“Aargh!!!! Why is this happening to me?” These are the words that keep pounding on my head— like a constant music background every single day for months before it all sank in.
It was the time of the year when both of our household help goes on their annual vacation (yes, they have to do it together at the same time for they came from the same province and their “fiesta” is one of the most anticipated events in their place. They would trade Christmas for this.). As a full-time mom, I am a bit anxious about what’s going to happen after they’re gone but at the same time excited for this month-long challenge to my domestic abilities: To be able to cook good food for the family, do the laundry, wash the dishes, clean this bigger house (we just recently moved in), to take care of our wonderful kids and do all other stuffs while singing with all smiles on my face. I’m a super mom. I can do this!
And it happened. Except for the “while singing with all smiles on my face”. It was often frowns and an aching body that accompanied my homemaking experience.
Piles of dishes on the sink, laundry for five, demanding kids waiting to be served, thinking what’s to cook for the next meal, clean this bigger house, the cry about of my extra clingy toddler, doing things triple times (bath, feed, teach- do all kiddy stuffs three times in a day! How much more those with more than 3? I salute you!) I wanted to sing Celine Dion’s song every moment of it: All by myself… with matching crying on the sides. I don’t even have time to take care of myself anymore. Even a simple chat with friends was impossible. Why is this happening to me? I felt so exhausted just thinking I will have to run the same show again the next day. Aside from my aching joints and back pains, my frustration gets to my head and I felt no good about myself. Why am I the one who needs to do all of these? Why can’t I make everything on time and perfectly? I am better off doing other kinds of stuff than all of these dirty works. I don’t deserve to be treated like this. Hindi ako katulong (I am not a helper). Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong to be a househelp. I actually realized they’re a blessing. But that moment I really felt insignificant and worthless. I felt so depressed. I felt so low that little by little I saw how my negative behavior affected not only me but also my family. My temper would show up in a snap. There were times I thought of just hurting my kids when they become extra uncontrollable. I would cry and talk to them as if they were adults. I would find myself staring blankly somewhere wondering when will this chaos end. There was no joy in my heart at all.
I dwell with this feeling for months. One day I looked at myself in the mirror and said to myself, “wow, what happened to you, Andrea?” That’s when I realized, I seriously needed help.
I decided to give time to meet again with one of my beloved fellowship groups after months of this chaotic, almost devastating moment of my life. How I miss talking to people! I felt a sense of relief as I shared my struggle. From our conversation, I was reminded of a few things:
- I’m a mom and it’s my role to nurture the family. Rather than being toxic, I have to be focused on my God-given ability to serve and love my family unconditionally. It is not easy and will never be but being a mom means the opportunity to raise up little souls to be the best God wanted them to be. And being the “monster mom” I have been will never make it happen. The more time I spent with them means more chances to influence them. So why not make every moment count.
- I should learn to have a break. I was thinking I’m a superwoman and I can do it all day. Yes, we moms are super, but we also get tired. If we don’t find time to rest from this demanding routine of life, we will eventually get burnt out and can negatively affect our well being. But if we intentionally find for ourselves time off—even activities like reading a book, writing a blog, meeting with friends, doing something that you love, can give you a diversion for a while. This can give you a recharge and can also improve your overall well being.
- Depression can be experienced by anybody. When I was younger, I thought depression happens only to broken-hearted people. Now I know it can also happen to tired moms— and to anybody else. You see, I am just in the comforts of my home and with the people whom I love most in this earth yet I felt exhausted, hopeless, and frustrated with myself. It may not be evident outside but it develops despair inside of me. When you feel something is not good, seek help. Talk to someone that you know can understand what you’re going through. You may wonder, where is my loving husband in all of these? Although I know he’ll be always there for me, I didn’t bother to seek help from him because I didn’t want to burden him knowing how dreadful his own job is. But if there is a chance, he always makes it a point to relieve me, even for a while. But yeah, your husband should be the first person to know your feelings because he is your life partner.
Having my small group is a big help to maintain my sanity because I can talk to them anything under the sun. Sometimes we may feel we’re all alone in this but in reality, each of us has our own unique struggles. Talking to a trusted person can shed light on your dilemma. Some of them have been in the same situation and can give you advice on how did they get through it.
Also, we should be careful dealing with other people and be extra kind to them if possible, because we never know if they are also experiencing depression.
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself first. You can’t give something you don’t have. Being a mom is a 24/7 job. Since moms are innately selfless, we are too busy taking care of others without first taking care of ourselves. We should keep ourselves healthy inside and out to give the best version of us to the people that we love. Aside from physical fitness, we should also give importance to our mental wellness. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also impacts how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
- Pray for endurance and wisdom. We can never do anything on our own. We need God’s grace to be strong for ourselves and for our families. We may be facing different challenges right now and we may feel down at times but the power of God won’t fail us. I was so focused on the problem that I forgot I have a great God. This bible verse reminded me to be joyful in everything I do, even when with trials:
“ Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
This supposedly month-long challenge became a year-long one (yes, our helpers enjoyed their vacation so much). I salute all moms who gave their best to their families— with or without helpers. You are all an inspiration to a thriving mom like me. I have been down with the overwhelming chores and emotional stress but overall this experience gave me a new perspective: to always look on the bright side of things and thank the Lord for the learning opportunities along the way.
This is motherhood to me lately. Chaotic but beautiful.
About The Author
Andrea is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia Topical Oil user.