4 Things about Being a Mom and Maintaining Mental Health
1. You are allowed to have feelings.
When I was thrown into motherhood, I was completely taken off guard by the onslaught of emotions. I thought I was pretty stable in my emotions, but becoming a parent changes everything. I had no idea that you could feel such deep love for a kid while also being incredibly angry that they wouldn’t take a nap.
I literally felt like a vile human being, and I was sure I was failing miserably as a mom. I had no idea how to process those emotions.
Then I talked with other moms, and I was surprised to find out that it was normal. I wasn’t the world’s worst mom. I was just a new mom learning the ropes of newer, more complex emotions.
2. You need a break before you NEED a break.
Mom guilt is the worst. It’s absolutely a tool of the enemy. I was in a church Bible study during my preparation to become a foster parent, and the study was on the book, Fervent, by Priscilla Shirer. This book was a gift from God because I was able to enter into the spiritual warfare that is foster care with a better understanding of the enemy’s scheming ways.
Mom guilt waged war on my mind. The enemy used my doubts and insecurities and weaknesses to make me feel guilty for wanting and needing a break.
I mean, I signed up for this. I knew I was doing it as a single parent. No one else asked to be signed up to watch my kids. They were my responsibility. I shouldn’t have gotten them if I weren’t going to take care of them. Lies from the enemy flooded my mind daily.
So I took a step back, and I got a sitter for the girls. I refreshed my body and spirit, and I was able to step back into parenting with a more peaceful attitude. I really do believe that quote, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
3. It’s ok to let your kids watch TV.
Without fail, if I go into the kitchen to cook and prepare a meal, Mia and Lucy stand at the gate screaming at me. I’ve tried setting them up with activities or pulling out the toys they don’t have access to all the time. Nope. They want dinner right then. So inevitably, I’d turn the TV on and feel the waves of guilt.
But who cares?? I have to remind myself that I’m a single mom with 5 kids, and I can’t avoid certain struggles like screaming babies while I cook or clean a bathroom or take a small nap on the couch. We all have things that are just hard to push through, and honestly, our sanity is more important than overdoing the recommended amount of tv time.
4. You can ask for help.
We were never created to do this alone, and while I am a single mom by choice, I don’t have to put the weight of the world on my shoulders. I have every right to ask someone to sit with my kids so I can go wander around Target hoping to feel like a human being again. Let your village step up and love on you and your kids.
It’s okay to go to therapy – even if the motivation is purely to have an hour without the kids. Therapy has proven to be a huge benefit to me over the past 3 years of going. I see a Christian therapist who has taught me the value of processing my emotions and seeing the truth when I’m struggling with guilt or anxiety. Therapy has been such a great tool for me.