Saturday, November 24, 2012

Blues: Mommy Blues

Brody has been asking me lately what's my favorite color.  His favorite was green last year and now this year it is white because of his fondness for the White Power Ranger.  I told him red.  I decided red is my favorite at this present time because it's bold, vibrant and exciting.  I think subconsciously I chose that color because it's the opposite of what I've been feeling.  When he asked if I like blue, I told him sure, I like blue...but it's not my favorite, not right now.  It should be, however, because that's the color I can most relate to at this moment...

Blue..I've got the blues...the Mommy Blues.


While writing this post, I googled "Mommy blues" and whatdya know?  Just as I expected and what I've been told...It's such a common thing for mothers to have; such a common curse that comes with the blessing of having children.  So many other women out there talk about it, too.  I read some of their posts and stories and it made me even sadder.  I totally related to how they felt and I wanted to reach out and hug them and give them a high-five for having the courage to talk about it so publicly, so openly.  As mothers, we receive so much criticism and lots of judging is directed toward us.  People forget or are ignorant that there's so much that goes hand in hand with babies, kids, marriage, husbands, partners and this kind of life.  The blues are one of them and it's hard for others to understand that, especially if they don't have kids, didn't go through pregnancy, labor, adoption (that's probably a straining process, too) and very hard to relate to if they get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.  (If you do get that peaceful sleep, please know I hate you). 


The "Mommy Blues."  They're no fun and seem to trigger at any moment.  When you first have the baby they're known as the "Baby blues."  Experts say and I agree, that Mommy/Baby Blues are due to stress, hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, anxiety. 


All by my lonesome


Sadly, one of the things the blues cause is loneliness.  One of the sad things I learned about motherhood is the loud feeling of loneliness.  Loneliness is loud, not silent.  It's not quiet and shy; it doesn't try to tip toe around you as if to not disturb you.  It wants to disturb you and cause a scene.  It screams at you, making it known of its presence that it is there in your life, existing around every corner of your journey through motherhood, parenthood, marriage/partnership. 


I've heard it before from other moms:  "being a mother can be lonely."  Some of you may ask, "Isn't loneliness the opposite of having a baby to hold, having toddlers running around the house, being loud and in your face?  Doesn't loneliness get erased once you share your life with your partner, your spouse?"  No, sometimes all of that commotion causes the opposite effect - loneliness.  It's the unspoken obligation, the strain of putting everyone else's needs above your own that takes a toll on you, depletes your identity almost to just that:  a mother and a wife.  You become lonely and feel as if no one gets it, no one understands. You don't want to complain because you're expected to be super mom and take kids and family life as a blessing (which it is but it's also overwhelming).  I've even heard the category of  "married-single mother or single-married mother."  If you're spouse isn't home much, you feel like you're the only parent and it's not much of a fulfilling marriage.  Your kids come first, your spouse, partner, even your house gets the premium treatment while you are always last along with your career, hobbies, social life, wants and needs.  It can become a lonely life and you feel guilty for letting those feelings surface and worry what people will think of you because you dare want more in your life than just being a mother and a wife.  



Isolation


I remember growing up that I could not sit still, very ambitious (still am so there lies some of my problems), I joined every club I could and was never home right after school ended.  I was usually there until two or three hours after school was over because of my involvement with extracurricular activities.  I've always been involved with lots of activities starting at a very young age, even if they weren't school-related like piano lessons and Hawaiian dancing.  College was the same, I was rarely home because of school, clubs, work, social life.  That's just who I was: a busybody who enjoyed being around a variety of people (and would still like to be that person).


Now, as a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) I feel the effects of isolation (experts say SAHMs are the ones who experience the blues and loneliness because of the isolation factor).  It's an unnatural feeling for me, to constantly be around the same people (my kids), doing the same monotonous things daily: taking care of the kids, cooking (a few times a day), cleaning (several times a day), laundry, running errands, back and forth to school, repeat the next day.  It's exhausting and may not sound boring but it is boring because it's redundant.  No, I don't get to sit on my bum and do nothing all day (even if I wanted to sit all day, I'd feel too guilty and what the heck would the house look like with kids at home??  The house is already sticky and cluttered just an hour after they wake up)...I don't even get to watch TV and sitting down isn't even an option anymore.  (I'm trying to wean my youngest from nursing but every time I sit down, she sees it as her cue to come nurse from me).  My hubby's answer to this problem, by the way, was "Then don't sit down."  He was joking...and the only one laughing. 


 Isolated even from each other...

What's most devastating is how much time hubby and I spend apart...we live together but I saw him more when we were just dating.  I was in college full-time, involved with some clubs at school and worked full-time and  two jobs at once every now and then.  Hubby worked full-time, too but I remember having a full-blown social life, seeing much more of him than I do now and I still had time to study and graduate with good grades.  Sometimes, I wonder if we should have just not fixed what wasn't broken...

Now, I can't even stay up to hang out with him when he gets off work and if I am up, we're both cranky and exhausted.  It's hard to find time to have a conversation about anything, much less important stuff.  Text is sometimes the only way we communicate some days and if I don't text him something, I'll totally forget to tell him about it and if he doesn't text me, I won't remember him saying it.  I force myself to stay up for my hubby so we can chat for a few and maybe watch a show.  (He doesn't get home until 10:30 or 11 PM nowadays).  Most nights it's a waste because I'm already dead to the world by then, cranky and just fighting to keep my eyes open so I might as well be in bed...alone.  He's drained by then, too, so either way one of us is passed out.  Not spending time together can really hurt a relationship, take a toll on marriage and lead to disconnection and resentment.  


I guess I must have had on the beer goggles coming into this marriage...doesn't everyone?


Little things add up


It's the little things that add up and causes the blues: no longer having privacy in the bathroom or having very limited time in the bathroom (kids are either in there with me or pounding on the door so it's like a race for time in there), feeling like I'm never going to get restful sleep, not being able to have a content meal since I put the kids first and/or I'm on a time limit before they wake up or I have to rush to take Brody to school or pick him up; the constant, never-ending cleaning frenzy; sweeping, mopping, vacuum several times a day, laundry, changing diapers, changing kids' clothes, etc.  I can't fully enjoy hanging out with friends when I have the kids (which is 90 % of the time) because the kids are there and so if we're at lunch with friends, I'm not eating anyway or if we're at the movies, the kids need to use the bathroom or get bored or Lyla wants to sleep or feed (off of me) and then it's just more stressful to get together with friends so I don't want to deal with it but then it goes back to me feeling isolated and lonely and  I get detached from my friendships. Hobbies become luxuries.  I need to cherish the time I get when I finally get time to be involved in a hobby anymore.  


Other serious stuff weighs on my mind, too, like am I actually going to be able to get the job I worked so hard for all those years in school now that I've been out of the working field for so long?  More money, time, effort and sacrifices went into my career goals then my wedding so I just don't think it's fair that I sacrificed all that for marriage and being a SAHM.  That may sound harsh but it's true.  I didn't plan for my wedding and marriage all my life but I did actively plan for my working life, my career, so it doesn't always seem fair in my head to live the life I live now.  I know plans change and that's what life is about but that's how I feel and it's very hard to for me to change those feelings especially when I'm feeling down.


I also feel worse about it because I constantly feel like I'm waiting on my husband, waiting on everyone else.  I let him put his career first before mine, I wait on him at the end of the day, always revolving my schedule to convenience his.  I know he works hard to benefit us but his work won't matter when it comes time for me to work.  They're not going to care about what he's done in his career but what I didn't do in mine.  I just want it to be my turn for someone to finally wait on me and most importantly, for others to allow me to pursue my dreams/goals.    


I know we both made this decision for me to be a SAHM and take care of the kids while hubby provides financially.  That's the most difficult part to grasp for me, however, is that I never thought or looked forward to being a SAHM.  I know I am blessed with these wonderful kids and appreciate having a husband who works hard, loves me, is faithful (and anti-social which is a good thing for me) but I am all for mothers being able to vent once in a while.  We deserve it and I'm tired of hearing everyone else's problems and pretending like I don't have my own to deal with...we're all fighting our own battles every day.  Mostly, I'm tired of putting others before my own needs and thinking about everyone else's happiness and putting mine to the side.  It's an unsatisfying and unhealthy way to live when you constantly put number one last.  (Some would say and I agree that if you always put number one first, then you're just being an inconsiderate a$$).  


Oh, Mommy blues...I know you will end eventually and I will miss these days with the little ones when they're not so little but I won't miss how I feel when I've got the blues...





What cures the blues?  Well, for me personally, there's several things that need to change but for now sometimes a small laugh could help ease it for a bit.  You know the saying, kids say the darndest things?  Well, I have my sweet four-year-old, Brody, who can make me laugh with the things he says on a daily basis.  I thought I would share it here, especially if someone else out there needs a little child-size humor in their life right now.  These are just a few things that I can remember (forgetfulness after all is one of the many perks of being a mom) and some of the things I wrote down when I used to keep a journal for Brody... 


Read here: Brody says the darndest things.