I originally started this in June of 2019. As I said, I’m playing catch up. I not only plan to write everyday, but I also plan to have no drafts by the time I’m done the month.
Every Monday I plan to write a post checking in about Mental Health. It may include stories from the past, or it may simply be how I’m feeling at the moment. I’ve learned a lot about recognizing how I feel in the past three years. Having my son has helped with that, I need to work through how I’m feeling and deal with it for him.
I have been doing this on my Instagram stories every Monday since the Bell Let’s Talk day. I think it’s amazing that people share their stories on that day. It’s brave for people to share their stories. But I don’t think it should just be one day. Never stop sharing your story. You never know who it will help.
Just Be Happy seems like the perfect way to start off my weekly Mental Health Monday post. This one is about a lesson from my three year old. He had only been three for a month when I started it so both of our perspectives have changed a bit, but I’ll go with it.
My son is frustrating sometimes. He’s three. Kids that are three are sometimes frustrating. He’s smart. Too smart for his own good, and he’s getting to be more and more like me everyday. Edit: He’s now closer to four, but he is still very frustrating. However, frustrating in a while new way. I’ll be using examples from then and examples from now. The following is written now – in March of 2020.
I try not to be hard on myself as a Mom. But I am hard on myself. All moms are. I feel like I can be doing so many things better. I was going to write this in my journal because it feels so personal, but I need to be honest about the things that I need to improve on as a mother. I am flawed. Everybody is. I’m flawed as a person which makes me flawed as a mother. It’s hard to admit your flaws, but I will.
I have less patience than I’d like. I get frustrated easily. I wish he would listen to me. There was a point last June that Anthony got frustrated back at me. He would yell, “Just be happy, Mommy!” Those words would stop me in my tracks. He was right. I didn’t have to be frustrated, I just had to be happy. My son was asking me to be happy. How can I say no to that? He needed a happy mom, but more than that, I had to turn my thinking around and find my happiness. It was right in front of me. I just had to see it.
I’ve watched him this year, and I’ve noticed that he tends to have big emotions just like his Mom. A few months ago, he told me he was sad, but he wasn’t able to tell me why. That scared me because I know how that feels, and I don’t want him to feel it. The good thing is he bounces back.
I still struggle with frustration and anger, and it’s something I try to work on everyday. Giving my son a timeout or simply walking away instead of yelling are things I constantly need to remind myself. I yell when I’m upset. Or I cry. I don’t like admitting this, but it’s true, and it’s me struggling with my mental health. It’s also me dealing with it, and me talking about it. Every day is a struggle. Not all day, but parts of the day. I strive to be better, and soon I will be.
Today, my son taught me another lesson in emotions. It has been a hard day. It’s been a hard week. My dog has been sick, and nights have been rough. He’s been going outside at least 3-5 times a night. When he’s not waking up to go out, my kid wakes up. I haven’t had a lot of sleep. This afternoon, I was sad because I was worried about my dog. My son asked me why I was sad, and I told him. He asked me not to be sad because when I am sad, it makes him sad. This is something he got from me as well. My mood is frequently changed by other people’s moods. It’s good that he can do that. It helps him understand other people’s emotions.
The thing is: it’s okay to be sad. He’s sad sometimes, and obviously so am I. It was a hard day, as I’ve said. I’m worried about my dog, worried about my son, I’m solo momming for a LONG time. It’s been two months. I miss my partner. Anthony misses his Dad. (And my partner misses us.) We are sad, and that’s allowed.
But, when he tells me that my sadness makes him sad, I know it’s time to try to change my mood. I need to change something in my parenting at that moment. Take him outside. Have a snack with him. Play a new game. We need to do something to take our minds off our mutual sadness.
I didn’t really take note of my emotions or my emotional well being like I should have in the past. I didn’t need to. I didn’t have a curious little toddler watching me all the time, and feeling what I was feeling. He’s made me pay attention. Not only to his own emotions, but to mine as well. I want to be better for both of us.
I’m learning how to live with anxiety. I am not on medication for it right now, but it’s not off the table. I just want to learn how to deal with it in other ways as well. It makes a difference in my parenting though. I know when it hits, and I know I need to make changes.
That’s it for my first Mental Health Monday. I’ll be back next Monday with more.
©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them