I was breaking down. AGAIN. I just wanted to crumple into the floor and cry. Why? Well, it was because the house was a little bit messy, the laundry wasn’t perfectly finished, there were dishes to be put in the dishwasher, the dog was eating my eight month old’s puffs from the floor, and I hadn’t even started dinner yet. No, it wasn’t the world crashing down, but man, low-grade anxiety sure made it feel like it was.
I’ve hated my hormones and the games they play with my psyche ever since I hit puberty. My naïve self thought that the worst was over back then. And then I had a baby. No, I didn’t have postpartum depression; I don’t even know that I had “baby blues.” But this intermittent low-grade anxiety that I’ve had for the last few years seems to rear its ugly head more often now. It’s not earth shattering . . . it’s just something that rattles my brain and heart every now and then, and when I’m in the middle of it, it feels like the world will never be the same again. So if you can identify at all, I want to talk to you.
To the mom who has intermittent low-grade anxiety: I want to tell you that I’m right there with you.
I want to you tell you that wanting to curl up in a little ball on the floor and sob your eyes out (with your baby, possibly), doesn’t make you a bad mom.
It makes you HUMAN.
It means you’re a person and it means that you feel deeply and strongly. Maybe your mom or other mom friends don’t quite understand it. But I do.
I know what it’s like to just want to lay in bed a little longer while the baby fusses because you think that if you get just a little more rest you’ll be more patient and more productive today. I know what it feels like when you have the best intentions of cleaning the house and running the errands and even squeezing in some “me” time only to find yourself at 5:00 p.m. barely out of your PJs and feeling like you accomplished nothing.
I’m begging you (and trust me, I’m preaching to myself here)– we have to give ourselves grace. We have to give ourselves permission to say it’s ok if not everything gets done every day.
It’s ok if the dishes go a little longer than you expected. And it’s also ok if the laundry isn’t done the second it gets dirty. It’s ok if somedays, no one makes it out of their PJs. And it’s ok if some nights, you order pizza.
You know why? Because so many of the expectations and “shoulds” are self-imposed.
Let’s be realistic here: your life is drastically different now than before you had kids, so it’s only natural that things would change a little. Now you have another human (or humans!) to care for who is pretty darn helpless and needs you for A LOT. So yes, you’re a little drained! But here’s the important thing: it’s important that your baby is fed, is warm, and is safe. That’s it. On days like today when it feels like everything is falling apart and you can’t keep up, the rest is just gravy.
Grace, my dear. Give yourself grace. Tomorrow is a new day. You can make it through today. You are enough.
Originally published November 2017.