I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you don’t stop being a human being when you become a parent. You don’t turn into a machine that can power through anything and everything-despite the pressures that are being placed on you to do so.
Nothing could have ever prepared me for being a parent. I thought, “Everyone else has children, and they seem to handle it so well, it must not be that difficult.” Deep down, I knew it wasn’t easy, but I told myself I could make it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not failing, but sometimes I feel like I am. Sometimes, I get up, I get breakfast squared away, and my little ones are dressed and ready for the day, and by the time we make it to the store, my enthusiasm is already fading. My nerves are being dwindled to nothing, and suddenly I snap at my kids for jerking things off the shelf and screaming in the store.
As the mother down the aisle stares at me with obvious disdain, I suddenly feel guilty. And perhaps even a bit angry. But the truth is, I’m not angry. I am overwhelmed.
Every ounce of my energy is spent on taking care of my kids, my husband, and our home. I feel like everyone depends on me to survive. And while I love making them happy, I also feel so much pressure on my shoulders.
In the moments I do take to tend to myself, which doesn’t come often, I feel guilty, even selfish. I have to constantly remind myself that I cannot pour from an empty cup.
In between these little blips of self-care, which don’t always last very long, I assure you, my needs go unmet, while stress begins to build. I have to continually remind myself that I have needs as well, and if they go unmet for too long, my ability to nurture anyone else begins to decline.
Much like our children, we can become sensory overloaded and overwhelmed.
Brene Brown, a professor, and author, says that when we become overwhelmed, our life is happening faster than we can respond. In turn, we feel overloaded and even stuck.
According to her, the only solution to this is nothingness. She suggests coming up with a phrase to indicate to those around you and yourself that you need a break. Rather than screaming and snapping, say “I’m running on empty,” and take a moment away.
After a few moments to yourself, you can gather yourself and come back.
Additionally, it’s helpful to communicate with your support friends and family when this is happening.
It’s easy to get lost in our job as a parent, but it’s important to not lose sight of ourselves, so we can maintain the ship. When you make a mistake, remember, you are not an angry mom, you are an overwhelmed one. You are a human that has needs, and to function properly, it’s okay to step away and recuperate for a moment.