The other day I received a message on the Facebook page from a reader. I asked her if I could publish it anonymously, and write my response in a post.
Because I don’t think she is alone.
Here is what she wrote (published with permission):
|Today I read your “Have you moved out of your comfort zone?” post. That is the ONLY reason I have enough gumption to email you.
I don’t have 7 kids.
I don’t have a job. (Other than stay at home mom)
I don’t really have any excuses for what I am going to ask you….
Our eldest son has down syndrome. He’s almost 3 and has the mentality of a 6 month old…so say the docs.
Our next son, IS 6 months old.
My husband has no license so at 4 am we take him to work and at 6 pm we pick him up. He doesn’t make enough to support us, but I can’t get a job because no daycare wants my son because of his “Liability”….
….I’m 5’8″ and I weigh 155lbs. I hardly ever eat and when I do…it’s stuff that is SOO not good for you. I don’t exercise. I don’t sleep.
I feel like a single mom to two babies and a teenager.
I feel fat. And undesirable and just a fucking mess.
My own mom is busy doing her own stuff (I’m the fuck up kid so my family pretty much disowned me early on) so I really don’t have anyone else to ask……
How the hell did you have 7 kids, stay happily married, and get back in shape? And you seem pretty happy.
I’m lost and I have no clue what to do next other than just say screw it all and just get super fat and lazy. HELP. Any advice you have I would love to hear.
Thank you, in advance.
First, let me say that I have no degree in psychology or counseling or anything like that.
But I have had my fair share of ups and downs. So I will share my thoughts with you.
Before I do that, also know a couple things about me:
There is not one perfect thing about my life. It is messy a lot of the time. Most of the time.
My marriage is far from perfect. My kids are far from perfect. I am far from perfect.
And I can relate 100% to how you are feeling.
My details aren’t the same as yours.
But my feelings have been.
I have felt overwhelmed and exhausted and unattractive and ready to just give up.
Many, many times.
And at one point things got so bad and I was so out of control, that with four little kids at home, I downed a whole bottle of Xanax and ended up in the ER and then the looney bin at the hospital for a couple days.
That is not a place you want to be.
I guess you could say that was my hitting bottom.
So once that happened, I made a commitment to work out and lose weight.
Working out keeps my brain healthy.
And on those days that I just want to curl up in the fetal position in the corner of the bathroom — yes, I still have days like that every once in a while — I think about the kids.
What kind of mom do my kids deserve?
Well, not one who is not taking care of herself.
So, all that being said, I think there are a lot of things that can help you.
There are many things I think would make life more bearable for you. Especially right now with your hands full with two little guys.
Time for yourself and exercise would help.
But, based on your message, I think you need something else before you can get to those.
Three things, actually.
First, you need help.
And not like therapist help (although I’m a huge proponent for finding a great therapist).
I mean, you need someone to help you.
And I know you don’t have money and you don’t have family near you.
But it’s not impossible.
I don’t know how long you’ve been following my blog.
But about a year ago, I was on the verge of another breakdown.
We have had tremendous financial difficulties for a couple years now.
That, in combination with a bunch of other stuff had me teetering on the brink of insanity.
And a friend, someone who I also met through this blog, someone who I’ve never actually met in person, sensed all this.
Through the internet.
She lives in California, and I live in Connecticut.
It was pretty amazing.
And once that happened, my life changed.
Once I opened up, and allowed myself to be really vulnerable, and started not just asking for as much help as I could get, but also accepting all help that came my way, my life totally changed.
My money problems didn’t go away. But the stress of carrying the world on my shoulders did.
My support system grew exponentially. And I had some relief.
You need some relief.
I don’t know what your friend situation is where you live.
But I do know that before my kids were in preschool, I felt pretty much on my own.
I hadn’t met too many other moms, and I hadn’t really made any friends. So I can imagine you are in that situation right now.
But I know you are on Facebook since you sent me a message.
So my first suggestion would be to contact as many friends as you can on Facebook. And then be honest.
You don’t have to share every single detail. But tell them you are struggling. Tell them you need help. Badly.
They will help you.
People like to help. They will say, “What can I do?”
So don’t be shy. In fact, have a list ready.
Tell them what the biggest things you need help with are. Is it babysitting? Getting meals prepared? Laundry?
And then you’ve got to give up some control.
If a friend offers to come watch your kids for you, accept the help. Even if that person has never hung out with your kids alone.
They will all be fine.
But if you do not get a break, you won’t.
The second thing you need is sleep.
I had a therapist once who told me that sleep is the zamboni for your brain.
Once you are in chronic sleep deprivation mode, your brain just can’t function the way it needs to. Or the way it should.
You need to find a way to get some more sleep.
The driving your husband to work at 4 am can’t be helping that.
And it’s got to be affecting the kids, too.
I don’t know what the details are behind your husband not having his license.
But it would certainly help if he had one.
And if that’s not possible, well, it’s time to do some brainstorming.
There has got to be another way to get him to work without the whole family having to go too.
It’s got to be pretty much impossible to get your kids on a schedule if you have to drag them out of bed every morning at 4 am.
And then, the third thing.
The third thing is that you need to accept that you can only change yourself. I hope for your sake and for your kids’ sake that your husband gets himself healthy.
But there is a good chance he won’t.
And there is zero chance that you can make him change.
It’s got to come from him.
So you need to focus on you, because as one of my yoga teachers says, “You are the most important person in your life.”
You gotta take care you.
Those two little guys are counting on you.
And that brings me back full circle to my first suggestion.
Ask for help.
Ask for what you need so that you can take care of yourself and so you can take care of your kids.
Do what it takes. I have asked for all sorts of shit.
Being vulnerable and putting yourself out there is not easy.
But neither is going through life feeling fat and undesirable and out of control and like a fucking mess.
(By the way, on a side note, 5’8″ and 155 is not fat. Not even close.)
You’ve already made the first step. You reached out to me, and that didn’t turn out too badly.
Now you just need to do it again.
But whatever you do, please don’t say Screw It.
Your kids deserve better than that.
And so do you.