Stay Home Mom Of Three Who Is Blessed Yet Stressed
by Gee, R.
Nurturing Your Inner Child (link below)
Since 15 years old I have always worked and been independent. Life was easy and I loved the feeling of having "my own" things and loved working to get them. I felt accomplished.
At 21 I had my first child. Although my relationship failed I held my head high and continued to accomplish things, maintained my career in the medical field and provided for my daughter all on my own.
At 26 I was reunited with a childhood friend in which our friendship rapidly grew into something much bigger. Family and marriage became a priority and we set goals, which we accomplished! But of course things never go as planned.
During my pregnancy I ended up on temporary disability (meaning I was forced to quit working) then planned to return to work after birth. However, we wanted one more child and decided since we've struggled through this pregnancy, let's struggle through one more and get it over with.
That way I would not have to take another break from my career later down the road. So we did it! It was stressful and finances were tight but we had a plan. We made it through and although I didn't return to the same job I did go back to work but not for long. I was only working and making enough to cover childcare. What's the point? We decided it would be better for us and the kids if I just stayed home and took care of them myself, which I love! But unless you are a stay-at-home mom yourself, you have no idea how much more responsibility and hard work goes into it. It's more than any full time job, I don't care what anyone says!
My husband and I are now just months short of 30, my kids are soon to be 9, 3 and 2, and our 4th wedding anniversary is approaching. We are definitely a happy family but we don't live in Pleasantville. During the past 4 years we have lived off one low/moderate income. We let go of all our credit accounts just to be able to afford our necessities (rent, utilities and food) we gave up every luxury possible, which is fine. We are still happy and satisfied.
I know, this doesn't sound so bad does it?
Well, things are bad. I have always been kind of "obsessive compulsive." I love having a clean house, I love the laundry done and folded my way, I love being on time to events, I love routine, and I love things done right and not half-assed.
It's not like that with kids!
I understand that, and I've relatively adapted to that lifestyle but I had tunnel vision and high expectations that I would have perfect kids and be this super mom/trophy wife. Well, here I am...seeking help on this site.
I am overwhelmed, stressed, angry that I am no longer independent and strong, depressed at times, lonely, weak, discouraged, mad, and even feeling blessed. But being a stay-at-home mom is hard. I'm falling apart. Nobody listens to me, my discipline tactics are failing. I cook, I clean (all day, everyday) I'm a nurse, a chauffeur, a tutor, a friend, a mom, a dad (my husband works an 18hr shift between 2 jobs). I'm an animal groomer (we have pets), I'm a coach, a physical trainer, a maid, a nutritionist, a marathon grocery shopper.
I'm an octopus, a clown, a magician, a teacher, but most importantly I am a role model...you name it! I am whatever I have to be and everything my kids want me to be. But I am only one person, one human being. I have emotions and being everything on a daily basis without a break takes a huge toll on me, physically and emotionally.
I've bottled it up and kept it in for so long that I feel like I'm on the verge of exploding! My social skills are gone, I'm embarrassed to talk to people because my vocabulary is equal to a kindergartner, my interaction with people my age has diminished.
All my time is spent with my kids. I love it but at the same time it's turning me into a witch. I don't have family that can babysit for me, nor can I afford childcare just so I can go grocery shopping, let alone get some "me time" or hang out with friends. For goodness sake I can't even use the restroom in peace!
My husband only gets a few hours to relax before or after work on some days, he works 7 days a week so I feel bad asking him to watch the kids. He has to rest to stay healthy. He's our sole provider. We depend on him.
Anyway, there's so much more I want to write in this story but what is boils down to is that I am so overwhelmed and stressed and I've kept it all in for so long and now I find myself taking it out on my husband and my kids. The simplest thing triggers me to lash out and start yelling, screaming, even cussing them out.
Yes...my kids too. That is why I need help! I get so upset to the point where I get hot and sweaty, hyperventilating at times because I can't calm down. I get too angry and feel like the whole day is ruined.
I never physically hurt any of them and I never would but I feel like I'm becoming a verbally abusive person and that's not me! I don't want to be like that in front of my kids and it's not fair to my husband. He didn't want kids with the mean, anxiety-ridden monster I have become. He wanted kids with the fun, loving, patient person I used to be.
Please help me learn how to remain calm during stressful situations. I recognize my problem and I am reaching out for help. I have considered checking into treatment for anger management but I fear for my family. Who would take care of my kids and how would my husband maintain his jobs to provide for them? Not to mention that I can't even afford it.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. The reason your anger bothers you so much is that it does not reflect who you really are, or how you want to be. Without realizing it along the way, you have worked yourself into a highly agitated state, and your anger is a direct result.
I know that you think that your busy life and your children and your lack of pleasurable, relaxing time are the cause of your anger, and in many ways, you are correct. Most people become irritable and short-tempered when overworked on a consistent basis. But there's always more to the story, and that's a good thing...since you may not be able to change much if anything about your schedule and the demands that you're facing as a stay home mom of three children under 10.
What you can do, however, is address what's going on inside you. That's where I can help.
Please understand that you didn't get this way overnight. It is a result of a building pattern, that started a long time ago. I'm thinking that you may have taken on adult responsibilities too early in life, and a subconscious part of you is rebelling. You are a hard working, responsible person, who like things to be "just so."
There is a very strong part of you that wants to laugh, relax, play, goof off, and experience pleasure. That part of you cannot be ignored without consequence, and you started neglected those needs earlier in life than most people do.
Don't get me wrong...it is great that you are so responsible and hard working. But that's not helping with your anger problem, which is why we're having this "conversation." To be a happy person, and to manage your negative emotions effectively, you have to have a balanced life, with appropriate amounts of work, play and rest. When that balance is not maintained, stress will result, leading to anger problems, depression, and/or illness.
There are no quick fixes for you here, however, you can start feeling better pretty quickly by following a few of my recommendations:
1) Read this Nurturing Your Inner Child program, and consider getting a copy of the downloadable audio program, so you can listen to it instead of reading it. You will find links in the document linked above, where you can purchase the program, and/or listen to free previews.
2) Even if it's no more that 10 minutes a day, begin this journaling process, which will help you understand the origins of your anger, give you some healthy ways to release it, and help you begin shifting your focus to the blessings and the beauty in your life.
These are powerful tools, Gee...but only if you use them. It's not a question of whether they "work" or not, it's only a question of whether you use them. So use them, and keep going until you start seeing benefit...then keep going, especially with the positive part of the journaling.
You can do this. I have a good feeling about you. I think you're the kind of person who does what she sets out to do. Believe in yourself, and never give up. You can be the kind of person, wife and mother you want to be.
My very best to you,
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