Ahhh, motherhood. The most wonderfully messy, beautifully challenging, rewarding sacrifices I will ever know. I’m sure you know what I mean. When your little monsters are driving you bat sh!t crazy but you wouldn’t want to spend one day without them……although a few hours alone would probably be good for your sanity.
It sure is a wild, joyous ride.
I’ve been a mom for over 4 years now. When our oldest daughter, Brynlee, was born, I was filled with a happiness and love I never knew was possible. Maternity leave was great and I enjoyed everyday home with my little family. When it was time to go back to work, at that time as a full time pharmacy technician, I was sad to leave my baby but also happy to have the normalcy of my life back. That time for me, that time to socialize with adults and do something besides look at a beautiful baby face all day and constantly be needed. Don’t get me wrong, I missed that kid every second, but it was nice to get away and be more than just mom.
When Brynlee turned one, I was offered a job as an office manager for my step dad’s cell tower company so I could work from home and be with Brynlee instead of keeping her in daycare. In all honesty, I didn’t really want to accept that offer. I loved my job but I love my daughter more and I did miss her during the day so I figured I’d give it a shot. I mean, who would turn down that opportunity?
That first year, the ‘vacation phase’ as I call it, was great. I started staying home in March, my husband is a teacher so summer vacation started in May. All of us got to be home together. We went on our first family trip to California where we were gone for a month. Everything was perfect…. Then August rolled around, and school started again. I was still riding my high from summer time as a family but things slowly started changing….in my mind at least. By the new year I was in full blown depression mode.
I’ve never talked to anyone about this. Never told my husband or family. No one knew….I was probably a little more moody and nagging but I did my best to hold myself together. I missed my job outside the house. And I felt guilty for that. I missed hanging out with other adults. I realized I really had no idea how to be an office manager and when I don’t accel at something, I have no motivation to do it. My mental state was somewhere I didn’t like it to be. I had a job that allowed me to stay home with my beautiful daughter everyday. Others pray for what I had, yet I wasn’t happy. And I felt so guilty for that. I lost who I was. I didn’t even remember the person that I was before being a mom. Yet I wanted to be the best one I could for my little girl.
This feeling lasted for about a year. I’m not sure what made me snap out if this, but I did. It didn’t happen overnight but slowly and surely I started changing my way of thinking. I knew I needed to take care of my mental health. So I started taking care of me. I started waking up earlier so I could have time alone. I would spend that time reading, journaling, and doing a small workout. When Brynlee woke up, I was ready to give her my all and be there for her. As she was getting older, she was becoming more independent and wanting time to play on her own. She wasn’t needing all my attention and energy. I was getting mental breaks throughout the day.
I’m the type of person who really gets trapped in my own head. Falling down a rabbit hole of thoughts until I come out the other side. And that’s just what I did. I changed my way of thinking and my outlook on life. I experienced growth as a human being. I found me again and I now know that the best thing for my family is to take care of myself.
Now, our 2nd daughter, Bradley, was born 2 months ago. It feels like I just gained my sense of freedom back with Brynlee and now it’s time to do this all over again. I’m stronger this time. I can do this. I know I need to take care of myself. I know I can’t pour from an empty glass. I felt a small bit of guilt and sadness a couple times these first 2 months, knowing my time is once again cut into smaller slices. But I know this won’t last long and I refuse to fall backwards with my mental health and my personal journey of growth.
That’s why during my last 6 months of pregnancy, I made a plan and decision to quit my job and make some changes with our family life. But that story hasn’t happened yet 😉
I find it absolutely incredible what our minds are capable of. The mind is the strongest muscle in the human body, and just like any other muscle, it needs exercise and care. If at any time, you feel damaged, broken, or mentally ill, it’s nothing to be hidden, ashamed, or embarrassed of. If any other part of your body isn’t feeling well or working properly, you seek help. Why wouldn’t you do the same for your mental state? Baby blues and postpartum depression is real. I’m not sure if that’s what I had or if there’s a label for how I felt. I just know it wasn’t what I wanted and it didn’t feel right. I was able to think myself out of it, but seek help if you need to. Most of all, be kind to others, you never know the journey they are on or the struggles they are enduring.
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