Mental Matters,  Parenting

Being A Stay At Home Mum Is Making Me Depressed

I’m writing this post on the back of a relatively sleepless week. We have two children (aged 5 & 1) and currently they are trying to end me via sleep deprivation. One wont go to bed and dicks about endlessly and the other will wake up intermittently throughout the night and vice a versa.

So, I’m definitely at my worst as I write this, definitely on a low. Lack of sleep of course makes everything worse and I know that in a day or a week, things wont feel quite so bleak and I will be able to pull myself together a bit. But its been like this for months now. A terrible low and never a high, just some relief when the days I feel I can manage come along.

My Doctor recently recommended taking anti-depressants, I’m yet to take her up on the offer, it feels like some kind of failure. After all, who can’t cope being at home looking after their own two children, one of which is at school most of the day? I ought to feel lucky, grateful and #blessed.

I love my children, there is nothing wrong with them. They are not notably naughty or bad. In fact they are bloody wonderful. It’s not them that is the problem.

I ought to recognise my privilege and stop moaning.

What kind of Mother am I? What kind of person even?

It should be easy, everyone else around me is managing just fine and they all seem to be enjoying themselves. But I feel like I’m a trapped, like this is some kind of torturous endurance test, spreading forward for years to come. Every day is the same and I am so fucking bored. The routine is monotonous, the same hard slog every day until my Husband gets home.

The only peace I get, is the 20 minute window I have at 7am to get ready before he has to leave for work. I am upstairs alone, whilst they all eat breakfast under his supervision and I can shower or brush my hair or take a shit without anyone talking to or touching me.

Throughout the day, I clock watch, looking to forward fill segments of time, telling myself that this will use up an hour or that will amuse them for 25 minutes.

I am helpless in my own existence. I no longer exist in my mind as a single being. Every thought or plan or meal is based on the perceived well being or reaction of others, and I am a numb passenger along for the ride.

I exist solely to facilitate the existence of others. I get up everyday with the sole purpose of feeding and clothing and maneuvering other people where they need to be or go. I am everybody’s sound board, everybody’s referee, everybody’s physical and emotional support system. I am the Administrator of everyone’s lives, they can defer to me like a calendar or a diary.

Of course, I know this is parenting and it involves a big dollop of self sacrifice. I knew I would find it challenging and exhausting, I didn’t think I would dread it. I didn’t think it would be bore me shitless.

I can feel my brain cells dying.

Circumstance has led me here. If I had the choice, I’d like to be with my children for just half the week and working the rest. But as it stands I could work Part or Full Time and never be able to cover the child care costs. When we did the Maths after my Maternity Leave ended, it actually came out of as a deficit. My Husband earns more than me, so he had to carry on earning the money and I had to look after the kids.

I have no other choice, I have fallen into this role and I have to do it. There are no days off, no annual leave, no weekends away from my workplace. No luxurious, solitary commute to work. I cannot relocate or hand in my notice or just throw a sickie.

People keep telling me to take ‘some time for myself’, like I have the time and money to just do something. I don’t have either. They like to tell me that I should ‘get out more’, like I have some place to go.

I don’t look after myself. I eat crap all day because I am bored. I am not a factor on my ever lasting list. I used to get my hair cut, my eyebrows waxed. I used to shave my legs on the regular and wear make up everyday. I was never fancy or cared excessively about my appearance but I did used to consider myself important enough to bother a bit.

I haven’t had new clothes in almost two years. I haven’t replaced my make up from when I used to work and now its long run out. The thought of spending £60 on foundation and lipstick is alien to me, when I could get an entire weeks food shop in Aldi for the same.

I can’t relate to Mum’s who “treat themselves” and I am surrounded by them everyday. All these M&S dresses or date nights on Instagram don’t exist in my World. We do not have any expendable income, every penny is budgeted for. If by some miracle we found ourselves with a little spare, I wouldn’t dream of spending it on myself and nor would my husband.

I’m utterly convinced that being a stay at home Mum is not the best thing for me and my mental health, but that it is the best thing for our family unit. I’ve always been pre-disposed to depression of course but being a SAHM has acted as a trigger. It’s like cabin fever after a few days when you are sick and have to stay home, except you’re not sick and it’s just your life.

It’s like that the age old Utilitarian question: would you kill 1 person to save 100?

Of course you would.

photo credit: muffinn Italy – Tuscany – Florence – walking the children via photopin (license)
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