Posted in Uncategorized

What is Weary?

One morning last week as my husband and I were in the kitchen getting breakfast ready for kids, he looked at me and said, “I don’t know the word but I’m so…” I started spouting off feeling words that I thought would fit given his recent circumstances. “You are so worn out? Burnout? Defeated? Exhausted?” I kept striking out.  A few minutes later he looked at me and said, “I’m so weary!” Weary was the perfect word that I would never have guessed.

So what is the feeling, weary? It’s not on any of the feeling charts in my office. Some definitions of weary from the Merriam-Webster dictionary are “exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, or freshness” and “having one’s patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted.” My non-counselor husband described what we both have been feeling off and on for months.

I am wondering how many of you have also been feeling weary. Weary after the prolonged summer, weary from no routine, weary from the news, weary from monotony, weary from virtual school, weary from a loss, weary from trials, just plain weary. No one wants to stay here permanently. What do we do if we are weary?

I think the answer is rest. Before you tune the remainder of this blog post out, thinking you don’t have time for any type of rest, read on and pick one small way to engage in rest. It can be physical, emotional/mental, or spiritual rest.

Physical Rest

Is it possible for you to physically get some rest and catch a nap while your partner or a friend watches the kids for a bit? Can you sleep in one weekend despite your long to do list? To do lists will never end. Maybe there are some tasks you can to do a little more leisurely and less vigorously to feel rest and not wear yourself out. Hydrate and eat decently. There is only one of you, lowering the expectations of how much you accomplish or produce in a day can give you physical rest and a sense of relief.

Emotional/Mental Rest

Our minds have a tendency to wander and live in the “what ifs” as our recent blog post addressed, ruminate over the past, and stay stuck in negative spin cycles. Guard your thoughts. If a certain topic or imagined scenario produces negative emotional reactions make the choice to stop thinking about it. Yes, easier said than done, but I would encourage you to take those harmful thoughts captive and alter your thinking. Gratitude can give you a break mentally. Mindfulness and meditation can help you stay in the present and focus on life without judgment. We can all use that! If you are constantly in your head and it feels like a battlefield, I would encourage you to talk to someone about it, journal your thoughts, and reach out to a counselor.

Spiritual Rest

When I think of rest from a spiritual perspective, this song, “Quiet You with My Love” from artist Rebecca St. James comes to mind. Through this song I imagine surrendering everything, especially the weariness and experiencing rest in God. Prayer, music, journaling, and reading Scripture are a big part of my spiritual rest. I would encourage you to do something to promote spiritual rest for yourself too. What feeds your soul? 

I have come to the somewhat defeating realization that I will never get done in a day what I want to accomplish. For my type A, task oriented, and achievement-loving self, I could be setup to live weary. If I reframe my thinking to remember that I am raising children and helping others, my mindset is lifted and broadened. Moment by moment, day by day, I encourage you to remember what is most important, I hope this mindset along with practical ways to help you rest physically, emotionally, and spiritually leaves you less weary.

Resting with you,


Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be a replacement for counseling or medical services. The information on this site is intended for general and educational purposes only. Before taking action based on the information you find in this blog, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. The use or reliance on any information found on this site is solely at your own risk. You are welcome to contact us in response to this post. We will not provide online counseling services via our contact form. We encourage you to seek counseling services of your own if you are looking for more support, help, and advice. If you are in crisis or have a mental health emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Posted in back to school, emotion regulation, social distancing, summer, unprepared

Is My Child Ready?

This summer, we are exploring the many emotions experienced by ourselves and our children on a daily basis.  Take a look at our previous blog posts on empathy, jealousy, boredom, and disappointment.  This week a guest blogger and kindergarten teacher, Alison Crubaugh, has an encouraging word and practical tips for parents as many of us battle feeling unprepared entering into a school year with many unanswered questions.

As a Kindergarten teacher, every spring I have families ask if their child is ready for 1st Grade. There is a natural concern and desire for parents to want their children to be prepared for the next grade. In light of brick and mortar schools closing and parents (and teachers) being thrown into a world of virtual learning, I have seen that concern from parents increase. Be assured the teachers and staff are anticipating a new beginning to the school year. Elementary teachers are aware that more students than in previous years may struggle to say “goodbye” to their parents those first few weeks of school. Our approach to beginning the school year will reflect this change. Older grades are also anticipating students who, under normal circumstances, may have no problems saying “goodbye”, experiencing anxiety or fear at the start of this year. As teachers prepare for this fall, the emotional needs of our students will be at the forefront. This will be a transition back to school that is unprecedented. Your child’s emotional needs should also be at the forefront of your mind as well. The academics will come. As teachers, we anticipate students who have not mastered all the previous grade level material. We are aware some content areas were never taught in a traditional sense. It is okay. We are preparing and adjusting to fill in those gaps. Don’t spend this summer worrying about if your child is prepared for the next grade academically. They are prepared. It might look different than previous years, but they are ready for the next grade. To help your child be prepared academically, the best thing, the most important thing, you can do this summer is read. Read to your child and with your child. Have your child read independently. If your child is not yet reading, they are still a reader. Read together through storytelling, read the pictures by labeling what you see, study the pictures in nonfiction books to discover something new. Read daily and your child will be ready for the next school year. Spend time this summer, especially the weeks leading up to the return to school, exploring the emotions of returning to school. Don’t start the night before school starts. This is a big transition as many students have been away from school for five or six months. Here are some ideas to help you and your child prepare for the return to school.

  • Create a social story to read the weeks leading up to the return to school –  Include how your child will get to school, things they will do at school, and how they will get home, reassuring them they will see you at the end.
  • Visit the school – you will probably not be allowed inside but you can help your child be familiar with the outside/location. For older elementary students, talk about the areas of the school. Do they have a special wing for each grade level? Where is the art room or gym in the school? Help them to realize they are more familiar with the school than their emotions may be telling them.
  • Create a goodby routine – For example, hug, kiss, I love you and then mom/dad leaves. Keep it short and sweet. As a teacher, I see how dragging out the goodbyes makes it more difficult for the child. I understand it is difficult to leave your child in tears, but staying an additional 5, 10, or 15 minutes will not calm your child, it will only build up the inevitable of you leaving. Teachers and pupil services will be on hand to help your child regulate their emotions. But to do that, the parents must leave. Discuss this routine with your older children, too. They might surprise you and want a hug goodbye to start the year. Maybe they want the hug and kiss at home before you drive them to school. Talk it through with them.
  • Create a morning routine – For some children a visual schedule can be extremely helpful. Have pictures showing the steps for how they will get ready in the morning.
  • Role play – Practice what the morning routine will be and how/where you will say goodbye. You could also role play asking a friend to join in a game or how to ask to join others in an activity.
  • Talk about their feelings – If your child has been in school before there will be excitement but also apprehension about the change. Emotions can coincide together, and that’s healthy. Encourage your child to talk through the different feelings towards returning to school.
  • Understand it will take time to transition smoothly back to school.
  • As a parent stay calm, but don’t pretend –  Your child will read your anxiety. If you are anxious about the return to school, they will be too. Do your research to calm your own anxiety. Find out what steps your school is taking to keep your child safe. Most school districts have a school or district wide nurse. They are hard at work this summer working with the school and state to make sure students are returning to safe environments.
  • Be patient with teachers/administrators –  We don’t have all the answers, especially in this situation. This is uncharted territory for staff as well. Ask questions, reach out to your child’s teacher, but understand they might not have the answers either, and that’s okay.
  • Don’t make promises to your child about what they will and won’t be able to do at school. Special classes, lunch, recess, and classroom set up may all be very different. Many administrators don’t know what the fall will look like. This school year will be different. To what degree depends on your State, County, and/or school district guidelines, which no one can predict.

I hope these wise and timely words from Alison leave you feeling prepared to navigate the waters ahead. At the end of the day, remember to extend grace to yourself, your child, and your school’s teachers/administrators. We are all in this together, and we all want the best, safest environment for our children. 

Tiffany Raley, M.A.

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be a replacement for counseling or medical services. The information on this site is intended for general and educational purposes only. Before taking action based on the information you find in this blog, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. The use or reliance on any information found on this site is solely at your own risk. You are welcome to contact us in response to this post. We will not provide online counseling services via our contact form. We encourage you to seek counseling services of your own if you are looking for more support, help, and advice. If you are in crisis or have a mental health emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Posted in coronavirus, counseling, emotion regulation, motherhood, parenting, social distancing, therapy

All the Feels: practicing emotion regulation in a time of uncertainty

All the feels.  All of them… or so it seems.  After the rapid changes, cancellations, social-distancing, decision-making, scrambling to meet work and school requirements, rushing to gather food and supplies that could be necessary, and facing potential loss of job and income, it’s normal to be left feeling all the feels.  This pandemic has left us all in uncharted waters.  And for many, that means responding to day to day life scenarios in less than helpful ways.  Tempers shorten, patience withers away, frustration boils over, grace is in short supply, and peace remains just out of reach.  When experiencing an influx of emotions, we must harness them and use them for the wonderful and helpful tool they are, lest they run amok and cause unintended damage.  

Emotions themselves are not bad, though they can often feel that way.  Emotions are intended to serve as a check-engine light for the soul.  When the check engine light appears on your car, you schedule a time for someone to take a look under the hood. To ignore it is to risk further, and much more costly, damage to your vehicle.  Emotions are our check-engine lights.  When they’re firing off, it’s time to take a look under the hood, lest we endure more costly and long term damage.  So what should you do when you notice your check-engine light is on? Ask yourself these three diagnostic questions to get things back on track. Free worksheets are available below to help guide you and your child through this process.

Adult Emotion Check-In Worksheet

Feelings Check-In Worksheet for kids

What are you feeling?  

You have probably experienced a plethora of emotions over the last week of rapid change and global concern.  Don’t leave the emotions swirling around unnamed.  Take a moment to tame your emotions by naming what you’re feeling.  By labeling a feeling, our emotional response is calmed and we gain control and insight to move forward. 

What are you thinking?  

Emotional reactions are most often a product of the thoughts we allow to take up residence in our minds.  Have you ever willed yourself to do or not do something? How did you do that? How did you create the inner determination to accomplish what you set out to accomplish?  You thought your way to it.  You changed your thought from, “I have to have that piece of cake,” to “I will not eat that cake.  I will not eat that cake.  I will not eat that cake!”  The same is true for any emotion.  They are born of our thoughts.  After you identify what you’re feeling, take a moment to investigate what thought gave birth to that emotion. 

What can you change? 

Now that you know the source of your feeling, you can more easily regulate your emotions by examining the thought. Once you’ve identified the thought, ask yourself, Is this thought true, helpful, realistic, and kind? If not, consider alternative thoughts or how you might modify the through so that is true, helpful, realistic, and kind. 

Taking the time to do an emotional check-in can make a dramatic difference.  If you notice yourself cringing at the thought of writing out your thoughts and feelings in this format, then I urge you: journal, draw, paint, talk to a friend (at least 6 feet away, for now), just find some way that allows you to regulate “all the feels” and navigate the waters ahead.  If you experience higher anxiety than most, it might be helpful to take breaks from media, your phone, and even thinking about the current pandemic.  Set times to break from the information when appropriate and enjoy your family, nature, or being creative.  Laugh and be active.  Enjoy the life that is yours today.

Navigating all the feels with you,

Tiffany Raley, M.A.


Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond (2nd ed.). Guilford Press. 

Bradberry, T. & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional Intelligence 2.0. San Diego: Talent Smart.

Siegel, D. J. & Bryson, T. P. (2011). The Whole-Brain Child: 12 revolutionary strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind. New York: Random House. 

Posted in emotion regulation, motherhood, parenting, trauma

Hope in the Darkness

Trauma. Just the word evokes an array of emotions. You have your own feelings and thoughts when you hear this word. Darkness can and often does surround when trauma occurs. As parents we never want our children to experience any sort of trauma, and the idea of this can simply unravel of us.

I am not getting into any specific types of trauma in this post. If you have been following along in this series, you know we have defined types of trauma and how to heal from any trauma in your own upbringing or adult life. I aim to provide a clear path to help you be your best self if your child has experienced any sort of traumatic event.


When we do not have enough oxygen, we cannot see clearly and are likely to only see the darkness. If you have ridden on an airplane, you know that the flight attendant directs parents travelling with small children to first place the oxygen mask on themselves then on the child in the event of an emergency. I never understood this growing up. It seems counterintuitive as parents seem to first think about their children. Bottom line if a parent does not have air, they cannot help their child. So put on your own emotional oxygen mask and breathe so that you can be there physically, spiritually, and emotionally when your child is hurting.

This will likely look like getting some professional help yourself in addition to getting professional help for your child. You may need extra support from family or friends. Taking care of yourself will mean doing the fun and stress reducing things to keep yourself afloat. We need these pleasant activities the most when we feel like doing these the least. So exercise, journaling, spending time with God, listening to music, art, or whatever may soothe you is needed.


When you are able to breathe, you can be present with your child. They may want to talk a lot. They may not want to talk. They may be avoidant or overly clingy. They may avoid expressing emotion or they may be very emotional. They are hurting and you are hurting, but you are doing enough to take care of you so that you can take care of them.

One of the hardest jobs as parents is to regulate our own emotions when our kids’ emotions are dysregulated. Picture yourself as a thermostat. It sets the temperature for the environment. It does not vary like a thermometer that simply matches the temperature of the environment. The more you can regulate like a thermostat, the more available you will be to your child. This does not mean that you cannot show emotion or have a meltdown. You may need to have a good long cry in private to feel better so that you can soothe them. Tend to your emotions individually and then tend to your child’s needs and feelings.


I pray that you are not in a season of trauma and will not be, but if you are or you have a friend that is, do not lose heart. Do not lose hope. If I did not have hope and know evidence based practices to help people heal, I could not do my job. As a counselor, I see so much pain. Please know that pain can be worked on and through. Love your child, be present with them, and know that with your support and the right help they can be okay. The process of healing is a journey and takes work but is so worth the time put in.

As a Christian counselor, I often give clients Bible versus to meditate on. I will leave you with one that I have given to people who have experienced trauma. I hope that you can claim a verse or quote that will provide hope in your life too.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Hoping through the hurting,


Posted in back to school, home, motherhood, parenting

Your Child’s Safe Place

Coming home from a long day can become a sigh of relief rather than a means to an end. A house shelters the body, but a home nourishes the soul. Let’s be honest. This world can be brutal. Coming home from work, or even the grocery store, can bring us to a place of exhaustion. The youth of today are learning to regulate emotion, navigate relationships, create boundaries, create an identity AND retain school information. How much more exhausting must their days be than our own? It is important to infuse the belief that home is a safe place. Home is a sanctuary. Yes, there is discipline. Yes, there are expectations. However, once they step through those doors, it is important that they feel the permission to exhale.

Consider establishing a plan to create this type of environment. Find one or more that can be encoded into the DNA of your family and make the place you live a home of respite for your children. 


Our bodies are often more aware of our surroundings than our brain. Someone struggling with anxiety can attest to that fact. When a setting triggers a panic response, it can take the mind more time to understand the reason behind the concern. 

Growing up, this was something my mother did well and did intentionally. Due to my experience, I have adopted her habits. Piano music and scented candles create within me a sense of wellbeing that is hard to describe. The sounds and smells become a blanket of peace that wrap me in calm and ease away the day. It has become a signal of security for me, as well as my husband, since introducing it into my home. My hope is that it will instill that same reaction within my children.

Candles may give you a headache and you may detest piano music. That is ok. Find a way to engage the senses in a different way. Cooking might be your passion and those smells may become that signal for your family. Colors, bright and vibrant or neutral and soothing could speak the language of home to your household. Even the presence of a pet, can become a method of bringing someone into the atmosphere of calm. Find traditions that fit with your personality and the culture of your family, and engage it often. 


The drive home from carpool or the walk from the school bus may not be the best settings to communicate with your child. Sometimes giving them space, as Andrea reflected in “Morning Meltdowns and Afternoon Attitudes,” can be most helpful for them to begin recalibrating from the day. However, being intentional and listening to their input is important. 

Develop a method of connection. When something that works becomes tradition, the expectation of connection can be a lifeline for our children. Ways to begin this process could be family dinner, game nights, or craft time. It can be tailored to each child or something you do routinely, like cooking or eating a meal. Invite your kid to come alongside. Selena speaks to this as well in “Connecting in the Chaos.” Going through their homework assignments can become more about allowing them to process their day, rather than the task itself. A vehicle for connection that becomes a routine, can allow your family to be intentional, and build memories together.


Gary Chapman, a pastor and author from North Carolina, has written many books exploring the five love languages. I would recommend, “The Five Love Languages of Children” by Dr. Chapman and Ross Campbell, M.D. as a method to explore the different ways children feel the most loved. These ways include physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts and quality time. The presentation of these needs in children can look very different than adults. 

Speaking love and encouragement intentionally can become a shield that protects our sons and daughters from the negativity and indifference of those they face in school. When they know they have an advocate in us, they have a foundation of feeling “enough.” The expression of love that targets their specific heart, will bring rhythms of peace into the walls of your home.

Life will always be difficult and perilous to navigate, but we can give our children a refuge. The storm of grades, low self-esteem, disappointments, hurts, heart-break, confusion and expectations will be present, but as parents we must be a safe haven in the midst of the storm. If not our home, where will they go to find comfort?

Trying to keep the winds at bay,

Allyson Pitre

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be a replacement for counseling or medical services. The information on this site is intended for general and educational purposes only. Before taking action based on the information you find in this blog, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. The use or reliance on any information found on this site is solely at your own risk. You are welcome to contact us in response to this post. We will not provide online counseling services via our contact form. We encourage you to seek counseling services of your own if you are looking for more support, help, and advice. If you are in crisis or have a mental health emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Posted in counseling, isolation, loneliness, motherhood, parenting, summer

Uprooting Isolation

Isolation.  The feeling of being separated from others.  Have you ever stood in a room, completely surrounded, but aching with loneliness, discomfort, and an intense desire to connect?  I have.  And I think it is prevalent for moms, even in the moments that you have escaped from “nap jail” as a dear neighbor humorously commented to me.  Sometimes it is so difficult to connect – to know and be known by others.  Maybe it’s the fear of being judged for our frazzled mom appearance or our parenting habits.  Maybe it’s because we are just out of the loop and don’t know where to begin conversation.  Maybe it’s because we have spent all of our “energy bucks” on our family and can barely muster concern for the intricacies happening in the lives of others.  Whatever the cause, we must deal with the internal root of isolation. 

Isolation is a nasty weed that can grow from various root systems.  Recently we had a plant that we just could not get rid of in our back yard.  I cut it down… numerous times.  I poisoned it… numerous times.  And I complained about it a whole lot.  But the green bushy plant kept coming back.  It was relentless.  Nothing worked to get rid of this plant until we finally dug it up by the root.  I find isolation is very similar to this plant.  It digs deep.  And we can deal with all the impacts that grow above the surface, cutting it back every few months.  But until we address the root, isolation will return.  I have found that isolation, when present in my life, has a much deeper and widespread root system than what one might think.  When I feel lonely and the deep, aching longing to know and to be known, I can usually- if I have the insight and discipline to stop and reflect- identify a few of the roots that are contributing to the isolation. Here are just a few I’ve noticed in my life. 

1. Unresolved Hurt: Whether in friendships, community groups, marriages, or work relationships, stuffing emotions and avoiding real conversations about valid hurts affirm the harmful message within that connection is dangerous and not worth the risk and effort.  You teach to yourself the false message that you are not worthy of love and belonging. Full disclosure, this is a tough area for me.  It’s a vulnerable experience to give someone your heart and share how they hurt you (see below for my distaste for vulnerability).  Fearful of rejection, denial of harm, or being exposed for our own flaws, us mamas aren’t so great at confronting hurts in a gentle, respectful way.  Our kiddos must see this modeled and must learn how to navigate conflict when relational roads get bumpy.

2. Insecurity and Unwillingness to be Vulnerable With Others: In his book Caring for One Another, Ed Welch says, “Our pride resists being vulnerable.  Even more, if you have ever confided in someone and received comments that were hurtful or less than supportive, you might have decided on the spot never to let that happen again, which means that you keep your troubles to yourself.”  Our unresolved hurt and insecurities create a wall of self-protection  and we begin resisting the risks of being vulnerable.  It’s so hard to be vulnerable, to let others know you.  But friend, let me urge you, cannot know unless you are known.  Yes, vulnerability will inevitably allow others to get close enough to hurt you.  But it will also let the sweetness of companionship, support, and belonging to be known by you.

3. Unhealthy Standards and Expectations:  The final part to the root of isolation that has taken up residence in the yard of my life (cue the uncomfortable vulnerability) has been unrealistic expectations and idealistic dreams of what friendships should look like.  Only when I have abandoned the thoughts that all my friends should parent like me, live lifestyles like me, find the same humor funny, and spend money like me have I been able to enjoy the sweetness of friendship.  When I let that idealized picture of friendship go, I’m free to truly enjoy my friends’ differences, have meaningful conversations, and reciprocate vulnerability.  Friend, if we are unwilling to be authentic and vulnerable, we cannot expect others to be authentic and vulnerable with us.  Let people in, whether that be into the messiness of your heart or the messiness of your house.  Welcome people in to the mess of life and ask, “Will you sit with me here for a while?”

To be sure, you may find the root system of your isolation to be comprised of other factors: a move away from your family and support system, loss of a loved one, or circumstances outside of your control.  If you find yourself in this predicament, let me encourage you, there is healing in connection.  It takes bravery, energy, and planning.  But you are worthy of love and belonging.  Ask someone for help to dig that root up, and rid the isolation that is persistent in your life.  With equal importance, when you pass someone else’s yard of life and see the isolation growing out of control, offer to help dig it up.  The root of isolation, by its very nature, cannot be dug up alone.  I recently had a sweet friend of mine say to me, “Don’t let me isolate myself.”  We tend to do that, don’t we?  Don’t worry Mama, I’ve got my shovel.  

A few reflection questions for you to assist in digging up your root system of isolation:

How have you found yourself responding when hurt by others?  Do you move near to talk it out?  Or are you more likely to withdraw to avoid being hurt?

What are the insecurities that keep you from being authentic and vulnerable with others?  Who is a safe person you can be vulnerable with this week?

What are the judgements you pass on other friends?  How might you let that go so you can enjoy their differences and sweet fellowship with them?

In the mess with you,

Tiffany Raley

Posted in body image, motherhood, summer


Okay, be honest.  Take a second to reflect.  What was the very first thought or image that came to your mind when you saw that dreaded phrase swimsuit shopping?  If you’re like me, you likely didn’t think happy thoughts about the beautiful body you have been given.  The body that held the precious children who are currently making a fuss.  Your mind probably didn’t drift off into a daydream about how much fun you are going to have at the destination that prompted the swimsuit mission.  No, if you’re like me, your thoughts jumped ahead to the event you will attend in your swimsuit, dreading being around women that you have defined as better looking and thinner.  This is such a struggle, and it should not be so. 

Our bodies, though magnificent, were not designed to be eternally beautiful, according to the world’s definition of beauty.  To compare ourselves to other body types that we deem more beautiful is a torturous endeavor.  So, what can we do with the intense feelings of disgust, shame, inferiority, and inadequacy we so often feel?  Here are seven steps you can take to reshape your thinking. 

  • Name what you are feeling.  

Our behavior is motivated, our relationships impacted, and pursuits are determined by our emotions.  The gift of emotions are intended to protect us emotionally and physically, but unidentified emotions are often a breeding ground for destructive thought patterns and actions.  When we take the time to explore and name what we are feeling, our emotions are restored and made to serve the end for which they were designed. 

Ex: “I feel disgusting and inadequate when I stand on the beach.”

  • Notice the sensations in your body. 

Many times we may not think we are feeling anxious or angry or sad. But our bodies have a tell.  It may be a dull ache in your stomach, tingles in your hands, or tension in your shoulders.  One way or another, your body will reveal when there is something going on beneath the surface.  Learn your body’s tells and leverage your physical reactions for the sake of your mental health. 

  • Identify what you are thinking. 

Emotions are not born in a vacuum.  They stem from an internal narrative, thoughts we may not even be aware exist.  When negative feelings arise in seemingly inappropriate situations (i.e. shopping for a swimsuit), there’s a good chance some unhealthy thoughts are happening deep within us. For instance, swimsuit shopping may trigger the unhealthy thought, “I won’t look good in a swimsuit.” This line of thinking misses the mark in that it assumes that the purpose of your body is to appear outwardly attractive. This is simply not so. 

Preach truth to yourself, replacing distorted thoughts with thoughts that ring with truth.

Once you’ve recognized the unhealthy thoughts that race through your mind, replace that thought with truth. For example, instead of allowing your mind to dwell on the thought, “I won’t look good in a swimsuit,” remind yourself, “My body is amazing. It has gone through so much and has sustained life for my children,” or “My body has fulfilled its purposes well,” or “My body, no matter the flaws, can still enjoy the beach, make memories, and love my children the same.” Personally, the truth that sustains me during swimsuit season and in this season of postpartum is a result of my faith in Christ. Because I believe that my body is fearfully and wonderfully made, and that my body serves a purpose outside of just being sexually attractive to the public eye, I am able to see my body as a beautiful gift that was created as a vessel to care for others.

  • Be vulnerable with others.  

Don’t keep your angst tucked inside.  Share your thoughts and feelings with others.  Break the shame cycle by confiding in a trusted friend about your intense feelings and encouraging one another in the journey

  • Contribute to your health.  

If your weight or unhealthy habits are contributing to your unhealthy thinking, make the necessary changes that will tune your mind to thinking in terms of health rather than outward beauty.

  • Limit your exposure to unrealistic ideas of body image.  

If you are feeling shame about your body, it may be wise to decrease the time that you take in media that idolizes beauty, size, and unhealthy thinking about women’s bodies.

Okay, so I need to change my thinking and beliefs about my body.  What does this have to do with motherhood?  Tell me this, are you able to respond gently, lovingly, and in the best interest of your child when you feel insecure, inadequate, and undesirable?  Are you able to reflect a beautiful marriage when you are more concerned about the other women on the beach than you are about pursuing intimacy with your spouse?  Are you able to be present and enjoy your kids when you are trying to make sure your flaws are covered up?  Are you able to reflect to your daughter the beliefs and body image you hope to instill in her?  Would you be okay if she thought about herself the same way you think about yourself?

This is tough.  But you can be comfortable in your body.  You are beautiful and you are designed to enjoy this life and intimacy with others.  Don’t allow unrealistic standards keep you and your family from enjoying life.


Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be a replacement for counseling or medical services. The information on this site is intended for general and educational purposes only. Before taking action based on the information you find in this blog, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. The use or reliance on any information found on this site is solely at your own risk. You are welcome to contact us in response to this post. We will not provide online counseling services via our contact form. We encourage you to seek counseling services of your own if you are looking for more support, help, and advice. If you are in crisis or have a mental health emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.