Two posts in one week is rare for me — but I’m giving up doing laundry this nap time because I just need to write this down somewhere.
This blog is all about finding the humor in motherhood – which most days is easy, if you’re looking for it.
Like the outfit I answered the door in just now, halfway between this morning’s MOPS meeting and an intended trip to the gym in a few minutes.
I look like the offspring of Paul Bunyan and the Jamaican Bobsled Team, and the UPS man looked at me like I was crazy with a capital C.
And you know what, today I totally believe him. See, some days it’s easy to find humor in motherhood and then other days it’s really, really hard. Like when you have to mother through illness, or through a loss.
For me, it’s the anxiety that arrived along with my children that has been most difficult to coexist with, and I know I’ve talked about it before. But maybe it’s not talked about enough.
I say anxiety is the devil, and I mean that literally. It’s a little voice on my shoulder that competes daily with the far more rational and hopeful voice on my other shoulder. Usually logic wins out, but there are days that anxiety is just plain louder. And more shrill. And relentless. (A lot like my 4-year-old). And then it’s a battle of the thoughts, and the anxiety takes my thoughts and morphs them into something scary, something that if I dwell on could really take me down a rabbit hole. But it does it so quickly that sometimes it’s haed to catch.
Me: “I have a lot to be thankful for.”
Anxiety: “You have a lot that you could lose at any moment.”
Me: “I am a safe and careful driver.”
Anxiety: “Everyone else on the road is texting, especially the semi driver coming up behind you. Also you’ll probably have a heart attack at the wheel and drive off the road and into the one body of water along this entire highway.”
Me: “This steak is delicious.”
Anxiety: “Steak is easy to choke on.”
Me: “Lottie is fully mobile now so I’m doing a good job making sure I’m keeping the small toys off the floor.”
Anxiety: “You missed a piece of dog food under the couch, which she will definitely find and choke on.”
Me: “I’ve been blessed with a healthy family.”
Anxiety: “That can’t last forever. The other shoe is bound to drop at any minute.”
Then sometimes when it gets really bad, it actually turns physical. And my anxious thoughts have a field day with my anxious symptoms.
Me: “My chest hurts”
Anxiety: “Heart attack.”
Me: “I’m dizzy.”
Anxiety: “Passing out is imminent.”
Me: “I’m having trouble breathing.”
Anxiety: “Undiagnosed undeveloped lung. Passing out is imminent.”
Me: “My heart is racing.”
Anxiety: “Undiagnosed heart condition. Passing out and sudden death are imminent.”
Me: “My vision is blurry”
Anxiety: “Undiagnosed eye condition. Sudden vision loss imminent.”
I mean. It’s like whoever came up with the Debbie Downer concept for Saturday Night Live was inside my head.
Except it doesn’t always seem that funny.
Luckily I have some really good tools in place to work through it. But some days it still catches me off guard, like this morning.
Eric and I were talking about something else — something that stressed me out, but certainly not to the point of tears — and suddenly I couldn’t stop crying. And I couldn’t breathe. I mean I had a complete meltdown in the kitchen, full of anxiety I didn’t even know was there at the moment.
My sweet husband insisted I do a breathing exercise with him, which I did. And it helped a little.
Then he told me I needed a visualization and a mantra to repeat all day. Which I did, and it helped a lot. Because I grabbed the first thing that popped into my head:
I don’t think that’s exactly what he had in mind. In fact it’s probably so far from what he had in mind that it made me laugh. And that helped. Then I laughed a little bit more and that helped and little bit more until finally it lifted me right out of my fog.
There is a lot that comes with motherhood — and most of it is good.
But there’s also a lot that comes in on the tails of those postpartum hormones, and sometimes it sucks. So if you feel that, you’re not alone, not by a long shot. And maybe it doesn’t get better or go away, at least not immediately like we’d like. But it builds us some really strong character as we work through it. It gives us some good control as we constantly choose the more positive thoughts.
And maybe it sucks the energy out of us for the day so we temporarily give up on caring who sees us when we’ve paired workout pants with a flannel button-down.
So in that sense, it gives us some ridiculous moments we can look back on and laugh, if we choose to.