Do you ever have those moments as a mom where you just stop and think, “why the heck did I decide to have kids?” Maybe it is a cliche question to ask yourself, but these last few months I find that I have been playing that question over and over in my mind.
I was raised in a big Portuguese family. My family didn’t practice the well-known idea of “it takes a village”. The wife was responsible for caring for the children and the household by herself. With this mindset in mind, I rejected help when it was offered. I was determined to figure out motherhood by myself. I felt the need to be strong, and brave, and resilient through times of stress and the unknown.
A Mental Breakdown Lead Me To A Breakthrough
I took it a step further and took on the responsibility of homeschooling before it was mandatory during the pandemic. Levi just finished therapy with a few Early Start Intervention programs. I was told the school district would step in to help provide services once he turned 3 years old. His 3rd birthday just passed. We are not able to have an in-person assessment or evaluation with the school district because it is not safe due to the pandemic. I became a wife, a mom, a friend, a speech therapist, a special education teacher, and an occupational therapist.
I had a complete mental breakdown.
My mother-in-law had to come into town to care for my son because I just couldn’t; and that is a really hard truth to admit. I felt as if I had completely lost my identity. I started reviewing my past and wondering what my life would have looked like if I had waited longer to have a child or chose not to have one at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son. I am my son’s biggest advocate and love him and the little man he is becoming. Whether I realized it or not, I was sacrificing my physical and mental health in the pursuit of being the “Perfect Mom”.
The “Perfect Mom”
What does that even mean, the “Perfect Mom”? I imagine that phrase looks different for each woman. For me, I wanted my son to have every opportunity offered to him despite his health and delays.
My breakdown helped me to take a step back and make the conscious decision to not be the “Perfect Mom”. I didn’t need to be the “Perfect Mom”, I just needed to be “Levi’s Mom”.
Sometimes my plan for the day won’t work out and the day feels unproductive. Other days, I noticed that I yell more than I want to. Usually, most days feel like they are bad days. So our family started a new tradition. Each night, when we sit down at the dinner table, we share the best and worst part of our day. We found that it is a great way to not only reconnect with our little family, but it also helps us to remember the positive moments and things we did right.
For all you mamas out there struggling to get through the days with your kids, take a moment at the end of the day with your family to reflect on the good and the bad because we can’t truly appreciate the positive moments without the negative ones reminding us to push through.