Sunday, July 31, 2016

Mental Health Day for Moms

There are very few things that I miss about being in the "working world": I don't miss the commute, or the politics, or the meetings, or the difficult clients, or the difficult bosses. I DO miss the paycheck. But most of all, right now, I miss the ability to take a mental health day now and then.

I didn't take mental health days often when  was working, but there were times when I absolutely needed to give myself a brief pause, a one-day respite from the pressures of what I did all day long. I never abused the privilege, and I'm certain that I was more productive because of those moments I took to take a figurative breath and gather myself.

But as a stay-at-home parent, I don't get mental health days often.

Let me say, first thing, that my husband is AWESOME about giving me those days whenever he can. He often comes home from work, takes one look at my face, and offers to take us out for supper so I don't have to cook. He even offers to take the kids without me so I can have a few hours to myself. On weekends, he'll take the kids for the whole day if I ask him to. But sometimes I find myself having a spontaneous mental meltdown in the middle of the day when he's at work, or on a day when he's not around.

Today is one of those days.

A lot of my acquaintances are probably surprised to hear this. On the surface, I seem to come off as a capable, competent parent. (So people tell me, anyway.) And at a certain level, I am. But there are other levels when I just fail at adulting. I fail at balancing my commitment to my kids with my commitment to my husband with my commitment to my multiple volunteer positions. Sometimes, I flat out drop the ball. And today, the ball is rolling, rolling far away, rolling out of my reach.

And today, I'm just going to let it go.

I'm going to do the absolute minimum I can to keep myself and my children fed and dressed and alive. I'm going to do my best to let go of all the other projects on my plate, just for today. I'm not going to stress over getting my next column written, I'm not going to the fabric store to search for that costume pattern I need, I'm not searching my house for that missing library book or that folder of music I know are both around here somewhere. I'm not going to color my hair. I'm not going to plan the dinner menu for the rest of the week. I'm not looking at my "to do" checklist for the big event I'm helping plan next month.

I'm just going to take a few deep breaths.

And tomorrow, I'll jump back into the trenches, ready to take on those projects again. Hopefully, with more energy, more focus, and more confidence.

In the words of Frasier Crane, I wish you all good mental health. Even if it means taking a mental health day from whatever you do.

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