An open letter to all the moms who find it hard to breathe.
I've been victim to that crippling feeling of not being enough for so long.
-- All while trying to smile through my days, with my eyes in a fog, so my kids and my spouse can pass my indifferent behavior off as normal.
-- So that no one will suspect that I cry in the shower late at night with the water up and some music playing to drown out the noise.
This is hard.
Every day seems hard.
And yet I do not know how to put into words what the problem actually is.
Maybe it is nothing.
Maybe it's everything.
From not fitting into my clothes right, to having no place to go. No adults to talk to daily while I am sprawled across the floor picking up blocks and baby dinosaurs while my kids run around screaming.
Counting backward in my head and just taking deep breaths, my head is feeling light and dizzy.
My heart pounding in my chest, an irregular and angry beat of drums that brings on a stirring solo in my gut, my veins writhing with heat and adrenaline.
"I can't do this."
Postpartum depression, anxiety, depression. Mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia.
Worries of the future, memories from the past.
Sheer panic and despair when my kid does something wild and I picture him getting hurt.
Holding back tears as I take the kids off the couch, stopping one mid-leap to the floor head-first.
Not being able to hold the big cutting knife in the kitchen to chop the vegetables without seeing a flash of something terrible and wanting to throw it all in the sink.
Wanting to just tiptoe away and crawl into bed. But being angry and hostile because you know you are alone or the people around you are incapable of stepping in.
Because the kids just want mommy.
And mommy just needs 5 minutes alone.
No. Make it a day. A week. A week of silence.
My favorite books, being read on a hammock. A delicious breeze cooling off my bathing suit body, after laying out in the sun on my balcony. Staying in a bungalow with wide-open windows and clear aqua water beneath the floor.
Without anyone or anything. No obligations. No calls. In fact. No reception. No one needing a gosh darn thing.
Then two tiny hands pop under the door.
"Mommy... I need to do poop". And just like that, your fantasy is over and you are opening up the door, letting light flash into the dark bathroom where you sat taking your break.
Where I sometimes sit to just get away a little bit.
To the mama who does everything.
From crisp & clean laundry, folded perfectly into the drawers with lavender-scented satchels tucked neatly into the corner.
To hot, baked meals with crockpot aromas filling your beautiful home all detailed with DIY, Pinterest-worthy decor that YOU made with your loving hands for your family to gaze at and feel loved.
To the mama who packs every lunch, serves every dinner to tired spouses and noisy children only to do all the cleanup, showers, teeth brushing, floor cleaning, bedtime stories, kisses, glasses of water, and tuck right ins'.
To the mama who spends the rest of the night cleaning up each room, restacking the blocks, crawling across the living room carpet, and feeling underneath furniture for crumbs and sippy cups.
To the mama cradling her baby who breastfeeds at 11 pm after the others are in bed and that cleaning is all done. And you cry along with baby as you feel like nodding off. And your only entertainment is scrolling through the newsfeed til midnight and playing a game of farming crops on your phone.
The 5,000 toys around the floor can wait.
The crumbs on the kitchen counter and the pile of dishes in the sink can wait.
After the priorities are done, and whatever gets the house silent is done, then just STOP.
And give yourself some love.
Just a few minutes a night if that is what is necessary.
Tell yourself you are loved. You are worthy. You are strong. You are resilient.
Tell yourself you are so powerful. And so needed.
Give yourself these few minutes to be needy and to serve yourself.
Whether it's a book, a cup of tea, some journaling, a little nail polish on your toes, one episode of your favorite show, or some time to just meditate.
Tell yourself "I need this".
And then commit.
You are terrified to admit you need it. That involves admitting you are struggling. That you are overwhelmed. That some days or some people are just TOO MUCH.
It is ok.
Remove shame, remove blame, remove the need to hate yourself for wanting a little peace.
To the mama who just needs a breather.
Make it happen.
You will be better for it when you commit to loving yourself extra.
Mental health blogger, content creator, and creative writer. I write about trauma, mental health, and holistic wellness to empower other trauma survivors. Follow my blogs @Jadedsaviorblog @Startthrivingnotsurviving linktr.ee/jeangrey888