It seems like such a cliche to start a blog at the beginning of the new year. And yet after a day of parenting that has left me so burnt out I swear I can smell smoke, I know it’s the right thing.
I’m wearing the classic Mom uniform: Crayola marked shirt inexplicably dabbed with snot and icing, hair wilder than Helena Bonham Carter, and makeup that once might have involved eyeliner, but if there’s a ‘wing’ present right now, it’s resembling that of a hobbled seagull.
I have lost patience. I have lost my temper. I have lost my marbles and found them again when I nearly broke my neck sliding down the hallway because my children are performing their own low-budget Home Alone production.
Today was hard, y’all.
Hard to stay calm and centered and present and involved and nurturing; all the things we are told to be towards our children and towards ourselves. And I know this because I teach it everyday. I spend my working hours preaching that gospel, and then struggling with it myself once that professional mask falls off.
I am a mother of two, and a therapist. And I can barely keep it together either at home or at work.
So why add to the chaos?
Because I need something that’s about me, and about a world outside of the office and the kitchen. I have lost myself somewhere in the last 6 years, doing the things I thought I was destined to do with my life; helping others. And that’s a kick in the gut. To admit that the thing I feel most natural doing is also soul-sucking, painful and messy. and leaving me drained to the last drop.
I go from a morning of cereal and spilled milk, straight into coping strategies and trauma talk. I barely get a breath before I’m out of the office and at the day care, thrown into the thick of dinner and bath and bedtime. Then I collapse on the couch, stare blankly at my phone, and curse myself for not practicing what I preach.
Something needs to change…
It’s with this in mind that I wanted to start Mental Health Mama – a place to share that story of the hard truths and harder realities of parenting in a world where sometimes the parents themselves want to throw a tantrum. The life of a working parent, juggling and dropping just about everything in life, but having the guts to pick it all back up again the next day. I want to invite you into my life, to show you the grit behind the glitter (and trust me, there’s always glitter when you have kids).
I can be a hypocrite about my own self-care but writing has always kept me honest. My hope is that by sharing with you the challenges and the achievements of parenting and working full time, in spite of my own flaws, we can all learn.
And see that it’s all perfectly normal.
It’s OK not to be OK
Working in the realm of mental health, while also struggling with my own history of depression and anxiety, has opened my eyes to how alone we all can feel.
But trust me. There’s plenty of room on the Hot Mess Express. We are all in this together.
So join me as I wax poetic about all subjects from apple juice to Ativan, scraped knees and new therapies, and navigate all the in between, hopefully during nap time.