Moms wear so many hats. We’re like that guy from the children’s book Caps For Sale, each hat piled one on top of the other, like a Leaning Tower of Pisa of responsibility.
On any given day, I am a:
- personal chef
- friend to play with
- toddler hygiene assistant
- dog and cat wrastler
- personal shopper
- finder of things
You probably noticed that the list doesn’t include the list of responsibilities I have to myself. I felt a deep urge for an epsom salt bath just typing that. So, what happens to your soul when those hats start to fall off? (Or rather, you are forced to chuck them aside.) What happens when you find yourself unable to do the things that are required of you as a partner and mother?
There is this lie deeply embedded into society that women need to be able to do it all. We need to be able to keep those hats balancing at all times. We need to have our shit perpetually together. And we believe it! So many women believe that myth so damn hard that when they fall victim to chronic illness it robs them of the self-worth and feeling of achievement that they developed in being able to complete their “job requirements.” It leaves them feeling like a failure. An empty vessel that is supposed to be continually pouring out to others and unable to do so.
I have been dealing with some health SHIT. Fatigue, anxiety, tum tum drama… When the anxiety started, there were days I could barely get off the couch, and I had to call my mom to come help with the girls. I have been falling asleep around 7:30 or 8:00 every night. It seems like everything I eat gives me a stomach ache. This has so effected my quality of life, that on some days, I have to take the hats off my head one by one, and place them atop the head of my sweet angel baby husband or my saint of a mother/mother-in-law. They have to shoulder the burden of tasks that I used to take for granted as muscle memory, almost involuntary in their normalcy.
I can’t describe how this feels. The medical issues are bad enough. But there is a deep shame that claws away at you when you need help functioning. It whispers lies to you all day long. You’re just not trying hard enough. You can do better. You will never get better. Really, you had to call your mom to help again?
Friends, let me tell you: These lies are designed by your brain and society to rip away your last vestiges of self-worth and you must not listen. Repeat that after me: I. Will. Not. Listen.
Instead, tell yourself the following every day:
- I will overcome this
- It is okay to ask for help
- I deserve self-care
- I can make it through today
- I am loved
- I am fierce
- I feel hope
Your chronic illness does not make you a bad wife, or a bad mom, or a bad friend. Your daily struggles and the bravery it takes to overcome them make you a badass. And the sooner you realize that, the sooner you can begin the long process of healing.