Nothing is more challenging than parenting while battling your mind every single day. Thinking this makes you a shit parent? Think again, teaching little Timmy empathy among other real life skills makes you the boss. Congratulations boss.
My mental health has meant that parenting has been challenging, a lot more than id like. The worry element that comes with being a parent is rather heightened in me. This has meant I have been over protective and was parenting in a style that didn't match my values and beliefs. Careful was my favorite word, it was even my third Childs first word *rolls eyes*. On the very dark days when panic has taken over and wiped any rational thought from my head I found it incredibly hard to parent. Nothing kills fun more than an erratic manic Mother shouting be careful! Mind that it could hurt you, you could fall! Don't swing to high! (I'm laughing as I type this as I was so bad, finding humour is all I have left). Of course I also spent many nights Googling will my child be fucked up because their Mum is mental. Babe DO NOT do this! Then there's my questionable genes that they all got. My sons also suffer from mental illness. Guilt is an understatement.
My sons have seen me panic, they have seen me cry, even sat in bed with me when the darkness wouldn't lift. They have listened as I've educated them on mental health and how we can help others and ourselves. It's easy to blame any parenting problems on your mental health illness, this can lead to over compensating by trying to become the "perfect parent". All parents have difficult times regardless of their mental health. Try to not put so much pressure on your self, I've become a lot more confident and proud of my ability to raise my children. I don't need to have strangers, or forums validate my choices. I believe every mother knows what to do, but can lack the self-confidence to trust her own ability. Lover no one can parent your child better than you. I find structure and routine help us float along nicely, don't feel bad for asking for help. If you have family and friends that love and care for you all then let them help. Putting your health first is incredibly important, you can't parent or function if you're not putting the effort into you.
Over the last 12 years of being a (badass) Mother I've realised that I don't need to protect them from my mental illness, I need to show them how I continuously rise over and over again. My mental health wipes me out repeatedly and I've wanted to give up countless times BUT I didn't, I'm still here. Knowing that you will handle it and having the confidence in this can be a lifeline. This is teaching my sons about life and most of all how to handle it. Schooling in my opinion doesn't equip my sons for the emotional battering life can throw at you, it doesn't teach the skills plenty of adults are still lacking. Grades do not always equal gains.Teaching your child how to deal with mental health and all the emotions we feel is incredibly valuable, So yes some days I've gone to bed feeling like I have failed my sons but most days I see the growth in their emotions and how they react to situations and this is what I value. When my eldest started school I felt very shit about how my son was progressing not because he wasn't progressing nicely but because I was comparing my parenting skills to the other Mothers who would go on about reading levels. Babe many can read a book but only a few can master the words. Ok I made up that line. I think we're done here.
If you can relate to my story please go AND see a professional, I couldn't understand my thoughts and feelings for many years and this effected the quality of my life. Part of me sharing my journey with you is to educate and give you the confidence to go AND get help. You may notice some of my behaviour in family, friends, or lovers. Your voice has value and needs to be heard so take up more space and help yourself or another babe in need.