About three months postpartum I wanted to go get my nails done; I don’t know if this was fate or a higher power, but as I was getting my nails done I was talking to my nail technician and I told her I just had a baby. I told her that I’ve been off work, but I also said that I think work would be good for me. We laughed and I told her that I was spending so much money being off…between my Target trips, Starbucks, and Hobby Lobby. Then, it was one little comment that made me realize I was not alone…She said, “Between not making money and spending money on therapy, maternity leave is expensive!” I don’t know what it was, but at that moment the sweet lady on the other side of the table somehow normalized what I was going through. She mentioned therapy as easily as she asked me to pick my nail color. I began to open up to her about my experiences and realized her story was similar to mine. With every sentence, I held back just a bit, for fear of truly admitting what I was going through. Little by little, more of my story came out and I felt relief. I was in the right place at the right time with the right person and the right words.
WHY? Why don’t moms talk about this more? Could you imagine a world where it was common practice to talk to each other about the emotional toll of the postpartum period? Much like the woman in the salon, I began to casually talk to moms about my struggle. I wanted to normalize the feelings so the healing process would be easier.
I started hearing so many stories the more I talked to women in my life. I never truly let people know how serious my diagnosis was, but even sharing bits and pieces made me feel more human. Now I am not saying to go out and make friends with every depressed person you can find, but put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to open up to people.
Now to the real point of this post, I think it is time we shift our perspective, Mamas. You don’t have to LOVE every part of being a mom, the shit is hard some days. I love my child and always will, but you don’t have to love every day. I know it is difficult to shift our perspective when you see these forever happy psychos on social media, but that is just not reality. I decided to use my honesty lense when viewing my life as a mother. Motherhood is amazing, messy, beautiful, worth it, rewarding, etc etc…BUT THE SHIT IS HARD WORK. There are some days I just want to climb into my bed and hide under the covers, “check out” if you will. These are the days that I just do it; I go through the motions, I take care of my sweet bundle of joy, but I am sad, tired, and sometimes depressed. Then there are days when I am Supermom! I plan playdates, serve a balanced meal, go to the gym, clean my house, and play on the floor with my baby for hours…and I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT. When I have a bad day I remind myself of the good days and remind myself that the balance will come, I just need to ride the wave and be kind to myself.
Lastly, you can’t pour from an empty cup. The trick with this statement is that even if your cup is full and you start pouring, your cup is closer to empty. My advice? STOP filling other cups for a change…like….. stop filling them all together for a little bit. Take care of your kids and your family, but dangit, take care of yourself. I am not saying to just be an asshole, but it’s perfectly OK to be an asshole every once in a while. BALANCE MAMA, SEEK IT.
Go to target, take a bath, get your nails done, go to Starbucks, eat Chick-Fil-A in your car while you cry to a sad song (not saying this from experience…not at all). Whatever you do to fill your cup and keep it full, DO IT.
Hell, I acted like I didn’t hear my baby crying one night so my husband would get up with him…DID I FEEL GUILTY? You betcha, but I woke up with a full cup that day. Shout out to my Husband, he is wonderful about giving me time for myself. He truly sees himself as an equal parent, not just the guy who fills in when I am tired. Thank you for existing, Eric ❤
AND JUST SO YOU KNOW, through the crowd, there are moms who feel just like you do. Stick with me.