15 Apr
There’s Not Enough Wine In The World For This Burned Out Mom

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’m 25, the mother of 3 boys, and I’m a tired mom…and not the usual “tired” like every mom is. I’m talking about the kind of tired that leads me to sleep all the time, not want to clean, or even go too far out of my way to create a magical day for my kids. Don’t get me wrong: I love them with every ounce of my being, I just cant do what I used to anymore. I’ve been a house wife/stay at home mom for 6 years now. Additionally, my husband is in the military, so in the past 6.5 years we have lived in 5 different houses. I used to be able to do all the cooking, all the cleaning, all the laundry, and my boys (I’m proud to say) are most of the time extremely well behaved.

I’ve been on anti-depressants for over a year now, due to suicidal thoughts, which of course I’m not proud of (and if I don’t delete that line before I click the “submit” button, I’ll be surprised.) They keep me well balanced; however, my husband wants me off of them asap because its not “normal” to need a pill to be happy. (That’s a whole other email, in and of itself).

Nothing seems to help me “recharge”. I go out with friends every once in a while (though child care is really too expensive) and I don’t even want to go home. My husband doesn’t understand why I can’t do what I did the first 5 years (his words exactly), and no matter how many times I explain I’m burned out, it doesn’t change anything.

What are some (actual) helpful tips to help get back to being “happy mommy”? A hot bath and a glass of wine aren’t cutting it. Child care is not in our budget, and my husband is not a reliable source for helping me get out of the house alone.

Help!

Signed,

Burned Out Mom

__________________________________________________

Dear Burned Out Mom,

Oh, girl, where do I begin?

I suppose the obvious would be best: you should know first and foremost that you are not alone in this. Motherhood is often like trying to tame wildebeests while the rest of the world watches and reminds you to “enjoy this precious time.” Meanwhile, you’re all, “Enjoy?  THAT THING JUST BIT MY ARM.”

Secondly, I’m worried that your husband’s inability to support you emotionally and physically is not helping your situation. As you said, that is another situation in and of itself, but it’s not one to be taken lightly. His lack of empathy or concern for your experience is alarming and is something you need to address with him as soon as you feel confident and strong enough to do so. Couples counseling is great for this. As a fellow military wife, I can say for certain that it saved my little wildebeest family.

So let’s get to your question, then: how can you get back to being a happy mommy? The answer is so obvious that it eluded me, even, for years. You need to ask yourself (and then answer honestly and fully): what makes you happy? Don’t think yet about practicality. Just answer the question. For instance, I needed to realize that accomplishments, achievements, and intellectual stimulation make me happy. (All of which, it seems important to note here, are very difficult to seek while in the company of a drooling human that poos itself on the regular.)

Eventually, I was able to find this with part-time work, exercise, and a closer, more fulfilling relationship with my husband and family. Like you, money for childcare was an issue, but there are ways to make things happen. Reach out to neighbors and friends for childcare. Find a gym that comes with free child watch. Look for an exciting job you can do from home. Sure, the laundry will continue to pile up, but the most important point I can make to you–and I cannot emphasize this enough–is that you mustmustMUST take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. Live a life you enjoy, and suddenly finding new ways to cook chicken breast, the ongoing drone of Little Bill, and bathrooms that perpetually smell of urine are no longer so utterly oppressive.

Good luck, momma. Find some friends, talk to your therapist, and be confident in yourself. There’s nothing here to be ashamed of. Take it from me: I’m awesome at murdering chicken breast.

Kristine, TMH

11 Responses to “There’s Not Enough Wine In The World For This Burned Out Mom”

04.15.13#1

Comment by Karin.

You can’t do it alone. I hope your husband can find a way to support you (couples counseling sounds like a good start) – would he expect you to overcome thyroid disease without meds? Same deal – your brain chemistry is out of whack. Sometimes it needs a kickstart and sometimes it needs maintenance. Along those lines, go back to your doc and tell him what you told us – that you can barely get out a bed in the morning and want to sleep all day – your meds may need to be adjusted. Good for you for taking care of yourself!

Wow! 5 houses in 6 years – that’s not enough time in each place to grow a good support system to find yourself hiding in “wide and mother” – I know military folks have more resources for this than most folks but not everybody is cut out for picking up so often. We moved 10 months ago and I’m just feeling like this is home now – to pick up and move again would be difficult for me. I hope your hubby gets stationed some place stable for a while and if he’s deployed, you can go to your hometown if that’s a supportive and comforting place for you.

04.15.13#2

Comment by Stephanie.

I’d like to add time. It takes time, and it also takes patience with yourself. It took me two full years after I finished having kids to feel really ‘normal’ again, mostly because I had twins who ran me ragged all day and then didn’t sleep through the night for 2 years. Things will become normal again, but, by all means, see a professional – a psychiatrist and a therapist – until you feel stronger. And your husband’s issue with you being ‘normal’ is HIS issue with being normal, not yours. You know what you need to do to be healthy. Stick to that and the rest will come. Good luck.

04.15.13#3

Comment by Diane429.

I’ve been there too, and it sucks. One suggestion I’d add is to ask the doctor who’s prescribing your anti-depressant if she/he could/would prescribe a different one. Humans are all different, and we don’t all respond to the same drug in the same way. Hang in there!!

04.15.13#4

Comment by megbeverly.

As a military wife, I hear you. As a mom, I hear you. As someone on anti-depressants, I hear you.

One, your prescription isn’t right. Go to the doctor.

Two, your husband isn’t right. Women’s hormones are ROCKED by having babies. Add to that the stress of moving and making new friends and a spouse with a stressful job, and you’ve got a nightmare. Talk to him. Have your doctor talk to him. He’s not helping you.

Three, as hard as it is with kids, exercise to whatever degree you can. Whenever I feel like I’m going to lose it, I go for a fast walk. I try to walk our dog every other day, too. Getting those hormones bouncing around does wonders.

Hang in there, you can do this, but you don’t need to do it alone.

Kelcey Reply:

I agree with MegBeverly that you are not on the right med. I don’t think you husband understands depression. That’s what you are dealing with here. He needs to understand that you don’t just have the blues… you are dealing with depression (a real illness) and you need to find the right medication. Couples counseling a must.

04.15.13#5

Comment by ckirk.

As a military wife myself, I also struggled with depression. I was having a really hard time being happy, not working and comparing my accomplishments with my husbands, and I would hardly speak up for myself. There are many outlets the military provides, check out military one source (they provide free counseling), not sure what branch you’re in, but the Air Force has the Airmen & Family Readiness Center that has many programs to help.

Its hard to make someone happy when you aren’t happy yourself, it seems like it might be time for some marriage counseling (which saying the right words tricare will pay for it), it might help your husband understand you more and see where you’re coming from.

Good Luck! You’ll be in my thoughts.

04.16.13#6

Comment by HerMelness.

Reach out to people who will give you their honest take and own life experiences with the same issues – or who will just listen to you without judgement.

Oh, you’ve done that. Well done. Put that on the list of ‘Something I did to help myself today.’

With love, HerMelness

04.16.13#7

Comment by Betty Herbert.

Kristine hits the nail on the head here: your husband’s lack of empathy isn’t a ‘whole other email’ – it’s right at the heart of how you’re feeling. Being a mother is not like a normal job. It’s endless, brutal and exhausting. All of those things can be true while you love your children to bits.
It sounds to me a lot like you’re living your life to support other people, and maybe you’re just sick of it. You’re allowed. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about what you want out of life, rather than what everyone else wants of you.
x

04.19.13#8

Comment by Tick Tock Goes My Biological Clock, But My Husband Wants To Wait | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] becoming a parent is life-changing and amazing and full of joy, it also has intense moments of stress that can test even the strongest of […]

04.26.13#9

Comment by sisterfunkhaus.

If it were me and my husband couldn’t be bothered to be a reliable source of “childcare” I wouldn’t be a reliable source for meals, laundry or sex. He is the father of those children and should being doing his part to make sure you get a break. He also isn’t supportive of your mental health issues, which rubs me wrong in all kinds of ways.

You guys need couples counseling really badly.

05.01.13#10

Comment by MJ.

Burnt-Out Mom, you do not sound like you’re burnt out, you sound like you’re suffering from depression! You say you’re already on meds so please keep taking them! Depression can make you so tired that you want to stay in bed all day. It can turn you into a “I used to do x,y, z but now I just do nothing” kind of person. I speak from experience and taking a pill for depression IS NOT taking a pill to be happy, it’s taking a pill to adjust the chemicals in your brain that aren’t working properly. If they were “happy pills”, you’d be happy right now and there’d be no need to write this letter, right? There is NOTHING abnormal about needing medication for an illness. Would your husband tell you to get off insulin ASAP if you were diabetic? What about if you needed a heart transplant? Would he tell you to re-think your heart back into shape? No, because that’s ridiculous and depression is an illness, not something that’s your fault or that you caused. Your brain is an organ just like your liver or your kidneys. It makes me so mad to hear that your husband (your life partner, someone who should have your back no matter what, the person who said they’d be with you until death did you part) is telling you that you’re not normal, is saying that taking antidepressants isn’t normal because that’s just awful! I feel for you and I think therapy would be a really good idea to go along with the antidepressants. The pills don’t do everything, they just help your brain chemicals get back to normal but they need help to get that job done. And therapy helps you because you talk about what’s going on and sometimes just saying something aloud can help you get through it. Just remember that as with any new person, a therapist’s personality might not click with yours so if you don’t like the first one, try another and another until you find one who does click with you. And if money’s a concern, please check for places you can go that will do counseling or therapy on a sliding scale (and I’d hope that since you’re a military family you at least have good health benefits but I don’t want to assume anything). Remember, even if you have to pay for the therapy, it’s money that’s well spent because it’s spent on getting you better. It’s like going to physical therapy when you hurt your knee. And suicidal thoughts are serious. I used to tell myself that my suicidal thoughts weren’t serious because I never acted on them. Well that’s silly because if I had acted on them, they’d either be suicidal attempts or suicide! I’m silly like that and I hope you know that there are other people out here who know what it’s like to suffer from depression and who’ve made it through. You need to make sure that you’re there for those wonderful kids of yours for many years to come. For me it was my nieces & nephews that kept me going (and my cats). Depression can be a fatal disease so please help yourself and remember, I’m rooting for you!

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