Ever feel like you're not cut out to be a mom? I feel like that about once a month. If you're like me, and you have any form of anxiety, parenting will often feel way too overwhelming. There's so much pressure to be a good parent and a great mom, and so much internal competition and compensation for your own shortcomings. Obviously, parents want the best for their children. They want to give their children things they never had. They want to do things with their children that they were never able to do. They want their children to experience everything they never experienced. And because of this internal pressure and guilt and external judgement, parents sometimes feel like it's all just too much, all at once.
A few weeks ago, my daughter woke up sick in the middle of the night. She threw up numerous times, the first time all over her bed. As I was cleaning her up in the shower, my husband was stripping her sheets and throwing her bedding in the laundry. I washed her hair and got her dressed, then I bleached the entire bathroom (taking breaks every few minutes to run back to my daughter and hold her hair as she threw up over and over again). It took my husband and I over an hour to make sure everything was cleaned and in the laundry. As soon as we all settled down, my son woke up, started throwing up, and the cycle started once again. We all slept on the bathroom floor that night, the kids next to each other, and my husband and I at their feet with buckets in hand. That was a rough night, to say the least.
That night was one of so many when I felt like just throwing in the towel and calling it a day. I felt like I needed a week to recuperate, but of course, I didn't have a week. I didn't have even a day, because the next morning we all woke up and the kids were feeling better and they wanted to run around and have fun and I just wanted to disappear into the couch and go missing for just a few days.
When You First Come Home From The Hospital
When we first came home from the hospital, we were in a blissful haze. For a few fleeting moments, everything felt so exciting and so fresh and so happy. For the first time, we were a complete family and not just a single married couple. It all felt so magical.
Then it all came crashing into a big pile of dirty diapers, acid reflux, colic, difficulty breastfeeding, jaundice, overnight hospital stays, a hematoma, and baby blues, among other things. And it all felt suffocating. That was the first time I questioned if I was really cut out to be a mom.
When Everyone Offers Their Opinions
With good intentions, everyone from your mother to your distant third-aunt Mary, who lives in another country, will tell you how to raise your child. No one means any harm and everyone is just trying to help, but all of that unsolicited advice is ridiculously overwhelming and, well, unsought. Plus, most of these opinions contradict one another, which just creates chaos in the brain.
When Your Baby Is Sick For The First Time
Ooof. Four days after my brand new family came home from the hospital, we had to rush back to the emergency room because my daughter's bilirubin levels were way too high. There an inexperienced nurse tried to unsuccessfully insert an IV into my 4-day-old newborn's vein multiple times, while my 4-day-old cried hysterical and while I lost approximately 10 years off my life. Then, we spent a night at the hospital where my daughter received phototherapy in an incubator.
When You've Had A Long Day At Work
Juggling full-time work and children is already tough, but some days are worse than others. Some days, on top of your already long hours, your boss can make you miserable, or you have a disagreement with your coworker, or your commute takes an extra hour. And some days all of those things will happen simultaneously and then your children become particularly needy in the evening, and it all blows up in the during dinner at the kitchen table and everyone cries. And that story is so specific because it has happened to me. Like, a lot.
When You Try To Do It All On Your Own
While I am a huge advocate for asking for and accepting help, I can't seem to do the same for myself. I always take on too much and then get stressed out by it all. It's as if I'm some sort of martyr, trying to kill myself for the betterment of my children and family. It's not healthy for anyone involved and I really should take my own advice.
When You Don't Get Time Off
When you spend all day at work and every evening tending to the needs of your family, and every weekend working and playing catch up, you may slightly feel burned out. When you and your partner don't get any time to yourselves without your children and without any parental responsibilities, you may feel disconnected, which can lead to feeling like you're parenting in a silo. And while time off and away is so important, unfortunately most of us don't get that luxury.
When All The Little Things Turn Into Big Things
Some days I come home exhausted from work and I see a pile of shoes by the door, jackets on the floor (although the closet is right there), mail thrown all over the kitchen table, dirty dishes in the sink, cat hair all over the couch, crumbs on the kitchen floor, dirty laundry overflowing in the hamper, and dirty socks everywhere. And those days, I want to quietly walk back out of the house, get back into my car, and drive far, far away. Those days are the bad days.
When You Over-Schedule Yourself
It happens. Your ambition to give your children everything you never had sometimes gets the better of your common sense. You sign up for extracurricular activities and charity walks. You accept invitations to multiple birthday parties all in one weekend and promise your friends you'll find time to hang out with them. You'll have a deadline at work and back-to-school night in the same evening. Over-scheduling happens by accident or on purpose, but either way, it's incredibly overwhelming.
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