Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mid-Life Motherhood Crisis -- by Cara

I read Robin’s Blog on Friday, and it resonated with me. To the core. On many levels. Up until 3 years ago, I, too, had to care for my elderly father and a young baby/toddler. I honestly don’t know which was worse...explaining for the 100th time to my father why he had to take a new medication or racing all over the house, preventing my young son from writing on the walls or taking everything out of drawers so he could sit it them!

I call this “Mid-Life Mothering.” Many “later” Moms are feeling this crunch. And even if their parents are healthy, being a single Mom or a working Mom with few resources, can only burden one even more.

I feel for Robin. At the time my father was alive, I, too, went the holistic approach, looking for ways to manage all of my stress. I tried holistic medicine, tinctures, vitamins, Acupuncture (and drinking this horrid “tea” three times a day, which I had to boil for an hour! Oh the stench!!). I started going to a therapist, got weekly massages, exercised regularly. All of these things a limited extent. My stress level was mounting and I just couldn’t get a handle on it with nontraditional methods.

Enter the big time meds. They worked! They worked REALLY well! Twenty-four/seven! And as much as I hate having to rely on these meds every day, twice (or more) a day, they are what my body needed and still needs. So I understand what Robin is saying about not wanting to rely on meds to manage stress. But sometimes the stress is beyond just ordinary stress. At that point, you need to decide whether the meds might help. If they work miracles (as they did for me), fabulous! If they don’t, you can just opt to not take them anymore.

The reason I am droning on about this is because we ARE the “sandwich generation.” The other day, I went for a walk to try to calm myself down from some stressful news. The walked worked. But only for about 45 minutes afterwards. Then I was going into the medicine cabinet to help myself calm down again.

I am in no way addicted to these meds. I forget to take them sometimes. And then life starts to get to me, and I have to check my pill box to see if I took all of the meds I’m supposed to take. And I’m not a drinker, so that would be of no help to me. In fact, I’ve been reading articles stating that Moms are becoming the newest, “up-and-coming” category of binge drinkers! It starts with a glass of wine once the kids are in bed and escalates to running for the wine glass as soon as they come through the door at the end of the day. What is scary is that I have two friends who do this, and I am quite concerned for them. I personally would rather take my meds and have a fully clear head about me.

So what does all this mean? And where do we go with this? I wish I had the answers. I have my ongoing issues, as we all know. But then “life” throws us a curve ball. Or two or three, all at once! I guess each one of us has to manage our stress in whichever way works best for us.

Before my son was born, I used to take yoga classes for an hour and then go home and meditate between 40 - 60 minutes. I no longer have the luxury of that “healing” time. If I can get a 30-minute walk in most days a week, I’m thrilled! Now I need that time to help my son do his homework (and refocus him to do his homework!). I have to help him learn algebra (yes, First Grade. I think I learned it in 9th Grade. What is wrong here?? Why does a First Grader NEED to learn algebra!)? All of these added burdens accumulate. Until your head wants to implode.

I, unfortunately, don’t see my life getting any easier. I do hope and would love to eventually get off all of these meds and enjoy a peaceful meditation session. (Maybe once my son goes to college!) But it seems that as soon as you think you have everything under control, something changes. And it just happens when you least expect it. At the worst possible moment in time.

Have any suggestions or stories to share? I would relish reading and learning how others cope throughout this “Mid-Life Motherhood Crisis.” Please share them with others and me.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Robin,
I wrote about how I coped with the stresses of motherhood in my book Managing the Mommy Years. In it I talk about writing Morning Pages, Yoga and understanding personalities through the Enneagram. There's also a section of Life Lessons I learned as a result of these three practices. I know in your blog you wrote about yoga and meditation, have you tried writing Morning Pages or do you know about the Enneagram? Check it out! It worked for me!

Best of Luck,
Judy Myers

6:16 PM  

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