First of all, if you’re finding that you can no longer handle what life has handed you at this moment this is what you must do: get your phone and call this number if you’re Canadian: 1-833-456-4566, and this number if you’re American: 1-800-273-8255. Those are crisis lines. If you’re feeling like you’re at the end of your rope you MUST get yourself some help. If you feel you are a danger to yourself or others please call 9-1-1. Don’t take chances, Mom. You’re worth getting yourself the help you need. Stop reading this and call right now. Please.
I see you there.
You’ve got a smile forced upon your face. It’s beautiful, but it’s not real.
You dragged yourself out of bed this morning, acknowledging the fact that life still has to go on despite your pain. There are children to feed, jobs to go to, commitments to keep. It’s so incredibly daunting and you’re exhausted, but you troop on because that’s what you do. You don’t skip a beat, and you never complain.
You’re trying to uphold the facade that everything is okay, even though you know it’s not. You don’t want to inflict your hardship on your children or worry your significant other. The idea that you can do it all is not something you can let go of. You want to keep all outsiders under the impression that you have everything under control, and that everything is just fine.
It’s not fine. You’re a struggling Mom.
At a certain point, it’s going to come out. How your defeat will manifest itself is unpredictable. It will likely catch you off guard and start in subtle ways. Maybe you start yelling at the kids more or find it more difficult to get your daily tasks accomplished. Perhaps you begin to pick fights with your significant other over little things. It’s possible that you begin to feel yourself become unable to find joy in the things you once did. Feelings of low self-worth and inadequacy start to creep in. You may start to feel pain physically and general unwellness. Your friends may notice you aren’t socializing as often as you used to. You may indulge in self-destructive behaviors like drinking or eating too much, drugs or using other methods to mask the pain.
The shifts might be small or they may be massive, but they’ll be enough that you won’t be yourself.
It’s possible you’ve dealt with this before. Maybe you’re overwhelmed. It’s possible you’re struggling with a form of mental illness (Depression, Anxiety, Bipolorism, Schizophrenia, S.A.D., etc.). Perhaps something major has rocked your personal life.
Whatever the cause is, you’re struggling Mom.
A plea to the struggling Mom.
Motherhood is by far the most confusing thing you’ll ever experience in your life. It is incredibly draining and challenging while being the most rewarding thing you could possibly imagine. We give our entire selves to the raising of our children and so often forget to take care of who we are. There is still a very active entity of yourself inside of you, Mom, and it needs to be nurtured.
Allow yourself some time to do the things that YOU love. Ignite your passion. Choose yourself whenever you can. If you don’t do this for yourself then do it for your children. They need to see their mother involving herself in personal development. They need to see her pursuing her dreams. If they see you loving yourself they will grow up doing the same for themselves.
Find your tribe. When you’re going through a difficult time it can be very challenging to surround yourself with people. Try to remember that these are people that you love AND who love you back. Choose to spend time with positive people who will lift you and keep your headspace high. You are the average of the group you spend time with- that means that how you would react to a friend who’s struggling is how the rest of your group will react. This is what friends are for. You would help do the same for them.
Research some coping strategies. Exercise and nutrition are paramount. Self-care will make all the difference. Try a dance class. Color. Do yoga. Find something that brings you calm and peace, and consistently involve yourself in it.
Finally, seek help. It could be as simple as asking a friend to meet for coffee or a walk so you can get out of the house. Ask a grandparent to take the kids so you can have some rest. Approach your doctor and explain that you’re having difficulty coping; they may insist you try medication or refer you to counseling. Choose what’s in your comfort zone and give it a try.
You are not alone.
There is no shame in what you’re experiencing, Mom. In fact, that’s why we must be so kind to one another because inevitably you’re not the only one silently suffering.
You’re doing an amazing job as a mom. I know this because you’re reading this. You want better for yourself so that you can give more of you to your wonderful children.
You got this, Mom.
A fellow struggling Mom.