We’ve all heard it before, “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” This old saying makes us chuckle but it rings true inside our homes, does it not? My family feeds off my energy, my mood, my words. If my mind and attitude are not in ‘good places,’ then more often than not, neither is the mood of my home. Mamas, we should be finding wellness in motherhood for our own health and the health of our home and family.
Mama, You are the Heart-of-Your-Home
I believe that God has created us, Mamas, to be the heart-of-our-homes. We were made to be perceptive, observant, attentive, and comforting. We have our finger on the pulse of our home. Naturally, we set the tone for our home because our children watch us, mirror us, and react to us. Honestly, there are days that I don’t feel energized or whole enough to set a good tone. However, I can better fulfill this role with genuine joy when I’m intentional about focusing on my health and finding wellness in motherhood.
Motherhood & Science
So because we are so foundational to the mood of our home, it should come as no surprise that our presence and voice in our children’s lives is vitally important. Let me give you two amazing research studies that show the deep and lasting biological response that a child has to his or her mother:
“Mamas are Awesome” Study 1:
One study was
- When a child (this study focuses on daughter specifically) hears her mother’s voice, it releases the same hormone that would be released if she were being physically hugged by her mother.
- When a daughter hears her mother’s voice and gets a hug from her, the presence of cortisol (a stress hormone) actually begins to dissipate as the presence of oxytocin (a ‘happy’ hormone) increases as a result of comfort from her mother.
“Mamas are Awesome” Study 2:
Need more evidence? In 2016, Stanford University released a study done relating brain activity in children in response to their mother’s voice. Here are a few things they found:
- After hearing only seconds of audio recordings of different women’s voices, children could identify their mother’s voice with greater than 97 percent accuracy.
- When a child recognized their mother’s voice, many different regions of their brain became increasingly more stimulated. A few notable areas of increased brain activity was the region that process information about self, the regions that are involved in the
processingand perceiving faces, and the regions that handle emotions.
- Below are two direct quotes from the lead researchers and authors of this study on the impact and importance of the results found:
We know that hearing mother’s voice can be an important source of emotional comfort to children. Here, we’re showing the biological circuitry underlying that.”
-Daniel Abrams, Ph.D
.and lead author of this study, instructor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences
Voice is one of the most important social communication cues. It’s exciting to see that the echo of one’s mother’s voice lives on in so many brain systems.”
-Vinod Menon, Ph.D
.and senior author of this study, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences
Wow! Not to brag…but Mamas…we’re pretty important!
Explore How Wellness in Motherhood is Unique to You
As a result, if we don’t take care of ourselves then we can’t give our best to those we love the most. As shown from the studies above, our presence and voice are so important to our children and family so we should want that voice to resound from a place of wholeness, wellness, and joy.
But we feel guilty when we do make taking care of ourselves a priority, don’t we? Like it’s a badge of honor to scrape ourselves as absolutely thin as possible. Selflessness is a beautiful quality of motherhood. But selflessness, within motherhood, doesn’t mean we should lose ourselves completely to this beloved role. We were each still created as unique individuals. Yes, Mama, you are more than just (insert your child’s name here)’s Mom. You are beautiful, one-of-a-kind, and you give gifts to those around you that no one else ever could. God created you to be you.
What Your Wellness in Motherhood Actually Looks Like:
I have found that it’s extremely important to begin understanding yourself if you’re going to move forward in discovering the steps you need to take towards wellness for you. So here are a few questions to start asking yourself so you can discover some of the most refreshing ways to find health, wholeness, and wellness in your motherhood:
- How are you built you up? What makes you feel loved? Is it through encouraging words, quality time, acts of service, physical touch? What fills your “love tank”? These are what we call love languages. Which ones describe you?
- What makes you breath easy and feel refreshed? Where is your “happy place”? What are those things that you do or accomplish that make you smile?
- Are there ideas, activities, or dreams that flood you with happiness or excitement?
- What ideas, thoughts, dreams keep you up at night (in a good way) or gets you out of bed early?
- What’s your passion?
- What’s your gift?
- What do your closest friends and family tell you that you’re good at?
- What type of setting makes you feel most comfortable and rejuvenated? Is it loud? Quiet? Around people? Alone?
- Are you mostly introverted or extroverted? The way that I gauge this is to discover if mostly introverted activities or mostly extroverted activities allow you to refresh and reset? (For example, I love being around friends and I love to talk but when I need to truly reset, I need some alone time. It’s perfectly normal to enjoy both settings but begin to discover which one really allows you to refresh and refuel. We need to know this so we don’t do something that we think will refresh us but find that it has zapped us of our energy even more.)
- What are those things that you’ve really wanted to accomplish but haven’t set goals for because you don’t want to fail in some way?
On Purpose for a Purpose:
You should start seeing some common threads after answering these questions. And I don’t think that’s an accident…actually I know it’s not. In Jen Hatmakers Book, “For the Love,” she sums this point up beautifully at the end of the chapter called Run Your Race, she writes:
Stop minimizing what you are good at and throw yourself into it with no apologies. Do you know who will do this for you? No one. You are it. Don’t bury that talent, because the only thing
fearyields is one dormant gift in a shallow grave.
How many trot out that tired cliche– “I’m waiting for God to open a door”–and He is all, “I love you, but get going, pumpkin, because usually chasing the dream in your heart looks surprisingly like work. Don’t just stand there, bust a move.” (God often sounds like Young MC.) You are good at something for a reason. God designed you this way, on purpose. It isn’t fake or a fluke or small. These are the mind and heart and hands and voice you’ve been given, so use them.”
Sidenote: I absolutely love the way Jen Hatmaker writes! She is so real and it’s like she’s a comfortable friend that you’ve known all your life. Not to mention, I crack up when I read her books! If you need a good mood-lifting Mama laugh with a heaping dose of inspiration…look no farther.
So to bring it all together, you are so important and special and unique, Mama! I have some scientific studies back up there proving it but more importantly, you have a Creator that made you (from top to bottom, inside and out) on purpose. We just have to take some time to discover things about who we are so we can challenge ourselves to grow…so grow, Mama, grow! Also, knowing more about who we were created to be, allows us to gift ourselves some grace (and then a little more). Knowing more about ourselves also gives us the insight to work and interact better with the people around us…especially the ones we love most. As a result, we begin to understand that we are all wired a little differently…on purpose.
So take care of yourself, Mama! I would encourage you to start understanding what makes you tick so you can find those things that add to your unique needs, wellness, and health. You can find wellness in motherhood! Keep taking steps in the right direction. Your family needs you healthy and happy so nurture yourself from the inside out.