Motherhood is hard.
Not necessarily because parenting is a challenge or tantrums happen or even the tears and the fear and the doubt.
Sometimes motherhood is hard because I feel like a failure.
I try very hard to embrace play, and try to engage and challenge my son in different ways. But sometimes, my anxiety is present, or I’m tired or I just don’t know how to play in any form.
I don’t know how stay at home mom’s do it all alone. We live with my parents, so 80% of the time, there’s at least one other person in the house. Even when they are busy and working, they take breaks and come just talk to my son. Just that break up in the day of 5 minutes with another person helps him a lot.
But when there’s no one else around during the day and I don’t know how to do anything…I feel like a failure. A failure because I let him watch too much tv, or play video games or or or
I feel like a failure because I’m not always good at this mommy thing, because I loose my patience and tell him to hurry up or say no when he wants to go outside.
Deep down, I know I’m not a failure but when I’m feeling like it…I try to do 1 big, exciting thing with him each day. This week, we’ve gone to the library several times, to the ‘castle’ park and played in the yard. Not huge but it gets us moving and thinking and that’s got to be a bit of a win, right?
Sometimes motherhood is hard because my anxiety makes it hard to play and a 3 year old doesn’t understand that.
He doesn’t understand that mommy is too upset to play or that his constant chatter sends me swirling into a panic attack (seriously, he can now sing the abc’s in English and French and does them both 1000+ times a day! It’s awesome but can be hard to handle on my worst days).
A three year old doesn’t understand when mommy is in pain, physically or mentally. All they want is to play play play.
Some days no matter how cute your kid is, or how well behaved, or how smart, or how awesome…it’s just hard to be a mom.
With anxiety, it’s so common for my senses to be on high. For every sound to get on my nerves. For every touch to be like a bug crawling on my skin. And every request to ‘play with me!’ feels like so much effort.
I manage my anxiety very well, but I still have these days and there’s no shame in that. There’s no shame in wanting a break or being touched out or just wanting my 3 year old to stop talking for 2 minutes!
On the worst days, I count down the hours until my husband gets home. On those days, I try even harder to just be present and recognize how awesome and smart my child is. When I’m so touched out or off kilter that I can’t do 1 big thing like above, I try to play in a way that honors what I need.
I’m not into rough housing (or as my son calls it “go crazy!”) or tickling or dancing or running around. On those bad days, I’m not even into reading because he climbs all over me and won’t sit still.
I honor myself by keeping my distance but doing things like playing ball and pretend store or playing with a doll house or magnetic fishing.
Life as a mom with a mental illness is an everyday struggle, no matter how well I’m managing. Because the reality is, kids are very high energy, take a lot of time and effort and those things can be triggers for anxiety. That doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom or a failure. It means I might have to do something differently than other moms but that’s okay. It’s okay for you, too.
Share in the comments: How is daily motherhood and play hard for you as a mom?