Thursday, February 16, 2012

'me' time

The people - well-meaning though they may in fact be - who tout the importance of  "taking some 'me' time" for the benefit of a mother's mental health, particularly in battling and surviving post-partum depression and anxiety, can take their advice and shove it.

Seriously. Not only is a little mommy time-out not going to cut it, here's a rare insight: the mommy time-out doesn't exist.

Does. not. exist.

Not every day.

Not when you're home alone with multiple children.

And the rare occasion on which Mommy does get some time to herself, maybe an hour or two on a weekend or evening? It's prefaced by various preparatory exercises and all too frequently follows up with kiddie drama upon her return.

Oh, yes. Very restoring, indeed.

I am sick to freaking death of being told I need a break. Ya think?! Hells yes, I need a break. Of course I need a damn break.

But here's the gigantic problem with this little kernel of advice:

it ends up blaming mothers.

Oh, you would feel so much better if you just learned to take a break once in a while.

And in the midst of blaming those mothers, those mothers who are struggling, who are fighting, who are frantically trying to keep their head above water, gasping for air,

it makes light of the problem. It makes light of a serious, debilitating mental health concern.

But yeah, I'll just go run a bath, nibble some bon bons, listen to my iPod, and totally relax. I'm sure I'll feel entirely restored after listening to my two children screeching for me for the half-hour* I'm in there.

I can't imagine why that wouldn't work...can you?

*During the twenty minutes it took me to write this, I had to stop Peanut from drawing on the coffee table, stop Bubby from breaking her teeth off on said coffee table, stop Peanut from tormenting her sister, stop Peanut from crumbling up a crayon in the living room, stop Bubby from ripping the power cord out of the laptop, replace text she deleted when she smacked the keyboard, and eventually unplug the whole thing and move to the dining room in order to get it finished.


  1. Thank you for this. It is so true. In my early days of PPD, the therapist assigned to me at the hospital kept telling me that all I needed was to schedule time for me to have a bath every day. If I had a bath every day I would just feel so much better and the fact that I wasn't willing to do that (on a student's budget, having a bath every day is expensive!) meant that I clearly wasn't committed to getting better. I wish I had had this post then to show her because I was too beat down to formulate these exact thoughts properly.

    Thank you.


    1. You are so welcome, meghan, and thank you, too, for commenting. I was actually feeling a little silly today about this post, thinking that I should keep my tantrums off the internet, but reading your comment I feel very validated. So thank you for that.

      It's absolutely astonishing that mental health "experts" feel justified in speaking to women this way. It's shocking and it's wrong. It devalues and dismisses our experience. I am so sorry that you were treated that way. Every mother deserves better. You deserved better.

  2. Carine10:32 PM

    Dear Darlene, I too am in the same boat as you. But I will have to disagree a bit... No it's not easy to take some me time and not always appropriate. But I do deserve 5 mins a day, do I? It's not about making it very fancy, but just taking 5 little minutes to breath, close my eyes and reset myself. And then, maybe I can go on with my day and be a better mom. It can be doing something for yourself that you really want but "didn't have the time to do it" or just allowing you to take a well deserved nap... But i understand why you can feel this way because it is obviously not the key to the problem. What women need is understanding, support and a community. And very, very, very understanding husband! ;)



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