As a special needs mom, I am often getting random advice from those who love me. “Please remember to take care of yourself also. Your mental health is so important as a special needs mom.” As much as I know they are right, I feel like it’s also kind of bull. I think that EVERYONE’s mental health is important, not just moms like me. Regular moms, “cool” moms, (Mean Girls reference, you’re welcome) and even those who AREN’T moms! Every single person deserves to live every day with peace of mind.
I know I’m not the only one but it is SO HARD for me to ask for help or even accept help when offered. Not because I don’t trust others – I love the tribe I’m blessed with! I just know I can handle everything on my own. So when the time comes every once in a while that I am feeling a little overwhelmed or weak, I often sweep it under the rug and tell myself to get over it. Before, I felt like asking for help showed weakness or the inability to care for my children and that was never acceptable in my world.
But then, I met a friend through a support group who brought me back down to earth and reminded me that it is OK to not always be OK! It is OK to admit needing help, needing a mental break, or just needing 5 minutes to breathe. It does NOT make you a failure or an unsuitable mother. It just means that you need a moment to re-group. And let me tell you, if you have the ability to do so, take advantage of those moments!
Read a book to escape the real world for a while, call your sister to talk through your stress, go for a run around the block to clear your mind or splurge on that $50 pedicure and just relax for an hour. Anything you can do to re-charge is so beneficial to not only you but your family. Those of you who are reading this that know me are likely saying “mhmm Marisa, take your own advice…” but I promise I do small things for myself very often. (Alright, maybe not running, but that is something I know some people enjoy LOL) I know that my mental stability is important for my family and if I’m ever feeling like I’m drowning or incapable of being patient with my kids, I let my other half know pretty quick. Even if that means I am just enjoying a glass of wine in silence while he gets the kids in bed and leaving the laundry for the next day. Sometimes even the smallest moments make the biggest difference in my day and help me wind (or wine…) down.
It’s OK to be overwhelmed. It’s OK to feel like life is just a lot sometimes. It’s OK to not understand what the heck is happening in your life. But it is not OK to ignore those signals from your brain. Ask for help when you need it. Accept the help when it’s offered, even if it drives you crazy to think about being out of routine for just a bit. Your self-care depends on it. And as the leader of your family, because yes, Mama, YOU ARE THE LEADER, you owe it to yourself to utilize those small moments.