I am home, after a three month stint in hospital. My husband is super busy (and super tired)with his electrical business and I need to jump back in and take charge of the domestic/children side of our lives. In all honesty I am more than just a little bit apprehensive about doing that while still feeling pretty fragile. So to remind myself and help other mums who suffer with depression I thought I’d write a list of ideas to help with the task of parenting while suffering from depression.
1. Walk each day with small steps. Often when I wake in the morning I find the prospect of a whole day parenting very daunting. On these days I find it easier to focus on small steps. Concentrate on the first thing you have to do and don’t worry about the rest. Soon it will be lunchtime and you will have only half a day left to survive.
2. Keep things simple. When your feeling low it is best to keep the tasks we have to do as simple as possible. For example dinner doesn’t have to be an Annabelle Karmel recipe prepared loving from scratch. It’s fine to give the kids fish fingers, potato waffles and peas, they are probably more likely to eat it without a fuss anyway, saving you another headache.
3.Good enough parenting is good enough. When you are depressed it is so easy to add “not being a perfect parent” to your list of reasons to hate yourself (I know I beat myself with this particular stick regularly). Honestly if your children watch tv regularly (my own personal bad parenting choice) it’s ok, chances are they will still grow up to be healthy, well adjusted,adults regardless.
4. Ask for help. I find it very hard to admit I need help, harder still to ask for it. I don’t want to appear weak or like I can’t cope. The truth is asking for help when you need it is a strength. If having a friend pop round to help you make dinner or play with the kids for you helps you get through the day then do it. You do not have to be superwoman, there will come a time when your friends need you and then you can share the love.
5. Remind yourself of what went right each day, don’t just focus on what went wrong. For me personally there are days when I don’t keep it together as I would have liked. I may shout at the children or cry in front of them. This kind of moment can cloud the whole day, as if that moment ruined everything positive I did that day. Don’t let that happen, remind yourself that their were good things as well in your day. If you shouted at your children I’m certain you cuddled them as well, remember it is the whole picture which is important.
I hope these ideas are helpful, I know I will refer to them over the next couple of weeks/months. Please feel free to add your thoughts, if anyone has any other ideas on how to cope, then leave me a comment and share.