I'm More Than Just A Mom
It's always so easy to write posts about the cute and silly things my kiddos do and say but trying to write something about me...now that's hard. But why is it so hard!? I remember before I had babies the whole world revolved around me and I loved talking about myself! But not anymore, it's like I've faded away into the background of my kids' lives.
Before I had kids I liked to workout, I enjoyed biking around our neighborhood every single day, I loved spending hours "getting ready" for the day and experimenting with makeup, I used to be a wine drinker, and I really enjoyed making a difference in peoples' lives with what I did for a living. Now, three and a half years after having my first baby I'm none of those things. I haven't worked out in a laughable amount of time and it's not because I have no free-time, because I do. It's just that once you're a parent, at least for me, when I don't have kids I want to do nothing. I want to catch up on social media and sleep. Most of the time though I'm too anxious about having alone time so you better believe I'm not wasting it sleeping! I for sure don't have hours to spend getting ready anymore, which really I'm fine with but still... I attempted to pick up my wine obsession after Emily was born but to be honest, I felt guilty drinking it. What if something happened and I needed to drive somewhere for help? Was I going to do that right after having a glass of wine with my baby in the car? Ummmm, no! I just left my career of being a police dispatcher after being in the field for 10 years so I think that just goes to show that my love of helping people has decreased so much that I needed to stop doing that job. Part of me feels like I need to help myself and work on me so much that I literally don't have time to want to help anyone else. Add in kids and a marriage to the mix and there literally is no time. I mean, sometimes I want to ask people, anyone, "What am I worth?" Is it ok to still have things I want to do that don't involve my kids? Some people might think that’s a selfish thing to say or do, but is it necessary?
There are things I want to accomplish still, physically and creatively and I don't want to feel like I'm not taking it all in regarding motherhood. I see so many posts about how this time is so fleeting and how I'll crave this time back once my kids are older and I totally agree! I post that myself sometimes but I think part of that is me trying to convince myself that this is exactly what I thought motherhood would be like. In reality, it's SO not. Does that make me love and cherish my kids any less? Hell no! I would die for them any day of the week and they ARE my life but how come my life can't have time away from them without feeling guilty?
There are times when I'm out photographing clients or singing in the car to songs I actually love, not the Moana soundtrack, or even drying my hair after I shower where I totally forget about everything else in the world, including my babies. There is so much of me that wants to be identified as more than just a mom. I think part of it is inside my own head. I want to be able to enjoy doing things on my own without the guilt of leaving them at daycare a little later, or having Daddy watch them while I go out. I know I'm going to miss this stage looking back on things but I also feel like I have the right to want to enjoy this stage as well and to be honest, sometimes I hate it.
Sometimes I think to myself, "when did Leah die and Mommy take over her body?" I think with people being so judgmental behind a computer screen and everyone being expected to be this perfect parent all the time society's expectations are set so high that they're unattainable! We Moms can't be expected to have healthy and happy kids while at the same time having a spotless home, dinner on the table every night, the perfect marriage where we always agree on everything, great careers that we love, and just---all this other stuff! There's just no way to have it all. I think we have to start deciding for ourselves what our "having it all" means to us and it probably won't mean the same thing to the person next to us but that's ok! Is there anyone who feels this way too?...Just me?...Ok.
Lets's take a minute and talk about postpartum depression. I suffer from PPD and have since Emily was born. I used to be embarrassed to admit it because I thought it made me look weak or not worthy enough, but that's so far from the truth. PPD isn't something that I can change or that Scott can change. PPD happens inside your body and isn't something that can be treated with nutrition or just "thinking happy thoughts".
What's a day for me look like? It looks like I'm swimming in a pool trying to get to the finish line but that finish line doesn't really exist and every single stroke I take there's an obstacle. I'm always tired even if I've had 8 straight hours of sleep, I'm always hungry and for bad sugary things I know I shouldn't be eating. I'm sad pretty much all the time. There are long periods of time when I'm with my babies that I feel happy for sure and I do feel a lot happier when I'm out and about rather than feeling "stuck' at home but it's hard because both Scott and Emily are homebodies so it's harder to get them out. Everything overwhelmes me even the small things like picking toys off the floor. It's a continual battle to not scream every single time I see a toy on the floor that no one is playing with. And I get it!...kids are kids and have short attention spans so don't stick with one toy for too long but in my mind I really just can't take it. I think of it as me being selfish because I want a tidy house all the time but have no motivation or energy to achieve it. I'm moody as all get out and Scott never knows how to approach me. That's not something I want for my marriage, I mean who would? Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some really good days where everything is good and I'm in a good mood and we all go about our day happily but there are also some really bad days. The horrible part about how PPD affects me is that one teensy thing going "wrong" can flip my switch and at that point it's probably best to just leave me alone or go home from what we're doing because my mood is completely ruined. I feel so angry all the time as well and it seems like people are specifically targeting me to make me mad, even though I KNOW they're not. Like drivers going under the speed limit on a one lane road when I'm running late, I know they don't know me but I swear it's on purpose that they're going so slow and I lose my ish! I tend to avoid getting together with family too. I mean, I will if I'm forced but I don't want to be forced! I want to be around our family but I have so much anxiety over it and it stresses me out to no end. Like, what if I'm awkward or what if something happens and I break down in tears?
Having PPD and hearing so much that once you have children your life ends for the next 18 years scares me. There has GOT to be a way for me to be my own person while also being a mother at the same time and being a GOOD mother. I know that in order to fill other's cups up my own cup has to be filled first, or in order to love someone else I have to love myself first. Easier said than done, right? I've talked to a few people who are on the other side pf PPD and they're so encouraging and I pray I'll feel how they feel someday and will be able to help people.
I think now it's time for me to start looking into real tangible ways to help myself. If I don't do it no one else will, right? Have any of you had any success overcoming PPD?
These two definitely do make my day better, I mean, how could they not!?