As a mom (or dad) good mental health is always a struggle to maintain. I myself basically suck at taking care of my mental health and that was even before Tera was born. I'm just not somebody who is good at relaxing because in my head there's always something that "needs" to be done. I realize this is not true, that most things do not "need" to be done and everyone should know that Tom has spent the majority of our 15 years together trying to convince me of this this, albeit unsuccessfully. It's part of my personality and while I'm not proud of it, I have learned to manage it (to a point). One of Tom's, and my, biggest concerns before Tera was born was whether I'd be able to prioritize things appropriately so that when she was born, I wouldn't make myself even crazier than I already was. This was of course all before we knew how "special" Tera was going to be. But you know what? I did get better. I don't try and clean everything every weekend, I do some things every weekend like laundry, vacuum the floors, lunch preparation, litter boxes, grocery shopping, etc. And some things I do every other weekend or every couple weeks like cleaning the living room, our bedroom, washing the floors, yard work and so on.
Our time is more limited now than it ever has been and it's also more important than ever that we spend it wisely. We spend so much time juggling therapies and doctor appointments and making sure we work on strategies, remembering to give all her medications, and all those other basic child responsibilities like meal times and bath time, that it's difficult to find time to just be a normal family. In most ways I'm glad Tera was our first child because we don't have a different "normal" to compare this life to. We have Before Tera and we have now and while every family takes time to get adjusted, it's even more complicated when you throw in all the complications of DS. Of course we also get to throw in some of the perks which include Family Fun Nights at Gigi's like we had tonight.
One of the things I've read repeatedly is to make sure I take time for myself and that we as parents take time for ourselves as a couple. I have to say I think we're better at taking care of our relationship and each other than I at am at taking care of myself. Tom does a damn good job of taking care of me when I need him to, and even sometimes when I don't, but it in order for it to be most effective, it has to come from me. I haven't actually discovered any great way of doing that, but I have a lot of good ideas. I love to read, I love to cross stitch, I enjoy baking, I used to like baths but they honestly take too much time and effort lately. I used to enjoy working out and eventually I'll be able to do it again (I had a pretty good stretch going for a few weeks, but then life kicked in and then I pinched that damn nerve) but now I see my chiropractor and get a therapeutic massage every one to two weeks.
And tonight, while Tom plays hockey (which is for his mental health), I'm sitting on the couch with my tea and a blanket watching tv. In a little while I'll go up to bed and snuggle up and go to sleep and try and get some decent rest. I have lots of things on my list that I could be doing and on Sunday night I might regret not getting more stuff done tonight, but for tonight it feels damn good.