Children can sense when mum is stressed out – and it harms them more than you know
Can we all just agree that the year and a half we have just lived through – between homeschooling and lockdowns and working from home really has been so, so stressful.
I have my own full-time job, yet I also found myself being a teacher for a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old. And if that wasn't enough, I also have also had to make sure dinners were made, laundry folded, house cleaned – on top of being a teacher, entertainment officer, DIY hairdresser etc., etc.
My plate has been more than full this past year, it has been overflowing – and we have all been in that same, crazy boat.
And much as us mums really are superheroes, we are also human, and we get stressed out like everyone else.
The problem with allowing mums to get this stressed out? It affects our children – in more ways than you might realise.
According to The American Institute of Stress, mums' stress and negative feelings can 'rub off' on their child.
Children can often be seen as sponges, and in a way, they soak up everything around them. Including being aware if mum is feeling extra stressed that day. It also doesn’t appear to matter how hard mothers try to hide their feelings from their children. And even if we slap on a smile and carry on as normal, children are still able to pick up on what you are feeling, and it can still be passed on.
According to Forbes, when a child can sense and pick up their mother’s stress, it can come out in 'bad behaviour' that mums might not realise have anything to do with how they are feeling. Meaning – managing your stress when you are a mum is actually more important than you think.
Interestingly, fathers' mental state don't seem to have the same effect on their children, according to Science Daily.
Studies showed that fathers did not transmit their stress as much as mothers did, and they believe that is because fathers generally always suppress their emotions in front of their children.
The theory is that children are used to dad being 'fine' when he is really not, but they are not used to it from mum. Mothers generally show their emotions much more, so when they try to hide them from their children, the kids pick up on it.
As in, it is more 'abnormal' to hear mom say that she is 'fine' when she really is not.
So this summer, guys – try to make sure you give yourself some TLC. Catch a yoga class. Meet up with your friends and vent. Go for run. Walk barefoot in the grass. Start swimming in the sea. Read all the books. Whatever it takes to make yourself feel less stressed and more centred – it will be worth it. Not just for yourself – but for your entire family too.