Single Mothers, Working Mothers Depression and Anxiety Disorders

It is no wonder that single mothers and working mothers become depressed. We are doing the jobs of too many people. We usually do not have enough help. The help that is offered is often more of a burden that it is helpful. People guess at what will be helpful rather than asking us.

It is hard for other women to understand the stress on single mothers. This is also true for working mothers that do not get enough support from their husbands.  

We cannot go out and spend time doing social things that other women do. They ask us to come along with them and they are offended when we keep telling them no. It becomes a burden on the relationship and we end up losing the friendships with our female friends. We become more alienated.

Our families may try to help but they do not know what would be helpful. If their effort to help us, they often create more anxiety for us. The teachers at the school expect us to be able to all the things that other mothers do, but we cannot keep up.

Our boss is demanding when we are at work. Being a single mother is no excuse for not living up to all the obligations of our job. We are exhausted when we get home from work, but there is no rest.

We are still working until  we drop from exhaustion.We fall into bed and have thoughts running through our heads about all the things we did not get done today and have to add onto tomorrow’s schedule, which was already overloaded.

We have little time to do anything for ourselves. We have little or no time to rest. There is no end to the endless responsibility and endless stream of chores, errands, workload, and unexpected problems.

On top of that, people are always complaining to us that we “should” be doing things in a different or “better” way.What they mean of course is that we should be doing things their way. But they have no concept of how our brains are suffering in torment.

Everyone had suggestions and criticism about how we should be doing things differently. My ex mother in law once told me that I should spend all Sunday afternoon making casseroles to freeze so that I would not have to cook during the week. “Then you just pop them out of the freezer and microwave them”, she said. She had decided that this was the answer for me because my “perfect” sister in law did that.

First of all, I tried to explain to her that my  kids and my husband (her son) hated casseroles and would never eat them. Then I tried to explain to her that I was entirely too exhausted by the weekend, from work, to stand in the kitchen and cook for five hours every Sunday. Nevertheless, the bought me the casserole book that my sister in law used and insisted that I try it.

My sister in law did not work and was maintained in a rich fashion be her husband. He ability and desire to make casseroles was completely different than mine. Come to think of it, I had no desire to eat frozen microwaved casseroles every night for dinner either!

Speaking of crying, we don’t even have time or any private space to do that. We don’t want to break down in front of the kids. We have no time for therapists or to go out with friends to vent. We cannot cry at work without  appearing incompetent. So that leaves us to cry in our car for 5 minutes when we get home from work, before we go into the house.

We worry about the kids while we are at work. We worry about work when we are home. We feel guilty about leaving the kids to go to work.If we cut back our hours to spend more time with the kids, then we feel guilty that we are not making enough money to take care of them.

No matter what we are doing or where we are, we feel like we should be doing or worrying about something else. We are happy we have children but at the same time we feel guilty that we have ended up in a position of being so overworked that we do not have enough energy for them.

The guilt leads to a lowering of our self esteem and we become depressed. The constant worrying turns into a severe anxiety condition that interferes with our ability to function as well as we used to.

We feel behind all the time. We have trouble keeping up with the kids doctor appointments and their homework. We feel more and more like we are getting sucked into a pit of quicksand.

Our own minds begin to work against us. Our brains begin to fill with obsessive thoughts that are fearful about the future and regretful about the past. Why did we end up here? How can we keep going like this? Who are we anymore?

We begin to lose touch with our own identity. We are not a whole person anymore. We are fragments of different people who wear different hats at different parts of the day.We keep changing hats from work, to mom, to nurse to the kids, to the person that has to talk to the teacher, to the bad friend who has said “NO” the last 5 times our girlfriend has asked us out for lunch.

We have little time to talk on the phone to a friend and even then we are interrupted. We crave a moment to ourselves, a moment of rest and peace. We feel guilty that we want to do something for ourselves. We want to be beautiful again and desirable to men. We want to be a woman who is allowed to have needs and desires.

But there is no time and if we make the time, we feel guilty the entire time we are out. Men have trouble understanding that we want to check in with out kids while we are on a date. They feel slighted because after all, men want our attention as much as the kids do.

We are more and more and more drug along by life and the schedule that we are not able to keep up with. We cannot continue without something having to give somewhere. We are headed for a breakdown.

We can become very depressed to the point where we have clinical depression. At this point we need help but we are still in the same boat of not having time to do anything for ourselves. We have no space during our week to schedule a therapy session or even a doctor appointment.

We put it off, We become filled with more and more anxiety and depression. We cannot continue.

This happens. It happened to me. We have to find a way to reach out and get help from someone, somewhere.We cannot just keep ignoring the feelings that our mental health is in jeopardy. Our feelings are trying to tell us something.

It does not get better without reaching out for help. Reach out to someone, whether is be a friend, a  paid service for chores and errands, a therapist for counseling, the church, or anyone who will be compassionate. You need to talk to someone who will listen.

Look through your schedule and find something that can wait, even if for a few weeks, so that you can use the time to help yourself. You have become conditioned to feel that all of those things you do for others are life and death. You might be surprised when you take a second look at your routine.   If you change your perspective, to seeing the situation as a personal mental health emergency, you might find something that can be put aside for a time.

Behavior that repeats over and over becomes imbedded in the brain. It feels like there is no other possible way to do things. Find someone else to take your kids to church for you every other week  and take a yoga class or sleep in. Have a niece help help you around the house and pay them by a barter. They may be glad just to get out of their own house for a change and spend time with you.

Think of anyplace that might have free counseling and also might offer assistance to you for a short time, like the church or a community organization. Be creative and barter for services, like laundry and making dinner.

Another parent from the school may be in the same boat as you are.  They may be happy to trade days driving the kids to school, so they can have a few mornings to themselves also. Or maybe to take turns one night per week, making the dinner for all of the kids.  This way each of you has one night off.

Seek out other single working mothers who might feel like they are drowning just like you are. Get ideas and help each other. Think outside the box a little and do not stay locked into your same schedule.

Every tiny difference you make, could make a difference to your mental health. Being locked into the same exact routine for too long is devastating to your mental well being. Humans are built for some variation in routine. It stimulates the creative centers of the brain and will help you to think of more ideas and to be less depressed.

The longer we go without help, the worse it gets. Make the time for yourself. Do not feel guilty. If you crash then what will happen? You are not superhuman, even though  other people may be relentless in their efforts to demand the world from you.

All the adults that are making demands of your time are only looking out for their own agenda. It is your turn to look out for yourself and your family.

Your kids will probably not mind a change in the routine, because they are probably stressed over the same day to day routine as well. Get help and be creative. The more you think outside the box, the better you will be able to make small alterations in order to preserve your sanity.

Take care of yourself.

Blessings,

Annie

Baby Sunflower

kayla baby sunflower

I just came across this baby picture of my younger daughter, as I was cleaning out some old boxes. I remember putting this sunflower head piece on her. She was such a beautiful baby 🙂

And now she is still beautiful 🙂 

 

Amazing Resemblance Genealogy

kayla with great grandmother

This is a picture of my great grandmother on the left. She is my father’s mother’s mother. Her name was Mary Pacholski. 

The picture on the right is my daughter. My father sent me these two pictures together to show me where my daughter gets her beauty from the Polish side of my family.

My other daughter resembles my mother’s side of the family. My younger daughter , pictured above, was so happy to  finally feel like she looked like someone in the family. My father noticed this resemblance just after I had emailed him the picture of my daughter.

Bullying from Your Boss

narcissistic bosses

Image

You are More Than They Tell You

you are more

People around us, especially our family members can tend to underestimate us and place us in a box of what they think they know about us.

Families gossip and talk about other members. There ends up being a perception of each person in the family that is carried by most of the family members.

Then it is passed on as factual  information to other family members but it is not factual. It is opinions of other people about you. This is the perpetuation of your narrative, and your picture as others see you.

You may be disappointed when you bring up an idea to your family or friends of something new you want to try or something you want to be. They still have you in their box, that lives in their heads and will tell you who you are and that you are not suited to do anything other than what you have always done.

Not only that, they are not even aware of all the things you have done, or all the skills you have. You have done things that were not in front in front of them that they know nothing about.

In fact, people get so stuck in their perceptions that you could do something right in front of them that shows a new side of you and they will not even process it.

You are capable of doing more than you are already doing. You are capable of being more than you have been allowed to be. You have potential for all sorts of things. If it is something that you feel called to do, then you can find a way to meet that calling.

Don’t let people put you in a box and keep you there. If they insist in keeping you in a box that exists in their heads, then so be it. Let that box exists for them. You do not have to live in it.

You do not need the approval of family or your friends to expand yourself and begin to reach out for the things you really want in life. There is no point in your life that you cannot grow, learn, and change. You are not stuck with the You that others see.

Sometimes it is best not even to tell people what you are working on or studying. If you know they will discourage you and bring you down, then you may want to keep some of your dreams and ventures to yourself. You do  not have to have their support.

If you feel that you need some guidance, support or inspiration you can seek that outside of your family and friends. You can find people on line to talk to.

You can find a great Life Coach that specializes in the area you are working on. There may be support groups and networking groups online and even in your community.

Do not limit yourself to who other people tell you that you are. Do not accept your rank within your siblings, to be your rank in the world. Do not accept your role within your family to be your role in society.

You are unique and special, with special gifts. If your family does not think you can be anymore than they see you as right now, then they are wrong. You can find your own personal strengths. Some of them might even be the very things your family or friends consider your weaknesses.

If one of your siblings is a writer and the family considers them “the writer” of the family, that has nothing to do with whether or not you can become a writer. If your cousin is considered “the teacher” of the family, that does not have anything to do with whether or not you can be an amazing teacher.

No one in the family has the right to claim a role and then say than you have to settle for a different one. It does happen within the family, but it does not have to translate to your interaction with the world.

Just because you are not in a leadership role in the family, does not mean that you cannot take a leadership role outside of the family. Just because the family may call you the less intelligent one, or the lazy one does not make it true. These are just labels that they chose to put on you, in order to further the agenda of the family.

Some people in your family may even have been telling you that you cannot accomplish things, just to keep you down. There are advantages for certain kinds of people, in crushing down another family member’s self esteem.

You can pursue whatever you dream to pursue and become good at it. You can try different things until you find what calls to you.

Don’t let other people tell you who you are and who you are not. It is not up to them. Spread your wings and fly the direction that you want to.

Financial Emergency – Hoping to Find the Silver Lining

I am going to be off from work for the weekend. My CNA license has expired. I received letters to my current address about the fact that a renewal letter was on its way. Then the renewal letter was sent to my old address, and I never received it.

The facility I work at was forced to pull me off the schedule. It is not their fault. They are only allowed to have nurses and nurse aides with valid, current licenses. I am not upset with them. They could get into legal trouble if there were any incident such as a patient fall, and I was the aide they had to list on the paperwork. Falls to happen from time to time, when the residents are in their rooms, because we cannot be on all the rooms at the same time.

This is good and bad , but I am trying to think positive.  I will lose the pay for the entire weekend. As I am going paycheck to paycheck, this is a huge problem as far as buying enough food for my kids to eat. There are a few food banks near here.

I can go to the local food banks, in order to get some canned food. If need be, there is also a soup kitchen. I used to eat there years ago. Some of the homeless people might still recognize me.

The good things about not being allowed to work are:

1. I have not had a weekend off with my kids for over 5 years. I have worked every single weekend and every single holiday, including Christmas, easter, mothers day 4th of july for almost 6 years. 

2. I can use some of this time to work on what I want to work on, which is starting my own businesses.  I have skills and things I love to do.

1. I can teach guitar lessons at people’s houses and online.

2. I would love to be a home companion for elderly, hospice, and dementia. I have an idea that I could bring my guitar, some art supplies and some cognitively stimulating activities. I would individualize a plan for each person and do things that would improve, and more maintain their cognitive level.

3. I also want to do Life Coaching via Skype.  I would specialize in people with C-PTSD from childhood abuse, people that are recovering from domestic abuse. and narcissistic abuse and people with People Pleaser Syndrome. I would really love to do this, because I am very good one on one with people. as far as being compassionate, listening and giving intelligent guidance.

4. Writing –  well this one is hard to make money at right away, but I would like to do self publishing at some point in the future

5. Playing guitar and singing at nursing homes. I would love to do sing alongs at nursing homes. I have a lot of ideas for musical activities I can do with small groups

 I have a degree in music teaching and also 16 credits of graduate studies in music teaching. I am trained to do musical activities for young people, but the same ideas and activities can be adapted for the elderly.

I have 6 years experience with the elderly and dementla, so I know how to adapt the musical activities for them. I also have an art background, a teaching background and I have done activities with the dementia patients, as part of my job. (actually I was doing that extra work during the course of my shift, because I liked it, not because it was part of the CNA job description. I spent time at home getting the activities together and used my own supplies )

So, I feel like I have been underemployed for a long time. I had been through a couple of domestic abuse and narcissistic abuse situations and my self esteem was crushed down.

I feel like I work doing a combination of the skills and dreams that I have. I enjoy a varied schedule with different types of jobs during the course of the day.

It was hard for me to get my self esteem back and my traction, so to speak in order to move forward in life. I ended up in a job that was far beneath the pay grade for my education and skills.  I have been blogging since October and blogging has helped to get  my self esteem and my self confidence back.

I have met so many supportive people on here. I have gotten a wonderful group of followers and I love all of you. The connection with everyone here has helped to set me on a path of healing from both childhood abuse and also domestic and narcissistic abuse.

I am very thankful for all of you. I feel supported in moving on to a new phase in my path. I really want to use my skills to bring light into the lives of people who feel darkness and frustration. I know how that feels and I am very compassionate to that.

So, hopefully I can find a way for my kids not to starve while I am transitioning.  Any advice, ideas or encouragement  is welcome in the comments section below.

Blessings,

Annie

Machiavellian Philosophy in the Workplace and Narcissistic Bosses

http://personality-testing.info/tests/MACH-IV.php

This is a link to the Machiavellian personality test.  As you read the questions you can see what a machiavellian philosophy is all about. It is an  “ends justifies the means” mentality. Success at any cost.  All is fair in love and war….using, abusing, injuring, firing, anything goes. 

Narcissists can have a Machiavellian philosophy. They lie when it will get them what they want. The feel that people will only work hard when they are tricked or forced into doing so.

Narcissists  manipulate people through deception. They will lie about their activities, their intentions, their beliefs, their thoughts and their feelings. They will make false promises, try to get out of paying people, promise you a giant payoff which will never come.

Take a look at the link I gave you, because you will be able to see how people with the Machiavellian philosophy, think completely differently than you do. There are no morals or ethics. It is a completely foreign way of dealing with people t what you assume everyone does.

If you are dealing with a narcissist, or anyone who subscribes to the machiavellian philosophy, in the workplace or in a business situation, you will likely be destroyed by them. They will manipulate you out of your money, fail to pay you for work you have done, and all manner of dishonest, unethical business practices.

One of the red flags you can identify, if you are in a business situation with a narcissist, is the chaos that seems to surround them. They like to create chaos and disharmony between people.

One of the worst situations you could end up in, would be to have a boss that has a Machiavellian philosophy. The problem is that if they are a malignant narcissist , they will put on a mask while they are at work. 

They will lie about their own beliefs and their motivations for their actions. They will lie about their end goals and you may have trouble identifying them as a narcissist, You will find yourself struggling to justify their behaviors and rationalizing their behaviors, based on your own system of ethics.

People with Malignant Narcissism like to create triangles between workers, supervisors, consultants and even non-workers. They enjoy setting up situations that torment people.

They will create emotionally  explosive situations, just to torment people. They will go as far as to cause people to quit and even to ruin relationships between friends and cause problems in marriages.

This triangulations usually manifests in inappropriate people being brought into situations. Past employees who no one liked are suddenly rehired. .Family members and friends of employees are somehow brought into situations they do not belong in.

Workers receive confusing phone calls and visits from “consultants”, “business coaches” and even “friends” of the narcissistic boss, and these conversations are confusing.

You might request a meeting with the boss, owner and rather than them meeting with you, they have someone else meet with you, who makes you uncomfortable or has nothing to do with the situation.

Employee family members will be brought into situations with the narcissist. The narcissist may ask you “Isn’t your girlfriend an accountant? It would be a great favor to me, if you have her come in and work on my books for me.”

Meetings have confusing goals, nothing ever seems to make sense and nothing gets resolved. Goals are set that are unclear or impossible.

The narcissist will make rules that are impossible to follow, They will place blame on the wrong people. They will shame people in front of others.

There will be mixed and confusing communication, They will say one thing to you in private and then a completely different thing in front of the other workers.

They will give you rules to follow and then change the rules without telling you. You will be responsible for the new rules, even if you have no idea what they are.

There will be confusion about who is supposed to do what. Sales people may be suddenly scolded for not making a run to the post office to pick up packages.

Factory workers may be scolded for not answering the phone. If they do answer the phone, after being scolded for not answering it the last time, they will be shamed for not saying the right thing to the client.

Expectations are confusing. There is no way to please the narcissist.

They may say they are happy with a certain behavior one day, and then scold you for the exact same behavior the next day. You may be asked to prioritize one thing and then be asked why you are not prioritizing things properly.

I was working with a narcissist recently. They gave me a long sob story about their sales people being bad and begged me to help them with sales. They said how I was a much better sales person than the ones they had. They were losing sales and all they needed was someone to save them.

When I got on the phone with them later that night, I was ready to work on the computer program with them that I needed to learn to do the sales. I was mentally ready and even excited to get into sales mode.

When I said “Okay, let’s do the training for the sales, they responded with…

“Why do you want to work on the sales? That is a misplacement of your skills. Your time is much more valuable to me, if you work on the web design and copy for the web site.”

I said “But you said you were desperate for sales people, who could sell. You told me it was an emergency. All you talked about for an hour on the phone earlier was the critical nature of the sales “

The conversation continued to be confusing and their responses made no sense. They insisted that we work on the web site copy right now . The web site is the emergency. They said..

“If I am not getting any calls, then what does it matter how good the sales people are? The web site is what makes people call and people are not calling. You have to fix the web site as a priority.”

This is a type of gaslighting. Of course a few days later, he said …

My sales people are losing all of my sales. NO one will help me. If only I had someone that cared and would help me…..NO one has time to help me….Everyone is soooo busy with their own lives….”

This is all to make you feel guilty, in order to gain some control over you.  At the time I did feel guilty but also very confused.

If you are getting mixed messages like this and you feel that your ability to think rationally had been compromised,,,,,you might be dealing with a narcissist. There is nothing wrong with your rational thinking,….they are confusing you on purpose.

I hope this helps. I will write some other posts about narcissists in the work place.

How to Duct Tape Your Wiper Blades…? In the Middle of a Snowstorm?

Snow was falling swiftly as I cautiously made my way to drive my teenage daughter to her doctor appointment. Just as we were  pulling up to the traffic light at the last turn, the windshield wiper blade broke. I said a few words my daughter does not usually hear me say…D$amn Sh*&^t ,,,

She asked why it was bad and I explained to her that it is not possible to drive without a wiper (on the driver’s side, no less) because the snow will fill up and cover the windshield, making it impossible to see what is front of you.

She asked what we would do and I told her that this was the time for creative ingenuity and “thinking outside the box” which luckily I am good at.

I am not so good with fitting in with the  crowd of figuring out the social norms, etc, but I can think outside the box and work with whatever resources are available to me, that other people might not see.

I told her we would go into the doctor appt because the wiper blade would not get any worse and it was already broken. An hour of it sitting just the way it is, should be fine.

I failed however to google the weather report. I should have actually cancelled the appt and taken care of the wiper blade ASAP.

So, as I was sitting in the waiting room, I formulated my plan. I was aware that there is a dollar store, walking distance from where the doctor office is. We could go there and buy supplies and rig that thing on. We only had to drive about 2 miles up the hill, to get to the auto parts store and there we could get assistance.

Not to brag but usually if I smile at the guy in the store nicely they fix things for me. (pretty good for 48 years old ❤ ) I was pleasantly surprised the last time I went to Home Depot that the 2 of the men were wanting to assist me. One of them was saying it was his section. I heard the other one say that he had seen me first, so he had first dibs.

It was really cute for guys in their 50’s to be arguing over who would wait on the blonde 48 year old lady in jeans and a sweater. So, that was nice. I rarely get an ego boost like that. But I digress…

Since I was inside the building, I was unaware of what was occurring outside. About a half an hour into my daughter’s appointment, the receptionist got a call from the supervisor that the office was going to close and to call the patients at home and tell them to reschedule their appointments. The snow weather was taking a turn for the worse.

I had to wait another 15 minutes and they sent my daughter out to me. Time to get moving.

We got outside and it was obvious that the roads were getting bad. We wrapped up our heads with scarves and began walking to make our way to the dollar store. Once inside the store, we shook the snow off our shoes and asked the lady at the counter if they carried duct tape.

She told me to turn around and low and behold there was an entire shelf, piled high with rolls of duct tape. Halleluja ! Score ! I grabbed the duct tape, a pair of scissors and a cheep shower curtain. Why, you ask?

We walked back to the car and got to work. I cleaned the snow off the car, while Delenn worked on opening the packages and removing our tools.

I said to her “We have the technology. We have the tools. We have the duct tape !” 

By this point there was another problem. Because I have raynaud’s syndrome, my hands cannot tolerate the cold and the wet cold is the worse kind!

They first become numb at the extremities and useless to do anything, since I cannot feel my fingertips. Then is they are not brought to heat quickly, they will become extremely painful! So, I ran back into the car and warmed them on the heating vents.

Then we went out together. My daughter, the duct tape, the scissors and the shower curtain ! We got to work. I slid the wiper blade onto the arm and balanced it there. The clip was broken so it was just kind of hanging there. I held the shower curtain over top of my daughter’s work area.

I instructed her to dry the place where we were going to tape it. We had a towel for that. I held the curtain overtop so that it would not get wet and interfere with the tape.

She wrapped the tape once and then one more piece.  It had to done exactly at the joint where the screw was supposed to be. To tape too far over would force the blade not to move, where it was supposed to be loose and possible cause the wiper motor to overheat.

We were done. It was taped together and it looked like it might possible hold together for a few miles.

It was the moment of truth! We got into the car and I sat for a minute and said a prayer. Then I slid the lever that works the wipers. It worked ! It held and it cleaned the window. There was no time to waste; the snow was turning into ice.

We drove very slowly, in second gear up the road to the auto parts store. I turned into the driveway. It was a tire store. It used to be an auto parts store and now it had changed. The ice got louder and I could here it making noises on the car roof. We were running out of time.

The guy in the tire store tried to put the wiper blade on for me, after he pried off all the duct tape. He thought it was “inventive” and laughed a little.

The blade was not going to go back on. as hard as he tried to do it. He instructed me to go right away. across the street to where the auto parts store had moved.

Finally we got the blade replaced and we were on our way. The guy in the auto parts store was amazed when I told him that the duct taped blade worked for me, for 2 miles up the road to get there. Mama had saved the day, but now we still had to get home.

Crawling in 2nd gear, even 1st gear a few times, we made our way the 4 miles to our house. I was so glad to arrive home safely.

That is my story and I’m sticking to it!

Annie

I Have Been Summoned ! LOL

stop bloggingno really annie

Taking Care of Yourself…For Single Moms (mothers) with Anxiety and Depression

Self-care means allowing yourself to make choices about what makes you feel good,  even if others don’t agree.Other people are not inside of your head. They only can see you from the outside. People make suggestions about what they think will help you and oftentimes following  their suggestions would just make you feel worse.

It is amazing to me, how insistent some people can be about being so sure what is good for you. They have no ideas what it feels like to be you. They do not know what things cause you anxiety or what things depress you. What might be calming for one person, may be extremely anxiety provoking for you. What is relaxing to someone else, might cause you to spiral into a depression.

Only you really know what your triggers are and how bad it feels when feelings of anxiety or depression overwhelm you. You cannot just follow people’s advice because they are pushy about it. I feel that sometimes people act like you are hurting their feelings by not “even being willing to try” their suggestions. Some people will try to make you feel like you are lazy, or do not even want to try something to help you to feel better.

It is not a matter of us not wanting to feel better. We are not being big babies, like some people think. Sometimes they offer suggestions that will do us more harm than good, Other times they offer suggestions that we have already tried or that we know will not work.

This kind of insistent, pushy “help” does us more harm than good. I hate to feel like I am being perceived as uncooperative or lazy. Drinking herbal tea does not help with severe insomnia anymore than “trying to relax” at bedtime. If we are not sleeping due to extreme anxiety and obsessive thoughts , then we can’t sleep. There is no brand of herbal tea that is going to help.

Some people will tell me to go outside and take a walk for reducing anxiety. I do not find that walking in my neighborhood is de-stressing at all. There are too many triggers I see walking around here.

They do not know how I feel about walking outside or being reminded that I live here. For one thing, I am always afraid I will see my ex drive by and that he will follow me.The cars all begin to look like his van and I go into  post traumatic state.

I am happier inside and in my bed, than I am outside. That is what I know about myself. No one can understand how it feels to be inside of someone else’s trauma. If they have never experienced trauma, severe anxiety or depression, then they really cannot tell you what will help.

If someone offer an idea that you think might be helpful then go ahead and try it. But do not feel guilty saying “thanks but no thanks” to any suggestions that cause you anxiety just thinking about them.

The other thing that happens is that people try to get you to do things that they want you to do, just because they have some reason of their won to want you to do it. Sometimes certain things are too much for us and we need to say “NO”. I have always had a problem saying no, when people are persistent or they try to make me feel guilty. My ex mother in law is the Queen of the guilt trip.

She ends up wanting me to do things that are way too anxiety provoking for me. She tried to manipulate me into doing things that are harmful to me or detrimental to me in some way. She lays extreme guilt trips on me and implies that I will be a “bad daughter in law” or a “bad mother to my kids” if i do do what she wants.

I used to have to drive my daughter to school early in the morning, after getting home late from work. I had only 4 hours of sleep and could barely drive and get home again. I then had to go right back to bed to try to recover a few more hours sleep, in order to get back up and be ready to go back to work and stay up late again and then get up to drive her again.

On my way back into the house from driving my daughter in the morning, my mother in law would stop me at the door. She had things for me to do and things she wanted to talk to me about. I told her I was very tired and had to go back to sleep so that I could get back up in a few hours to work until midnight.

She did not care that I was so sleep deprived already. She insisted on talking to me. She would say it was only going to take a few minutes but she would talk for a half an hour anyway. When I finally said “no” she tried to lay a guilt trip on me about not even being willing to take a few minutes to care about my daughter’s school or whatever she had on her mind to talk to me about. It always was something that could easily have waited until my day off.

If I had continued to stay up and not sleep, I would have surely overslept and lost my job or had an accident with the car, because I was driving sleep deprived. It would have been worse for my kids to have a car accident. Anyway the things my mother in law wanted to talk to me about were just things that she thought I should be doing differently with my kids. The way I was doing things was fine and her ideas were not any more valid than mine were.

We have to know when and how to take care of ourselves. We have to get enough sleep. When we have difficult schedules, then other people will have to understand that we have to sleep at odd times. If they can;t deal with that,then they will just have to be disappointed. If they really cared about us, then they would hear us when we tell them that what they are asking is just too much for us or even hurtful to us.

We have to eat the best we can, We have to rest as much as we need to. Sometimes that means saying “NO” when your sister, mother in law or neighbor asks you to do something. We cannot keep going like we are superheroes. We do not have superpowers that allow us to keep going without a break,

If we need to stay in bed all day on our day off, then that is the way it is. If we give in to these persistent people that do not want to accept no for an answer, we will become more and more exhausted. We will become more anxious and more depressed. It is not fair to us.

People that have never been a single mother, have no idea how hard it is to work and take care of the kids by ourselves. They have no idea about the stress, the depression and the exhaustion. If they cared about us, they would listen. They would understand that we have to take care of ourselves.

No one is taking care of us. Other women have help from husbands (the ones that are lucky enough to have husbands that help) and some of them do not have to juggle work and childcare. They do not comprehend how the life of a single mother can wear you down.

Sooner or later it is likely that we end up with depression, severe anxiety or both. We cannot let these people in  our lives keep pushing and pushing us. We have to say no and just let them feel how they feel. Let them say what they want to say about us. That is their problem.

People that are like that, are never going to be happy with us anyway. Some people will keep demanding more and more until we are broken down from stress. We are the mothers of our children We are also responsible for self care. We have to maintain our mental health and our physical health.

We are the responsible party for our kids and for ourselves. The people that say they are helping by trying to be in charge of us, are not helpful. We have every right to decide when we need to sleep, when we need to rest and when we need to take a day and stay in bed.

Our mental health is in constant danger from overwork, exhaustion, lack of sleep and anxiety. Draw your lines and let them go whine about it somewhere else.

Protect yourself and your mind / body connection and health. No one else is going to do it. No one else knows what we can and cannot handle. We know when something is too much or if we just don’t feel like doing it. We have so many responsibilities all the time. We have so much to juggle.

We are trying to maintain or strength to go on and our state of mental health. If we crash, then who will take care of the kids? Who will take care of us?

Being a single mother is a job of taking care of your kids and taking care of yourself. Make your boundaries and do not feel guilty keeping them. Tell the ones trying to give you more to do (or to undermine you) that part of your job as a single mom is to take care of yourself.

The same is true for working mothers, even if you are married. Some husbands are not helpful and do not pick up the slack for you. I know this because I was married to one. He was not any more helpful to me when we were married than he is now.

Blessings,

Annie

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