing on the list to take some things off your plate (it doesn’t have to be 50/50 if one person works on weekends or has other obligations).  And if there are things that can get done early in the day (like laying out clothes or packing a bag), do it first thing to get it out of the way.   Having a clear plan for getting done the “musts” will already start to alleviate some stress and panic.

2- Next, decide that every Sunday will have something nice for you in it.  Some weeks it might be big and others just a small something that you will enjoy doing.  This gives you something to look forward to, and reminds you that Sunday is a whole day with time to fit in good things for yourself too.

3- And, finally, the hardest part, which will take the most practice.  Be mindful of your present.  Remind yourself often that “it’s only Sunday…I have the whole day to enjoy.”  If you find your mind wandering to the dread of Monday and the week ahead…

  • Take three deep breaths (this sounds cliche and something you have been told to do since you were young but please do it anyway).  Deep breaths where you feel your diaphragm and lungs fill completely and count to 4 as you inhale and 4 as you exhale, can do wonders for your stress.  Getting oxygen into your bloodstream, slowing your breath and relaxing your shoulders when you breath will all lessen your anxiety, stress and tension.
  • Think about your present.  It’s only Sunday.  You have plenty of time (no matter what time it is) to do nice things and get things done.  You have this day to enjoy your partner, your baby, your world.  Focus your mind on what is important to you that day.  Review in your mind what you would rather be doing then thinking about the next day.  And go do those things!
  • Look at your partner and your child(ren).  Think about enjoying time with them rather then thinking about the next day.  Watch them, listen to them, stay as focused as you can on what is happening right around you.  And if your mind wanders and you feel stressed…start back with the deep breaths.  Being present is a practice…there’s no way to do it perfectly or always.  Allow yourself to practice it for the benefits and not critique how well you are doing.

Sundays are as much a day as any other.  Treat them as such.  Another 24 hours to enjoy your life.  Take the opportunity.  






About Carpe Diem Counseling LLC

I am a licensed clinical social worker whose practice specializes in working with women (and their families) during the pregnancy and postpartum time period. Please contact me if you believe you or someone in your life is experiencing a Perinatal or Postpartum mental health issue. I also work with any adults experiencing a life change and struggling with the challenges and adjustments they are encountering. Addressing our struggles in life happens one day at a time. There is no wrong time to get help.
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