Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Key to Happiness

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, 
and dealing with fears you didn't know existed. 
~Linda Wooten

I recently read an article with the headline "Working mothers are less likely to be depressed than stay-at-home moms". I am a stay at home mom, and I have also been a working mom. For me, each role presented its own challenges. My choice to stay at home, was just that, a choice. I am a woman who is blessed to not only have that option to choose but also blessed to have a husband who supported me regardless of my decision.

The article didn't divulge details concerning why they thought stay-at-moms had a higher rate of depression but they did find that when working moms felt they had to "do it all", they also had higher instances of depression. If I had to make an assumption, I would say that whether a mother chooses to work outside the home or stay home with her children is not the cause for depression. In my opinion, a major factor would be our ability as mothers to find time for ourselves. As our lives evolve with marriage and children and work... our priorities shift and at times our willingness to nurture the important part of us as individuals slides down the ladder of importance

For the record, I am not depressed. My decision to stay home with my children was a reflection of what I felt worked best for me as a mother and for my family as a whole. I have been overwhelmed, felt under appreciated and lost at times, but that's because I am a mom and sometimes that's the way we feel. I started this blog because a good friend of mine suggested that "I do something for myself". Although I don't think she realized how astounding her words were for me, they sat with me for several days. When you are a stay at home mom it is easy to lose your identity.  My life is my family and it is very easy for your identity as a person and a woman to fade. At times I felt as though I was no longer Shannon, I was Spiro and Billy's mother and Steve's wife. Through this blog, I have found that I am better at not only being a mother, but also at being a wife when I carve a little time out for myself doing what makes me happy, and for me, that is writing.

I am a wife, a daughter, a friend, a sister but first and foremost a mother. I don't know if that is "healthy" or the right way to prioritize my life but it is what I feel in my heart and when in doubt, I follow my heart.  For a long time, I thought that being a good mother meant that I had to put all of my family's needs above my own but I now realize that once in a while I have to allow time for me as an individual to be a better mother. Thank you Erin, for reminding me of this very important piece of the puzzle. I am very grateful to have a friend who isn't afraid to speak the truth.

I have been told how noble it is of me to choose to stay home with my children.  I always smile politely and say thank you, but I don't believe that I am any more or less noble than Spiro's 1st grade teacher, who is a mother, or my obstetrician, who is a mother, or our pediatrician, who is a mother. We are all on the same side, we are all mothers. I am grateful for the stay at home mothers who help me organize school functions and although I don't have a daughter, I am grateful for all the working mothers who prove to all the little girls out there that the sky is the limit and that they too have choices when they become mothers.

I was frightened to allow people the opportunity to read what goes on in this crazy head of mine and I still panic every time I hit the post button, but thank you to all the mothers who have stopped me or sent me such supportive messages, it is very heartwarming and gives me the confidence to continue to take my "me" time and find my voice.


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