Parenting is a never-ending adventure of what’s around the corner. It’s comprised of scaled-down versions of yourself, a little you that often fail to recognize that you are only human too. Most days it feels like you are a home invader, operating in stealth just to go to the bathroom for a moment of peace. One little noise and you’ll have little knuckles tapping at the door, and if not responded to promptly, you’re sure to hear a tiny voice coming from the space between the door and the floor; “Daddy”. Do you ever freeze when you think you hear little footsteps just outside the door? Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change being a parent for anything in the world it has been a wonderful experience and in a lot of ways has been my saving grace. It has been without a doubt the greatest adventure I have ever been on.
So, if you’re struggling with mental illness and are trying to parent your way through the tough days, you can try some of these things that work for me. My position on parenting is this: We are their parents, not their slaves. (How anxiety-producing is finding yourself in this position?) I feel like when they are old enough to carry their backpacks, tie their shoes and fasten their seat belts, teach them. Doing everything for them will act as the fuel that makes your angst worse, makes your symptoms worse, and robs you of the moments with your kids that you will always regret. Independence is what we, as parents, should be striving for with our children. Its personal benefit to you is that you get to be left alone more with a little more room to breathe. This, in turn, helps you navigate through the tough days and helps you raise your kids too.