Hey mama, we have all been there and we have to admit to ourselves that we have a finite resources of sanity and energy. We all have a lot going on, juggling raising the kids while maintaining a home and everything that fills in the gaps between. When you are navigating postpartum hormones, sleep deprivation and just the general feeling of isolation the most trivial thing may push you to your breaking point. No, it’s not about the store no longer carrying the brand of pickles you always buy but it’s everything that leads up to that point that leaves you standing in aisle two holding pickles and in tears. Somewhere along the way we put this unattainable expectation on ourselves that we should be able to balance all the many different parts of our lives.
Author, Jen Hatmaker said it best in her book For the Love “Balance. It’s like a unicorn; we’ve heard about it, everyone talks about it and makes airbrushed T-shirts celebrating it, it seems super rad, but we haven’t actually seen one. I’m beginning to think it isn’t a thing.”
You are allowed to spend quality time with your child with zero expectation to get anything done on the never ending “to-do” list. I am giving you that permission right now. Don’t dismiss the value of being present and in the moment with your little one. When feeling overwhelmed, anxiety start to build up or a sense of detachment, one tactic to try something called “grounding”. You can google it and find many different tactics but the general idea is to focus your senses on what is currently in front of you, what do you see, hear, feel, smell.
Find Your Tribe
There are many ways to connect with others with online communities, such as Meetup.com, Reddit, Facebook. Some struggle more seeing other’s “perfect” lives filtered and fabulous on social media, especially Facebook. Take a break from social media, delete the app from your phone, and find another avenue to connect with others. It’s a hard place to be, looking for help and reaching out but also keeping healthy boundaries. Be willing to walk away and say no. “No” is a complete sentence. Do not try to convince yourself to spend energy on things or social circles that are supposed to help but just don’t for one reason or another.
I’m not sure of the reasoning behind the phenomenon but I’ve found that mom groups come with their own personality just depending on who is in the group and how they interact with each other. Separately, you may love all the moms in the group but if it becomes too much of a stressor you’re allowed to walk away from the group. Reach out to someone and let them know you are struggling, your spouse, family members, friends, or your church community these are all people who want to support you.
Seek a Professional
For some reason investing in your mental health has been a taboo subject for far too long but I have seen a shift in the conversation that normalizes getting help from a professional. Again, these resources can be found online, there has also been a shift to less traditional means of therapy, you no longer have to lay on a couch while a man with glasses and a white beard takes notes. Some even provide services and guidance via video chat and text message! This can also open up a lot more options when you are limited at home with a little one.
If you are having a hard time maintaining you may also want to talk to your primary care doctor about medication for depression or anxiety. It may be a temporary need to support you while you navigate through your feelings and building a network of support. Taking medication does not mean you are weak or looking for an easy way out. It means you are willing to take care of yourself so you can take better care of your children.
You may have to try a lot of different things before you find what works for you. You can’t give up, willing to keep trying. Journaling can also be therapeutic, putting down the phone and writing out your feelings with a pen and paper may help you process your feelings that feel too overwhelming to share.
When you finally get time to yourself to process it is very common to feel overwhelmed with the feeling of not being able to relax or be productive enough with your down time. When I finally had time to myself I was constantly looking at the clock, with an urgent feeling of the countdown instead of actually enjoying my break. Work in a little down time for yourself into your routine, every Wednesday go to the library for an hour by yourself, or take a walk, something that it away from your little one and anything else that may be feeding you negative thoughts or over stimulating you at the moment. The most important thing you can do is to give yourself space, time and grace.