I hate ants. Its not that they are the most terrifying species, or the creepy crawl-iest. Spider-crickets, black widows and flying roaches are by far more heinous, especially the latter. But ants, in the house, for some reason really gets under my skin. It feels like a personal failure; to see one merrily marching along the bathroom floor. Some sort of shortcoming in my ability to be a “good” mother despite my daily efforts toward an occasionally spotless home. Somehow worse than actual dirt, the ants imply an invisible dirtiness. As if only unimaginable amounts of sticky food-borne filth crammed into every crevice of every corner could result in the three to five busy ants I see and kill every single day for a month, as soon as the spring comes, every single year. And of course seeing one, in my mind, means there are thousands. A covert infestation teeming inside the walls, waiting to emerge from the cracks and flood your children’s ears in the night time. I’d imagine a plea bargain with the head ant queen to spare my babies. Please don’t flood their brains and make them suffer, they are innocent. I promise I wont kill anymore of yours from now on. Just don’t go after my kids… and then I’d sit up at night, spooked. Thinking of the terribly creepy things that probably weren’t happening to my kids right under my nose.
Sooo Yeah. All that from ants. My point in telling this story is : This isn’t “crazy”. Its wildly imaginative, and improbable. But not crazy. I’m willing to bet there are millions of moms across the world who have had thoughts like these. Moms have so much stress to deal with, are usually fatigued, overworked, and by nature, tend to be more passionate after having children. It stands to reason that at some point, deprivation of sleep, water, proper diet and exercise will begin to affect her mind a little. And that’s not “crazy”.. Why is it deemed normal for us to be sleep deprived and malnourished, yet abnormal to suffer the consequences? Why do we allow the world to tell us we need medication to fix what is obviously not a disease? It is not a disease of the mind to be tired or iron deficient. It is not a mental disorder to need a break. What IS a disease of the mind is to believe as a mother one must be willing to provide for everyone else except oneself. That’s crazy.
I say this to say, at some point, I started noticing the “crazy” for what it was. I stepped away from the GOOGLE, and started taking the REAL steps needed for taking inventory of myself.
I went to the doctor for a physical. I addressed all the ailments that gave me constant self consciousness and anxiety. Restless legs, fear of blood clots, anemia, joint pain, self diagnosed diseases from google, sinus migraines, sleep deprivation, excessive worry (i.e. the spring ants) etc. She checked me out, listened carefully, and said something I didn’t expect.
“You had a baby.”
I blinked. I waited. “I know… “ I said weakly, “but… —
“No.” she said again. “You birthed 7 pounds of flesh, that from your own organs and fluid that is only supposed to support YOU, you created, shared, sustained, and brought to life, a thinking breathing, functioning, being – whose functions and complex systems often took precedence over YOUR OWN. And now that she is outside your body you are still nourishing her with your fluids, energy, and vitamins. Not only is this noble, incredible, selfless and amazing… it’s also exhausting to your system’s resources, hormones and emergency reserves. Not to mention impossible to do without compensating with some countermeasures…”
In other words – QUIT beating yourself up.
No you’re not crazy because you had a mental conversation with the queen ants. You’re tired and feeling guilty about not eradicating the ants and saving your children’s brains from invasion, and simultaneously guilty about mercilessly snuffing out life after ant life.. when all you REALLY want is to be a good mom AND get a good nights sleep. That’s not crazy. Whats crazy is that you can really make yourself sick worrying (And googling) instead of treating the symptoms.
Stop popping pills with every pain you get. Stop drinking weight loss shakes and starving yourself. Start thinking of how you can incorporate a healthy BREAK in your routine every now and then. And make a point to take care of YOU. Drink more water. DO the damn night time relaxation yoga routine once in a while. Yes, in the middle of the living room. SO what. Wear the hot pink tights too. We’ll be twinsieeeees. 🙂