Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Normal?

What is "normal"? really? Is there a sliding scale that a person can fit on somewhere in the middle?

This past weekend my mother-in-law came down. And, I just got off the phone with her. She said some things that were very hard for me to hear, but I know she loves me so much and she needed to say them.

She said that I am a lot different since we moved to Texas. That I'm constantly in motion and that I need to relax. She said that I seemed to be under a lot of stress and that she never saw me smile the whole weekend.

Finally, Monday morning, the baby was screaming because I wouldn't give her candy and Linus was humming and tapping and humming and tapping and humming.... and the TV was on and, basically, I lost it. I told them EVERYONE JUST STOP!!!! QUIT ALL THE NOISE!!!! Now, to me, this didn't seem so strange. Yes, I kinda lost my temper but I didn't go in the corner and start rocking in the fetal position or anything. But my MIL said she thought I might be having a nervous breakdown.

All of the sudden, I started to see the conversation from her point of view. She is certainly concerned about me and she loves me like her own daughter. But I know she is also concerned about my children. Her grandkids mean the world to her and I know she worries. I believe her when she tells me that I'm doing a good job as a mom, but I think she is concerned that I am just not mentally capable of handling it all.

So, in my own mind, I'm a bit crazed but I'm also not mentally unstable. But, if I were mentally unstable, would I really be rational enough to tell the difference? I don't think I have enough perspective to look at my own life and my own actions and emotions with an objective eye.

My MIL suggested I talk to a doctor about maybe getting some meds. Writing that is very scary. I always thought of anti-anxiety meds or anti-depressants as something *I* would never have to take. It seemed like a course of action that was for women who were REALLY bad off. But, maybe I AM really bad off. Or, maybe it's the pregnancy hormones. Or, maybe I just need to talk to a counselor (but then I'd have to find a sitter for the kids. I don't really have anyone I can ask. That would be another big road block that I just can't face.) And, we have not told her about the pregnancy yet so whatever I do it has to be safe for the baby.

I do know that lately I have just been so very sad. Yesterday for the first time that I can remember I wanted to go to bed and I didn't really care if anyone cleaned up or did homework or if the house was tidy or anything. But of course I just acted like everything was fine because my kids need a mom who isn't a basket case.

When I even begin to think about what would happen to my kids if I were a mental mess, I get a whole bunch more upset. When I think about children with unstable, inconsistent home lives, I picture a future of crime, addiction, self-hate, and sadness. I can NOT do that to my children.

So, I guess the real question is: does anyone else feel this way? Maybe you do, but not to this degree (which would maybe hint that I might indeed need some help). Or, maybe what I'm feeling really is kinda par for the course and maybe I just need to have a more positive outlook.

I just want to be happier. Less anxious all the time. I want to enjoy my kids, not escape them.

The scariest part of all of this is realizing that a lot of my stress is generated from the kids. My daily thoughts are consumed with keeping them healthy, buying them what they need but not more than they need, making sure they grow into healthy adults, helping them learn to read & do math & learn where France is & how a seed grows into a tree. I want them to be happy and have friends. I want them to have a wide range of experiences but I don't know when they'll have time for it all.

So, realizing all this, the reality sets in: I have these kids. I am a mom. I am never getting a break from it. And, I love them. I love them with every ounce of myself. I certainly love them more than I love myself. But, has becoming a mom turned me into someone I can't be? Can I live with myself this way?

Is this just normal hormonal stuff or do I need to find someone to help me?

12 comments:

Swizz said...

Okay, so it is possible you can be helped by meds, and there ARE meds you can take when you are pregnant, but take a step back before making a big decision like that.

It sounds to me, in my so unprofessional, looking from the outside in self, that having a break on a twice a week basis (think mothers morning out) would be oh so helpful. And a good girlfriend, or two, to vent and talk and hang with.

And if that doesn't work, I took zoloft during my pregnancy and it is not only okay, but I didn't have a lick of post-partum. ;o)

You are definitely not alone! I am there quite often...and I grew up with a mom who was unstable, and you do not sound unstable. You sound overtired and in need of a break.

I will definitely pray for you. Thank you for being so transparent and for sharing your struggles. You will probably help many people today!

Jess said...

I'm feeling this exact same way!!
I'm not pregnant, but I am PMSing.
My hubby has been gone since last Sunday and will not be home till late Friday night. I really don't know what to tell you, I'm waiting for comments from others. If they say you need to see a Dr. maybe I could watch your kids while you go and you could watch my kids while I go.
This rainy/stormy weather isn't much help either I don't think!

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

I had a very short fuse when I was pregnant with my last baby. I know a lot of it has to do with hormones and I think the more kids you deal with, the shorter the fuse.
I would set real breaks for yourself. If it is next to impossible, put the oldest in charge, turn on a new movie and go take a bath with candles. It will not kill the kids to watch TV for a little while and it will help them to have a relaxed mommy.
It also never hurts to just talk to someone--you may not need meds just unbiased ears!
Hugs!

Jen said...

I feel like this sometimes too. You have 4 busy kids, you are pregnant and exhausted. You have every right to feel sad and not care every once in a while. I think that you have to worry if this is how you feel all the time. If you are never happy and can't seem to get control of your life then it might be time to get some professional help.
Try to find time for yourself. Is it possible to get a sitter for the kids a couple hours a week. I do this and it is a life saver. I have 3 hours to myself every Monday. I usually use it to get groceries or run errends but sometimes, I just go and sit, all by myself and breath. Just breath.

Jen said...

Oh and I love you, turd. You have my complete and utter support.

Anna See said...

I know what you mean that even finding someone to watch the kids while you seek out some help sounds like overwhelming in itself. I think that's why a lot of us moms don't seek help-- it's just one more thing to do!

I don't know if you need a counselor or not, but I absolutely think it couldn't hurt to look into it.

I'm glad you shared. We all need to be more transparent w/ each other. xo

Sturgmom said...

Oh, I have SOOO been there. A wise friend (mom of 4 kids) told me once that she can see her sin more and more with each child. I see that in my own life with just 3. I want things to be certain ways and I want my kids to do certain things and I just do not always have the kindness, patience, gentleness, or self-control to deal with it properly.

I think big life changes can make it worse, too. It's been harder for me, since we moved in August, to feel "happy" b/c everything is so different and I don't have the support system here that I used to have.

Not really advice, but just wanted to give you some support. You are not alone.

Kristen said...

I noticed that I ws feeling like this, when my kids would come up giggling I would scowl. I was cranky all the time and I wouls snap in a second. I realized My main problem is my lack of sleep, I stay up too late watching tv and then my kids have to pay for it. One of my friends watched my kids for 3 hours for me so I could go and do whatever I wanted. I went to the christian bookstore and shopped for an hour and then I went to target and then I went to have dinner by myself. It made such a HUGE difference. I also got an awesomely inspriring book from the bookstore which really lifted my mood. I have 4 kids-7,3,2,2-and one of the 2 year-olds has Cerebral Palsy.

anymommy said...

I don't know - but it can't hurt to talk to a doctor about it. It might be hard to figure out right now, what's hormones and the pregnancy, what's depression, etc. But, there is absolutely no reason to suffer, if you think you need a little help!

Christine said...

First of all my heart goes out to you becausethere are just so many different factors that it is overwhelming. I really due think that it is a combination of a lot of things....pregnancy, not a huge local support group, other active and busy children....I mean really who wouldn't feel overwhelmed and out of sorts.

That is one of my favorite things about you is that you are real and not afraid to put it out there and ask for help. As for advice, I think sometimes it is a simple as a date night, an understanding friend and kind words. that can help you turn a corner.

Hormones are tricky little buggers, and pregnancy definitely puts it all on the table, ask your doctor when you go in what he/she thinks, and go from there. i wish I was close inproxikity to you to help out.

Wendy said...

Hi hon! I replied to you mainly by email, but in regards to what I sent via that email, here is a link to get you started:

http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/regional/TexasSupportDFW.htm

If I'm mistaken & you aren't in that region, look for the red link up at the top left that says "Texas Support Groups" to find your area.

Scary Mommy said...

I don't know if it's normal, but you're not the only one. At all. And I don't have hormones to blame.