A Mother’s Mental Health

mother-and-child-photo-png-17I am retired.  Well, at least that is what my aunt calls moms, like me, who have transitioned from being a career working woman to a stay-at-home mom.  My aunt can be so cute sometimes; but I am obviously not financially retired nor do I want to be.  I actually miss working 9-5 as a paper-pusher.  I enjoy busy schedules, terrible bosses, gossiping lunch hours, and impossible deadlines.  In short, I like working for the “man,” because at the end of each day, I can walk away from it all without a care in the world left on my shoulders!

As a stay-at-home mom, that is an entirely different story!  At home, I am the “man,” my own frantic boss,  losing hair on a daily basis, working a 24-7 hour schedule, with no vacation time, putting out fires (not real ones) in every direction, constant rocket-science problem solving, budgeting, planning, delegating, and training.  I often imagine this is what it is like running your own business in real life, except with less hazardous waste materials (diapers and snot tissues) and time outs.

I LOVE being a mom and I am entirely grateful for the opportunity to stay home with my kids!  I wouldn’t trade this life for the world, but it sure is one hell of a job being a mom.  Whether I was working a 9-5 job or staying at home, the job responsibilities are still the same.  Being a mom, in general, is one tough job.  Like any job, it can wear you down and take a toll on your mental health.

A Much Needed Mommy Break

Last night, I had one of those moments where I needed a break from being a mom.  I just wanted a couple hours of “me-time.”  Well, a couple of hours of Will Smith time, watching a tv series he was hosting for National Geographic with NASA called, One Strange Rock.  Zoning into a movie or tv series is an effective way for me to relieve stress.  Distracting my busy mind with something, less worrisome.  Although, I am not sure how watching a series that talked about different ways our Sun can destroy our planet to be less worrisome, but apparently, it didn’t bothered me very much.  Probably, because I don’t have “Prepare for Earth’s Doom” listed as my top 3 things to worry about today.

A Tough Mommy Week 

Last week was a tough “Mommy week,” as our youngest was admitted into the hospital for a couple of days on oxygen therapy to assist in fighting off the common cold virus.  We came home this weekend, mentally exhausted with our bodies aching from having slept a couple days on uncomfortable fold-out chairs beside our toddler’s bed in the hospital.  We continued her breathing treatments every 4 hours at home and she is now back to her hyper, happy, normal self.  🙂   As for me, I am absolutely worn out, both physically and mentally!

Last week, I held myself together pretty well.  Mostly,  because it’s not our first rodeo with hospitals.  Our oldest, born a micro-preemie, spent the first 3 months of her life in the NICU, followed by 6 more months on oxygen at home, frequent visits to doctors and specialists, and a couple of years of 3 different types of therapy.  Today, she is a healthy, angry, extremely tiny, super sassy, smart-ass, fire-pistol of a pre-schooler who may one day take over the Universe!

However, this hospital adventure was with our youngest who has never had any medical problems until now.  Fortunately, our experiences with our oldest allowed us to recognize a breathing problem before it became a medical emergency.  But none of that means it wasn’t emotional, stressful, or worrisome.  Having Asthma myself, I know exactly what it feels like working extra hard to breathe; I can feel it in my own muscles as I watched our toddler wheeze and pull in hard from her chest, ribs, and back.  It brought me to tears, because there was nothing I could do to make it stop and the ER, I had brought her to, hit her with all they got with their respiratory arsenal.  Although she wasn’t showing signs of distress, she continued to work too hard to breathe.  Muscles do eventually fatique out putting her at risk of collasping her lungs, so we were transferred to the hospital for breathing assistance while she overcame the worst of her cold.  In the end, they concluded she may have asthma which complicated her cold.  With that, I quickly put the blame on myself, for genetically giving her asthma.

My Personal Space Bubble Has Been Invaded 

Last night, even though our toddler is feeling much better, I had a lot on my mind.  All the emotions I kept back last week finally hit me.  In addition, to whatever else was on my list of things to worry about.  I could handle a little over-thinking, but the straw that broke the camels back (or camels mental capacity) last night, was when I was beginning to feel a little claustrophobic in my own personal space bubble.  My personal space bubble hasn’t been kid free in over two weeks.  I love my kids very much, but they have this constant need to always be touching me, hanging on me, sitting on me, or getting right up in my face even if there is a perfectly good other parent (father) sitting across the room.  I usually don’t mind the affection, but sometimes, it can become a little overwhelming, especially, when you just want to use the bathroom alone without supervision.  My kids seem to be glued to me, especially, our youngest, who seems to be super-glued to me with Gorilla glue.  I can’t pry her off.  She is like a little monkey that just won’t let go!  You can’t even put things between us; not a chair, a stuff animal, or a pillow.  I tried to pry her off with a ruler last night, but the gap between us is too tight!

I obviously wasn’t going to get the mental break that I wanted; a dark, quiet room, with just me and Will Smith talking about the end of life on our planet.

A Mother’s Mental Health Can Be Resilient

If there is one thing I have learned, it is that a mother’s mental health can be resilient.  I can juggle a lot of mental crap, before my brain finally gives in and says, “Dude, go lock yourself in the bathroom for 5 minutes to recharge!”   Sometimes I need more than 5 minutes; on my most overwhelming days, I could settle with just a couple of hours of alone time.  But, it has to be uninterrupted alone time without having to worry about my kids.  So, I get my best mental rest when they are asleep or at grandma’s house; both, in which seem very rare.  I rarely get uninterrupted mental breaks, which tells me just how dang resilient my brain must be, especially, when you feel like you are about to fall apart and your toddler thinks blowing bubbles with her nose is super hilarious!  I would think at that point, my eye would start to twitch or something, but it doesn’t, I just smile, hug my little monkey, and appreciate this time together.  Perhaps, enjoying all these small moments together is what keeps me from having a mommy mental break down.  🙂 ❤