Mother’s Mental Health during the Pandemic
The global pandemic and the changes it has brought about in every aspect of life is significant. With lockdowns requiring adults to work from home and children attending school online, even the way we perceive our home has changed. Home, we have always been told, is a safe place. A place where one is comfortable, where they experience secure relationships, and most of all, it’s the place where you find yourself.
More often than not it is the mothers of the family that play a major role in making a house a home. Mothers, especially homemakers develop a closer relationship to this living space more than any other family member. It is their haven, a peaceful place to be in once everyone leaves. But what happens when this alone time and space is intruded upon with the additional burden of the work that comes with a full house.
Many types of research are suggesting that while almost everyone is going through a tough time right now mothers’ well being is most affected, matching wider research showing that, while women have not been more likely to lose their jobs than men mothers are doing so much more than fathers in part because they face the biggest burden of lockdown – childcare. Psychiatrist Pooja Lakshmin says that nearly every mother she has treated during the pandemic fights through fatigue, rage, and a feeling of powerlessness every day.
Concerns regarding the virus, maintaining impeccable hygiene (without house help ) making more than three meals a day, keeping an eye on children, lack of Personal time/space are among the many issues that are contributing to deteriorating mental health of mothers.
A family as a whole must consider each other’s mental and physical well-being as a priority and work together to get through tough times.
Sharing workload between partners and family
One of the more obvious causes of exhaustion among mothers is the housework that they undertake. Partners and children together must not leave this to the mother alone. Assigning chores and duties to the family members helps maintain order and discipline and doesn’t leave one person burdened. Work also includes the mental labour that most women undertake, such as planning remembering, etc. Adult members of the family must take on these responsibilities as they are as exhausting as performing the tasks themselves.
Giving them space
When chores are divided effectively, everyone has time for rest, practicing hobbies, etc. Mother’s alone time should be respected. Spouses or other family members must take care of pets, siblings, etc for their mother to have a guilt-free alone time.
Listening to them
As children, we always tend to rant to our mothers about our issues and problems, we need to be there for them as well. Older children especially must be understanding and lend an ear to make their mother’s feel seen and create a judgment-free space for them keeping in mind that besides being their mother, she is an individual going through a pandemic just like everyone else
Encourage them to communicate
The family must encourage open communication among its members, while it is true that the lockdown has increased frustration and conflict among people living together. It is important to address them and collectively find effective solutions. Mothers should be encouraged to reconnect with their friends, other family members through social media, video-calling, etc. As well as diverse online communities and groups. Interacting with others can make one feel less isolated and even help one gain different perspectives.