Parenting

Coming home

It’s always hard to come back to blogging after being away from it for so long. I don’t know what happened last November. Well, I do know what happened, I’m just not sure why I stopped writing. Maybe I couldn’t handle it anymore? Maybe it was all becoming too much?

I wrote here last year about my depression. In November, it basically came to a head. Nothing drastic, but just the constant, crushing feeling of worthlessness. Purposelessness. Hopelessness. Feelings of uselessness, questioning why I’m here and what I’m doing with my life. My college roommate said in her toast at my wedding that if I’m upset, Chris should just give me a little time to be on my own, and eventually I’ll come back to him, better than I was. Last fall, I needed that time on my own, every day, for days on end. And I could get it, usually. Sam was still taking two naps, and I was taking them with him. We’d pick up CJ from school, come home, and camp out on the couch until Chris got home from work, and then he and I would haggle over what to do about dinner. Of course I had nothing prepared. Of course the house was a constant mess. I felt like being a stay-at-home mom was what I’d always wanted to be, but it had been six months, and WHY WASN’T I MAKING IT WORK? It seemed like such an easy job, from the outside. From my office, where I sat for 40 hours (or more) a week, staring at my computer, staying at home seemed like the right answer, the best answer. I couldn’t wait to get up and leisurely make coffee, spend the day in my pajamas, cuddle with my baby and catch up on my DVR’d shows while we hung out at home. But it was nothing like that. Nothing. And I couldn’t get a grip on all the new responsibilities I now had, and I felt like I was failing.

So I went inside myself for a while. I hunkered down in bed when I could. I limped downstairs to the couch when I couldn’t. The kids were always fed, they always seemed happy to entertain themselves with the toys in the playroom. But when Daddy would come home there was a shift in the atmosphere, almost a sigh of relief from the three of us. Daddy would take care of us. Daddy would help. Daddy would pick up the pieces of yet another useless, unproductive day.

I talked a little bit before about going to see a doctor and getting a new depression medicine, which I did. And it is helping me incredibly. I am no longer confined to horizontal surfaces. I make breakfast for the kids each day, and yes it’s cereal but at least we sit down and eat it together. I make lunch for CJ and coffee for me and sometimes even a to-go cup for Chris on his way out the door. The biggest thing is that now I can grocery shop without stress. For whatever reason, when I’m depressed, I get hung up on grocery shopping. Why can’t I go grocery shopping like everyone else? Why is it so hard for me? I ask myself over and over, from the comfort of the pillow fortress I’ve created for myself in my bed. But it’s not just the shopping—it’s the meal planning, the ingredient buying, the organization of the list by sections in the store. If I forget something after a two-hour trip (during which I usually go to two separate stores), I am devastated. As if going back to the store tomorrow is the worst thing in the world, worse than death, worse than taxes, worse than eating the last Milano and realizing you don’t have another bag.

But now I can grocery shop. I plan meals for two weeks and I buy the stuff for the meals and I make at least one extra trip to the store each week and I get more bananas, lettuce, or this week, more salt (who runs out of salt? Who am I?). And that makes me feel accomplished, and proud. And then I cook the dinners that I planned and my husband comes home and eats them with his family and I feel proud again, like I provided for them and did my share of the work, my share as a SAHM.

Sometimes, I even do the dishes.

My list of goals for being home is long. I would love to get myself on some sort of cleaning schedule and not rush around randomly spot cleaning the house when I have a guest coming over (which this week, resulted in the urine-stained potty seat being left out in the guest bathroom). I would love to plan more consistent outings with the kids. I would love to get up 15 minutes earlier and shower every day. I would love to get dressed before noon.

But for now, I grocery shop. And from today on, I blog. I miss this; it’s like a piece of myself that’s been dormant all this time. And I know that writing is therapeutic for me. So I’m back. I’m going to try it again.

I’m home.

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4 thoughts on “Coming home

  1. Welcome home. Depression is a real illness, we who build lives despite it are strong, not weak, and you sound like you’re on your way. The right meds made all the difference for me…but then it was still a very long journey with the occasional meltdown. Be kind to yourself. Meanwhile, sunshine and fresh breezes to you today.

  2. Hi Pam. It’s Amy Bahr (Nilles now) This post resonated with me so much. Since I got sick last year with necrotizing fasciitis and had all the surgeries, I’ve been off work on medical leave for the last year. Basically a stay-at-home mom without the kids. Although I’m in PT and pain and recovering, trying to get better to go back to work, I’m also struggling with PTSD, depression, and anxiety since almost dying, coma, 9 surgeries, 2 months in the hospital, losing my body to scars, losing my hair. Since I’m a wife and staying home, my husband kinda expects dinner, laundry, and a cleanish house. But the hardest thing for me to do most of the time is go to the store, make dinner, do the dishes. It should be easy after all the hours I am used to working and how hard work was, but most of the time, I can’t get off the couch. It takes everything in me to get my “workout” in (that I make myself do or I’d die) and then put a frozen pizza in the oven. He doesn’t understand, and I don’t understand how to explain it to him. I’m thankful that someone else has gone through this and understands. I’m thankful to have found your blog. Hope all is well, girlie.

  3. Diana says:

    I love reading your blog entries, for so many reasons.
    I so admire how you put words together to tell a story, express how you feel or what you’re thinking, and really make me understand. It’s like we just had a heart to heart over a cup of coffee, but really I just absorbed your words off the screen. It still feels so personal.

    This post just reinforced to me your many gifts.
    You are an amazing communicator, in person and on paper (or the screen). I really wish you would write a book, about anything.
    You have amazing insight and know exactly what is going on with yourself, and the people in your life, probably better than they do.
    You are brave and try new things, but you always do your research first and know why you are trying them.
    You ask for and accept help when you need it, whether it’s from your husband, your friends, or a medication.
    You care enough to want to make dinner every night, and it involves more than the microwave and frozen ingredients.
    You changed your whole career around to be there for your family.
    You have high expectations, but really just for yourself. You would never fault someone else for not feeling like grocery shopping.
    You call yourself as a stay at home mom, but you still work outside the home full-time! And you give up precious sleep to do it.
    You are generous with your time, your energy and your gifts.
    Love you, girl!

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