I go to therapy every Wednesday…I’ve been going for the past 6 weeks…looking back at the months of January and February, I can see that I had pretty much hit the bottom of the pit mentally, especially on the mommie front.
I’ve been battling depression off and on for the past two years so I guess its no surprise that I developed some postpartum-related symptoms after I had Alex. I’ll get into the nuts and bolts of my depression/PPD in another post, but for now, just know that about 6-7 weeks ago after my ex and I broke up and I exploded in a fit of rage and tears in front of my boys for the umpteenth time (over something totally trivial and insignificant), I finally took the neccesary steps to get some help….and although it was a little weird at first and uncomfortable, its been a huge relief for me…and I think that coupled with my taking Zoloft again, I’ve been able to cope and manage the stress I’ve been under in a much calmer, smoother manner….
But more on that later…so yea, where was I? Oh yea, going to therapy on Wednesdays. During my session last week after I expressed how disconnected from my kids (especially my youngest) I’ve felt the past 11 months, and how I don’t take time or even know how to enjoy being a mom, my therapist shared some info regarding a study that had just come out. She said that the study found that younger children who spent at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted, on the floor playtime with their parents tended to exhibit more signs of happiness, confidence, and closeness with their parents than children who didn’t.
I mean, I guess that makes sense right? I’m pretty sure you’re thinking to yourself, “well, duh, of course they would,” but hearing this made me think of all the times I’m around my kids but I’m not tuning into them, I’m not really giving them my full attention. I mean, I’m making sure their physical needs are met-fed, clothed, bathed, homework done, etc-but emotionally I’ve been distracted-by thoughts, my own work/homework, my own agenda/schedule, things I have to get done, etc. I may have moments where I play or interact with them, but if I’m honest I can admit that I may be physically engaged, but mentally I’m somewhere else-I let my mind, preoccupied with other concerns, keep me from being “in the moment” and “present” with them. Hence the continuing cycle of feeling disconnected and not enjoying motherhood.
So her (the therapist’s) suggestion to combat/change that was simple(or at least it sounded simple): spend at least 5-30 minutes on the floor, being “present” with my boys. Since starting off with 30 might be too much at first, she suggested I start small and build my way up to 30.
So, for the past 7 days, that’s what I’ve been doing. After I pick the boys up from school, have dinner and give them baths, instead of quickly (maybe) reading a story and putting them to bed so I can knock out whatever’s still on my to-do list, I turn on some lullaby music, sit down on the floor in their room, and just interact with them…watch them…play with them…laugh…focus on each word and every movement they make without letting my mind wander, or letting anxiety over sticking to a schedule or routine rush me through the moments.
The first time I did it I used one of those kitchen timer things, so I wouldn’t get up until it rang hahaha. By the third night I didn’t even need it though-I found myself rushing through dinner and bathtime just so I could lay on the floor and play with them, I was starting to find it relaxing to unwind from the day’s tangles and busyness with them…
And tonight? Well today on my way to therapy I took a detour into Borders and found myself eyeing a giant book on dinosaurs about Alex’s size that I instantly knew would be a perfect way to spend our “winding down” time-and it was on clearance for 5.99-SOLD! I was at the register before you could blink and out the door, happily carrying it under my arm…and they loved it! Especially Brennan, he got a kick out of the pictures. Alex was more focused on perfecting the art of standing up and taking a step or two while holding on to my legs, but he did love the cookies I was sharing with him.
Cookies and dinosaurs before bedtime…this momma’s finally on her way to enjoying motherhood. The light at the end of the tunnel is starting to get brighter-looks like the sun is coming up over the horizon :)