Mental Health for Stay-at-Home Moms
It's been a couple of months since I have written anything on the blog, and I have been doing some soul searching as to whether I want to keep moving forward with it. I do have some lovely followers (hi all!!!), and I love being able to produce content that helps families become more functional, but I'm also plagued with some insecurities.
First off, I have massive imposter syndrome. There are loads of things that I know how to do, and plenty of topics that I can offer advice, instruction, and support, but they are still things that I can struggle with. I often find myself thinking "I can't do this excellently all the time, who am I to be telling other families how to solve their problems? If they could see me in person, they would all think I'm just a big fake!"
My home isn't super tidy most days. There are dishes in my sink that I could be washing instead of typing away. My kids argue and fight with me. I sometimes have to shout just to be heard over their mayhem. Not a one of them wants to sit down and do any school. My family is poor. Really poor. Why should I be giving any type of financial advice? Books are laying everywhere. The couch, beds, shelves and counters, the piano, on (and underneath) the desk. And the puppy keeps finding all of them and chewing on the corners, driving me crazy!
I feel sometimes like everything I write is just advice from myself to myself to help me get my plops together. You know what word I want to put there. And sometime between mid-January and mid-February it all came to a crashing head and I. Just. Broke. Down. I could barely bring myself to cook, let alone do anything with the kids. I slept a lot. They watched more TV than I am ever comfortable with them doing. I didn't touch my computer more than was absolutely necessary for two months (my last post was scheduled for posting in advance). Just looking at my laptop filled me with overwhelming feelings of anxiety, guilt, and sadness. I considered letting my blog hosting expire, and just closing up shop. The only reason it didn't is because it was on auto-renew, and I forgot to cancel it.
I don't regret taking a couple months for a break. I think it's no coincidence that "taking a break" and "breaking down" are just two ways of saying we need to rest. My sleep schedule is better than it was - still not great, but better than before - and I've come to see how I can make some small sustainable changes to make my life more functional.
I know there are moms out there like me. Exhausted from years of unpaid labor for her family, childbearing, childrearing, keeping things together for family members with special needs, feeling guilty for taking too long of a shower because it's the only semblance of a break that she can get. No sick leave. No paid time off. No holidays off. No 15 minute breaks, or an hour for lunch. Just an endless grind to keep functioning at all costs while Liberal Feminists and Red Pill dude-bros tell us that our lives, effort, and labor have no value and we are a dead weight on our partners and families.
If you find yourself nodding along to any of this, or understanding how I feel, then you're my people. So listen up: it's okay to take a break. It's okay to function at 37% capacity for a while. It's okay to not be okay. If you're feeling anxious and/or depressed, then listen to what your body is saying. Get some rest. Do it for a long time if you need to. I was in a funk for a solid 8 weeks before I could start thinking about being truly functional again. I came out of it slowly, and wondered how I should start to function in a healthy and sustainable way.
One thing that kept going through my head was Anna's song from Frozen 2 - The Next Right Thing. Sometimes that is all we can do. The next right thing for me was to start making my bed. The thought of committing to making my bed every day was overwhelming, and I felt like I was going to set myself up for failure if I tried to be "perfect" about it. So I decided that I would set a goal of making my bed more days a week than not, which meant a minimum of four days.
I know it's not a lot, but it is better than nothing! And, I'm finding that making my bed isn't a mental burden. I know that if it goes unmade one day then it's not a big deal, and I'm also making it more than 4 days a week. One of my goals as I begin to function again to to reach out to my readers more frequently, so I'll be sending out a series of emails the weekend this is published. I'm part of the 2022 Homeschool Blessings bundle, and there are some amazing resources in it that are helping me to get my life back in order. I'll be sending out an email about those this weekend! But for now....
I'm here. I'm recovering. I'm doing my next right thing. What about you? How are you going to rest, and what is your next right thing?