These past few weeks have been very hard on me. I keep writing that sentence every time I blog, but things have gotten worse. Or harder. Maybe I’m hitting that wall that we were supposed to hit back in September. Maybe I was too optimistic about a vaccine being ready this year. Maybe it’s the weight of the election. Maybe it’s all of the above.
I keep reading these articles about how women are the ones holding onto all the responsibilities in the household. I know plenty of women whose partners just expect them to do all the things. I am not married to one of those men. But, I do struggle with letting go of control. Things need to be just so. I’m also the queen of guilt, which makes prioritizing things difficult. In my head, I might want to stay home and read on the deck while my kids go for a bike ride around the neighborhood, but then I feel guilty because shouldn’t I *want* to be with them?
I mentioned this to my psychiatrist yesterday (I had a regularly scheduled check up for my ADHD meds) and she was quite gentle with me. Honestly, I am with my kids all the time. Even when we are in different rooms, we’re still together. Motherhood does not need to turn into a sacrifice where we lose ourselves. When I had L1 8 years ago, I dealt with postpartum depression because I lost myself. I felt like all I did was exist within this bubble with this little baby that demanded and demanded and no matter what I did, it wasn’t enough. I recognize that feeling here. I am trying my hardest to make things as “normal” as possible, and I’m sacrificing things that are so important to me in the process– time for reading, my research (that I actually enjoy!!!), and just enjoying quiet time.
The other key in this is letting go of control. Did I mention how wonderful my husband is? He is truly my equal in all things. Over the weekend, I mentioned how stressed I was and he was asked what he could do to help. And it was sincere. But, it wasn’t until my psychiatrist asked me what I could give to him to do. Because, here I was doing all THIS stuff, and he was asking what he could help me with and I kept saying “I got this” when clearly I didn’t. So, this morning, I asked him to take over our daughter’s preschool “curriculum”. Basically, my mom watches her while I school L1, and my mom likes us to have a list of things for her to do: read this book, do these workshops, this craft/art activity, and this math/sorting activity. It’s pretty straight forward, and yet it is a bit time consuming to get ready, so instead of killing myself to get it done, it’s now my husband’s responsibility. Of course I’ll help him, but it’s now on his plate, not mine.
So, next time someone asks what they can do to help, LET THEM DO IT. It might not be done in exactly the same manner you are doing it, but does that matter when it comes to your mental health? (the answer should be no, but I also know how long it takes to get to that point.)