Parenting is hard.
It’s a 24-hour job with late nights and early mornings. There are no lunch breaks or vacation days. You don’t get paid and there are no accolades.
When I think about it, I wonder if I’m crazy for signing up for this – twice.
But then I remember I do get paid. In hugs. In kisses. In unconditional love. And I get the chance to mold these little people into good humans.
Being a parent is not easy. And doing it with a mental illness is sometimes complicated.
I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder earlier this year. At the time of my diagnosis I was stressed out, burnt out and feeling like I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I yelled a lot. Got frustrated more than I should have.
My 4-year-old’s interpretation of me in her drawings often donned a “mad face.”
But since being diagnosed and subsequently beginning treatment, it feels as if so much has changed. I finally feel like I’m becoming the mom I’ve wished I could be.
Before I began treatment for my anxiety everything stressed me out. I found myself yelling at my kids, sometimes just for being kids.
Running around the house? Yell. Being too loud? Yell. Arguing constantly? Yell.
But now I wonder why those things used to upset me as much as they did. And I’ve also learned that they respond much better to me calmly telling them what they’re doing wrong or redirecting their attention than me ranting around the house.
And spending less time yelling leaves more time to play. Anxiety doesn’t just affect your mind; you also feel it physically. When your mind is chronically on high alert, it takes a toll on your body. Even if there is no identifiable reason for your stress.
Now that I’m taking steps to improve my mental health, I have more energy. When my kids ask me to play, I say yes. And as the weather continues to get warmer, I find myself outside with them more often. I can’t begin to recall how many times they’ve been stuck inside because I couldn’t bring myself to go out.
Don’t get me wrong, parenting is still hard. But now it feels doable.
I know I’ll never be a perfect mom because there is no perfect mom, right? So I just want to continue to better myself for them.
And it’s a wonderful feeling to finally see the change happening.
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