Today is one of those days. The morning has been clouded with a haze of unexplained sadness. The struggle to stay awake and take care of everyone feels like weights on my ankles, but I pushed through. I have been floating around my house making sure the kids have everything they need while I clean up. I did my usual to do list, and now, I’m just hoping to feel better.
There aren’t always reasons for feeling down, and sometimes, there are a bunch of reasons. I saw a therapist for years, and she told me that depression and anxiety don’t always come with reasons or whys. They can just be there. As a mom, I do my best on days where I feel like this.
Acknowledge Your Mental Health as a Mom.
Mental health is extremely important, and mommy mental health is no exception. Moms are caregivers, so if they aren’t taking care of themselves, how can they take care of others? That’s what I remind myself when I lie and say I’m okay, even when I know I’m not. Acknowledging your mental health is a key to helping yourself.
It’s okay to not be okay sometimes. My biggest motto as a mom who has struggles with my mental health is that it’s okay to have a breakdown, but don’t live in that breakdown. Pick yourself up, and keep going. I know, it’s easier said than done.
Let It Out Momma.
There have been days where I cry in my bathroom for a few minutes. When I say cry, I mean turn on all the water and let out an ugly cry. I’m not hiding because I trying to teach my kids crying is bad or anything. I’m just taking a minute for myself. I’m taking a minute to let it all out. That is strength to me.
Bottling up my emotions and brushing things off with “I’m fine,” only makes my mood worse. I only get sadder and sadder. I hate lying, and I’m awful at it. So, I don’t know why I try to lie to myself. Letting it out, even if you aren’t sure what IT is, is the best route.
Don’t Feel Guilty.
When I first became a mom, I had postpartum depression really bad. I was in therapy weekly, and I felt like a terrible mom. My separation anxiety was so bad, that I cried the first few appointments because I missed my son during that hour.
My therapist was incredible. She constantly reminded me that I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling. She told me to banish any guilt that I had, because there were other moms with the same struggle. We all experience depression differently, but we aren’t alone in being depressed.
I just felt so worthless for being so sad all of the time. Once I got through those days, I realized that she was right. When I have moments where I feel low, I remember that I’m not alone. I remember I need to keep fighting.
Parent YOUR Way.
Everyone has different parenting styles, and the way I do things benefits my mental health and my kids’ health. Like I said, I had separation anxiety pretty bad after both of my babies were born. I don’t really like being away from my kids, and they don’t like being away from me and my husband. Now that they are getting older, we’ve tried letting them stay with grandparents and having overnights, but they cry for us to come get them. We’ve spent a few hours apart from the kids, and when they are ready and want to stay somewhere, I’ll let them.
Because my kids don’t do overnights or have a baby sister often, I get told that I WILL want a break from my kids at some point. They act like there’s something wrong with me for wanting my kids around all of the time. I’m always told, there will come a day where I’ll want to drop them off somewhere for a weekend break.
I can’t predict the future, but I don’t feel that way now. If either of us need a break, we find ways to take a break. We take the kids on a ride. It’s usually a calm, family ride. Everyone perks up and gets in a better mood. If my husband wants to play video games, I can take the kids to the play room. If I want a bubble bath, he will play with them. If we want date night, we wait until their bedtime. The point is we can usually find a way to get the moments and space we need. I would never judge someone for wanting a break that involves overnights or whatever it is, so I don’t want to be judged for taking breaks my way.
It’s frustrating when other people make you feel like you’re raising your kids wrong, but it’s important not to let their judgment or assumptions make you feel bad about yourself. I used to get so upset about the way people viewed me as a mother. Now, I brush those same people off with a smile.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others.
There’s nothing positive about comparing yourself to others. As a mom who gets depressed and has obsessive thoughts from anxiety, I try not to feel like less of mom. I try not to constantly compare myself.
Social media makes it so difficult not to compare yourself to others. As a blogger, I use social media platforms to promote my posts. Some days, it’s a struggle to see these “picture perfect” moms. I’m sitting here in yoga pants still looking like a mess from my half-assed workout, because I just felt too overwhelmed to do a lot of exercise today. What I should focus on is that I did workout. I did push through the sadness to clean, stick to my routine, and better myself. It’s hard to see the positive when depression kicks in, but I have to remind myself that I’m trying and that’s what’s important. Comparing yourself to others won’t help you be a better version of yourself.
It’s Okay to Ask for Help.
I’ve accepted my mental health and all of my struggles. I spent a week in the hospital on the psychiatric floor in 2013. I saw a therapist for years. I still open up and talk when I need to. I might not always ask for help, but I remind myself that it’s okay to ask. It’s okay to talk about how you’re feeling.
As a mom, I always want to be this strong symbol for my kids. It took me a long time to realize that being vulnerable and open about your feelings is apart of being strong. I want to show my kids that everyone experiences obstacles in their life, and strength comes from how you deal with those obstacles. I want my kids to know that it’s okay to say how you feel.
I hope this post was able to reach someone who needed to relate. Whether you’re a mom or not, mental health is important. Loving yourself, even when you have a dark day, is important. I’m always here to listen and be a friend.
Check out Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help, stories, and an open community for mental health struggles.