- “Surviving Motherhood”
- Infant Swim Resource
- Post-Partum Depression- A Solution
- Post Partum Depression
You see, I was leaving behind a friend. I didn’t know, so many years ago, that this would be truly a unique friend. I didn’t realize that where I was at this young time in my life when we had become friends, would be temporary. I was able to give a part of myself that I don’t think I can do so easily anymore, or at least not for a long time.
My dear dear friend. I was driving away from her. I didn’t know that over a decade ago, when I had her near, when I enjoyed her so much, and knew in my heart she appreciated me and loved me, that she would be so unique. I didn’t realize that first time I drove away that she would really be one of the only true friends that I would have. I didn’t know just how special that relationship would be. It was too much to conceive that we would part cities, part states and be worlds away, and that our friendship would not be able to bear the distance. And then came the babies…one after the other, after the other, after the other, and so forth. I thought, naively, that I will have more friends like her down the road, somewhere in the midst of motherhood.
And then suddenly, almost by accident I finally got to see her again after so many years. I didn’t even contemplate it too much, I didn’t anticipate it like we do sometimes, when we have special occasions.
It was like yesterday that we were all together, the four of us, her young husband and mine. Both of them were deep in graduate school, and both of us were starting our professional careers, or perhaps more appropriately, bringing home the bacon. We were thick as thieves, with no children, no mortgages, no money and few bills. We had apartments in the city and would spend Saturdays walking through antique stores and dining leisurely in sidewalk cafés in Philadelphia. Life was different. Simple.
I look back now, as a mother of four children, with tremendous responsibility, with a big mortgage, big tuition, and the sense of constant awareness that I do the Right Thing at ALL times, lest the children will suffer, and I realize that I am not sure I could ever again cultivate the kind of friendship I did at that time. I may have to wait another 12 years perhaps, when my children are grown to again have the sense of freedom and the vulnerability to trust someone enough to let them into my world. I have wonderful friends now, truly caring and generous. They are kind and giving, but I cannot give the same of myself that I did then. I had the sudden realization, as we drove away, that I am not as generous with myself, and that the few times I have opened that door a bit wider than usual, I have been hurt- and it cut very deep. I can ill afford to waiver my feelings and emotions for fear I may lose my footing, which I desperately need to be able to care for the my children and my husband, or I could fall off the precipice of my life. It’s too difficult to cultivate, too time consuming, I have my husband, my children need me, I don’t have time, it’s too hurtful, what if she turns on me, what if she needs me too much, I can’t be needed anymore, I am too selfish, too mean….too….there are so many reasons I can’t have that kind of friend ever again!
So, as we are driving away, and my sobs turn into double sobs, when you need two in breaths for every out, and I am sitting in my little puddle, I realize that this gift of my friend, is like an invitation from those silent friends of my past and my future, those I believed in that disappointed me, and those that I didn’t believe in, and didn’t realize were so unique that I may never find them again. So dear friends, thank you for holding on, I promise I won’t let you out of sight again…even in the midst of your two greatest competitors, motherhood and my own insecurity.
I cannot get my 2 and half year old off the pacifier…I have tried getting rid of them entirely, only to wake my husband up at 3 am to dig the last one out of the car glove box due to my screaming child. He won’t go to bed without it!! Help!
Burnt Out Moms Anonymous, Answers & Hope
By: Colleen Shields
It’s funny how when we have little ones, whether we like it or not, 150% of our energy goes into raising them to be the best people they can be. Uber Moms of today are so into creating their little Ivy League, Pro-Soccer playing, CEO’s, that they can hardly keep up with the practices, games, study-halls, tudors, and arranged playgroups with fellow little CEO’s. More and more mothers I know are becoming exhausted, and in a constant state of frenetic rushing to and fro. Drivers beware: minivans may appear like sheep on a highway of wolves, but they’ll fly past you on the left faster than you can adjust your rearview.
The net result of this entire obsession with super-children, is mothers who can’t remember their favorite color, much less their former passion. And if you feel like you can’t keep up, you are not alone. If you are having dreams about forgetting the soccer pads for practice, burning the cookies for the bake-sale, and God forbid, forgetting to sign the field-trip permission slip, you too, are on your way to the morning you decide the bathroom floor is more appealing than the inside of a car all day, and you lock yourself in, and hunker down, possibly forever.
Not to fret. There are answers. So listen carefully:
#1. Say no.
Say no to the volunteer request every once in a while. Let someone else help make the Easter eggs. You think your kids will be upset, when the reality is, they’ll hardly notice.
#2 Give Yourself a Break!
Uber Moms may look good, and their children may appear to be superhuman next to your child with peanut butter and jelly on his cheeks, but let’s face it, she probably didn’t feed them lunch so their new outfit wouldn’t get soiled. So give yourself a little credit, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Your house does not need to look like a museum, who cares if there are crumbs all over the car, and if the laundry doesn’t get done everyone will survive.
#3 Limit the activities
A mom told me once she lets her children pick one activity a season. This makes sense. When picking activities, consider YOU! Set up a carpool with a friend for sports and rotate the kids for practices, find a piano teacher in the neighborhood so it’s easy to get them in and out, look for after-school activities right at the school- giving you one less car run, and put multiple children in the same class if possible.
#4 Follow the Flight Attendants Rules:
Remember the part where the perky flight attendant gives emergency instructions before take-off and says “In case of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on, and then your child’s”? Take care of you first, and then you can take care of them. When you are fed, rested, and hydrated it’s a lot easier to tend to your child’s demands. I’m typically deluged with requests for ketchup, drinks, a different spoon, a different cup, coupled with multiple phones ringing and texts going off, and needless to say dinner time is a challenge. I always make sure I eat something, and get my own drink before the onslaught begins. Brush your teeth first in the morning, get your coffee first, get yourself dressed first, do these things before you do them for your child- you’ll feel happier, clean and not distracted with your own sense of what you need to do for yourself.
#5 Do One Thing For Yourself Every Day
Eating, sleeping, and brushing your teeth don’t count. I’m talking about a trip to the gym, paint your toe nails, do a mask, call an old friend, write in your journal, work on your scrap book, buy yourself a goody, plan your future, learn an instrument, return to an old hobby, read your book, pray, do a salt-scrub, watch your favorite show etc. Even putting lotion on your legs is a luxury to some, but the point is, do it- do something that makes you feel like you are taking care of you, even if it’s only 1 minute.
#6 Write Down Your Wants
We are constantly putting our own thoughts, ideas, wants, wishes, desires, goals and life aside for the moment in order to care for our children. It’s a matter of particularly when you have small children. The point is, your time will open up very soon. Once your children start pre-school, you will have small windows of unexpected time. It’s important to use these small voids of time to work toward your long term goals. Start a “Wish Book” where you write down your goals, your desires, your life expectations. When you have a moment to get back to them either later in life or waiting in the car-line, you may be able to do a little something to move you closer to your goals.
#7 Put It In Perspective
Remember- back when we were growing up, no one even wore seat belts half the time, car seats were not always used, and you were home before dark. Structured play-dates did not exist and most mothers did not have the pressure to fulfill their education, realize their brilliant career, while simultaneously being super mom. The point is, we turned okay. We survived it, we are A okay. Take a deep breath, the great majority of issues with regard to our children are temporary. Many stages take place and typically not that difficult to solve. So RELAX!
When your children are overscheduled, Mom is overscheduled and your life becomes a struggle which you have placed entirely upon yourself voluntarily. So I challenge mothers to stop the madness, look for smart ways to keep your children involved, and don’t forget to take of yourself in the process. Good luck on creating a happy family, and happy home.