I’ve been working on this post for over a month. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do this parenting gig. I’m so worn. So frazzled. So frustrated. My depression tells me that I’m not cut out to be a parent. That my kids are suffering because I’m depressed. That I’m damaging them because I have a mental illness.
People don’t talk about how hard parenting is. How exhausting. How draining. How aggravating. But they should. Maybe it would reduce the guilt parents feel when they’re overwhelmed. It’d help to know we aren’t alone. That other parents struggle too.
Parenting when you’re depressed is that much harder. Things that maybe wouldn’t have fazed a happy me, certainly take their toll. I’m not on my A Game. I don’t want to play. I don’t want to get off the couch. I don’t want to go outside. There’s very little I *do* want to do… and the part of me that has always wanted to be a parent, the part of me that has always thought I’d be the mom playing with her kids all the time, cries. I cry for the mom that I wanted to be- that I *want* to be. I knew that parenting would be hard, but I didn’t picture myself parenting through depression. When I dreamed of being a mommy, having depression was never part of the dream.
For my children, I push on. I suggest activities to do together that I feel I can cope with right now- reading stories, watching a show together, colouring, play-doh, walking… simple things. I make sure to tell my children throughout the day that I love them, that I am thankful to be their mother, that I am proud of them- with the hope that when they remember these years, they will remember that I always had a loving word for them, that I hugged and kissed them frequently, that I listened to their stories, and also, in the hope that I am reducing some of the damage I’m afraid having a parent with a mental illness will cause . I hope they one day know that I am trying, and that I fight this battle with depression harder than ever because of them.
As always, keep fighting, my friends. Don’t give up.