How my children helped me to realize I needed to take my mental health more serious

It’s 11:00 at night and surprisingly both my children are in their own beds asleep. Typical to my routine, I am up catching up on some of my normal shows. It’s a Tuesday, so Greenleaf is the show of choice for me. After yet another long day of juggling, my many roles and tasks I start to reflect on my day, my week, my month, and what is to come. The time that I should be relaxing, my mind is moving a thousand thoughts a minute. I can hear my son saying to me earlier, “Can you just focus mom?”. The answer is no son. I can’t seem to just focus and it is one of the main reasons I deal with serious anxiety.

In a single day, I am responsible for so many different tasks and God forbid I actually ask for help in completing them all. Mentally and physically I am being stretched thin, but when you are a mother you are not given the same luxury as men to make excuses for why you weren’t able to get all your tasks done.

They say the first step to dealing with a problem is admitting you have a problem. I am the queen of not admitting when I have taken on too much. 9 times out of 10, I will never admit if I feel overwhelmed or if my anxiety is on level 10 although on the outside I am displaying a level 5. See, I’m superwoman and in my mind not handling everything makes me a failure. One thing many do not know about me is that I am a perfectionist. When I put my name on something, it has to be right. The smallest hint that it’s not going to go right sends me into a mental meltdown. On the outside I look calm, but those close to me can see the onset of a mental breakdown approaching. It took me a while to be comfortable with admitting that I have this problem. My turning point was my son.

Not knowing how to properly deal with my emotional and mental triggers caused me to have mental breakdowns in front of my child. At an age, where he barely understands what is going on around him, he had to be the one to say, “mommy are you ok today?”. While it makes me proud as a mother that I am raising an empathetic young human, it bothers me that my mental state had gotten to a place where my four year old had to step in and save the day.

Our children look to us to be their models in life and sometimes we fail to control what we expose them too. Sometimes we allow our outside stressors to cause us to yell more, be less patient, and catch more attitudes. While parenting two children under five can be overwhelming and often frustrating depending on what they are getting into, it is our job as parents to set the example on how to properly respond in those situations. The way we respond sets the foundation for that child. Punishment, reward, and indifference all carry different results for the same situation.

I found myself yelling and reacting more. I noticed that my agitation level was steadily increasing. My son’s behavior was giving me daily headaches and I was questioning where I had gone wrong as a parent. Then one day my four year old looked at me and said, “mommy why do you keep yelling at me”, and it clicked. Mommy is not trying to yell at you, mommy is just at her breaking point because mommy never asks for help. Mommy just takes on everything regardless of how tired she is or what she has going on. She takes on everything at work, she takes on everything at home, and she wears like 30 hats. I am quick to tell someone at work, “Don’t worry, I can do it” when I really want to say, “Please, can you take care of this by yourself”. My need for perfection and accountability to myself and lack of trust that others can get it done are my problem. Admitting is the first step.

My little girl is my twin in all forms. She has my attitude, my level of demandingness, she’s needy, and she wants what she wants when she wants it regardless of what is going on. She is modeling after the behaviors that I exhibit when I am around her. It is my job to make sure I set the right example. Two months ago, I posted the above photo with the caption, “when you feel like giving up, just remember there is a little girl looking up to you”. This caption is the reason I still find the energy to wake up and breathe in the morning. This caption is the reason I decided I needed to take my mental health more serious. I think parents forget that they can be students to their children just as much as they can be teachers. I am human, I make mistakes, but my best trait is my ability to take accountability for where I fail or mess up and try to change the results.

I have control of my mental health. My mental health will no longer control me, not at as long as I have Jayden and Jurni watching me.

Has anyone checked on you today and asked if you are ok? If they haven’t, how are you today? 🙂

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