How to Support the Moms in your life this Mother's Day

In times of crisis, families need access to stable supports. When caregivers are well supported, the whole family benefits.

All women are facing more stress and anxiety than normal, and every mom is experiencing her own personal worries no matter what stage of motherhood she’s in. It’s clear the strain of the pandemic is taking a toll on parent mental health. At times like these, support from friends, family and community are essential. We’ve rounded up 5 tips to help you support the moms in your life, with help from the Children, Youth and Family Caregiver Education team.

5 Tips to Support Moms During the Pandemic:

1. Do regular check-ins and offer practical help – Even super-moms need a bit of help once in a while.  Connect with mothers regularly to see how they are doing and offer to help if you are able.  Providing childcare for even an hour or two can make a big difference – it might let them have a shower or run an errand. Childcare may not be needed at all – you might offer help by picking up a jug of milk from the store, taking books back to the library, or mowing a lawn. Plan an online get-together at a time that they can get a break from the kids, and be understanding that the stress of the unknowns is taking a toll on them as well. Many moms are so busy that they can’t even think of where your help could be used so it might be helpful to offer a few suggestions. Of course, offering a listening ear is always a very practical way to give support to a parent.  

TLDR; Talk to her regularly so she has interaction with other adults and check in to see what she needs to make sure she can give her kids her best.

2. Check your judgment at the door – Whether we have children or not, we all think we know something about parenting and this can sometimes lead us to question the choices that we see other parents make.  It’s easy to judge others, especially when we don’t fully know all that they or their child are going through.  When supporting a mom, stay curious, open, and neutral, even if you don’t always agree with their approach. Unwanted criticisms or unsolicited advice can close channels of communication.  Listen to gain understanding. Reflect on the strengths that have gotten them this far.  Offer support in the same way that you appreciate receiving it.

TLDR; Let these strong moms know that you support whatever decision they feel is best for their family and simply ask them what they need from you as a friend during this time.

3. Educate yourself – If you are supporting a mom or family that is facing a particular mental or physical health challenge, behavioural issue, or life challenge, take some time to better understand what they may be facing and what community supports may be available to help them.  Read information from respected sources.  Connect with trusted organizations in your community.   Get informed through evidence-based classes or workshops. Your information and understanding may help better equip that parent in addressing challenges and helping them feel that they are not alone.

Click here for a list of virtual Caregiver Education classes along with additional resources.    

  • Experts on the Web

    Dr. Ross Greene [Seeing that kids do well if they can, seeing behaviour as communication, and finding collaborative and proactive solutions (problem solving)]:

    Dr. Daniel Siegel [Understanding what’s going on in the child and adolescent brain, how it affects behaviour and relationships, and how we can support healthy development]:

    Dr. Stuart Shankar [Understanding the mechanisms and importance of self-regulation and how we can support it]:

    Dr. Carol Dweck [Understanding how our mindset affects our behaviours and how we can foster a growth mindset in our children to increase learning and reach positive goals]:

    Dr. Russell Barclay [Understanding and supporting children and youth with ADHD and executive functioning challenges]:

    Dr. Rick Hansen [Understanding our brain’s negativity bias and learning techniques for training our brain towards gratitude and happiness]:

    Drs. John and Julie Gottman [Emotion coaching as the heart of parenting]:

    Dr. Bruce Perry [Understanding the human brain, child development, reaching the learning brain through the 3R’s (regulate, relate, reason), and helping our kids heal from trauma]:

    Dr. Gordon Neufeld [Applying the science around child development]:

4. Work from a place of empathy The pandemic is putting working moms in an extremely difficult situation. Since women act as the primary caregiver in many households, moms are bearing the brunt of helping children familiarize themselves with online learning while they’re working from home or making arrangements for their kids if they’re still going into the workplace

If you know your coworker is helping her children with schooling, cut her a little slack on project deadlines, ask what times work best to schedule meetings, be kind if your discussions get interrupted or her child joins the meeting, and check in with them to see how they’re handling the “everything from home” life.

5. Help ensure resources are available for when they need extra support – A Canadian study looking at the mental health of mothers before and after the start of the pandemic has found that their levels of depression and anxiety almost doubled in 2020. Give a donation to local mental health programs on behalf of the mom in your life, and help the whole community thrive.

The generosity of donors makes programs and services like virtual Caregiver EducationFamily Connections workshops, and family peer support workers at Access 24/7 possible.