Are you a mental Mum or a Mum that’s mental?

A Stepmum that’s mental. Hopefully in more good than bad measure! 

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?

I end up meditating but it takes me a while to get there for some reason. I’ll probably have a melt down first, have a go at my fiance, hide then realise I should’ve meditated first. I don’t meditate as much as I think I should.

Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?

Not so much. More so with my fiance and other people via Instagram. I set up Support Our Stepmums on Instagram in the hope of finding other Stepmum’s grappling with their role and letting them know they aren’t alone. The self doubt and guilt that comes with being a Stepmum can be overwhelmingly isolating and confusing. I ended up with a brilliant support network full of women who sometimes struggle to navigate the tricky step family waters and want to find a way forward without judgement of what they’re feeling. It’s liberating to talk openly with people who understand. 

How do you tackle mental health chats with your kid’s?

My Stepson’s school advocates and practices meditation and wellbeing so he’s aware of the positive impact already. We’ve meditated a few times together at home and explain why it’s important to make yourself happy and not compare ourselves to other people but that’s as far as it’s gone so far. I grew up in a house where expressing negative emotion seemed a very bad thing so I try really hard to let him know it’s ok to feel angry, jealous, upset etc and talk about it.

Who helps you in the dark? (In your pits, your mental rock bottom - who is your hero?)

My ultimate confidante and best friend for a proper ‘you can do this, you are awesome’ pep talk, my sister for the get a grip moments and fiancee for all the stuff I don’t care to share with anyone else. He cuts through the negativity with reason like nothing else. 

What helps you in the light? (Meditation? Procrastination? Perspiration? People?)

Having time to myself. Meditation. Trying to remember I’m not Super Woman and it’s ok to mess up and have a bad day, week...month. I used to put myself under a lot of pressure to be the perfect Stepmum who could provide a perfect home and lifestyle but it’s so unreasonable and can take over everything else. I’m more realistic about it these days because no-one needs to put themselves under such pressure and I feel much more in control of it the majority of the time. 

Is it hard to talk about your mental health? (Doesn't mean on Instagram necessarily, but do you feel the stigma is lifting and do you feel safe to speak your mind, even if it is possibly 'mental'?)

I did. I suffer from low level anxiety which used to be full on and treated with beta blockers. I couldn’t avoid panic attacks so was kind of forced into talking about them because they happened publicly at times. I found that once I spoke to people about it they would open up about their own experiences of anxiety or someone they knew going through similar. I literally couldn’t believe I once thought I was the only person convinced my panic attacks were heart attacks. Apparently it’s really common. As is anxiety. I don’t feel any shame in it anymore.

Where’s your head at? (Right here in this moment, today)

Alright-ish. I had a crap day at work so got in my jammies early, popped my headphones on whilst my beau put the wee man to bed and zoned out to a playlist including Led Zep, Alanis Morrisette, Flock of Seagulls and Beyonce - all the classics Music blows away a lot of my downers somehow. 

Soft Play or Rehab?

Soft play. He’s happy running around like a looney, I can sit and minimally supervise. It can be a moment of respite and I don’t feel guilty at the lack of input on my part because he’s having the best time. Everyone’s happy!!

Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker? 

All the cheese please. And a good chutney. 

Nut Job or Nut Allergy?

Nut job. I can lose my shit in 0-3 seconds for no apparent reason if it’s all getting a bit much. 

Self Care or Self Sabotage?

Self care. 100%. CBT, meditation, a good nights sleep, a long bath, painting my nails in total silence...alone. Without a little quiet and tlc for yourself you’re no good to anyone. I didn’t know this until I reached my 30’s. 

Journal or jog?

Journal of sorts. I put a lot of what’s on my mind and what I’ve struggled with as a Stepmum into posts on Support Our Stepmums. It’s bloody amazing to have a conversation with someone in Ohio or Slough who’s either new to being a Stepmum or a lifer who knows exactly what you’re on about. It’s brought me sheer relief to know it’s normal to find being a Stepmum hard but still want to do it and enjoy it. 

Ask for help or happy to hermit?

Both. If I’m in a bad moment I’ll hibernate but talk it over with my fiance until I can see out the other side. It sometimes leads to a huge great big long rant and snotty tears but that alone helps a lot. And it never seems as bad once I’ve verbalised it. 



#sos #supportourstepmums

If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.

Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.