Mental Health & Motherhood

sunshine

I have had an explosively good week. It feels like my heart chakra is bursting open and I am so full of love for myself and my son and my husband and everyone around me. But it’s not like a manic feeling, more of a quiet rush of intense emotion. Maybe it can’t even be classified as emotion, it’s more like a state of being that just feels so vulnerable and raw and beautiful. Even now, in thinking of Potamus in his room taking a nap, my heart feels like it’s going to explode with love, and I want time to stand still.

And, there’s no denying the coincidence of the last few incredible mom days have coincided with the Seattle sunshine we’ve been having. I hadn’t made the conscious connection until I was speaking with a college friend who suffers from PTSD and chronic pain. I was blabbing about how right now I’m in a really good mom space and I said,

“I think I’d be a better mom in Hawaii, or California, because, when I don’t have to focus on my seasonal depression, I have so much more energy to just be a good mom. “

Whoa.

It’s true, though, when I’m not battling my obsessive thoughts or worry, or trying to muster myself out of bed because I’d rather stay there all day, I find myself moving simply and easily through the day, even juggling Potamus’ nap schedule and getting out to do fun connected things. Now, I’m not saying I’m a perfect mom, there are plenty of cheerios on the floor, and I ate fast few far too many times this week, but when I’m not crazy I’m not beating myself up. But it’s not until spring-time, with the sunshine and lighter days, that remind me of how much energy it takes to live with a mental illness with even myself, let alone take care of a little one.

So I want to remember this next fall-winter, as I head into a darker period. Perhaps I will go on anti-depressants or start visiting a naturopath and get on a better regimen, or try to expose myself to as much light as possible. Because these lighter nights make me feel calm, and I sleep better, and I’m not as worried or full of yawning and wanting to go to bed at 4pm.

What about you? Do you notice certain times of year or times of day when you are a really good parent?

Great Expectations

Family Time

From what little I know of Buddhist and Hindu and other yogic-type meditative philosophies, is that expectations are what get us into trouble. We get disappointed and feel hurt and upset unnecessarily, rather than the simplicity of just experiencing what is, rather than wishing something was different.

The topic of expectations came up in my mind this morning after I dropped Potamus off with grandma. She was talking about my night and I was complaining about Boof’s long work schedule and his attendance at a soccer match, leaving me home alone to deal with Potamus and Scrummy by myself. In my complaint was this underlying expectation that my husband should be home at a reasonable hour (like 5, instead of 8…or 10 because of the Sounder’s game), and help me out with the boy-child.

Expectations.

As I was leaving, and beating myself up for once-again complaining to my mother-in-law about HER son, I had an imaginary argument with my father-in-law, because arguing with myself is just pointless. It went something like this:

“It’s not what I signed up for,”

“But Boof supports you, and lets you do things that you want to do, and it’s that whole sickness & health part of your vows”-FIL

“Yes, but it’s not what I signed up for. Yeah yeah, sickness and health. But when we met he was in school to be a pastor. I was going to be a pastor’s wife. And then he got a job as a teacher. I was a teacher’s wife. We went into the decision to have a kid based on the fact that he was a teacher. And then, when he resigned quietly after a false accusation about ‘inappropriate texting’ with his student (who, sidenote, he had permission from her mom to text about schoolwork and no inapprorpiate texts were actually found), I supported him through that, and HE got to stay at home and I haven’t liked having to borrow money from you all, and now I’m an accountant’s wife and it’s tax season and it’s NOT WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR!”

My imaginary argument with FIL ends about there, and I am driving and listening to the radio and feeling sorry for myself and annoyed that I keep whining. I don’t understand why I can’t be like my military wife friends, or my stay-at-home mommy friends who bear the burden of childraising all by themselves during the day¬† and night because their husbands are working/too-exhausted-at-the-end-of-the-day.

Sure I’ve gotten into a better rhythm with things, but I get annoyed that Boof comes to bed at 12:30 after watching hours of television, but forgot to get yogurt for Potamus’ breakfast and I have to go to the store so he’ll have food at daycare. When we were dating and we took a pre-marital questionaire for our pre-marital counseling, one of the things that we talked about was egalitarian parenting and relationship, since I had been accustomed to this idea that women should willingly raise children without a complaint. But he informed me otherwise of his beliefs, and I let myself believe in egalitarian relationships, and it felt good. But now it feels like I am in charge of both working hard, raising Potamus AND caring for the house and meal-planning. It’s a lot more than I signed up for and I’m struggling with that. I know that it will straighten out after tax season is over, but I’m not looking forward to every year being like this…especially since we’re thinking of possible expanding the family…

How do YOU deal with unmet or disappointed expectations?