Being a mother is probably the most rewarding yet unrecognized job any woman can have. We don’t get a paycheck for doing what we do, we hardly ever get a thank you for the things we do to keep our families together and we often get badgered when things slack a bit.
So why do we continue to work so hard every day to keep ourselves together for the sake of everyone in our home? Because we have no other choice, and the consequences of “sucking it up” are huge.
Over the past week I have had a gradual yet dramatic decline in my mental health. I have spiraled out of control so quickly that before I could grasp what was happening I was too far gone. I was drowning myself in motherhood. No matter how hard I tried I could not pick myself back up because it felt like every time I got my head straight something else would drag me down.
Apparently, I am not alone.
So many moms out there have responded to my recent posts reminding me that I am not alone and that the things I am experiencing do happen to almost every mother out there. Then I began feeling like the strength I once had was completely gone. So I did something that I haven’t done yet, I gave myself some reminders.
I read through many of my blogs that I have written over the past year and half, the good ones, the bad ones, and the ugly ones. It was a fairly easy reminder that it’s okay to fall down but staying down is not good. Getting back up is a little easier than it feels, and I can do this!
I also read over a book I have written (I’m too chicken to publish it) and that was a real eye opener too. I have been through so much in my life and I have always made it through, but not without some bumps and bruises along the way. I have become a stronger a wiser person through all of the crap I have endured and motherhood should be no different.
I would like to take today, World Mental Health day to say to all the moms out there who work hard every single day to keep our little people safe, warm, and loved – thank you for all you do.
Sometimes we do so much for everyone else that we forget about ourselves. Whether it is because we are too tired to take care of ourselves or the time does not permit, it is critical to our mental health and those around us for all of us to take time to remember who we are.
Whether it is a cup of coffee with a friend, a hot bath, a pedicure, a new outfit or a pair of shoes, a date night with the one we love, or even treating ourselves to solo lunch, we must always keep a tiny grasp of who we are.
We are not just mothers, we are women. We have feelings, hopes, dreams, ideas, and hearts of our own. Our lives do not have to be 100% about our families. The moment we lose touch with who we are as human beings is the moment we begin to fail.
We also have to accept that kids will never say thanks, at least not until they are grown and gone. Our little ones will argue and fight, fuss and carry on because we have to “parent” them and our teenagers will revolt and carry on because they don’t agree with us. That will be the way things are for us moms until the end of time and it is critical to remember that none of us are alone. We must remember that one day we will no longer have this thankless job.
One day, our kid’s bedrooms will be empty and clean because they will be gone. The floors will stay clean and the chore list will shrink, because we will no longer have them around to make the messes we clean every day. One day, our peace will come.
One day I know my kids will look back and say “thanks mom, for all you did” but that day is nowhere in the near future and I can accept that. For now we just have to keep on keepin on. We need to do our thankless jobs with high hopes that one day our kids will be better adults for all we have done.
No one tells you the many sacrifices you make when you bring these little tiny beings into our lives. No one explains the exhaustion (years and years of it!) that comes along with keeping up with parenting. Most of all, no one tells you of the rewards when they are grown and gone – memories.
So when you feel like you are crushed under the weight of motherhood and your mental health suffers for it, take yourself out for coffee, window shop, and buy a pair of shoes, go for a walk alone, stand in front of a mirror and see your beauty. Be proud of your efforts and love the woman you are. Remind yourself that this is temporary for you. One day, it will all be over and you will have many years to be the woman you held on to through all your mommy years.
Hang on to the woman you are and take care of yourself first. When your mental health declines the entire house falls apart. So let’s unfold our capes, put them on, and be who we are. Let’s keep up with all of our roles. We will always be cooks, maids, chefs, referees, nurses, doctors, personal assistants, chauffeurs, tutors, teachers, counselors, financial planners, etc. We will always be, Mothers.
I am woman, hear me roar! (Sorry, I just had to say it!)
Mom and daughter photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 10 Oct 2012