I haven’t written in a while because it’s an odd time. It feels like there is everything and nothing to say at the same time. We are in the midst of a global pandemic and the second coming of the Civil Rights movement, which makes me feel like my quippy mom posts are irrelevant and even inappropriate at a time like this. But maybe that’s what some of us need – a welcome distraction from the doom that’s shoved in our faces every time we look at our phones.
Balancing mom life and work life is hard, especially when they take place in the same room. Being a mom is hard, being a mom during a pandemic is harder. I applaud the moms with older children who have to explain what is happening and why they can’t have playdates, go to the playground, or go to school. I’m fortunate that my little one is still more or less a blob. A playful blob, but a blob nonetheless.
It’s funny, as I write this I keep thinking about how much this blog has changed. It was intended to be a place of sarcasm and farce about the random escapades of my 20s. Then it morphed into a place to talk about the harder things, like mental health, and now I see myself attempting to turn towards “mommy blogger”. True, the internet is flooded with these blogs about making playdough and how to talk to your toddler about not being an asshole, but maybe mine will be different because I’m slightly different from these moms. I’m a mom with bipolar disorder. And while there are many of us (we have a Facebook group!) our stories are not always the ones that pop up on your feed.
Maybe people don’t want to read about avoiding mania while managing sleep deprivation or letting your child safely play with your pill bottles (they make great rattles!), but I have yet to stumble upon a mommy blogger or vlogger that talks about her little ones as much as her mental health. And while I’m not about to start a YouTube channel or commit to a daily blog, perhaps I could share more of my insight into being a mom with a mental illness. It certainly isn’t easy but it is definitely doable.
I used to think that I could never have a child because of my mental health issues. I thought it would be too much and I wouldn’t be able to handle it, but life has a way of giving you just enough that you can handle it. Being a mom is definitely hard. When people ask me what it’s like I usually give them the bullshit answer we all do. We smile and say, “It’s amazing”. And it is. But it’s also stressful, tiring, and thankless. And that’s for any mom, throw in a mental illness and you will reach new levels of exhausted. Then there are all the moms who suffer from postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. Where are their stories? I’m getting a little tired of listening to moms go through their Walmart grocery delivery while avoiding the hard parts.
My son shit on me. He had a blowout while he was sitting on my lap. Twice. Where was that part in the YouTube video? No one warns you about that. They tell you about the blowouts but not that they’ll occur while your child is on you. I know i’m all over the place right now and you’re probably thinking, “Kate, pick a lane”, but that’s how my brain works right now. It’s all over the place because there are a million things I need to be thinking about at all times. It’s made my anxiety return after the nice vacation I got from it during pregnancy. I’ve had two panic attacks since my son was born, which is honestly pretty good. But if you’ve ever had one you know they’re scary and they’re hard and they’re always incredibly inconvenient. Especially when your child is in the next room. You don’t want them to see you so you put them in a safe place and then fall apart in the bathroom.
That’s another part about motherhood no one told me about. The breakdowns. Now that my son is 6 months old we’ve gotten into a better groove, but in the beginning the breakdowns were plentiful. The “I can’t do this” and the “this is too hard” moments. I know more are to come. I know toddler life is going to bring about a whole new world of stress and “why would you do that”, “put that down”, and “how in the world did you get up there” moments. I know more panic attacks are on their way and more bouts of depression. Because they never go away.
Being a mom is hard, but it really is amazing at the same time. It is the single craziest thing I’ve ever done yet I would choose it over and over again. My son can make me feel happiness in a way I didn’t know I could. So maybe I’ll keep blogging about it and about mental health because the two go hand in hand in my life. My life consists of medication check ins, nap time struggles (though we’re getting better), exercising for sanity, avoiding getting peed on, and endless snuggles and giggles. Being a mom with bipolar disorder is hard, but not impossible and I think more people need to know that.