March 6, 2024


Being a parent can be a thankless job, meaning we’re often tapping into our own resilience and self-confidence for acknowledgement that we’re doing the right thing by our kids (and partner, and parents, and friends, and community…).

When our mental wellbeing takes a hit, though, it can be hard to reprioritise ourselves and get back on track.

Here, therapist Tammi Miller shares her tips for improving our mental wellbeing when we may need it most. For more of her tips and 25+ practical exercises, pick up a copy of Tammi’s book, Paperback Therapy: Therapist-approved tools and advice for mastering your mental health, on-shelf this month.


1. A happy mum is the best mum. The flight crew have it right when they tell us to attach our own mask before we tend to someone else’s in an emergency – we can only help our kids if we’re first taking care of ourselves. When we’re suffering from low self-confidence, or experiencing anxiety or symptoms of depression, it can be hard to be our best selves for the kids. Ensure you include little things in your life that bring you happiness, outside of your family. Think of five things, right now, that bring you joy and are not reliant on external factors (i.e. A good hazelnut coffee in the morning, getting outside and feeling the sun on my skin, reading a few chapters of the latest Emily Henry book…) and pop this list somewhere you can easily view it. Now, be sure to tick off at least one item each day – that way, no matter what happens, you’ll be a little happier every single day.

2. Call in your community. Nowhere does it say you have to juggle life’s ebbs and flows by yourself. It can be difficult to maintain friendships once a new baby comes along, so be realistic about your expectation of what your interpersonal relationships look like and reframe how you engage with your community. Have play dates on the kids’ schedule, meet for ‘errand’ catch-ups where you meet up to get groceries together and make other (sometimes mundane) chores fun. And when you’re truly struggling, talk about it. Be vulnerable with your mates, your local barista, your GP, a therapist – you don’t need to hold it all inside.

3. Remember, you are a whole person. There’s a lot said about how mothers need to ‘find themselves’ after having kids. Yes, it’s true your personality and priorities may change. But those things you loved that make you you are still there; they’re not replaced by your new ‘role’ of mum. Instead, your interests have expanded to make room for your new role. Yes, you’re a mum, but you’re still a businesswoman, a lover, a dancer, a cyclist, [insert literally anything here]! Redefining what you value doesn’t have to mean eliminating others.

4. Separate fact from feelings. ‘It’s just a bad hour, not a bad day’, ‘They’re having a tough moment, they’re not a tough baby’. These phrases are simple but powerful to separate how we feel (exhausted, overwhelmed, helpless) with the facts (‘it’s witching hour, this morning the kids were actually wonderful’). It’s easy to catastrophise when we’re in the thick of it, so reminding ourselves that our feelings aren’t always a true reflection of what’s happening can be an important reminder that what we’re feeling right now won’t be what we feel forever.

5. Be aware of Comparisonitis. Thanks to social media, we’re privy to how our mates (be they real or fictional, like Hilary Duff) raise their kids and ‘flourish’ through life. Remember, this is just the highlight reel. What we don’t often see are the moments of crying in the closet, the poo-explosions, the messy house (again!), the fights with partner… It’s predominantly only the joy that makes it onto the Feed, so be aware of Comparisonitis – comparing your own life to someone else’s and thinking theirs is better. Take anything you see or hear on social media with a grain of salt. Ask with curiosity, what is the reason they uploaded this content (are they selling something, using social media as a business, trying to write a different narrative)? Is this content I’m consuming an accurate reflection of their lives and thus worth me putting energy into? You’ll soon become aware the grass isn’t always greener, but just filtered differently.

About the author: Tammi Miller is a Certified Practising Counsellor and the author of Paperback Therapy: Therapist-approved tools and advice for mastering your mental health, out now with Simon & Schuster Australia.

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  • All great tips and reminders.


  • Number 4. ‘Separate fact from feelings.’ is really important. It’s a bit like keeping it in perspective and concentrating on a behaviour rather than the person.


  • It’s important to always take some time for yourself every day, even if it’s just half an hour.


  • Great tips in this article. Should be applied to all aspects of everyone’s life for a correct balance.


  • Great read that can be applied to all aspects of our lives, not just being a mum, but a partner, a grieving widow, or a grieving child who has lost their mum or dad. Thanks for sharing.


  • I needed to read this today. Going through a rough patch


  • Number 1 priority is look after yourself first in order to look after anyone else. I love that you’ve shared this as many people need this.

    • Always look after yourself first; it really is so important.


  • Thanks for sharing, an important topic indeed !


  • I loved every bit of this advice and couldn’t agree more. Gosh this book sounds absolutely wonderful like a bible for mums! I’d love to get my hands on this to read.


  • Amazing tips. This sounds like a fantastic book!


  • Some great tips there


  • I completely agree with being a ‘whole person’. Is is so important to focus on identity and not let it get lost or diminished and to take care of your own needs.


  • All very good points and this could be an interesting read.


  • This is a great article and it came at a time I needed it most. Thankyou for the reminder of how important it is to self care.


  • Some days can be so tough, but the others all so rewarding so it all evens out


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