Thursday, May 24, 2012

Motherhood: Finding You Again

This year has been life changing to say the least. A second child, new career, moving again, all while trying to be a good mother, wife, daughter, sister and person. These life changes were a trigger to depression. I seen it a mile away and could only ignore it for so long. I tried to cry for help, but it took a while to get my point across. Maybe I wasn't crying loud enough. Maybe I wasn't yelling loud enough. Or maybe my family couldn't read my mind like I thought! What do you mean guys can't read our minds?!?! In the end I learned that it was up to me to pick up my feet and get the help I needed.  Telling your family you think you have PPD is one of the hardest things you ever have to do.

I read the parenting books. I read up on articles on making decisions on becoming a SAHM or going back to work after my maternity leave was up. Early on in my career I knew I wanted to stay home with the kids for a few years before going back to work. That decision was easier said then done. I fell in love with momstown. It was a life saver to me and I wanted to help others. I knew this was just what Winnipeg needed. I had always dreamed of being an entrepreneur too, so I was excited to take on this opportunity.

So my plan to be a SAHM went on hold. I now have two jobs. I'm a work at home mom running a very busy and growing business. Plus I still have my son at home during the days. Juggling kids and work is a challenge!

What I didn't realize was the fight I'd have in my head with being happy at home raising the kids and trying to run a business. My husband and I are sacrificing a lot in order to do this. Being a SAHM and a WAHM is a sacrifice financially and emotionally. Heck, having kids is a sacrifice! We don't go on fancy holidays. We don't go to concerts. Fine dinning now consists of Perkins - did you know kids eat free on Mondays and Tuesdays?!?! I now trim my own hair. I visit the salon once a year. Here's a tip to moms on a budget - don't colour your hair lighter. Roots show up before your budget allows you to go to the salon to touch it up. But it's worth it right? I'm at home with my kids. My job has flexible hours. I am fortunate to have a husband that has a successful career so I even have this option. Yes, I know I'm fortunate!

So why do I have this guilt? Why I'm I stressed right out? Why am I not happy? I wish I had the answers. I wish this article was about tips for moms going through similar struggles on what to do with your life. All I can say is motherhood hit me with a ton of bricks. Did you read my blog on Motherhood: Perception vs Reality?

I feel guilty that my dreams affect my husband. We can't even afford for him to travel and see his brother get married. Because of my dreams to be a SAHM and an entrepreneur. I haven't bought my husband a present for his birthday in three years. Oh no wait, two years ago he got a bag of his favourite chips from our daughter.

I DO KNOW that the guilt will never leave. Have you ever sat there, spaced out on the couch, having an entire conversation with yourself in your head. Rationalizing the two sides. I call it Mama Guilt Syndrome. Some of us have a more severe case then others. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm a 9. I use to be a 10. I now leave the house without the kids and go on dates with my husband without panicking for leaving the kids in the care of someone else. But on a daily basis I still have a conversation in my head about my personal life. If I go back to work (outside of the home) we'd have a lot more money but I'd feel guilty for sending the kids off to daycare or guilty for working long hours. If I don't have the business and just focus on the kids I would have a personal guilt of losing my skills and falling behind in my career. I do hear with time the mama guilt begins to fade...... I look forward to my 40s.

Motherhood is not easy. We hear of the challenges of raising kids, dealing with tantrums, dealing with diaper rash, getting them to sleep through the night, deciding on a parenting method, the list goes on and on. But deciding what to do with our lives isn't a big topic. Why? It's probably one of the most important and a big factor in PPD. We put our careers on hold for our children. We put our lifestyles on hold...... actually we change our lifestyles! I'm sporting sneakers and tights now, not heels and dress pants. My lunch consists of drive-thu at Wendy's while the kids are passed out in the back seat, not lunch with my coworkers on the patio at Earls. I drive a mini-van!

So what is in store for me? I don't know. I have a fight in my mind on a daily basis on what to do with my life. What do I want to be when I grow up? How do I get the old me back? I feel like I'm defined by motherhood now. It is a personal journey that I'm going through and will take time to work it's way through. Just like every other mother out there is going through their own personal journey, making life decisions that no longer just affect themselves.

What I can say is my life is definitely not boring! It's just different. Instead of late nights, fancy dinners, last minute seat sale vacations and sleeping in until noon, it's playing in a sandbox, watching my son take his diaper off and eat his own poo (yes that DID happen) and watching my kids take their first steps and speak their first full sentence. It's these moments when the world around me stops and my life feels balanced. I have a three year old and a one year old to thank for that. These little wonders define the small moments in my life.

Motherhood is more then just raising kids. It's about finding a balance of raising a family, being the wife your husband fell in love with, being the friend your best friends laughed with during those late night girls night outs, following your values without letting the latest parenting trend make you question your decisions and making changes without sacrificing your happiness.

So to all the mothers out there struggling with their journey, remember you are not alone. Seek out a friend, vent on the momstown message board or talk to your partner or mom. It will all work it's way out, and while you are figuring out which path to take, remember to sit back and enjoy those moments when the world around you stops and your life feels balanced.


  1. If only we all had a crystal ball to tell us what to do! Thanks for sharing Ester, I can totally relate.

  2. great post Ester, SO honest. I feel your struggle. It's tough - those early years of raising kids are so tiring personally and physically - and it is very tough in the midst of redefining yourself. I've been there too - and I'll say one thing - the guilt DOES go away, but it's partly because you learn to let it go. Take it day by day, step by step. Forget the '5 year plan' we all once lived by - kids change everything!!

  3. I agree with Ally, the guilt goes away once you realize it's a waste of energy. You are doing great at all the things you do Ester, even if you don't feel it right now.

    Your blog reminded me of one that momstown Hamilton wrote about how supermoms are more prone to depression than others- mostly due to the self-made expectations 'supermoms' put on themselves.

  4. I struggle with what my grown up life looks like, and what my place is in the world all of the time too. I can't imagine how much harder it would be with little ones. I do know that you have had an enormously busy year, and you have handled it better than most could have. I think you're inspiring, and I'm glad that you've had the courage to share your struggle as well. It's amazing how much support, understanding, and healing come when we are able to be vulnerable. Calgary is not too far, and I'm here for you.