Dear Diary: I HAVE MOMMY GUILT
So, you are either working…all the time, in school…all the time…or out here following your dreams and aspirations, and are exhausted if not half the time….all of the time. Yeap. That sounds like my life.
I work 3 jobs, I work a full time job at a substance abuse clinic from 5am-1pm, I also have a part time job, completing intakes for a company that provides counseling, case management, and behavioral services for youth, and I also have my own business as co-owner of my private practice and have a caseload providing private practice services to adolescents, adults, and couples. So a typical day for me is, getting up at 3:20 am, to leave my house by 4am, to drive a hour to work, after I leave at 1pm, I head to my part time office to complete intakes, and depending on what’s schedule I may leave there and see private practice clients. So typically my days are about 10-15 hrs long depending on my schedule. Insert le sigh. Lets not forget the work that has to be done outside of the office, writing notes, typing up the intakes, creating treatment plans, and filing confusing insurance claims!
That’s just work, I also am a wife and a mother to a 2 year old rambunctious, independent, tantrum having, cookie eating, juice drinking, kindle watching, daddy loving BOY. So your Homegirl is usually EXHAUSTED!
I started to notice that I felt like I wasn’t spending enough time with my kid. I mean when I had some down time, I wanted to do absolutely nothing! Towards the end of the week, I am running on fumes. Let’s not forget I have a husband that needs to feel loved, needs his wife, and a kid that needs his mommy. And here mommy is out here working multiple jobs, chasing her dream, and finding myself on the brink of tears (more often than not), when my son prefers to go with his daddy, than to stay with me.
I find myself being irritated when I get home, and when you have a crying 2 year old who begs for juice, and you pour him juice, and he stands and folds his arms as if he did NOT just pull you off the couch, walk to the fridge, point at the apple juice, watch you pour it in his cup, and then you attempt to hand it to him and he has a tantrum as if you were just trying to poison him.
Anywhoo…I feel like our bond is dwindling, I feel like I am missing opportunities to develop a solid mommy and son relationship. On top of having to hear underhanded comments from family members who jokingly, question why I work so much, or that my son needs his mommy. All those things weigh me down, and just create this negative internal dialogue about what I am doing and how I am as a mother.
So, this is how I get through my mommy guilt episodes.
Listen mommies, your babies love you, I promise you that. But in moments of doubt, negative self-talk, and hurt. Just remember you are doing fine, and it is okay. Keep following dreams and kissing boo-boos, and if you need someone to talk to, use a trusted friend, or even a therapist! YOU GOT THIS!
Diary 003: New Year, Whole Me
You’re drowning right now, life is hitting you in every single way possible. You have your mask on, primped and ready for the new year. However, your support system doesn’t recognize the signs, so you question their loyalty, you feel that you can’t ask for help cause that will make you appear “weak”. You wear this beautifully painted mask on a daily basis that sometimes you forget who you really are….yea I’ve been there too.
So what can you do about it? Don’t want to be that vulnerable with your family, don’t trust friends enough to share that side of you, so you sit alone often lost in your thoughts, sometimes praying, hoping that God throws a blessing your way, or you see some sort of positive shift in your life.
Well let me be honest with you…it requires you to put in the work. Period. First things first, get help. We can’t do it all on our own. So what does that mean?
Well, Im going to always advocate for you to go to therapy. Think of your therapist as a non-biased, non-judgmental, person who will allow you to lay all of your issues on them, and not only will they listen they will help you uncover things you probably didn’t see yourself, help you organize, personalize, and successfully deal with the things that are causing you stress.
I know culturally, we are taught differently especially if you grew up in a Christian household. Like throwing yourself at the alter and drowning in holy oil, sweeping it under the rug, keeping your “negative” thoughts and feelings secret or to just block it out and keep moving like nothings wrong. You know being "strong" and "independent". At some point you have to say enough is enough and you are worth feeling whole. You are worth feeling happy. You are worth it all. You just have to believe that in yourself.
So how do you find that therapist you ask…no worries I got you.
There is a website called Psychology Today it is a database filled with therapist and psychiatrist who can assist you in whatever it is you need. All you have to do is put in where you live and it will find the closest therapist to you. You can put filters based off insurance, or specific issues you are dealing with (i.e. addiction, PTSD, mental illness, trauma, depression, divorce etc).
Oh so you don’t have insurance… no problem you can filter by self-pay. Just a little insider: look for LPC-interns they have more affordable rates some as low as $30 a session. They are able to do therapy work just as much as the fully licensed therapist. They are competent and are being guided by their fully licensed supervisor.
There are also resources available if you can’t afford therapy at all and need free services, if you are in need of that please email me and I can send some resources your way.
Lets start 2018 off making sure that we are all whole and happy! Remember who you are at your core. Trust your instincts. Believe in yourself when no one else will! Know that you are worth it! What ever the “it” is. Take risks. Reevaluate your tribe, this includes family and remove anyone that effects your peace. Remember if it costs you your peace it’s too expensive! Happy New Year people!
The Homegirl Therapist
Diary Post 002: Mask Off
I’m 30, and am nearing my 31st birthday and I just feel like I should be a little further along than I am. Granted, I’ve achieved a lot, made some leeway in my career, buuuuttttt, something is missing. Can’t put my finger on it, not sure what exactly it is, but it’s something. I am happily married, that came with a lot of work of course, I am a new mom to a 15 month old, and well I’m just gone leave that thought in my head and say, I love that kid, and I am trying to figure out this therapist thing. There are just some days where I don’t know if I am coming or going.
On the outside looking in, people assume…”hey she has it together”, “life is great for her”, But there is this internal struggle, the struggle where I sometimes doubt who I am. The struggle where you get at a point in your life and realize, this is not what I signed up for. Learning to juggle being a mom, a wife, a friend, all while trying to make sure you don’t lose yourself in any one of those titles becomes an even bigger struggle.
I’ve been in relationships where I lost myself, and after it was over, I had to pick up the pieces to who I was, and who I wanted to be. I don’t want to do that again, that was tough. I always wore my mask though, it was pieced together perfectly, no one ever knew I was struggling with myself, always feeling the need to be perfect, to do everything right. I set goals, I worked damn hard to achieve them, but I was still lost, because I was trying to make sure I remained perfect…I had to make it look easy.
Sometimes I wonder do other people, women especially feel that way? Why don’t we ever share that? I love happy endings, I love feel good stories, but you know what I love even more…knowing your struggle, what you endured, and how you got through it. Don’t tell me all the good shit, and leave out the challenges, and the stuff that made you. Because if you asked me about life, if you asked me a question, you better believe I am going to tell you everything. I guess this is a start. Being vulnerable. Removing my mask. Hmmmmmm….I wonder who will take this journey with me? Now talk about a real Mask Off challenge.
Diary Post 001 "PostPartum"
Sometimes I wonder why we make it so hard to reveal our true colors, our struggles and challenges. But then I realized that with vulnerability comes feeling extremely naked, it feels like you are putting yourself out there with the risk that no one will get it. That’s exactly how I felt when it came to me finally telling myself…Girl, you have Postpartum Depression.
So as many of you have seen from my Vlog, I revealed that I dealt with postpartum after the birth of my son. I remember that feeling so clear, I just didn’t get the whole motherhood thing. I didn’t understand it. I wasn’t sure what I should be doing when it came to my son, wasn’t sure how to balance being a mom and a wife, oh and hey…let’s not forget about remembering how to be ME!
During the months after Carter’s birth, I fell deeper and deeper into a mild depression, my spirit and personality wasn’t even recognizable. I wore my mask well, when it came to family and friends, kept up the ole’ happy, laughing, joking all the time Shontae’…but my husband knew my secret and deep down I did too.
I was unmotivated, didn’t want to do anything, and didn’t want to get out of the house, with or without my son. I wasn’t interested in getting back to work, getting on my grind as a therapist, or even doing things I enjoyed like reading a freakin’ book. Man, I was exhausted physically, and my spirit had taken a pretty big hit, because I had birthed this human being that I had no clue about, hell…I didn’t even know if I was doing it right.
There were times where I felt like I was a bad mom, because my husband was able to figure some stuff out about my son, that I didn’t. He was able to balance both being a dad, a husband, and a boss well, while I was stuck, crying in the middle of the bed, every time a negative thought crossed my mind.
I felt so defeated, so disappointed in myself…how could I allow myself to fall into this, what the hell is going on? I knew better…well did I? I didn’t know how to regulate my emotions, I wasn’t sure if it was my hormones from just having a whole baby, or if it was something more like Postpartum. After seeing my therapist, she helped me decipher between the two. She gave me understanding, validated my emotions, and encouraged me to trust my instincts.
I cried so many nights, I had so much anxiety, and I couldn’t dare speak that to anyone other than my husband. My own mother didn’t know, my best friend had no clue. I held onto that so closely to me because I didn’t want anyone questioning was I capable of being a good mom. I didn’t want to deal with all the questions, all the comments, and all the damn judgment. I was in a whirlwind of self-doubt, confusion, and at times anger.
I still to this day have some days that are overwhelming, days where I sit and cry in the middle of my living room while my son plays with his toys. There are days when I ask myself… am I doing this right? But through much self-discovery, self-evaluation, and therapeutic conversations I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not the only one and its okay. That no one does it all the way right, all we can do is do what we feel is best, trust our gut, build a strong support system, lead with love, and know that in the end…we are covered by God’s grace and mercy, and he wouldn’t dare put anything on me that I couldn’t handle. I am built for this. My body created life! I was specifically made, to be Carter’s mom.
And even through that I am learning…to never forget about myself! In order for me to be an awesome mom…I first have to be an awesome Shontae!