Today I'm going to take a little spin from the mom hack's and just get real about real life mom struggles. This is a repost of a blog series I did a while back, when baby Joey was a lot smaller and I was home for maternity leave but is just as relevant for nowadays with many working from home and the ever dread of quarantine times coming back. So if you're a long time follower, this may sound familiar but if you're new here, let me know if this hits home for you at all...
Do It All Super Mom vs. PPD Hot Mess Mom
Who is ‘Do it All Super Mom’?
Super Mom works full time. Is out of the house by 7am and not back home until 4 or 5pm. Before 7am she is showered, full makeup, put together clothes, pumped her morning milk, has all the kids bags packed, and is out the door on time. Between 7am-4pm she is a multi-tasking maniac. Helping all the students, crossing off checklists, attending meetings, contacting parents, submitting student work for scholarships, and in between a healthy balanced lunch she is hustling at a side business. That’s right, job #2: she supports a team of 90+ ladies trying to share confidence and value in the beauty industry along with helping clients within minutes of their requests for product recommendations and beauty tips. She’s active on social platforms, responds to messages immediately, runs trainings, how-to demos, and creates content and value for her network and business partners. After 4pm she can knock out a few errands: grocery shopping, signing the kids up for extra curriculars, getting gas, making doctor’s appointments, planning dinner and dropping off or picking up the kids from sports all while not showing a bit of exhaustion. Once home for the night she can help make dinner, help with homework, bath time, bedtime, referee kid fights, put the baby to bed, make the lunches for the next day, story time and then respond to more team and client messages all while trying oh so hard to give her husband some attention too- maybe a back scratch with one hand as she sends messages or watching a Netflix Series together on the couch trying to keep her eyes pried open. Then in bed by 11pm to do it again the next day. She is confident, content, feels successful and proud. Loves her family and her life and sees so much greatness ahead for herself and her family. She is also so appreciative of those around her. Those who help out- husband who will grab a kid from after school if she’s running late or start dinner if she didn’t plan anything; take over bath time when homework is taking too long; handles all three kids for a long weekend while she has some girl time. Or the sisters and sister-in-law who help babysitting when she’s in a bind; family who will take the kids just to give her a break. She knows it’s a whole village helping and making her feel and be so successful at being Super Mom.
Who is ‘Am I Suffering from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Hot Mess Mom’?
Hot Mess Mom is exhausted. E.X.H.A.U.S.T.E.D. She wakes twice a night to feed and soothe a baby who is too big to be getting up that much still. She is resentful and annoyed. At who? Her husband who sleeps peacefully next to her, her baby who is really not hungry and just needs to figure out how to self-soothe, and anyone who tries to give a solution that she damn well has already tried and knows won’t work. She is rushing, always running late, and with running late she’s usually forgetting something. She backs out of the garage oblivious to the back door still being open. Mindless. She forgets conversations she’s had with people if they’re not done over text or email- if they’re not words to read then did it really happen? Because is her mind there or somewhere else? Or is it anywhere? She snaps at her kids, her students, even other adults. And not just a snarky comment to her husband but a ranting email to a colleague all because of a miscommunication that was no one’s fault. She lets students get off task and puts off following up with kids she knows needs it. She disengages socially way too often. Once, never quiet in public situations, now feeling like a ghost amongst her peers not wanting to say a thing. Hiding in her car at the store parking lot for as long as reasonably possible, sometimes for a good cry, sometimes just to sit in silence. She daydreams about death and loss and things that are totally out of her control…”What if this plane crashes and my kids are left without me?” “What if one of the kids has a condition that we don’t know about yet and we have to spend days and years in hospital rooms?” The battle between nursing the baby or giving formula is way deeper than it should be. This is the last baby so is she ready to be done- with it all? She has a distorted vision of her physical appearance as accepting this post baby body is just not happening. Feeling distant and apathetic to her husband because they haven’t had a date night in what feels like forever or been able to connect on an intimate level because juggling kids, and finances, and warding off a psycho ex is completely overwhelming. Feeling guilt for some of her family’s biggest money struggles yet diving into Amazon Prime as a stress relief making the guilt even worse. Falling into a downward spiral of negative emotions anytime someone- her husband, kids, family or friends, even strangers online- say anything she interprets as a critique or challenge to what she is thinking or feeling. Wondering if all she is doing is not only too much but a complete waste of fucking time. Having this deep seeded, incessant fear that she will fail at everything because while she appears to be the jack of all trades, she is the master of none. She is not confident, not content, doesn’t feel successful or proud; and she forgets to appreciate those around her all the time.
There you have it. The front side of Jen, the social media side, the family gathering side, the mechanical ‘How are you?” response Jen. But also the private time Jen, the emotional and internalizing Jen, the Jen my husband (bless his heart) deals with or some of you are probably a bit surprised by. I am so much Super Mom (with some great help) and so much Hot Mess Mom. Some days I can totally handle and accept being both. Other days I wonder how anyone in this world can stay sane on this rollercoaster we call life.
How do we deal is the actual question here…
Is it talking to someone? Medication? Meditation and exercise? Journaling...blogging? For every woman who feels this deep down in their soul- maybe not the specific reversing out of the garage with the door open scenario but the hero vs villain struggle of who you are as a woman, as a mom, as a human being- needs to find a way to deal and keep sane. I can’t say that I have found my solution yet. Some days, like today, I am A-OK and a quick vent sesh with my bestie is enough if needed. Yet other days, like yesterday, I find myself researching doctors through my insurance plan to see if it’s reasonably priced enough to schedule a few professional sessions. And that’s that. That’s just what it is right now.
How about you? Even though we often pretend to be, I know we are not alone in this- you and me. We are dealing together. And now that you know it, don’t be afraid to share. I won’t let you stand alone. I’ll be sure to remind you about your superhero cape every time your villain mask tries to slip down over your eyes.