My eye hasn’t stopped twitching in three years.
Being a mom is tough. You are constantly questioning every decision you make, you are in a constant state of guilt for something that doesn’t really matter, and all the while, you are trying to make the best decisions for your child and hope you don’t screw them up too much.
Being a working mom is tough. You are constantly thinking about home at work and work at home. No matter how much you try to balance your life and keep your priorities straight, they always seem to be out of whack. Even though it’s 2017, women are still in charge of a good portion of the tasks at home and the mental load is daunting and exhausting. When you pile a full time job on top of it, it’s a miracle we all haven’t gone completely mad.
Being a working mom with mental illnesses is TOUGH. You are constantly trying to fight your own demons so your child doesn’t the worst of them. You take care of yourself when you can, but sometimes, the demons need more of your time that you simply can’t give them. You put all the effort and energy you have into making sure your children are happy and healthy so hopefully, they don’t have to spend so much of their life fighting demons to the extent you did.
While in recent years the stigma surrounding mental illnesses has lessened, it definitely is still there. When a person says, “I have Diabetes,” there is little judgment. When a person says, “I have Asthma,” there is little judgment. But when a person says, “I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depression?” There is SO MUCH judgment. What is so hard to accept and understand is that mental illness is an obstacle, a barrier in the road. It does not have to create a dead end. Not everyone with a mental illness is “crazy" or needs to be tiptoed around like a grenade about to explode. Nearly one in five Americans are walking around with a mental illness every year. We’re not all criminals. We’re your doctors, teachers, and friends. We’re your mom, your dad, your sister, or your son. It does not make us less than, it does not necessarily make us incapable of successfully functioning in society, it’s just that sometimes, things get hard. Things get hard and our demons get in the way of us easily dealing with it.
Being a mom with mental illnesses is not easy. In fact, it can be damn hard. When it’s a bad day, getting out of bed and feeding the kids at mealtime may be as good as it gets. And you know what, mamas? That’s ok. Because the other days? The majority of the days? We’re on the floor playing blocks or having a tea party. We’re managing a household, getting everyone to appointments and practices on time, and making sure everyone’s homework is done. We’re laughing, supporting, providing, and loving. Our mental illnesses may be part of who we are as mothers, but it is not all of who we are. And our children? Our children will be just fine because they have a strong mama warrior who love them.
Once we know darkness, we appreciate the sun. Once we feel the weight and tension of the world so intensely, we appreciate the release. Once we fear the future, we learn to better appreciate the now.
My eye may have been twitching for three years, and I may fight the good fight with myself every single day, but my illnesses have made me strong. They have made me who I am.
They have made me a good mom.