Me as a stay-at-home mom: I hate you all! I am not a maid! Clean up after yourselves. I am lucky to take a shower more than three times a week. My depression is raging; emphasis on ‘raging’.
Me as a working mom: I love you all! You are doing so much to help me around the house lately. You are following directions and becoming more independent. Life is good.
Years ago, a therapist told me that being a stay-at-home is one of the worst things in life I could do. My mental state is not equipped to handle it. I agree 1000%!! I place to much of my self worth on my ability to work and hold a job.
Having a job to go to each day gives me a sense of purpose. I have a reason to get out of bed each morning. Yes, having children is reason enough. Someone has to cook and clean for them. But being back to work means I have something that is all for myself. Something I am proud of. My mother-in-law tells me constantly that I should take pride in a clean home, being here morning and afternoon for my children, and take pride in providing a comfortable setting for my husband. I should show appreciation to him for all he does to support me and provide for me. She makes me feel like a hooker.
There were numerous times in my life that some guy has told me I would have nothing if it wasn’t for him. This instilled in me the desire to provide for myself. My dad always told me that he would not be around forever and I needed to learn to survive on my own. My brother told me that no one in the family would help support me, so I had better figure out how to survive on my own. Full disclosure: Dad and brother were two of the males who told me I would have nothing if it wasn’t for them.
I desperately want to provide for myself and be able to support myself. Without a job, I feel useless and pathetic. As a family, we almost never entertain. This means I have no drive to keep my home spotless. Plus, I am a packrat. Yes, I am working on that aspect of my personality still. Over the last year, I have made improvements. Yes, my oldest informed me that I am an embarrassment and she is ashamed to have friends over. She has friends over almost every day mind you.
Yes, I need a break from my children. Going to work is that break. I do not need to go to bars or clubs. I do not take weekend trips away from my family unless it is for an emergency. Going to work makes me feel good about coming home each day and holding my daughters. I actually enjoy listening to them tell me about their day. Granted, we all have a rough day at work from time to time and I am no different; but I still enjoy coming home. This was not the case when I was home all of the time. Coming home from running errands made me want to cry. Just leaving to run errands would make me cry.
My anxiety is already improving. In an attempt to be proactive, I am back on anti-anxiety meds and my mood stabilizer. Being bipolar comes with certain triggers and I need to be honest about them. My mood was improving drastically after returning to work and that was a month before I returned to my meds. I see this as a good thing. I am not scared of the ‘crash’. The ‘crash’ is when the honeymoon phase of being back to work wears off and my mood plummets down to the emotional root cellar. In some cases, I have had to quit my job or have been asked to resign because of the crash. This time, I am trying to avoid it all together. Perhaps it helps that I am working for one of my old companies. One that I loved and was truly sad to leave in the first place.
For the first time in over two years, I have a feeling of hope and a sense of purpose. Maybe I am worthwhile? Only time will tell. I have the energy to play with my children or watch one of their dorky shows that I really dislike. I can read to them without becoming angry when they interrupt with questions. I am taking them to the YMCA. As a family, we are finally using the membership we are paying for! This fact alone excites me:)
I do not know how long these positive feelings will last, but I hope they stick around for a long time. If I am lucky, perhaps they will just keep improving. I wonder how other mom’s handle being a stay-at-home mom. Not because I am judging them, but because I have never been able to handle it without my depression taking over. In many ways, I envy them. I envy them because they find joy in something that only brings me misery. Like my brother always told me, “to each their own”.