Am I getting better? Is this just a fluke of a day? How long will this last?
Is this the calm before the storm? Am I still “crazy?” Am I normal again?
I’m trying to cling to this feeling. I’m trying to keep this momentum going.
But I also don’t know what or when or if I’m going to collapse again. And that’s
terrifying. It’s sick in a way. I almost feel calmer when I’m depressed or have
high anxiety. That’s my new normal. I know what to expect. Maybe not the
intensity, but I have the confidence of knowing that there’s a pretty good
chance I’m not going to want to get out of bed, everything is going to make me
angry or sad, and that I’m going to go to bed hating myself a little bit more.
It’s familiar, that depression. It gets almost comfy, and trying to pull
yourself out of that hole is scarier than being in the hole.
Twisted isn’t it?
Something else happened today though. While at my mom’s house today, I was
able to take Chase to the park that’s near there. We walked over, just me and
him. It was just like old times, before I became sick again. Anyways, when we
got there, we had to walk by a group of ladies to get to his section of the
park. While walking by, I realized that it was a “mommy meeting” of some kind.
Being the nosey person that I tend to be, I listened in a bit. While listening,
I felt a little better about myself.
There was one mom leading the group, and she was reading from a book (and no,
I don’t know what book). When we first arrived, she was reading a passage about
how x% of marriages start breaking and heading towards the path of divorce
shortly after having their first baby, and how it was the WOMAN’S job to prevent
that from happening. She then told a short story about her own marriage.
Apparently, after having her first child, her and her husband were on the brink
of divorce. Then she realized that she was being lazy. She stopped doing
housework, didn’t make dinner very often anymore, would stay in her pj’s most of
the day, wouldn’t wear make-up, etc. Once she realized that she was being “a
horrible wife and mother,” she was able to save her marriage.
Um… excuse me? Beg pardon? Can you repeat that for those of us
Was she right? Are the women who start acting that way the reason marriages
fail? Is listening to EVERY BABY BOOK IN EXSISTANCE the wrong thing to do? Cause
I read about 7 before Chase was born (because I worried about everything, almost
to an OCD point), and they all said that you needed to lay off everything else
except for baby for a few weeks and then work back into it. You needed time to
adjust to having a baby. Take it slow. Step by step. You’ve all heard it. Sleep
when baby sleeps, prep freezer meals for a few weeks worth of dinners, ask for
help from family members so you can rest, ask for help with household chores.
That’s exactly what I did, and while I wasn’t married (just engaged), my
relationship didn’t suffer at all. (I’m only referring to my first pregnancy
because we all know what happened to me after Sky was born) Kyle was amazing. He
did laundry, made sure I got enough sleep by taking the night shifts, and set
aside time to just sit and listen to me rant about how scared and tired I was.
So, what I was hearing from this woman didn’t seem right in my mind. Which one
of us was “normal?”
I couldn’t believe she was telling a group of first time mom’s that they
needed to do it all, right off the bat, no excuses unless they wanted to be
divorced. It took every ounce of will power to not walk over and smack her. But
then it got better…
She flipped to another section of the book that depicted what your kids
should know by the time they were 13 (at least I’m pretty sure she said 13).
Here’s the list:
- How to cook 10-15 different meals
- How to do laundry including ironing
- Be able to describe what taxes are
- Manage all of their own money
- How to fix common household problems (backed-up toilet, burned out light
bulb, plugged drain, etc.)
- If they have a younger sibling, how to care for them (no matter the
- Have straight A’s
- Have a solid relationship with Jesus (that one I giggled and it sort of
explained some of the sheer nonsense I was hearing)
- Have at least 3 extra curricular activities (one had to be church
And then I had to move away from them, because it was getting harder and
harder not to say anything. Granted, some of the things mentioned I agree with.
Knowing how to use a plunger is not a bad idea. Knowing how to help (notice the
word help, not parent) with a younger sibling, and understanding money
management (at least in a basic sense) are all things I plan and hope my
children know. But, um, what 13 year old does taxes? What 13 year old do I want
using a hot iron, Drain-O, or operating an oven and stove without supervision?
While I won’t require straight A’s all the time (but they will understand that
if their grades fall, below C’s, privileges will be taken away), I will require
they try their best. If they need help, ask. If they want to learn something, go
learn it. I believe in doing after school activities, but requiring a certain
amount while studying for school to get straight A’s, be active in the church,
cook dinner x amount of times a week, repair the house, babysit, and do all
their chores just seems like a recipe for disaster. I want the best for and from
my kids, but in no way am I going to tell them or myself that we’ve failed.
I believe in setting HEALTHY boundaries that pertain to the individual child.
But having a checklist that they need to master seem ridiculous to me. I don’t
want a checklist of things that my kids HAVE to know or I failed as a
parent. What if a child has Autism, or suffers an injury, or loses a
parent, or some other life event happens that prevents something from this
magical list from being learned/mastered? Did I fail as a parent? Did they fail
as a child? I’m going to go with no.
I know we as parents all parent our kids differently. And I’m not saying that
these women aren’t parenting “correctly.” Let’s face it. There is no correct
way. We are all fumbling through this parenting thing just hoping our kids don’t
hate us or need therapy for all the trauma they’ve suffered by our hands. I
think at the heart of it all, we’re all just hoping we don’t screw our kids up
anymore than necessary. Or at least, that’s what I’m hoping for.
I’m going to try my best as a parent to instill the values I hope my children
cling to, show them that an education is going to be their best tool for life
(maybe not trigonometry, but still), and that if you ever sass me to remember
you’ll never be too big for me to give you a well deserved spanking (can you
imagine a 35 year old Chase getting spanked… hehehe). And if nothing else, I
hope they learn that I love them dearly, that there’s nothing I won’t do for
them, and that if anything ever happened to them, I would cease to be me
completely. I know I have depression, and I’m already kind of lost in my own
mind, but you take my children away from me in any way, and I’ll no longer be
And the last thing I hope is that when they both become parents (because I’m
already expecting grandkids from both of them) that they will take at least some
things they learned from me and teach it to their children. I don’t want them to
be like me. I want them to be better than I ever was or could hope to be.
Chase and Sky. I know you’ll read this one day. I hope I’m still around when
you do. I hope you know that everything I did was for you. Every struggle with
my own mind, every fight to get you what you wanted, and every hurdle faced was
to make your lives better. I love you both dearly and wouldn’t change either of
you for the world. No matter what happens, you are both my children, my loves,
and my heart. And you’ll always be “normal” to me.