Kandice Dondona knows the challenges and expectations new moms face.
With little sleep, new mothers begin each day feeding their babies and toddlers, changing diapers and laundry, cleaning the home and a host of other domestic chores despite feeling sad and burnout.
The monotonous cycle can be socially isolating and financially burdensome, she said. And for moms already back at work, the daily grind can be exhausting and overwhelming, with many moms putting their own lives on the sidelines.
Dondona said after she had her son three years ago, she felt there wasn’t enough support around to help mothers take care of themselves, socialize and find external resources.
Last fall, the registered professional counsellor and life coach hosted two workshops at the Port Moody Public Library titled Self Care for Busy Moms to emphasize the importance of staying sane while loaded with little ones’ activities.
And both sessions were so popular Dondona booked two more with the Coquitlam Public Library this month.
Geared for working- and non-working mothers with young kids, the one-hour workshops are aimed at giving moms holistic wellness tips in four general areas: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
But participants can also share their ideas on topics such as cooking for toddlers and pre-schoolers, finances and fitness.
“I feel like new mothers are struggling with everything that’s going on in their lives,” Dondona said. “They have low energy. They may be sleep deprived and not eating well…. Just meeting with other moms and talking about raising children can spark an a-ha moment.”
Dondona said setting good habits — i.e., stretching, drinking water, getting fresh air every day — can help moms recover and take time out for themselves.
As well, with more new mothers returning to work earlier, not in relationships with their children’s fathers and/or being away from their families, she said practising self-care is vital.
“Until I take care of myself, I can’t take care of anybody else,” she said. “I ask the moms, ‘How can we make this practical and realistic? and what’s going to help them the most, because mental wellness doesn’t have to be meditation and bubble baths.”
Registration for Self Care for Busy Moms is via coqlibrary.ca. The Jan. 23 session is in Room 136 of the City Centre branch (11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) while the Jan. 28 event is in the Nancy Bennett Room at the Poirier branch from 11 a.m. to noon. Babies under one are welcome; however, childcare is not provided. Meanwhile, Kandice Dondona hosts a new monthly support group for moms at the Port Moody Public Library starting Jan. 27 and continuing the last Mondays of each month, at 11 a.m. Registration is free but required via portmoodylibrary.ca.