Managing my Mental Health as a Mother

Guest Post by Mihaela Gruia, Research Retold.


Social media can be a wonderful place to connect with others but at times it can feel like a highlight reel. To bring more vulnerability and real-life experience to my feed, on World Maternal Mental Health Day, I opened up in a post about my experience.


My message was that showing up for myself every morning and taking care of my mind and body is a conscious decision. I make this decision every day as a result of the journey I have been on overcoming depression. I no longer fool myself into thinking that it should come naturally or without effort. What’s more, I don’t wait to ‘feel like doing it’ but actually do it and reap the rewards of feeling better afterwards. The importance of this habit has been highlighted even more since I became a mother.


The benefit of sharing a vulnerable post online is that it allows others to be vulnerable in return. After sharing my post, I connected with other women who have gone through similar experiences and I also received messages where people told me they felt inspired to be kinder to themselves.


Unexpectedly, it has led me to sharing my experience in a guest blogpost, as Jodie kindly reached out and asked me to share more on how I manage my mental health as a mother. So here I am, taking advantage of my daughter’s 20-minute nap, to write this post. I sincerely hope that sharing these three lessons will be useful for any parent on their mental health journey.


  1. Ask for help

This is a lesson I learned in business and one I started practicing more heavily once I became a mother. Underpinning this way of thinking is realising that we don’t get any prizes or medals if we do it all by ourselves. The only result of trying to do so is exhausting ourselves and we all know it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup.


As a result, asking for help when I need it is my number one tool to manage my mental health. What this looks like for me is being clear with my partner in asking for what I need – whether it’s help to take care of baby so I can have a break, work on a project, have some space, or asking for help with making food, bringing me a cup of tea or fixing something for me – whatever it is, I ask myself whether I can get help to make things easier.


Beyond my partner, I have also asked for help from my family, in-laws and friends, especially during the early weeks of my daughter being born. I confess that before she was born I resisted the thought of receiving help from my family – I was standing in my own way, underestimating how hard having a baby is.


Becoming a mother has quickly taught me that that way of thinking is unsustainable. I am so glad to have opened my mind and allowed myself to be honest about what and when I need help.


It can be hard to do this if you’ve never done it before. My advice would be to start small. Think of little every day things that you could get help with, which you’re not bothered about controlling. Seeing that it’s OK and that other people can make your life easier will build up your confidence.


  1. Prioritise self-care

Making time for myself was very hard for me in the early days of becoming a mother. My world was shifted upside down and I had a hard time distinguishing day from night. The hours were melting into one and, not to scare you, but I was simply surviving. Trying to get through the day was an achievement and I made sure to pat myself on the back every night.


Yet, self care was not totally impossible. Even in those moments, taking as little as a minute for myself to wash my face, floss or mediate was my precious self-care.


As we grew into a routine and were able to predict our schedule a little bit, my ritual of self care expanded and improved to accommodate for my needs and to allow me to thrive, not just to survive.


For me, prioritising self care means paying extra attention to exercising and eating well. If I incorporate these two aspects in my daily routine everything I do on top is ‘gravy’. That might include journaling, beauty routines, baths, massages, turning my phone off, whichever of these I pick, on the days when I can squeeze them in, I feel like superwoman.


The point is that prioritising self care cannot be done if you feel uncomfortable asking for help. You need to have time alone and with a baby that can be tough if you have a hard time letting go of control and being vulnerable about your needs.


Remember also that and prioritising self care is not selfish – it is imperative for you to be able to take care of others and to life a healthy life. Even a half hour of quiet time doing something you enjoy can make a massive difference to your mood and attitude. (I love this pin that has this positive message).


  1. Remembering who you are

This can be somewhat controversial for some people but before I think of myself as a mother I am Mihaela Gruia. I am my own person with wants, needs and desires and this kind of independence is something that I aim to instil in my daughter too.


Before my care and love for my daughter, before my loving marriage and my role as a wife, I am my own person. And to celebrate this I make a point to every day remember to do something for me only.


What’s more, I keep a mental note of things that I still enjoy doing, I reflect on what has changed, on how I feel, I constantly sift through my thoughts, habits and surrounding to stay in tune with myself.


I think this is especially important as a parent because raising strong, resilient and independent babies can be an all-consuming role. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in caring for your baby and family, that can we forget about ourselves.


I firmly believe that protecting, nurturing and developing myself beyond being a mother – as a business woman, entrepreneur, creator – will offer a solid foundation to my daughter in how she sees herself and her abilities. I want to raise her knowing that she can be all the things she wants to be and that she has a strong mother who still went after her dreams while raising her.


In conclusion, managing my mental health as a mother is a precious, important, and invaluable process. I encourage you to develop your ability to ask for help, define what self care means for you and prioritise it and remember who you are. Mothers around the world, you are doing a great job. Whenever you doubt yourself remember that your baby never doubts you and that you are the best mother for your child.


Before I leave, I’d like to leave you with a video that I made to detail how I manage my mental health – especially now in lockdown. Remember to be kind to yourself and to be your own champion. And if you need some inspiration, here is an insight into how I work from home with a baby.


Happy World Maternal Mental Health Day!


Mihaela is the founder and director of Research Retold, a Leeds-based company that provides a research communication service to researchers across UK universities, charities and businesses. You can connect with Mihaela on her YouTube channel where she shares videos about motherhood and business, as well as follow her on Instagram and Twitter @mihagruia.

Related Articles

Coronavirus – FAQ’s

What is a collective redundancy and what are employers’ obligations?

Pregnancy, Maternity and Furlough

Face Coverings in the Workplace: What are the Rules?

Mental Health in Lockdown: What are people concerned about? By Hebe Quinney

Furlough Bonus Scheme: What is it, and What’s the Point?

Unshielding Employees – What are their Rights?

The impact of COVID-19 on students and the new scheme.

Women through the cracks: Sex discrimination

Do you need to offer an appeal in redundancy dismissal situations?

Race Discrimination: What is It, and How Can It Be Prevented?

Update: Spanish Quarantine: What Does This Mean For Employers and Employees?

Indirect Race Discrimination: What is It, and How Can It Be Prevented

Race Discrimination: What is It, and How Can It Be Prevented?

Update: Employment Status. Hairdresser wins landmark case.

Maternity Discrimination and Flexible Furlough

Women Through the Cracks

SSP and Travel

June’s Top 10 FAQ’s

Hill v Lloyds Bank: Discrimination and Mental Health

Pride month – LGBT legal leaders

Test and Trace update

Furlough Fraud

Commission under Furlough

Marital Discrimination: What Happens when Your Employees Split?

Disability & Shielding

Future of Furlough

Returning to work safely following Covid-19

A Four Day Week – Is It The Future?

Utilising Technology for Mental Health Support during Covid-19

#BLACKLIVESMATTER – HR professionals and their role in tackling racism, and what we are doing at Thrive Law

The importance of Redundancy Consultation – the problem with Jamie’s Italian

LGBTQ+ Figures in the Legal Sector

Calculating notice pay for employees on furlough

The Future of Furlough

Test and Trace: Employer’s Obligations

Life in Lockdown: How it has impacted the #ThriveTribe

Life in Lockdown: The Distressing Rise in Domestic Abuse and How Employers Can Help

Life in Lockdown: The Impact of Grief and Employees’ Rights

Managing my Mental Health as a Mother

Life in Lockdown: NHS Staff and Possible PTSD After COVID-19

Health Care Workers and PPE Concerns: What are Their Duties and How Are They Protected?

The effect of lockdown on diversity in the workplace

Observing Ramadan during Lockdown

Emergency Volunteering Leave

Dealing with redundancy during COVID-19

Health and safety dismissals: An employee’s right to stay safe during a pandemic

Unfurloughing employees

Sleep and mental health

Raising concerns amid Covid-19: Are Employees Protected?

Maintaining your teams Mental Wellbeing (whilst working from home/Furlough)

Workplace Safety: 10 Important Steps to Making Your Workplace Safer for Employees

Airline crew launch “Project Wingman”

Statutory Sick Pay and Coronavirus

Why is sleep so important?

Flexible working – is it possible in a law firm?

The superhero firms helping out in the coronavirus crisis

What are the Signs of Stress?

Statutory Duties owed by a Director of a Company; and How Do They Work with Furlough?

A barristers analysis of holiday pay and furlough

Coronavirus and Apprenticeships

Furlough and Annual Leave: How does it work?

Vulnerable and shielded employees; what are your rights?

The Coronavirus Act 2020

Workplace Accessibility: Is your workplace accessible to people with disabilities?

In the News: Coronavirus Employer obligations

UK in Lockdown – What You Need to Know

The F Word – Furlough

Short Time and Layoffs

School Closures

The Impact of Coronavirus on Employment – The Home Working Revolution

How to Prepare for a Remote Workforce

Coronavirus is contagious, but panic is too

What are the different types of Whistleblowing?

The Coronavirus and Flexible Working – What Your Organisation Can Do

Key Employment Law Changes in 2020

IR35 Changes – What do you need to know?

In the Media: Fairhall v University Hospital of North Tees & Hartlepool Foundation Trust

There’s a Storm Coming: Do You Have an Adverse Weather Policy for Employees?

May Bank Holiday Change Blog- All Change for 2020!

LGBT+ History Month

Can you sack someone who works in a supermarket and refuses to handle money?

In The News: Bereavement Leave

The Thrive Tribe’s Christmas Holiday

In The News: Discrimination and Equal Pay

Keep Informed: Its Beginning to Look A Lot Like Brexit – What will the Withdrawal Bill Mean for Employment Rights?

Bring Your Dog to Work – For More Than Just a Day?

In the News: Hangover Days

Political Discourse and Voting at Work: What are Employees’ Rights?

Vegetarianism & Veganism – Are they protected as Philosophical Beliefs?

Diversity: More than just Box-Ticking and Policies

Drugs and Alcohol Policy: Support or Discipline?

Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace

Yorkshire Legal Awards: Diversity and Inclusion Award

Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business: Social Mobility Award

Topic UK Magazine October 2019

Calling Time on the Booze Culture

Mental health discrimination is limiting the opportunities in the workplace for those who have served in the armed forces

How to Thrive – Top tips to reduce stress in your organisation

Asda’s Employment Contract Changes: Fair or Foolish?

Keep Informed: MacDonald’s CEO dismissed for relationship at work

How to Handle Allergies in the Workplace

Menopause in the Workplace

The 4 Day Week Report

Feeling SAD?

Keep Informed: New case criticises workplace “banter” and awards £54,000 for race and sexual orientation discrimination

Surviving or Thriving?

Keep Informed: Women and Equalities Committee proposes changes to enforcement of discrimination rights

The Good Work Plan

Working 9 to 5, 4 Days a Week…?

Is your organisation ready for Generation Z?

Thriving In The Workplace and the #OneMind Petition

Dyslexia in the Workplace

Overpayments and Deductions from wages

The UK’s increasingly diabetic workforce

TheBusinessDesk: Further expansion for law firm; Promotions at engineering specialist; and more

LGBTQIA+ in the Workplace

Eid in the Workplace

Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Leeds & Yorkshire Lawyer Magazine – 11th April 2019

Recruiting Times – 12th February 2019 Employment contracts: What to check for before accepting the job

HR News – 6th February 2019 Over half of working Brits have accepted a job offer without checking the contract first.

Yorkshire Legal News – Thrive Law continues rapid growth – 12th November 2018

BR Online: Employee wellbeing and human capital – November 2018

MMB Magazine – 5 November 2018

The Telegraph- Business 24 October 2018

H & N Magazine 3 October 2018

South Leeds Life 3 October 2018

The Yorkshire Post 10 October 2018

Article in People Management- “Employers must do more to tackle male ‘stigma’ around shared parental leave” – 30th July

The Business Desk- “Independent law firm launches in Yorkshire”– July 16th

Interview with Ascension Club Leeds- July 11th

Law Society Gazette – 3rd May 2018

Stylist Magazine – 21st May

Yorkshire Post – 2 May 2018 – Greg Wright The Case for introducing mental health first aiders at work

What Is YOUR Workplace Doing for Ramadan?

April Updates in Employment Law

Thoughts On “Gagging Orders”

Time to Talk Day 2019

The Loneliness Epidemic

Thrive’s round up of 2018!

To talk or not to talk?

Why employers should exercise caution when using NDAs

Being your true self at work boosts mental wellbeing and performance

How to spot and eliminate risks of office workplace accidents

Why The Best Investment Is In Your Mental Health

Supporting LGBT+ Mental Health in the Workplace

What your employer needs to know when your child has a mental health illness – guest blog

The Do’s And Don’t For A Happy Employee – Guest Blog

HR leading the way into GDPR compliance for businesses

Dealing with stress in the workplace

Welcome to our new website and blog!