What does mental health mean to a mother? Ask any mom what her daily worries consist of and she will  give you a list that probably includes her significant other, children, the family pet, bills, what to make for dinner, laundry and trying to figure out the one thing she always feels like she is forgetting. What’s missing, you ask…THE MOTHER!

As a mother myself, I know our needs typically come last, from getting our nails done and taking a shower in peace to getting our annual well-checks at the doctor. You can pick up any “guide to motherhood” or Google the world’s most random questions to make yourself feel better about some of the choices you make as a parent, but when it comes down to it, there is no instruction manual.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, both have a constant job to do, your mental health matters. But struggling with mental health and actually seeking mental health services are two very different things. Asking for help can be as tough as getting a toddler to “come here” when there’s an unknown object in their mouth.

Mental health counseling, aka “talk therapy,” is the first step. This begins with a therapist that fits your needs (yes, you can ask for a different therapist if you don’t feel comfortable); consistency is key, which means dedicating time every week for a 50-minute session and being open and honest. Putting on my therapist hat now, we are there to give YOU the tools to work through and process various stages of your life, the good and bad; a therapist should never force you to sit through their session and will never beg you to show up weekly because that in itself is part of the “seeking help” process.

Once you’ve found the right therapist for you, learning to unload your problems can feel like a whole lot of complaining; however, this is your time to shine. It’s 50 uninterrupted minutes of talking about YOU, what YOU need, what YOU have been through and what goals YOU aim to accomplish. Every good thing takes time, which goes for your own mental health as well. Just like those precious babies we raise, it takes love, support and a whole lot of nurturing for them to grow; the same goes for your own mental health!