I started working when I was 13, hustling hotdogs for my church at college football games. I then spent the next 16 years of my life working. I worked job after job to get money to do the things I wanted and buy the things I needed. From being the neighborhood babysitter to waitressing to working a boring government contract job, I have done it all. So when I got pregnant and my husband went into the Air Force, we decided it was time for me to take on a new job; being a full-time mom.
The transition wasn’t hard for me. I still had some contract work, but for the most part I spent the first 9 months of my son’s life doing normal mom things, ya know feeding, cleaning, changing diapers, taking a ridiculous amount of photos and sharing them on Facebook. I was really cocky about it too. After running my own business for 5 years, being a mom was a piece of cake. I actually had some guilt about it, like why do moms stress so much about this? Don’t they know stressing about money, clients and compromising yourself for personal success is way harder than having a baby scream in your face?
When we got pregnant with our second baby, I had developed a mentality of ‘embrace the lazy life.’ I knew it was going to get harder going forward, so I might as well enjoy the simple pleasures like having control of the Netflix account and being able to just lay down on the couch while my kid just runs around in the contained, playful space I created for him.
But then something started to not feel right. My days started to run together, I wasn’t cleaning or showering, I couldn’t even remember the last time I had left the house. Something was wrong. Really wrong, but I didn’t know what it was. I remember talking with my husband about it and he was relieved I had said something. I had fallen into Mom Depression.
I suddenly realized my ‘embrace the lazy’ was really me just giving up. I wasn’t socializing. I wasn’t actively being there for my son. I wasn’t taking care of my house. I was neglecting my marriage. I was living.
I knew I needed to snap out of it or I was going to just get worse and take all my loved ones down with me. I also knew if I didn’t start getting my act together, doing things and being happy my unborn baby was going to probably be a hot mess when they came out.
I know I can’t possibly be the only mom out there that hasn’t been faced with feeling this way. It is lonely and harsh and degrading. Sometimes, we need help pulling ourselves off the couch, slapping on some deodorant and getting our butts in gear.
I do something with my kid every single day outside the house. I would also recommend doing them in the morning, because it will get you going for your day. Now, I live in a small town so there aren’t a lot of resources for me, but I make it work. It is also important to remember, that there are a bazillion things you can do with your kids, of any age, for free.
Some ideas are:
This is honestly so important. I do a great deal by myself, mostly because it is hard to line up with different nap times and desires. But I still have a few close friends that I can message for a play date or activity.
Your tribe might also be in the form of a group. There are some great resources for finding a group of mama’s for your littles to play in.
Sometimes, you need a little help finding your tribe or things to do. Spend some time searching on Facebook for a few Groups focused around your interest and geographical area to follow. You will be amazed at how many other moms are out there looking for adult contact and playmates for their littles, too.
The best way to find those it to ask your Facebook friends if they are in any local Facebook Groups that you could join or search in Facebook for mom’s groups. Also, if you into anything like cloth diapering, selling on swap pages, religious things or even niche interest (like geek culture) you can search for those as well to join, socialize and get together.
I hate house work, like for real. It is the hardest thing ever for me to do, but absolutely nothing was getting done when I was in my funk. By going out every day and doing something with my little in the morning I found that I had more energy and ability to take care of my house work. However, there is a catch. I don’t try to do everything each day, I divide my tasks up over the week. There are of course the things I have to do every day, like the dishes, but with my other chores I don’t try to do them all in one day.
For examples, my house is crawling with laundry. Between washing cloth diapers, my husbands uniforms, baby clothes and all the other stuff I pretty much do laundry every day. I do one load of laundry every day from start to finish; wash, dry and put away. I also try to do one other chore each day like cleaning bathrooms, sweeping, and so forth.
For those of you with two story houses, adopt the mentality of every time you go up take something that belongs upstairs with you and the same for going down. Just make sure to put away whatever you take up or down.
Whatever you decided to do to get things done, just make sure to take care of some business so you don’t end up feeling worse about yourself.
This is hard for all mamas, but you need to take time for yourself. You can give and give if you have nothing to give. Mom’s need a recharge too. We need to be reminded that we are more than just cooks and maids and mediators and about a million other things. We need to be women too.
One of the things I have kept up since becoming a mom is getting a monthly massage. While to most people they think it is a luxury, I think of it as an investment in my physical and mental health. For 90 glorious minutes, my wonderful massage lady works out my kinks and takes away my physical stress. It really allows for me to stay on my game for little man and also prevents future problems.
Becoming a mom doesn’t mean your womanly needs go out the window or that all the spare money has to go to kids. If you are unhappy, your kids and family will know it. Invest in yourself and it will pay off. And even better, make is a regular thing you do with your girlfriends so you all can get together to socialize kid free and have some fun.
Also, don’t feel guilty about it. Why? Because you have no need to. We moms plan our entire lives around taking care of other people; everything from playdates, meals, snacks, toys, shows, naps, bedtimes, activities, all of it is specifically planned to keep your family happy, functioning and thriving. My husband especially understands that I need to checkout from time-to-time, so he takes care of the house and kids while I go release some stress. Communicate what you need, make a plan and just let go. The world will not fall apart in a few hours just because you need a break.
The best way to fight Mom Depression is to know that you are not alone and you are in control of how you feel. Take the steps necessary to get back control and make things happen. I would love to know what some of you have done to stay busy and get out of your funk. Comment below with any ideas to help us mamas out.