I’ve suffered from panic attacks since childhood and of course, at that time, I couldn’t explain what was happening to me. All I knew was everything in that moment sped up, my heart was pounding and I felt this overwhelming sense of dread. It would pass and I would push it to the back of my mind until the memory faded. Of course it would happen again and again. I became very good at dealing with the anxiety simply by distracting myself. As an adult it manifested in other ways and I became a worrier, sometimes socially awkward and I overthought everything. Panic attacks would come at odd times and there were things I used to love that would bring on anxiety in me, like watching movies alone in a dark cinema. Trying to conceive and having multiple miscarriages brought upon a new level of anxiety and increasing self-doubt. I was failing at something that I was told would be easy and natural. And it wasn’t, at least not for me.
Unfortunately anxiety and depression have become very common for me since becoming a mother. With my daughter I had a mild form of postnatal depression which at the time felt like very cloudy thinking and a strange detachment from things. I didn’t realise it was PND at the time. With my son, once we finally had him, I felt fine much faster. However now having had a few years with two kids (including a very difficult toddler) the anxiety that has always plagued me has been heightened. I’m 43 and can say that the last few years with my son have been the hardest. The adjustment from one child to two has not been easy. At first, it seemed fine, until our son stopped sleeping and became aggressive, as toddlers often do. It turns out that I have a hard time functioning on little sleep and am very sensitive to the loud noises of two demanding little people. Who knew.
There are good days, and there are bad days. Most days I do struggle to keep it together, especially now with this pandemic. Since being isolated at home, everything has become even more intense. My husband is working full time from home leaving me to be with both kids, attempting to home school one of them and entertain the other.
I do wonder sometimes if being an ‘older’ mom has made it all the more difficult. Truth be told, in some ways I think it has. I find it harder to make the time for myself or to find the energy to get fit, for example. Is that my age or just my inherent laziness? I’m not sure. And the career pause I’ve been taking these last few years to look after my kids could make it harder going forward. What are the options for a 43 year old stay at home mom of two?
Reality is, parenting is hard, regardless of your age. Despite what you see on Instagram, I do not have labelled colour-coded playroom for my kids, bento box lunches filled with organic fruit or a tidy anything. My house is a mess. Some days it upsets me that this is my new normal and other days, I’m okay with it.
Today is one of those days. The noise issue though…that’s another thing altogether!