By Katrina Hamilton
I cry when I’m alone. A lot. The thought of having to care for someone who depends on you and cannot survive without you is frightening. On top of that, my daughter screams my head off almost non stop on me, but is an angel with her dad. It’s frustrating. I’m always tired. I have a loved one who tends to criticize almost every decision I make regarding my child, and it makes me feel like I’m not doing anything right for my daughter. I miss my kid free life sometimes. I miss the freedom that I had when my husband and I could just wake up and hop in the car for a road trip, or go on a spontaneous date without the responsibility of having to bring a child along or find childcare for her. I have terrible anxiety. I’m always afraid to leave the house alone with my daughter, but I’m also always afraid to stay home alone with her. Of course I still end up doing both, but I’m in anxiety mode the entire time until we’re reunited with my husband.
I’ve battled some type of anxiety since the day my daughter was born. I’ve always dealt with it alone because I was afraid that if I shared my fears with my husband, I’d make him feel like it was somehow his fault, and because none of it is even remotely his fault (or anyone’s fault for that matter), that would make me feel even worse if he ever started feeling that way. I kept it from my friends who don’t have kids. I felt like like they couldn’t possibly understand. I also kept it from my fellow mommy friends because they all seemed like they had everything together. I’ve never seen them cry or complain. They always seemed so happy and eager to spend every waking moment with their little ones, so I figured this is what a normal mother should be like. I started feeling like maybe the feelings I had were selfish, and maybe I’m not a good mom because of those feelings, so I kept it to myself.
But then, a few days ago, I started scrolling through my Facebook timeline and a post that someone shared from a young mom popped up. She talked about the rough day in motherhood that she was experiencing. She talked about how she sat in her car at the store and cried. She talked about how sometimes she has to hide for a few, just to prevent herself from completely falling apart. That post had 18 THOUSAND shares. And then another post came across my timeline. It was a post from one of the mommy groups that I’m a part of. These mommies were on there pouring their hearts out about how rough it is to be a mom at times. Last time I checked, there were about 200 comments on that post. And then another post popped up. This mother said she cried and felt terrible about making her daughter eat school lunch because she was unable to get herself together to make her a homemade lunch. As I kept scrolling, I saw a few more posts from mothers who were having bad days and were beating themselves up about it. Up until recently, many of these mothers (myself included) kept these things to themselves, which I believe may also be a small part of why so many of us end up battling depression or anxiety. The more you keep things bottled up, the more it hurts you.
These posts made me realize that I’m not alone though, and that these feelings are perfectly fine to have. As much as we want to be, we are not Superwomen, and that’s ok. It doesn’t make us bad mothers at all. It doesn’t make us selfish, and it doesn’t make us crazy. It makes us normal human beings. There is no handbook to teach you how to navigate through motherhood, and you will have bad days. All of this is ok. You can cry, hide out for an hour, and even scream if you need to. You can then pick up the phone and call another mother to talk about it, because our feelings definitely need to be discussed more. They also need to be discussed with someone who has been in your shoes and will not judge you, and I guarantee that your other mom friends felt the same way at some point, and will be happy and relieved to have the conversation with you.
No matter what you are going through, and no matter how you’re working on addressing it, just remember that your breakdowns are ok, and you will be ok. Your babies love you, and no matter how you may be feeling about yourself at the moment, they think you are the greatest mommy in the world!