You’ve probably felt that way at some point in your life, whether it was in your role as mom, dad, wife, husband, boss, employee, student…you name it.
Well, I hit that point about a week or so ago. I’ve dragged my husband down with me, too. He’s our rock and puts so much energy into encouraging me to focus on all that is good and into making things easier for me. He’s now exhausted. I don’t blame him.
He came home from work early one day last week after a flurry of frustrated texts from me. I was trying to get our son to nap. I know in my head not to push things, so I have to ask myself why I get so frustrated when it doesn’t work? Just let it go. I KNOW THIS. And yet, you get in your head that he will nap, therefore I will nap, and when it doesn’t happen, well, shit.
Upon his arrival and his stern direction that I go take a nap, I melted into an ugly, bawling mess on the floor. I sobbed that I was tired, I was overwhelmed, I was sad. That it was hard to keep up with being the mom I wanted to be. That I couldn’t dream of keeping up with housework. That I felt like I was falling behind in my other job. (Which is a total phallacy. I work with the best team in the world. I can do my work whenever I want, within reason, unless it’s time sensitive. If I need help, they help me. When I emailed saying I was basically having a breakdown and going to a counsellor, one of them did some of my work for me.)
So yeah, I went to counselling that night. I got in fast after a recommendation from one of my dear friends in my mama tribe. She, too, kind of admonished me: why hadn’t I messaged her before and that I could call her any time. I knew that but yet maybe I didn’t or forgot, because I didn’t think to admit to her that I was falling apart until I pretty much hit rock bottom.
I’ve written before about admitting when you’re down to help other moms. I wouldn’t say I have post partum depression, but I wouldn’t say it’s smooth sailing either. What the counsellor thinks is that my cup is empty. That I’m not getting enough Darla time. When she asked me about this, I burst into tears. To be fair, I spent a good chunk of that day crying. While she didn’t say I was ridiculous, she looked at me like I was when I said I enjoyed a nightly bubble bath and yoga once a week.
When I reflected on the session later, I wondered if I cried because I actually need more Darla time, or if it was the perfectionist in me, feeling like I was failing or someone was giving me heck for not being good enough. APB (hubby) says I’m way too hard on myself, that I’m always trying to be the “perfect” mom. I’m smart enough to know there is no such thing as a perfect mom, and I always argue that I’m not trying to be perfect, that I’m just trying to be the mom I want to be. But yeah…If you’re a perfectionist, you’re often striving for the unattainable.
My counselling homework was to come up with things I can do on my own, and honestly, I lost sleep that first night trying to think of things. Which was totally counterproductive to the fact that I’ve been exhausted lately. I have since come up with a couple things (gardening season is right around the corner – hopefully – and maybe punching the ol’ punching bag or adding another yoga class), but I didn’t want to just sign up for something for the sake of signing up for something. Plus, with not knowing a ton of people since moving here a year and a half ago, caregivers out here are somewhat limited.
The other part of my homework was to spend more time with APB. I’ve always thought I checked in with him to make sure we were cool, and he’s never said otherwise, so it was just her suggesting we weren’t. Or that we could end up on a path where we weren’t. When I checked in with some other moms, our lives didn’t seem that different than theirs. It’s for now, it’s not forever. That said, we had a great supper out Friday night while the toddler hung out with Auntie Cathy. Everyone had fun, so we’ll make sure to do this more often.
I’m back to the counsellor on Tuesday, and I’m hoping I’m less of a mess this time so I can be straight with her: your homework stressed me out, and while it doesn’t hurt to add something if I’ll enjoy it or get something out of it, adding something for the sake of it won’t help me. It felt like another task, and lord knows I don’t need another task right now. I agree self-care is important, and I want to set a good example of that to my child, but I’m not going to start taking a dance class if I don’t want to dance.
I’m hoping I’m on the upward of the swing. I’m surrounded by a lot of love: a very supportive husband who is weary but hopefully in a few days will be better; very supportive and helpful parents; lovely friends who care about me; and a beautiful little boy whose smile lights up my heart.
If you feel like garbage, tell someone. Tell a friend, your spouse, a counsellor if need be. No shame in going to see a counsellor: as she told me, everyone should see one at some point in their lives (I’ve gone twice before for work-related stuff!). Heck, tell me. I’ll always listen. Being a mom is hard.
As a wise friend told me, being a mom is tough: the best and worst of times. Those little moments and special people help us through the hard parts. Now time for my nightly bubble bath.