This is a subject that I hold close to my heart for a lot of reasons. Many of them being that I’ve known a lot of people in my life who have battled depression. Luckily for me I was not one of them until I had my daughter and developed PPD two years ago. What do you do when everyday seems to be an uphill battle? What do you say when someone asks how you are doing, when in reality you are dying in the inside. How do you act when you are out in public smiling when you want to be home crying? All questions I’m sure you’ve asked yourself before. We’ve all had our struggles whether it was loosing a loved one, suffering from depression or just down right hating life some days. What do you do when you have those days? How do you pick yourself up and turn it all around. I chose to write about this very subject today because I think sometimes just hearing that you are no alone in the way you may feel can help turn anyone’s day around. Knowing that you are not the only one who has these feelings can make any person feel human again.
So let me start with my day. It’s September 11th, a day that will always leave your heart just a little heavier than normal kind of day. My almost two year old daughter has been throwing fits over what cloths she is going to wear each and everyday. (I know already, I thought that was a teenager thing!) Anyways, I started giving her choices, either she can pick what shoes she wants to wear with it, or she can pick which pants to go with a top I’ve chosen. Well the day before she became obsessed with a fleece long sleeved sweatshirt. Wore it around the house naked. (it was 84 in btw) My husband gets home from work, sees me trying to make dinner, and the doll that he is says he will take her to the store to get a new soccer ball while I finish cooking. (she had her first soccer lesson that morning) She comes out of her room wearing sweat pants that don’t fit (he asks are these supposed to be capri’s? No dear they are not). She has a onesy on the same color as the pants and then a tank top over the onsey with ruffles on the sleeve, a shade darker than the pink of an outfit she picked. Did I see the harm in this? Nope. Too cute, so off they went. Before my husband went to bed last night he just happened to mention that she went to bed with the fleece jacket on she was obsessing about all day. Now normally I wouldn’t care but it’s like 90 degrees in her room and we can’t open the window or she would wake up from the noises outside (her window is above a parking lot in our condo complex) I said you have to go in there and take it off, she’ll sweat to death in that thing. So he did. No problem. Never thought of it again. Until this morning…..when it was time to get ready for school (aka daycare). Of course I wanted to dress her in a white t-shirt with a blue jean overall dress and red panties for the day since I wanted to do something patriotic. I knew I would have a hard enough time struggling to get a dress on her so when she came running out with a onsey (that was clearly too small for her (she opens the draws where I keep her cloths that she has outgrown) I said ok, she can wear this even if it is too small, it did say “Red, White & Cute” on it so my thoughts of the cute adorable blue jean dress was gone from my head and I thought she would be thrilled with the onsey SHE had chosen. Wrong. Oh so Wrong Momma. It was 55 degrees out this morning, and though I walked out in a tank top (I’m always hot) I wanted her to have something on her arms since she had shorts on. Ah Ha!!!! The fleece jacket she loved so much yesterday! OMG Momma you are so smart I say to myself. Wrong again my friends. FULL MODE MELT DOWN NUTTY. I mean on the floor hands and feet kicking, unzipping it every two seconds while I put on my shoes and slapped some cover up over the bags under my eyes. It was like a devil came into my child and was taking control. I had two options. One, take off the sweatshirt, give her her own way and quietly walk down to the truck. Two, pick up the child that is screaming yelling trying to yank the darn thing off, letting neighbors hear because my hallway is like an apartment. Which do you think I chose? Three months ago momma would have chosen option one. Daddy would have chosen option one. Well today was the day that I chose option number two. YAY Momma!! She screamed the whole time I strapped her in, I sat in the front seat of my truck frantically texting my mother saying that the devil had taken over my child. I ignored her, continued to post a rant on my mommy group on FB asking advice from other mothers, wondering if they deal with the same things. After I was done I turned around and she was sitting there quiet as can be holding her pup pup and smiling. I said “Now are we going to go to school and have a very nice day?” Her response. “Yah”. So off we went. Oh my goodness!!!!!! By the time I had dropped her off and got back to my truck there were at least 6 replies from my mommy friends stating there own battles, and what they do. I felt SO much better. I didn’t feel alone anymore, I didn’t feel like a rotten mother. Though I would have normally let that situation get me down for the rest of the day I breathed, I went food shopping (yes I actually enjoy food shopping, don’t judge a momma!) and then home to write this experience to share. Now that I’m sharing I think I’ve found the reasoning behind the melt down. It’s not that she didn’t want to wear the sweatshirt. I honestly think it was because I was covering up the shirt that SHE chose to wear today. :( I kept trying to tell her that she could take it off when we got to school, but a two year old IS NOT going to understand that. Did I make the wrong decision? I don’t know, but I’m proud for not giving in. Any two year old that may think they are the boss…..whew watch out!
I asked a bunch of moms what they do when they have days like this. Days when they just want to throw their hands up in the air and give up, give in. Here are some great tips and just yet another way of showing that we as mothers ARE NOT ALONE with some of these feelings we deal with on an everyday basis.
“I keep telling myself that the kids are only young for a short period of time and just take a step back and breath. After all we are in the best years of our life right now! Enjoy and don’t stress you may not have a tomorrow. Not that is is right but that is the way I handle it. I also cry at times because I don’t think I am a very good mom.” Well all I have to say about that comment is she’s dead right. No not about the being a bad mom, I know for a fact that this woman is a great mom. I just think sometimes concentrating on the now, and realizing that tomorrow our children are just going to be bigger, and the day after that even bigger to try and enjoy the now can really help the mind refresh.
Another local mom says, “There are days I just need to get out of the house, leave everyone there, don’t make supper don’t make anything, don’t do anything for anyone, just go and be by myself whether be at the gym, shopping, or just driving around in the car! Well first off, let me give props to this mom, because the gym would be the last place I would end up! I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t done this. What I try to do now is not get to that point of course, don’t we all. I try and schedule those times out ahead of time so I look forward to the time away. Whether it be dinner out with a friend, a pedicure or even just a trip to the market alone.
Here is one mom’s story I’d like to share, this is from a woman who I’ve come to admire over the years. She is not my age and her kids have since grown, but she’s had her own struggles in life and I take her advice to heart. “We used to run around being silly. The boys didn’t know it was my weight loss plan, they just thought their mom was fun and silly! I never had the patience for bedtime, I wanted to freak out by the time the four of them would stop jumping out of their beds, asking for things, or just running around when they were supposed to be going to sleep…so my husband took on that job. They kissed me good night after bedtime stories were read (by me, because I put my heart and soul into it and loved playing the characters) and my husband handled them after that. Just figure out what is best for the kids and what is best for you, and let it all work out and know you did your best. You don’t expect perfection from your kids and they need to learn not to expect perfection from us.” I like this story because she has such an awesome way of making her children see the fun side of her when some days she wanted to die inside. I love that she passed on a job that she felt she was no good at to her husband because he could handle it better than her. SHE ASKED FOR HELP. If it’s one thing I agree with this momma on it’s asking our husbands for help, it’s why they are there, and if it’s not a husband how about a friend or a parent? It took me a LONG time to be able to ask for help. Now I say “Hunny please take her and do bath time I need a few minutes. Now sometimes I don’t even have to ask, like last night. :) I also agree that you don’t expect perfection from your children, they need to learn not to expect perfection from us. VERY well said.
Another Momma friend of mine that I’ve recently met had some great tips, even ones I’ve tried:
1. Put the kids in their rooms with gates on, you breathe (I did this yesterday, when Madison go so whiney out of control for no reason I put her in her crib with some books and toys and went into the kitchen to start dinner.)
2. Lock yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes (Definetly have done this)
3. Take a long shower. Pretend reality isn’t there. If someone watching your kids of course!
4. Do yoga (trying this one now!)
5. RUN! Seriously. As far as you can and as fast as you can. It relieves lots of stress. Feel better. Don’t pass out.
6. Eat healthier. A healthy you is prepared for a healthier day! (hehe)
7. Smoke. Yeah, I said it. Just nothing illegal. (One a night for the past ten years, see I just confessed.) Oh and not when I was pregnant of course.
8. Cry and move on. (crying really does help….it must release something within your brain.)
9. Pretend you can’t understand them! (j/k, kind of ….)
10. Get them and you out of the environment. Go outside, down stairs, on the porch.
11. Walk away
12. See an angel healer. (Wacky right? Guess that’s how I roll ) I’d love to do this!
I have tried all of these things. What helped me the most with my anger and lack of patience is honestly, one bad episode. After yelling wacky mommy showed her ugly face, I realized I didn’t want to be THAT mom. Who was that person? It’s not helping them. It’s not helping me. I then let go and not try to control so much. I have a control issue. “You listen to me. You do what I say. Why would you do that?” ect. Seriously. After one crazy mom moment, the clarity of who I wanted to become and be for my kids changed my view. The shift was influential. The core of anger is usually fear. I had to figure out my fear to understand my anger to change my behavoir.
This momma makes a great point, the core of anger is usually fear, so what is your fear? Well I already know mine, and I’m working on it. My issues of “having” to be the perfect mom. I’ve come a real long way.
Lastly, another momma offered a few great tips. “Ever since I went back to work I have been having these overwhelming days more frequently then ever before. I feel like I want to be superwoman and I fall short of any superhero abilities. When I have days when I just want to give up and run away I am learning that it is okay to admit weakness to my husband. I don’t know about you but I put a lot of high expectations on myself and when I fail my own expectations I am too proud to show my weakness. So being honest has been a humbling and growing experience for me. On those days when I am overwhelmed my husband picks up dinner from a take away and after dinner I get in the bath with my 1 year old and then hubby takes her away to get her dressed and ready for bed while I have a longer soak alone in the bath. So far it is the only way I have found to have a bath because every time I try to just have it after her bed time it just never seems to happen.”
I love hearing others say they admit their weaknesses to their husbands. It’s hard for anyone, I expect to have superhero abilities too, and because I’m a SAHM, I hate asking my husband for help or admitting defeat because he works too. I also like the bath idea, I used to do that a lot when Madison was younger, maybe it’s time for me to try that again!
So with all of that said, I hope I can make at least one Momma feel better today. If so then I have done my job by sharing these tips, idea’s and stories with you. On another note, I want to add that this advice and these stories do not fall alone on mothers or parents, I think the advice can be spread to anyone feeling down about anything at all whether your a mother or not. I see a few of my loved ones still struggle in my day to day life with depression and as a person that loves them all I just want to reach out and help. Make it all better. Take away the pain. I know I can’t do that, but talking to people you love and knowing you are NOT alone is a start.
A special thanks to the mom’s that answered this question for me, sharing your personal thoughts and feelings. To my mom who helped me deal with my devil child this morning, and my mommy friends who made me see that I’m NOT ALONE.
***These are my personal feelings and I’m by no means a professional, my quotes come directly from people whom I have permission from.**