My 8 year old has been regressing. Downward spiraling.
Her therapist and I were trying to figure out what changed. Why she went from being able to have adequate control over her emotions, to…well NOT. We came up with changing bedrooms–even though it was time and she was excited. Added to that she’s having a hard time “clicking” with her teacher, and for the first time ever, friend problems.
It’s no fun. For her. For me. For anyone else in the family. Last week two of her tantrums escalated in to rages.
Add to that my husband is MIA because of harvest, and I’m one tired Momma.
Recently in a nearby community, tragedy has stuck. An innocent three year old died at the hands of her usually loving daycare provider. She was overtired and had a “moment.” So many people affected by this death. Especially the two families involved. One losing a daughter and the other, a mother. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning what she did in the least. And there needs to be consequences. But there are times when I think, “could that be me?” And I dare bet I’m not alone.
A sad memory comes to mind. My eldest was two. I was pregnant with our second daughter. It had not been an easy pregnancy. For most of it I was sick and exhausted, able to do almost nothing but lie on the couch. After being hospitalized during my 3rd trimester we got it a bit under control. I was able to “live” a bit more. But still tired and overwhelmed with all I hadn’t done for months and months.
My toddler was refusing to take a nap. We had moved her into a big girl bed in preparation for the new baby. She was very strong willed. She kept getting out of bed. Over and over I put her back in. Finally, out of frustration and anger, I dropped her onto her bed with more force than I intended. She bounced. She hit her lip on the window sill and it bled.
Oh my, but did I feel guilty. Praise God my husband chose to come home at that very moment. He held me as I cried and cried and told him what a terrible mother I was. He comforted and affirmed that I was a good mom.
Back to present day. A few days ago when my 8 year old was raging I knew I needed a break. Single parenting was wearing me down, down, down. I texted a friend and practically begged her to have lunch with me. She did. Afterwards I felt so much better.
A good friend of mine says sometimes you just need to have a “mental health day.” Get out with friends. Take a break from your kids. Enlist the help of others to give you a break. Do you feel like it’s time for a mental health day but you can’t get it to come together? Have one at home with your kids. Give yourself permission to do nothing, even for an entire day, without guilt. Watch movies with your kids. Read. Take a nap when they do. Order out.
We need to take care of ourselves. Parenting is no easy task. It’s generally the most rewarding job you’ll ever have. But no one can be working or on call 24/7 without a mental health day. You’re worth it, and your kids will thank you for it.