Just Another Manic Mommy
Finding Personal Happiness Again
Dear Manic Mommy: How do I get through the day to day parenting? I love my children but I have a hard time accepting that I am a parent. I have no more life, identity, no sense of self. Every day I want to stay in bed and not get up and have to deal with the kids. First thing in the morning, I get instant attitude from my 6-year-old and there is also constant fighting between the 6- and the 3-year-old. I have no more drive or desire to do anything. I no longer have any interests, hobbies or anything that leaves me happy or satisfied. How do I get through this? Do other moms feel the same? How do I get back to personal happiness?
Manic Mommy: I could have written this letter exactly as you have expressed it here about six years ago. My kids were then 5, 4 and 2 and I did not want to get out of bed. I felt JUST LIKE YOU. I felt I had no purpose. I remember telling my husband I wanted to get a waitressing job so I could go out and talk to adults and have something to look forward to. Truly. I know what you’re going through. What did I do? Like you, I reached out for help. I found a great doctor, and I told her everything. How I felt, why I felt the way I did. I told her I loved my kids, BUT … I wanted more. I deserved more. And so do you!
Together we discussed options and she put me on a low-dose anti-depressant that I am still on today. She explained the situation like this: if there was something wrong with my kidneys, she would give me medicine to help me. There was obviously something wrong in my brain – I was depressed, and I needed a medication to help me get through what I was going through.
It has helped me. I remember before the medication, I would flip out if one of my kids spilled milk or made a mess. I would scream like it was the biggest deal in the world. After the medication began to work, I noticed a change. The first time one of my kids did something that would usually have me flipping out, I didn’t react the way I used to. It was like I could handle LIFE again. I could function as a human being and felt like I had some control back in my life. It was what I needed.
Then I felt confident enough to start pursuing hobbies and interests. I took a writing class. I took a yoga class. To be a good mom, you have to be a happy mom. You have to take time for yourself in order to be the best mom you can be. There are some moms who give and give and give and then there’s nothing left for them and they’re left feeling empty. I’m not saying this is a description of you, but it’s not where you want to be. I know, because I was there, and feeling empty and alone as a mother is not a good place to be. Especially when there is so much love to be received from our children!
I’m glad you asked for help. It’s a start, and I do hope you seek further help. I will tell you that if you look into anti-depressants, be sure to talk with your doctor and do your research! And if you start taking anti-depressants, it will take a while before your brain starts getting used to them. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s hard to get used to everything being altered, and you may want to quit taking them; you may think they might not be working, but for me, and for many other women I know, after your serotonin levels regulate, you will feel like the person you know you are meant to be – a happy and satisfied mother!