Mandy Moore on being a mom: ‘It is overwhelming on a level that I never expected’

This week has been brutal for parents, apparently. A bunch of celebrities have woken up to the fact that having kids is tough. But then we read their comments and even though we knew that, we’re reminded all over again that yeah, parenting is tough! Mandy Moore, who is finishing her final season of This Is Us, recently talked to Health Magazine. Mandy is mom to one-year-old son August. She’d wanted to be a mom for a long time and was elated when her adorable baby finally arrived. However, as happens once kids get here, Mandy found out a lot about who she is as a mom. The thing that surprised her the most was how much motherhood brings with it.

On what the pandemic helped her do: Get pregnant. Truly. We had been trying to get pregnant for a while, and I think it took being together at the same place at the same time. My husband is a musician and he’s always on the road. Maybe whatever stresses we had put on ourselves in terms of trying to have a baby, or just the external stresses of life in general—once that was out of the equation, it allowed for things to take the natural course. In that sense, I am so grateful.

On the expectations of motherhood: Every day is different. It is overwhelming on a level that I never expected. All of the clichés are true. The love is so immediate. In the very beginning it was like, “Oh, you’re nursing. The baby’s sleeping.” You figure out your routine. Then maybe three months in felt like, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t have the skill set for this. Maybe I’m not a good mother.” I questioned everything. I looked at my husband, who seemed so at ease—it was so natural for him. I felt bad about myself and what I brought to the table as a mom. And it made me question everything. And I was like, “Is this feeling going to last forever? Am I just going to feel unworthy, unprepared? Is this just the foreseeable future?” And a week later, I found my equilibrium again. I remember people telling me that everything is a phase and not to get too set in your ways about anything—and it’s true.

On how motherhood changed her wellness: Right now, it’s about having grace—being easy on myself when being able to practice self-care doesn’t feel as available and accessible to me. It was so much easier when I was pregnant, to find the time to take care of myself. I was at the chiropractor. I was at acupuncture weekly. I had prenatal massages. And then as soon as baby arrives, all of that pretty much goes out the window. And it’s such a bummer because I feel like I wish I could find the time to sort of incorporate some of those practices again, because they felt so good. But it’s not feasible and so, again, I try not to get down on myself about it. If I do have free time and I’m not working, I’d much rather go on a walk with Gus than rush off to go get a facial. However, that’s not to diminish how important that stuff is, too. I feel like I’m just constantly walking that tightrope of what is going to suit me best today.

On maintaining her mental health: I am usually pretty good with therapy. I especially was [early in] the pandemic. Maybe less so in the last year or so, being a new parent. That has kind of fallen off the priority list. Although I know it will make its way back on because I’ve always found that with therapy—I’ve ebbed and flowed with it over the last 15 years of my life. I’ve also ebbed and flowed with meditation. I find that to be incredibly helpful, and I always feel at my best when I find 10 or 15 minutes to do it on a daily basis.

[From Health via People]

I co-sign on everything Mandy said about kids/routines changing weekly. Sometimes it seems faster than that. It does feel like you’re being thrown off your equilibrium because you just get a routine down and it blows up on you. It’s dizzying. And the worst part is the kids just roll with it, so you feel like you’re nuts. My husband was like Mandy’s. I know it was because he worked outside the home and I was with the kids all the time, but I’d watch him effortlessly go from work to kid mode and I just wanted to punch him. I don’t know. I’d like to tell Mandy it doesn’t last forever but it kind of does. It gets easier and maybe not so rapid-fire, but I’ve spent that last 17 years feeling overwhelmed.

I’m very glad Health included the question about mental health and that Mandy discussed therapy. If I had to go back and do it all over (and I actually chose to have kids a second time) I would 100% start therapy right away. I think so much of what went wrong might have gone better if I had someone to talk to openly and honestly during that time. Parenthood is too hard to figure out on our own. And I don’t think those new mom groups are it. My gawd, the one I attended compounded every issue I was having. Please if you are a new – or old – parent, find time for yourself. It’s so easy to put your needs to the side. As Mandy says, even 10 or 15 minutes will do it. Trust me, I am the worst when it comes to this. But I’m really trying this year. I’m starting with Headspace interactive videos on Netflix. The Unwind Your Mind guided relaxations really work wonders. I’m sure there are others, please share below.

Photo credit: Instagram

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6 Responses to “Mandy Moore on being a mom: ‘It is overwhelming on a level that I never expected’”

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  1. Seraphina says:

    I agree with everything she said about it too and what you stated Hectate about therapy. I had some postpartum with my first and was difficult to connect. Had I had therapy, it may have been easier. Instead I had my mom, who is wonderful but old school, say: what more could you want you and child are healthy and you need more?????????
    THAT did not help at all.
    Congrats to them both – oh and Mandy, if you are reading – wait until they are teenagers and think you are clueless and they have all the answers.

    • Tootsie McJingle says:

      My mom is the same- wonderful but old school. I didn’t even tell her that I was struggling with postpartum because I didn’t think she’d understand. I empathize, Seraphina.

    • myjobistoprincess says:

      That comment about teenagers is right on. I’m living it with my eldest teen. Everything is crazy but then it gets better in waves of a few weeks/months/years? I’m in a better phase now, i feel like everyhting is under control but I’m preparing for that next wave of feeling stressed and crazy, I know it’s coming. On the other hand, there is hope: my youngest teen is such a darling. He’s going to be the one who will save me from years of more therapy than I know I already will need lol. I think the trick is to focus on a very small number of things that are really really really important and let the rest fly. I make sure the homeworks are done just like when they were younger, I want them to be polite with me and others. But if they havent made their beds… i’m not stressing over that. choose your battles – and choose your sanity.

  2. Sans says:

    At first glance I thought it was Keen Dolittle on the thumbnail. No offense to Mandy Moore. I actually love MM.

  3. HelloDolly! says:

    I love this article! I def experienced postpartum, partially due to a lack of money/childcare. My husband supported me, of course, but he was only granted 2 weeks parental leave and as much sick time he could take. I was caring for our baby full time while also working as a full-time professor and was alone every day from 9 am until 7 pm at night. We just could not afford infant care (so expensive!) and the stress from trying to work full-time while taking care of my baby was too much. I haven’t felt that depressed in awhile. Unfortunately, I am not sure I will have a second baby because of my experience, honestly.

  4. Julia says:

    Strikes me the cost of childcare, the limited access to paternity leave, and the internal space needed to support a new life would be stuff one would consider or factor before having a child/ren… why do folks consistently seem to think it’s going to be easy?