As a woman, a wife and a mother, I often find it hard to achieve balance in my life. My family is so important to me. They love me and support me through good times and bad. My husband is my rock and my son is my joy! Yet, I some times feel like I’m losing a piece of my self. I’ve found it very important to take time for me. To do things I’m passionate about. It helps me remember that as woman I still have my own personal identity. It is so important for my mental health to keep things balance between these three roles I play in my life.
My husband has always been there for me from the very beginning of our relationship. He is the most supportive, understanding, compassionate, loving person I’ve ever met. He accepts me for who I am. I’ve not always been a good wife to him. I’ve been selfish, mean, unhelpful, needy, and failed him. Yet, he’s stuck by me. His devotion has inspired me to be a better wife. Over the last few years since I’ve been doing do well, I’ve made a conscious effort to be the very best wife I can be to him. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a cook, I don’t keep a perfect house, and there are usually piles of laundry that never quite go away. But it happens. It’s not what makes someone a good wife. It’s the little things that add up. I bring him lunch while he’s working, I take care of our son when he travels, I make sure everything runs smoothly while he is away, I let him know how much he means to me. I owe him everything. Maintaining our relationship as husband and wife can be challenging. With work, travel, our son, and my activities, it’s hard to carve out time for each other. To achieve balance in our marriage I have to make sure we have special time just for us. Even if it’s just watching youtube videos before bed, singing together in the car, or reaching out to hold his hand. I make sure he knows he is important to me as a man and that I respect him. Being a good wife is a really important part of what makes me feel whole.
Becoming a mother has been much more difficult than I ever thought it would be. By having bipolar disorder, I was told most of my life that I could never have children because of the medication When I finally found my current psychiatrist and he told me it was possible, I was overjoyed. It took years to get to the point where I was ready, but when the time came I felt confident that my bipolar disorder wouldn’t stand in the way of having a family. The first year was terrible. I felt like a horrible mother. I didn’t feel connected to my child. I didn’t feel bonded. I felt down right guilty that I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do this. To assure that he would be taken care of if I was having a bipolar episode we put him in day care after 3 months. I felt guilty that I didn’t work and that he was there, but it was a necessity for my mental health. But as time went on he grew older and now I feel much more comfortable and can’t imagine life without him. He amazed me every day and when he hugs me so tight and says “wuuv ouh” I melt. But I will never be one of those mommies. You know the ones. The ones that fill their days doing activities that are pintrest perfect, never exposing their child to TV and electronics, feeding them only organic non-GMO, gluten free foods, and bragging on facebook that their 2 yr old has mastered reading the classics and can play concertos on the piano. And of course those mommies look like models and never have a hair out of place. I am not that mommy. My son is messy, constantly covered in sand from the beach, sticky faced, often eats drive through chicken nuggets, and sings along daily with Sesame Street. I never have good hair, sometimes I wear clean clothes, but I love him with all my heart. I do what I can. Some days are better than others, but I try hard to do everything I can to make sure he turns out to be a confident well rounded caring young man. I do my personal best every day. There are days when you feel like you win. When I see him learning to swim, when we sing songs together, when he eats his vegetables, and when I hear from his teacher that he peed in the potty. I know I’m doing a good job. Mommy guilt be damned.
Lastly there’s me. Beth. Woman. Individual. For so long I spent my life being afraid. Being afraid when the next depressive or manic episode would come. I didn’t feel like a real member of society. I felt like an outsider. Then one day I realized that I felt stronger and a little braver than I ever have. Another part of keeping balance is having me time. I took a leap of bravery and I joined a choir. It was such a positive experience. I made a promise to myself that when I say that when I’m afraid to do something I automatically had to do it. I made it through the entire season of the chorus! One of the first times in a long time I set about doing something and actually followed through it to the end. I’ve continued pursuing other interests and have had some great success. This part of individual balance includes time where I can read, go to the beach, or even do laundry in peace and quiet. Time to think, relax, and work on my mental health in a variety of ways. Friends are also so important to me. I’ve always had amazing supportive friends especially when I lived up north, but it was a challenge here in FL. Eventually I have made some incredible friends here that love me for who I am and are always there for me. It’s important for me to spend time with them. One on one. Where I’m not someone’s wife, not someone’s mother, just Beth. I need that. I need to feel that I’m a good friend and loved as an individual. I need some independence and it helps me feel like I’m not getting sucked into a single role where I feel like I’ve lost myself completely. It’s not selfish. It’s balance. Everyone needs time and activities for themselves. It makes me a better person.
By keeping balance in all three areas in my life, I stay balanced as a whole person. I feel complete. I feel happier. I feel more fulfilled. I feel more mentally stable when all parts of my feel balanced. When the scales start tipping in one direction I start to feel lost. I panic. I get anxious until I do something to even things out. I still struggle with this every day, but by recognizing what I need to keep my self happy and healthy it’s made things easier. The most important things to remember are do your best, allow people to love you for who you are, take time for yourself, and most importantly let go of the guilt. If I can do it, you can too. You’ve got this!