If you’re like me, the dire need to have everything done and go a certain way can be overwhelming and exhausting. I use the word need because, although it may seem like a want to outsiders, such OCD behavior isn’t necessarily a choice. Those of you who have read my previous posts here, here, and here may know that the constant struggle to let things go and not be so uptight when things deviate from “the plan” is a constant theme for me. I have struggled with the urge to control everything for the majority of my life, ESPECIALLY after having children. It is so incredibly hard to keep up with the demands of life, and although we know social media does not accurately portray real life, it still gives people like me a swift kick in the direction of “my life needs to resemble this. STAT.”
Each stage of motherhood brings on new challenges, too. My oldest recently started school, so just when I thought I was getting things sort of under control with two kids, pets, a home, marriage, working, etc., I found that life completely changes (again) once you have a school-age child. Then, the baby turns into a full-blown toddler, and life throws some other completely unexpected curveballs (which I’ll talk about in later posts). But that’s just it: it’s life. Life does not go by your plan, life is unpredictable, life is incredible. So, even though my need to control things is an ongoing battle, I have found ways in which I can ease the pain and step away from the edge of a meltdown when things don’t go as planned.
Here’s what helps me be a better ME and MOM:
Communication. So often I let the stresses of my demons build up inside of me and inadvertently end up taking it out on my family. When I open up about what I am feeling and realize that my husband is also my partner in all of this, I feel so much better. As moms, I think we sometimes overlook the importance of a support system, whether that be a spouse, parent, best friend, etc. Don’t hold it all in, it takes the world off of your shoulders when you can just exhale the verbiage inside your head to someone willing to listen and help.
Sleep. Like most moms, I like to stay up late to get things done after everyone is in bed, have “me” time, and enjoy the peace and quiet of the night. I also like to get up early before everyone else to make sure everything is in order and there are no hiccups in the morning hustle. This results in limited hours of actual REM and a very tired mama come midday (the prime time for toddler energy). So, I’ve given into myself on this one and try to get to bed earlier at night and not get up with the roosters every morning. It has greatly helped with my energy levels, which in turn has given me the strength to negotiate my OCD tendencies and find balance.
Medication. Sometimes no matter what you try and do to manage stress and other internal issues, nothing can take the edge off quite like working with your doctor and finding a medication that gives your body the right balance to tackle the problems at hand. A few months ago, after riding a long wave of personal disasters, I decided it was time to see my family practitioner and come to a medically helpful conclusion about how to handle everything. Together, we talked through different options and I ended up taking home a prescription for a low dose anti-anxiety medication. I will say that it was a bit of a rocky start, as my body adjusted to the medication, but after about a month I was feeling like a completely different person and wished I would have started sooner. It was just what I needed to curve the debilitating anxiety I was feeling in regards to losing control. It also helps me sleep at night, which works in unison with the paragraph above. Medication may not be for everyone, but just know, my fellow mama, there is absolutely no shame in taking the steps to what is right for you. Today’s world is so crazy. Simply turning on the news can give us a full-blown panic attack.
So don’t be afraid to step up to your own plate and make life easier for yourself. Your children will see that mom is strong, mom takes care of herself, and mom is more present because of it.