And we’re Blog Hopping with D-listed, too! Woohoo! Go check out the awesome women (and a few men, too!) blogging partying this week!
Again, I have to give a huge THANK YOU to my readers for making this week successful. Thank you, thank you, thank you for caring enough about this to come here and read and then comment or share via email. I don’t know if you’ll have any idea how much it has meant to me this week.
Today’s guest post comes to you from Katie of Sluiter Nation. We’ve become fast friends since I sent out a tweet asking for guest posters. She responded and we started chatting and OMG do we ever have a ton in common!
For one, we’re both English teachers. Which means we both love to read. We also share an affinity for Dexter, the TV show and the character. We are boy moms. We have “piles” that we continuously shuffle.
It’s bizarre how well we both think we’d get along if we lived in the same area.
Oh, and did I mention that we both suffer from PPD? No? That wasn’t obvious 🙂 (::smooches:: to you all for putting up with my sarcasm!)
I’ll stop rambling about my awesome new e-friend and just let Katie do the talking!
My grandmother did it all—by herself. Her POS husband left her with four daughters and no child support. My grandma worked more than one job, put her daughters through Christian school k-8 (and high school if they wanted), was a GREAT mother, kept one of the cleanest houses in town, and was active in her church and community.
My mother did it all. She worked part time when my brothers and I were little, but when that job became unavailable, she wasn’t happy not working. So, when I was in sixth grade (I’m the oldest of three), she took on a part time job that turned into a fulltime job. She also decided to go back to college for an accounting degree. She also kept the cleanest house of all my friends. I’m still self-conscious when she comes to MY house. AND she was active in her church and community.
I never heard a complaint or a worry about money or being good enough from either of them. Ever. Even as an adult when I would ask them about their “mothering” years, they would brush it off as just something you did.
As far as I was aware, I was following right in their footsteps. I teach high school and am so organized I send home weekly email updates to parents about everything we will be doing in class the next week—and I teach FOUR different classes in my five-class day. I am telling you, I have four different ways for students to be aware of homework assignments and their due dates. I have NEVER heard, “I didn’t know about it.” I have NEVER lost someone’s assignment or paper. My house is (almost) always clean—ok, it’s at least picked up (let’s be real…whose house is ever REALLY clean ALL the time?) Anyway, I was clearly my mother’s daughter and everyone said so.
And then I had a baby and suddenly?
It just seemed that I wasn’t enough. There wasn’t enough of me to go around.
If I was home and playing with my little son, I was neglecting my work as a teacher. If I was spending my typical long hours at school working on lessons and grading then I was ignoring my duties as a mommy. When my husband lost his job, I thought it would be a good idea to take up teaching adjunct for a local community college. I was out of the house for almost 14 hours, two days a week. People were really supportive and positive:
“You’re so organized! You always get everything done!”
“The lesson plans, the grading, AND another job? Plus all the mom stuff…you are amazing!”
“I don’t know how you have time to work so much! You are so great!”
“You are an amazing supermom! I knew you would be because you could always juggle so much!”
No pressure or anything.
I started to feel boxed in. Trapped. I quit the gym. I quit my friends. I cried at the thought of going on a date with my husband because that meant a babysitter for Eddie even though I hadn’t seen him all day—all WEEK. Going away to Chicago for my birthday weekend was a crippling thought.
I felt all the time that all those people who were just trying to be supportive were actually judging me. They were noticing my shortcomings. They thought I was a bad mom.
My coping mechanism was to lash out—mostly to those I love most: my husband and my mom. My friends were slower to notice my mood change because, well, if you don’t hang out with your friends, they can’t notice that you have gone grouchy on them.
It got to be so bad that in the middle of yelling at my (wonderfully patient and caring) husband, I thought to myself, “what the heck? Are you listening to yourself? This is borderline verbal abuse! Why are you doing this?”
Not long after, I was screaming at my mom about how everything in the world is dumb and my brothers were the worst and it was probably her fault. What?!?! What was WRONG with me?
The two people who would never raise their voices to me–who are the most patient with me when I have anxiety issues and start worrying about everything—are being cut down on a DAILY basis by me.
I broke down. I finally cried and babbled to my husband that I didn’t know who I was anymore. That I didn’t have anything left to give. I was a bad wife, a bad daughter, a bad mother, and a bad teacher.
He suggested I go to the doctor. I thought I could work through it. Pray harder. He shook his head and again suggested the doctor. I was too broken to fight back.
I am so thankful for that breaking point. The crack in my emotional stability is what eventually opened up to let all the healing in. I sought help with my doctor and she has put me on a very light medication that has made a WORLD of difference.
I can smile and laugh again.
I can enjoy my life and my family and my friends.
And most importantly, they can enjoy ME.
Katie Sluiter is a high school English teacher, adjunct college instructor, and a mom with PPD and an Anxiety Disorder. She strives every day to find the positive in what God has laid before her by trying to be as open and honest about her life as possible. She blogs about her life at http://sluiternation.blogspot.com and she reads and reviews books just for fun at katiesbookcase.wordpress.com