Today's 3

I came to the realization yesterday that I've moved into the "veteran mom" category. I've been doing this for nearly 14 years, and admittedly, I have struggled through a significant portion of those years. I didn't sleep. I erratically ate. Some days I'd get the itch to exercise, but then I'd go months without doing anything at all. I consumed too many sweets. Had a few too many adult beverages. Never took time for myself.

I became a shell of who I am...and not for just a sliver of time.

Can you relate?

I suspect it was quite early in my mothering years when I veered off-track. I had dreamed of being a mother for years and wanted to do it right (whatever that meant). After wrapping up the last few weeks of the school year after my maternity leave was up, I devoted my life to raising our family. Little did I know how isolated I would become.

When our son was born, we hadn't yet lived in our home for a year and I had no local social circle, let alone one that included new moms. It was winter and I essentially spent each weekday alone with my infant son in our house. In hindsight, I'm quite sure I had postpartum depression, but I would have never alluded to a soul that I was struggling.

I had a miscarriage a few weeks before his first birthday. It was heartbreaking, but I shoved those emotions down after a few weeks and carried on. We went on to have two more children, born within 17 months of each other, and then added one more a few years later. My life was babies, babies, babies and as much as I'd love to say I thrived, I did not.

I grew resentful.

When our younger son developed difficult behaviors and responded to none of the traditional child-rearing techniques used to squelch those behaviors, I grew frustrated and angry. When the school wouldn't accommodate our older son with nut allergies, and later, not even acknowledge our younger son clearly had disabilities impeding his education, I grew increasingly overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. And I stayed in that state for a very long time. Years, in fact.

Which brings me to the present. 2020 was an incredibly challenging and emotionally-charged year, but once I got over the initial shock of our world literally being turned upside down, it was the year where I finally took time for myself. It helped that my husband's typical hectic travel schedule came to a screeching halt and for the first time since I had kids, he was home every day. I read and adopted the principles from The Miracle Morning and for five months, I stuck to the plan. I felt like a new person.

And then I stopped. My husband returned to the field and I let myself fall back into old habits. It didn't take long to morph back into the less-than-ideal version of myself. I was no longer starting my day with a full tank and it showed. My patience grew thin. My energy level decreased. The depression crept in and took hold.