Thursday, April 20, 2023

Q&A with Meredith Ethington



Meredith Ethington is the author of the new book The Mother Load: Surviving the Daily Grind Without Losing Your Ever-Loving Mind. She also has written the book Mom Life: Perfection Pending, and she's the founder of the Perfection Pending blog. She lives in Salt Lake City.


Q: What inspired you to write The Mother Load?


A: I've written about my own struggles with depression, anxiety, and OCD for years, but whenever I shared an article around mental health, women would always thank me for speaking candidly.


I wanted to write about the intersection of motherhood with mental health because so often how we view ourselves as mothers affects our mental health, and vice versa. 


Q: How was the book’s title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: The Mother Load was meant to represent the heaviness that often accompanies the job we face as mothers. This can come from the mental load we hear so much about, overwhelm, societal expectations, keeping up with other moms on social media, or mental illness struggles.


We all have a load we are carrying as mothers and this book encompasses them all. 


Q: What do you see as the impact of social media on moms’ mental health?


A: I know it has an impact because I have to check myself often to make sure that I'm following people that make me feel good about myself and my own mothering. So often we scroll mindlessly and before we know it, we're not pretty enough, thin enough, patient enough, or our houses aren't clean enough.


Women express to me all the time that they are so grateful for "real" influencers that share all the hard parts of the parenting journey. This tells me that women do get impacted by what they see on social media, and it does affect how they feel about themselves. 


Q: What impact did it have on you to write this book, and what do you hope readers take away from it?


A: I wrote this book during the pandemic just to get it out of my own head. I knew it needed to be written, but the overwhelm of my own mental health struggles during lockdown made it impossible for me to put out into the world. I stuffed it away in a folder on my computer, and knew there would be a time for it.


We were all struggling with big feelings of depression, burnout, and anxiety during the pandemic. It just wasn't the time to say to moms,  "Hey read this book about working on your mental health, too!".


But, as things have slowly gotten a little easier to manage in my own life, and hopefully in the lives of my readers, it felt like the right time. I'm in a really good place with my own mental health now, and I'm ready to support other moms on their own mental health journeys. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Now, I'm focused mostly on graduate school and getting The Mother Load out into the world! In the process of writing this book, I decided to follow a lifelong dream of becoming a mental health therapist.


I'm currently in a master's program to become a clinical mental health counselor. My dream is to work in maternal mental health with moms that struggle with their own mental health like I do. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: My dream for this book is not at all about sales. It's about getting this into the hands of mothers who feel inadequate, depressed, anxious, and not good enough.


I want women to feel like enough, and be proud of all they are accomplishing in raising kids. It really is the hardest job on earth, and that's what makes it so important that moms understand that prioritizing their mental health is the only way to survive! 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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