Over the last few months, I’ve had this dark cloud lurking over my head. A darkness I can’t seem to shake even on my best days. I find myself going through the motions of life and forcing a smile more often than I’d like to admit. I walk around the same four walls day after day, repeating the same mundane tasks day after day. My life solely consists of keeping two tiny humans happy. That’s it. And while this may not seem like the worst job in the world, it’s certainly not the easiest.
First of all stay at home moms get a bad wrap. People have this preconceived notion that we have all this “free” time on our hands. If you could find any free time in my day it’s at 9pm when my kids are finally asleep for the night. So, no I don’t have time to be at the gym for hours on end. No, I don’t have time to do my hair and makeup every day. No, I don’t get to wear nice clothes or get my nails done as often as I’d like to. Point blank, I’m lucky to shower alone most days. If I get to shave my legs without another set of eyes watching as I have a leg in the air …that’s a win.
The truth is the life of a stay at home mom is anything but glamourous. It’s lonely. It’s isolating and it’s extremely overwhelming. I constantly find myself with a never-ending ‘to do’ list. Juggling meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, packing lunches and snacks, laundry, doctors appointments, therapy appointments, school drop off’s and pickup’s, you name it. There’s always something.
Some days I feel like I’m really crushing it, and other days I just feel sad. Sad because I’m tired and run down. Sad because my kids scream and cry even when I’m doing my absolute best to make them happy. I’m sad because I feel trapped in a life that isn’t always idealistic, that doesn’t always feel like mine. But most of all I feel sad because as much as I love being a mom, I hate that it’s all I am.
Somewhere in the craziness of motherhood, I lost who I am, or who I used to be. I had a career that made me happy and that I was good at. That people went out of their way to thank me for. I felt appreciated. I made my own money, I contributed to our home. We traveled, exploring every island the Caribbean had to offer. We went out with friends and had romantic date nights, not having to worry about making arrangements for babies and paying obscene amounts of money to do so. Our lives were exciting. We could go anywhere and do anything at the drop of a hat.
Now I spend my days tending to two very demanding, very strong-willed little girls. I find myself struggling to make time for the things that make me happy. That make me feel good about who I am and where I am at in life. I find myself comparing my life to others who are in the same position. Who have two sets of grandparents to help them, who have the funds to travel, who have time to workout every morning, and who make it all look easy.
Bottom line is, mom depression is a real thing. It can be debilitating some days. So I encourage you to reach out to your neighbor who has a new baby. Ask her if she needs anything, ask her if she’s ok. Even if she says “yes!” keep asking. Offer a helping hand and encouraging words. Let her know you’ve been there and this too shall pass. Bring dinner, bring an extra set of hands, bring a smile and a shoulder to cry on. Be the helping hand that pulls us out of our dark hole. Just be there.
But mama’s it’s more important to remember to put your own oxygen mask on first and to breathe through it. Find what makes you happy. Find your joy and start rebuilding who you want to be. Do something for yourself, every single day. Stay off social media as much as you can and stop following people who make you feel insecure about your life. Find a tribe of women (Hello SAMB!) who are in the same boat as you. Women who are all in the throws of motherhood and can relate to where you’re at in life.
Choose happiness. Choose to love your chaotic, messy life and everything it throws at you. Laugh when you feel like crying, dance out the uncertainty. But most of all, remember that these hard times will pass. This is only a phase of life that will all too quickly be gone. One day you will look back and regret the smiles you didn’t share with the world, the mean words you said to your husband and the times you didn’t stop to enjoy your babies while they’re babies.
Lastly just remember, you’re not alone.