Can I Tell You A Story?

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Five years ago, there was a mother. Like any other mother, she loved her children to bits. She tried her best to juggle full time work and family. Although physically tired on most days, she pushed herself to do more for her kids.

Feeling that she had too little time for her children, she left her job to look after her kids full time at home.

It was such a blissful life.

She felt fulfilled, happy and at peace, being able to be the sole caregiver for the children she loved the most. No longer did she need to feel torn between her job and her kids.

Being the perfectionist and focused individual that she was, she dived deep into her role as a stay at home mother. Taking care of her children’s needs, filling their lives with meaningful activities and outings, giving the family a clean home and warm meals as much as possible.

In the process of giving to her family, she very unwisely neglected herself.

At times she felt so overwhelmed and exhausted, trying to meet the needs of the family, she didn’t know what to do. How she longed to confide in her friends, but most of her friends are full time working mothers, with live-in domestic helpers or parents and in-laws to help out with the kids. Would they understand? She thought they most probably wouldn’t.

So, she was alone on most days, juggling.

Soon, she felt cut off, disconnected and very alone.

All the life and energy was gone. She became snappy and easily irritated. She fell into the pit of depression.

All these, simply because she has forgotten to take care of herself, throughout the years of busyness, taking care of the kids and the household.

Self-care for mothers is so vital, but very often neglected.

How do I know?

Oh yes I do.
Because I am that mother.

So dear mothers, especially the ones staying at home alone all day with the kids, without external help, take time to care for yourself.

Only when your basic needs are taken care of, do you have the capacity to care for others.

Don’t you think so?

Have you felt overwhelmed in your parenting journey and fell into depression? How did you get out of it?

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20 thoughts on “Can I Tell You A Story?

  1. Oh man Ing, tell me about it. No one understands. I’m in that generation that everyone is either not married or married without kids. It’s v lonely to be at home w e kids. I yearn for some adult interaction and e funny thing is that I am an introvert and yet I feel this way as a mum. Before I was a mum, I can easily just not talk to anyone for 3 days but now it’s been so tough.

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    1. Hugs, Rebecca. Please try to take some time to recharge by doing something you enjoy. I guess before you have kids, you’re alright being alone ‘cos you can spend time doing things you like. Now as a mum, your time is spent meeting the needs of your child, which can make you feel worn out if you don’t take time to recharge. Is it possible to meet up with some of your closer friends? If not, take a day off your daily routine to go out and do something for yourself?

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  2. We have had this deal with my husband that we both give each other one evening “off” a week. Mostly we’ve been able to stick to it (but since my husband is now going to work one week on, one week off that will change) . Especially when I was a SAHM that one evening without my family was a lifesaver. But I was also lucky to have friends at home at the same time so we had each other to talk to and to do things together with. I don’t think I could have enjoyed being at home without those!!! It’s so important to be a me and not to get isolated to feel good!

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    1. I like the deal you had with your husband. I could do with one evening “off”, that’ll be a lifesaver to me too! I don’t like the feeling of isolation, especially when I’m feeling down and discouraged. It’s a great thing you have company at home. That’s a blessing!

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  3. Oh I so want to comment on this! I am not a SAHM. But juggling full time work and kids + house chores after work is crazy too. I can’t even relax after home from work. I love being with the children but would seriously love a helper to take away cooking and chores to leave me with pure bonding time with the kids. I ensure sanity by taking leave for catching up with best friend. I know you probably will have a hard time on this. However since your kids are quite grown up, go on a date with girl friends to places like cool de sac for chill out and kids play in the same cafe. A breather like this works wonder. Arrange a night out with hubby. Go rope in parents help or siblings help once in a while. Otherwise arrange play dates with SMB Mums like me! :)

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    1. It’s not easy too, juggling full time work and kids. The only benefit is, FTWMs have adult conversations, while SAHMs do not. That is a big thing in ensuring sanity, especially for women, I think. Men can survive alone in caves, but women, we need connection and conversation. Ha!

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      1. True, we have lots of adult interaction. I realize for those days I stayed home for 5 months as SAHM, one of the important things I missed out was keeping up with latest news. I think reading and in the know of news is also to help in sanity. Other than that, creating opportunities to meet girlfriends is really a must to feed the need for adult interaction. I hope you manage to find some ways to meet friends. Not difficult just need to arrange. Maybe going for blog events is a good way too. Haha! If there is a 2nd SMB Blogger event next year, you must come!!

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  4. I’m so sorry you feel depressed in your parenting journey. Every time someone confides in me that they are not happy in their current situation, I’d tell them the same thing: This is only temporary. Your current situation may not be ideal but it will change. It will be better. And the only person that can change that is YOURSELF. No one can do it for you. Trust yourself, you can make a change to your life.

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    1. Thanks Michelle. I’m not really ‘not happy’ in my current situation. It’s more of being too exhausted and started feeling down, disconnected and cut off from people. I guess it’s just a phase. And you’re right, it’s only temporary!

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  5. Wait.. you mean it doesn’t get better (since my kids are younger than yours?)?? Lol. I have been having quite a rough time recently, and I almost thought I might be depressed! My girl is very demanding, and the boys are constantly fighting. Even though I do have a helper I’ve still been feeling very stretched and completely maxed out! But I’ve been trying to see it differently, and I think some of Christy’s tips in one of her latest posts (on how to deal with children with behavioural problems) was also great food for thought. Jia you to both of us! :)

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    1. LOL! Depending on how you see it, it can get better as they grow older. Hope you’re feeling better now! We do need a new perspective at times, I guess.

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  6. The biggest part of the equation is – love yourself as much as you love your spouse and kids. I don’t have extra help too but I make sure everyone plays their part fairly. Z was even trained at 3.5yo to care for Baby X, bathe himself.. Basically flew solo. We are mothers, not slaves to our kids.

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    1. I like that! Most mothers put their kids and family before self. The way you teach your kids independence, it’s great for preserving sanity. I need to learn from you!

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  7. I went through a 6-month period of adjustment when I left my full-time job to be a SAHM and yes, there were countless times of outburst too! Then, my daughter was only a year old and she would cry a lot. There were often times when her cries would get to me, and I’d burst out crying too.

    I’m thankful that during those times, my husband took half-day leave every now and then, to let me have a breather and helping me ease in.

    As I started building a routine complementary to my daughter’s nap and milk hours, I started venturing out more often. Getting out for some fresh air, even just downstairs helps a lot too. I got to know other SAHM and grandparents in my neighbourhood, so I wouldn’t feel too lonely at home.

    Now that my daughter’s three, we are able to communicate and have long conversations. The difficult times will pass!

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        1. I know what you mean. But to me, it felt like the right thing to do and the right place to be. I just need to be reminded of why I stayed home in the first place. It’s been a long journey… and the kids are growing up…

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