Monique Tait

Monique Tait

Sep 11, 2023. 3 mins read


Mums for Mental Health: R U OK? Day

Mental health matters! As we approach R U OK? Day, an important annual event (Thursday 14 September in 2023) that focuses on mental health and connection, let's embark on a journey to explore the significance of checking in with ourselves and those around us. This is an excellent occasion to nurture our minds, support each other, and reinforce the power of openness and empathy.

R U OK? 2023

Beyond Supermum: Acknowledging Our Struggles

Mums are real-life superheroes that can achieve anything - but just because we carry the load well, doesn’t mean it’s not heavy.

In a world that often celebrates our strength, it's essential to acknowledge that behind the smiles and daily routines, we, too, navigate our share of ups and downs. In fact, as many as 1 in 5 Australian mothers face mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety - however, in many cases these struggles fall under the radar

Clearly, it’s time for a change, one honest conversation at a time.

Opening Up: The Power of Conversation

In the whirlwind of motherhood, it's easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, often putting our own well-being on the back burner. Yet, as the nurturers and emotional anchors of our families, our mental and emotional health shouldn’t be neglected. It may be a cliche, but hear us out – you really can’t pour from an empty cup, and you’ll probably break the said cup trying!

R U OK? Day provides a timely reminder to prioritise our mental health and encourages us to extend this consideration to our fellow mums. By participating in this day, we not only empower ourselves to express our feelings but also cultivate a supportive community where conversations about mental well-being are normalised. 

Initiating Conversations: Tips for Mums

A simple act of checking in works absolute wonders!

The caveat? Unfortunately, even when asked, approximately 1 in 3 people may respond that they are totally fine, even where they’re not. While as mums we have lots of empathy and shared experiences to offer, it can still be challenging to provide a safe space for someone to open up.

The trick is to ask the right questions, at the right time. Recent R U OK? Research suggests focusing on:

  • Trust: goes without saying that people are much more likely to speak about their deep struggles to someone they trust, and ideally, someone they are close to. This is not to say it’s a bad idea to ask a fellow mum you just met at your local park if she is ok, but it’s important to acknowledge she may not be ready to share there and then.

  • Authenticity: while this is not something that you will necessarily be able to convey verbally, it’s important to ensure that you’re really interested in answers and be fully present when listening. It’s not a good idea to start what could turn into a very serious conversation if you’re in a rush or simply aren’t in a good headspace to process someone’s struggles and worries.

  • Privacy: people generally prefer having mental health conversations in relatively secluded spaces, where they do not feel under a spotlight, disturbed, or rushed. For mums, for example, this may mean catching a quiet moment undistracted by children.

Supporting Each Other: Why It's Essential

Truth to be told, in motherhood, many of us wish every day was an R U OK? Day.

And in the complex tapestry of parenting, the importance of mums supporting mums cannot be overstated. It’s hard to argue that amid the challenges and triumphs that motherhood brings, nobody understands the nuances quite like another mother. 

Our support for one another becomes a lifeline, a source of solace, and a reminder that we're never alone in our journey. Whether it's lending an empathetic ear during late-night feeds, offering a comforting word when the going gets tough, or celebrating each other's victories with genuine joy, mum-to-mum support creates an unbreakable circle of strength!

R U OK? Day: Family Edition

Mental health challenges can have a “ripple effect” within families, creating feelings of tension and uncertainty. Yet, this bigger picture is not always considered by health professionals.

As mums, we are often very sensitive to these changes within the household, and oftentimes a simple act of starting a conversation can have a powerful positive influence. By reaching out to our family members with a heartfelt "Are you okay?", we create a safe space where they can express their feelings without judgement. 

This simple question has the potential to ignite a transformative dialogue, allowing us to provide support, empathy, and understanding. So this R U OK? Day, let's seize the opportunity to be present for our family members, to listen without expectation, and to show them that their well-being matters deeply to us.

In a world that often glorifies selflessness, let's remember that taking care of ourselves is not selfish; it's an act of self-preservation that enables us to continue giving our best to our families. R U OK? Day provides a potent reminder that our emotions, challenges, and triumphs deserve a spotlight too.

Remember, you're never alone – we're all in this together. So, here's to nurturing our minds, embracing our vulnerabilities, and fostering a community that thrives on the strength of unity. 

Happy R U OK? Day!

Monique Tait

Monique Tait

Mothering . Wife . Founder . Chicken Wing Aficionado .

When she's not scouring the city for the best fried chicken joint, she's busy being a parenting superhero, starting with her new toy swapping app called Sassybae. Because let's be real, what better way to show your love for your kids than by swapping out their old toys for new ones? Monique is on a mission to make parenting easier, one wing and one toy at a time.

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