One year into this pandemic, and I SNAPPED.
I made it through lockdowns with my children. I survived remote learning while simultaneously working from home. And I hunkered down to get through winter stuck inside.
But last week, after cleaning poop off of a bed, missing a work deadline, and feeling so overstimulated I could scream, I decided it was ENOUGH.
I simply could not take any more of being MOM.
Unfortunately, this turned out to be a problem in and of itself. I spent almost a week in a state of depression. For a while, I was worried I wasn’t going to find my way out because I didn’t see a good way forward.
It’s not like I could just switch to being dad.
Now, let me be clear: I love my family of five. My husband is a saint. And all in all, I have a great life.
But living this way, feeling as though I had to DO IT ALL, was collapsing my mental health. So, eventually, I sat down and tried a few solutions.
Here’s what I came up with:
Find More Childcare
I’ve decided that my work time is VALUABLE too. My work brings me purpose and it’s ok to seek help so that I can truly focus on it.
Therefore, finding more childcare for my youngest is a NECESSARY act and worth the time, effort, and money.
Get Housework Help
Family clean-ups are now mandatory and we split household jobs more equally between my husband and me. This includes small tasks like making lunches, school paperwork, and homework that have traditionally been all mom’s work.
Take the Easy Way Out With Shopping
Why are moms responsible for all of the grocery shopping, gifts, school items, etc., etc., etc.?
That is absurd! My husband can do more. So, we split the grocery shopping, and he can take care of the items kids need for activities.
Plus, I will start using pick-up services almost exclusively, and Amazon for things like Easter, Christmas, and non-food staples. Subscription services will be utilized more as well.
Stop Being the Only Cook
We discussed it, and my husband agreed to cook multiple nights a week from now on.
Why was I the only one planning, buying, and preparing food all the time? Another absurdity, for sure.
Now, how do I make this change last?
Here’s what I’ve noticed with my husband and I: he’s very helpful when I ask.
But if I don’t ask, I’m out of luck. So, instead of depending on how I feel, I need systems.
Therefore, I assigned specific cooking days into the rotation and put on the fridge which responsibilities are his and mine. There’s no gray area. No questions. And no confusion. Reminders even go off on our phones for certain things.
To take it a step further, I systemized grocery pick-up orders, babysitter days, work time, and kids’ chores. Nothing is off the table when it comes to bringing much-needed peace into my life.
Let Go of Cultural Norms
Finally, I decided that the “traditional” mom that does it ALL, is no longer a cultural norm I want to be a part of. It’s old, outdated, and unhealthy. I’m OUT, no matter what others say.
Sometimes, it takes a true meltdown to make a change. And perhaps I’m the only mother struggling after a year of this pandemic, but I don’t think so.
So, if your mental health as a mother has taken a hit, I hope you found this helpful.
What do you do to keep yourself thriving instead of surviving? I’d love to know.
“If you take care of your mind, you take care of the world.”Arianna Huffington