Motherhood is tough. It’s incredibly demanding. There is a reason they call it the hardest job in the world. Moms are struggling and more than ever, they are turning to drugs or alcohol in order to cope. Which obviously isn’t an option for moms in recovery.
If anyone knows the difficulties of motherhood in recovery, it’s Erin. She’s been in recovery for over a year after struggling with addiction during her pregnancy. Now she’s a sober coach who is helping sober moms everywhere with this new series, Sober Mommy Talk, a live candid show where she shares her experience, tips, and inspiration. Here she shared a few pieces of advice on mommy guilt, skirting the mommy wine culture, and the need for healthy support systems.
If you’re a mom who is struggling with drugs or alcohol, call 818.666.3083 today.
Watch Sober Mommy Talk with Erin Now
Face “Mommy Guilt” Head-On
Whether it stems from wishing you had done things differently or not done certain things at all, moms always have to deal with guilt. However, living in the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” mindset is not going to get you anywhere. Erin suggests facing your guilt head-on. Acknowledge that it happened, accept it and move on. Don’t dwell on it. Get stuck in the solution not in the problem.
Being a mom in recovery we have to deal with that guilt and shame. But it is what it is. I’ve come to accept the fact that I did what I did and I’ve accepted it. As much guilt and shame that I felt, and that I deserved to feel, I couldn’t dwell in that. I had to process that it happened, that I felt guilty about it, and that I had to move on.
Take Care of Yourself So You Can Take Care of Your Children
Motherhood is a constant battle for balance, which can be incredibly difficult to find in early recovery let alone early motherhood. Caring for your kids comes first and it can be hard to prioritize your recovery. For example, leaving your children so you can go to a meeting or take a call from your sponsor or sponsee.
I can’t be there for her unless I’m taking care of myself. If I’m not taking of myself and this isn’t good, then I’m not good to her.
Be a Good Example
If there is anything a parent in recovery fears the most, it’s the thought that their child could one day become an addict. Approximately 12 percent of children in the U.S. lived with at least one parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol or an illicit drug last year, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Of course, there is no guarantee that if you were addicted that your child will be as well. But just the same, there is no guarantee that they won’t. We asked Erin her thoughts and what she said was so on point:
You are 100% responsible for another life. What you do and what you say dictates who they’re going to become. The most important lesson that I’ve learned is just to be a positive example.
If You Have Help and Support – Take Advantage of It
A recent study stated that though women who are transitioning from a life of addiction to that of being a mother struggle with connecting with their children, support from family members can have a positive role. There is a reason they say it takes a village to raise a child.
“I rely on help and support. Which is huge. If you have family or friends that are willing to help, take the help. I rely on my mom to watch [my daughter] for me while I got to a meeting,” says Erin. “And I do that a few times a week.”
We all struggle with stereotypes and the impossible expectations that societal norms place on us but none more so than moms. We loved this quote from writer Sarah Hepola from our recent interview on the TDH Voice podcast.
“Mother’s are dealing with some very intense pressures that I feel like people didn’t pay attention to for a long time. Motherhood is the greatest job; you should be having a great time, this is the time of your life! Well, what if it’s not? What if I’m suffering and nobody wants to listen to me.”
Sarah is right. Moms are struggling needlessly and there are deeper and darker forces at play. We’re part of a social system that isn’t supportive of mothers and the first thing we can do is listen. So, let’s take the cotton out of our ears and put it in our mouths. Let us listen to the issues of motherhood before the problems get too big to dismantle.