It’s been said that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

“When you consider the many ever-changing roles of motherhood, it’s easy to identify the stressors that can consume a mother’s days,” explained Dr. Beth Plachetka, LCSW, EdD of Safe Harbor Counseling. “The daily needs of family members coupled with the desire to raise strong, independent adults leads to constant evaluation and second-guessing. Stress builds, often resulting in symptoms of anxiety or depression. It’s difficult to remember who you were before you became mom. Consider these five tips to support maternal mental health.”

1. Identify your values. “Ask yourself what is important to you and your family,” said Dr. Plachetka “Common values include honesty, family connection, commitment, and faith; keep a list of your values and review it often.”

2. When new research about raising children is presented, compare it to your values list. “Discuss with your spouse whether your list aligns with the research,” added Dr. Plachetka. “This will help you support each other as you raise your children.”

3. Include others when appropriate. Extended family members can offer support and perspective, helping sort a crisis from a developmental issue.

4. Take care of yourself and hold yourself accountable. “Our children are watching,” said Dr. Plachetka. “Anxiety has a way of creeping in when our words, actions, and values don’t align.”

5. Remember the people and activities you enjoyed before having children, and enjoy activities as an individual.

Each new developmental stage requires a review and renewal of your values list and your identity.

If we want to model a mentally healthy approach to life for our family that is free from anxiety and depression, take time to follow these steps. Moms who use these steps to focus on the present will “rock the cradle and rule the world.”