“Beautiful”, “fulfilling”, “empowering”… and “really, really hard”: all responses to the question we asked “How would you describe being a mum?”.  With a survey showing that almost two-thirds of mothers have been driven to exhaustion under the pressure of being a ‘supermum’, experts are worried that the weight of expectation is getting too much.

Eager to help mums feel better, Mari-Carmen Sanchez-Morris – a mum-of-three, former paediatric intensive care nurse turned pre- and post-natal health expert, and founder of the FIT MAMA app – has collaborated with other parenting experts to offer her top tips for helping mums to feel their best again:

  1. Ask for help

Easy to say but harder to do, Mari-Carmen knows first-hand the struggle – but also the benefits – of seeking support. Feelings of guilt, perceptions of shame at not being able to cope, and fear of being labelled a ‘bad mum’ can be huge hurdles to overcome. However, the feelings of relief felt by reaching out can vastly outweigh these, and help beat the stigma associated.

Mari-Carmen comments:

“Although it takes courage to ask for help, you shouldn’t be ashamed: after all, we’re all human! Whether it’s asking your partner, family members, friends or a professional therapist, turning to those around us for support can provide comfort, guidance and perspective during challenging times.

“In-person mother and baby classes can offer a sense of connection and solidarity; but if you’re struggling to attend these – whether that’s due to nervousness, time, cost, or access – online communities and groups are a great alternative. Motherhood can feel lonely, so having a wider support network to share how you are helps to restore a balanced sense of reality, normalise experiences and show that you’re not alone.” 

  1. Set realistic expectations

It’s natural to fantasise about a seamless, smooth transition into motherhood – particularly when society sets unrealistic expectations of motherhood ‘should’ look like. In reality, Mari-Carmen explains that motherhood isn’t a destination but a journey, and requires learning, self-awareness, growing and adapting along the way. She comments:

“What the ‘you before you had children’ could do, compared to the ‘you that has had children’ can do will be different, and that’s 100 percent normal! This doesn’t just relate to health and fitness, but also to the time you have to do other things.

“To help manage this – and to avoid putting impossible amounts of pressure on yourself – identify your top priorities and values, and then set goals that align with these. There is no rule book to motherhood, with the beauty being that you get to choose what it looks like. Therefore, work out what truly matters to you and your family, and once you know what these goals look like, setting actionable steps to get there.”

3. Fight feelings of overwhelm with practical grounding techniques

Juggling a thousand different tasks at once can feel impossible to combat, and the accompanying feelings of stress that build only make it harder. Silvia Freeman, a wellbeing coach, believes that resetting in these moments is an essential practice though, warning that if we don’t ground ourselves, it only makes small matters feel larger. She suggests:

“Techniques such as EFT Tapping, which involves stimulating specific meridian points on the body through touch, are a powerful and effective modality to regulate emotions and bring the body back to its natural, balanced state. Through lowering the cortisol and adrenalin that our brain produces when we are in fight or flight mode, this is a great technique to use when you’re at high levels of stress, anxiety or worry.”

  1. Stay active

Moving your body not only benefits physical health, but is a huge contributor to our overall mental wellbeing. Studies have found that over half of the depressive symptoms experienced by some mothers during the postpartum period can be improved through aerobic exercise such as walking, running and swimming.

Mari-Carmen comments:

“I’ve always been an avid believer that the secret to staying active is finding movement that truly brings you joy: whether that’s going for a walk with your baby in a pram, or taking the time-out to do a fitness class. Even if it’s just a quick express workout whilst your baby is asleep, moving your body for even 10 minutes will release endorphins that will directly benefit to your mental health. Exercising also provides a time to connect with our bodies, offering a sense of empowerment and self-confidence during a time when we are going through many physical changes.”

  1. Avoid comparison culture

In the digital age, where we spend an average of three hours each day looking at social media, we are constantly bombarded with pictures of the perfect family. With posts showing mums perfectly put together with well-behaved children, comparison can feel unavoidable.

As well as using practical, mindfulness exercises to protect us from comparison and boost confidence, Suzy Reading, Chartered Psychologist and FIT MAMA in-app expert, comments:

“When scrolling on social media remember we are watching the highlights, the carefully curated successes and not the outtakes. Let your mantra be, “reel life is not real life”. It is important to not compare how you feel on the inside with how others appear on the outside – appearances can be deceiving and you have no idea what lies beneath the put-together face, the outfit or smiles.

“Keep it simple and when your head is turned to what others are doing, bring your focus back to what you and your family enjoy, and take breaks from things you find triggering. Be gentle with yourself; just because you are finding it tough, it doesn’t mean you’re failing.”

  1. Set boundaries

There is a misconception that setting boundaries is ‘selfish’ but Mari-Carmen maintains that without them, burnout and exhaustion are inevitable. She explains:

“We all know you can’t pour from an empty cup, and it’s impossible to provide the best care for our children if we are physically, mentally and emotionally drained. Therefore, taking time to prioritise your own needs is essential. Whilst finding time for yourself amidst a whirlwind of meetings, deadlines and school runs can feel unattainable, carving out even just a few minutes of each day for some ‘you’ time is a non-negotiable act of not just self-love, but self-preservation. Setting these boundaries are an important way to protect yourself, and ensure you prioritise energy for people and moments that need you most.”

To find out more information, and to download the Fit Mama app yourself, visit To seek professional help for serious mental health problems, visit

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