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I Took A Mental Health Day & Went to Work...

A day at work is the stay-at-home Mom's mental health retreat. When did this happen?! Today. It happened today. My poor mother in law filled my shoes as a stay-at-home Gigi with my three littles (ages 4 and under 😮) I know she had A DAY. A day with the kids at my house can best be described as "relentless". 
Jason being overrun by children as he is attempting to sit down. 
There are no breaks. There is no quiet. There is no sitting down- unless you like being pummeled by two thirty pound monkeys the entire time. There is no accomplishing a task in one attempt. You know what I did today? I took apart a pair of sunglasses and cleaned them and put them back together uninterrupted. And guess what? It felt so good. I realized that it was actually healthy for me to be able to focus on one thing at a time. 

A mother in the early stages of motherhood is probably the most frazzled creature you've ever met. 

There are children literally hanging on to your body, whining incoherently about illogical injustices that have been done to them. In spite of your most valiant attempts to reconcile ALL the problems of the day, most days you feel like you got nowhere and you just "survived" the day. And look, I get it. "The time goes so fast!" "They will be grown up before you know it!" "Enjoy every moment!" (Listen Linda, YOU step into my shoes for a day and try to enjoy every moment. Let me know how that goes for you.)

Children in their natural state. 
I've been analyzing my mental state a lot lately, because quite honestly, I've gotten to levels of "scattered" that have me concerned for myself. I have a natural tendency to be disorganized but the pressure of these last few years has really exacerbated my dysfunctional ways and has ushered in a feeling of losing myself that I haven't experienced before. I mean, college wasn't a great time for me either... but I digress. 

Wild and Free Jessie, circa 2011
Before I had kids, I was working as an optician - or, the person who helps you with your glasses at your eye doctor's office. I can fix your eyeglasses if they are broken or crooked. I can help you pick a great frame that works for your face shape, Rx and personal style. I know how eyeglass lenses work. I understand the technology and I can fit you with the most appropriate lens for your needs. Mama got skills. So back to today... a few weeks ago, my old boss asked me if I could fill in for his current optician one day when she was going to be out for vacation. We could use the extra money and it seemed like it would work out so I agreed to come in. I was nervous because I hadn't worked in almost 3 yrs! But I thought it would be a good change of pace for me, even just to do something different than the regular routine of diapers, snacks, movies, repeat. 

"Cheeeeese!... can we have some cheese? And some more chips???"
I had such a good day. I'm not saying I want to give up being a stay at home Mom, but my goodness, absence does make the heart grow fonder, folks. Back in my wild and free days, I remember thinking that work was so confining and stressful. Patients can be difficult to please, sometimes glasses don't work the way you planned, some days are very hectic. But now I know: work is like a spa day compared to daily toddler wrangling. 

Listen, Linda, listen, let me just stop you there before you get all upset with me about comparing working mothers to stay at home mothers and tooting my own horn. Moming is hard. It doesn't matter if you are a working Mom or a home Mom - dealing with poop 💩is the great equalizer. No glory there. 

I had a mental health day... at work. 

I had an organized day full of tasks that I could accomplish competently and uninterrupted. It was like exercise for my brain. No, like yoga for my brain. Ohmmmmm. ✌

Sometimes, it's hard to find a reason to take a day to regroup. I probably only did this because I convinced myself that it made financial sense. This experience has shown me that I need time to decompress, by myself, drink a whole coffee before it gets cold and finish a task or two in one sitting without any whining or snack requests. 

I must conclude by saying that when the day was over and the reality of seeing my little ones again soon began to sink in, I was so excited to hug them and kiss their little faces. I missed them. So much. I realized that this was the first time I had left my littlest one for so long. He is 8 months old and he was so happy to see me. He literally hugged me repeatedly for 5 minutes when I picked him up. That, my friends, is pure joy - being hugged by a baby. So maybe Linda is right about enjoying every moment - but sometimes it takes a little perspective to get there. 

1 comment

  1. Yes! I have been a stay/work from home mom for the last 10 years and in the rare occasions that I get to work outside of the house, oh man it's kind of magical.
    Moming is hard, it is important to take time for yourself!


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