Being a work at home mom, I tend to overwork myself, even when I know it’s unhealthy for myself. Many moms I know tend to put themselves at the bottom of the family totem pole, and I am guilty of that. VERY GUILTY. It’s only when mom gets sick or has a nervous breakdown does she truly realize that she is the nucleus of the family. Without her, things just don’t run as they should. But when she’s overworked, stressed, and has a terrible sense of self, how well can she run that family even when she’s getting by? Not very well. This is the lesson I learned this month.
My son got a cough, then my husband, then me. It was bad-it was more than a cough or a cold. This one led to some respiratory issues and it lasted about 3 weeks before showing any signs of going away. Previous to me getting the bug, I’d been overworking myself with my job, my freelance jobs, guilting myself over housework, guilting myself for not doing my best as a mom, feeling depressed and then feeling guilty about that, trying to fit in laundry and dishes, guilting myself for being unhealthy, dealing with the stress of a difficult teenage girl, a very difficult two year old going through the terrible twos, and an otherwise easy middle son who was feeling ignored and slipping at school. My job and getting more freelance work was something I felt was for myself, and necessary, as working from home hasn’t matched up my old income from working for a corporation yet. But, it was starting to become an escape, and not a healthy one. Finally my mind and body had had enough of my crap, and my immune system shut down. I got that virus and ended up having to go to Urgent Care. I couldn’t breathe or sleep for 3 nights. Truth be told though, I hadn’t been able to sleep right in a long time, and not just because of a nursing child. My mind was riddled with stress of all kinds. The pain in my chest started more mental and emotional than physical, but it was manifesting itself into the physical and grown into pain in my digestive area and then acid reflux. So when I got sick, I realized what I had done to myself.
So shifting my priorities now. Taking care of my health and making sure I eat right again. Being active again-starting a little slow because of the weight gain that all the cortisol from the stress had caused. Reconnecting with the kids-and they in turn have reciprocated my efforts and have been helping me with the housework more, without me having to nag half as much. I even reconnected with my daughter after having been disconnected for about 6 years now (that was a BIG one). Rocky even sleeps through the night! He even had his first 2 night sleepover at the grandparents’ house which was a miracle! I’m not going to say all my problems are solved but they never will all be solved will they? It’s all in how I handle it-and I know if I want to avoid another WORSE physical breakdown, I need to keep my chin up and remind myself why I’m staying at home in the first place. I could get more work done easier in an office, but the reason I decided to stay home and work from here is to be here for my family. And I have to remember that to be truly HERE for my family, I need to take care of myself, too.