Sunday, January 25, 2015

Parenting And Mental Health

Ever heard the saying that your children will drive you insane? Of course you have because in most cases, it is quite true!

What makes it a little more tricky is when your crazy comes before the children. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and obsessive compulsive order for most of my life, it took me very little time to realize that my already existing crazy was exacerbated by my rambunctious four-year old Jonathan. Let me explain in further detail.

For most parents who don't struggle with anxiety and ocd, a child with a perpetual runny nose may not seem like all that big of a deal. Well...not in my world. I often find myself obsessively cleaning my child's nose and face whenever unwelcome things appear to the point where I am sometimes surprised that he still has skin left. I am met with persistent resistance as he on many levels makes me aware of how annoyed he is that I will not stop touching his face and interrupting any activity that he may be immersed in.

For most parents, a living room cluttered with stimulating colorful toys may seem absolutely harmless. Why spend the time and energy putting them away when your child/children are just going to take them out again? Well...that is not going to fly. My anxiety about clutter and my obsessive need to keep things in order turn me into a bit of a psycho when it comes to toys being out of place. I don't mind putting them back...numerous times. So what if Jonathan takes them out again? At least they are not laying on the floor.

Most parents ultimately accept that they will never live in a clean house again...ever. At least until their offspring are gearing up to move out. So they may be ok with leaving dishes in the sink, leaving the bathroom a bit untidy, or not taking the time to sweep and mop. I envy these parents. Because of my anxiety and ocd, I can't do this. I wont be able to sleep let alone think if I don't scrub my bathroom, wash my dishes, dust (very important) and scrub walls. It has gotten so bad that I am at a point where I can't relax until my house is clean.

But this all comes at a price and often comes down to me either spending the weekends I don't have my son obsessively cleaning, or ignoring my child when I do have him and putting him in front of the tv for a couple of hours just so I can get my hands dirty. Don't get me wrong. We do things in the house. We paint, we draw, we practice letters. But the minute I get a second, I am on my knees making sure everything is perfectly in order.  I sometimes find myself snapping at my son if he makes a mess and doesn't bother to clean it up, or if he demands my attention to the point where I don't get to scrub my toilet with bleach.

And the truth is, I feel terrible. Sometimes I want nothing more than to just not care and tell myself that I'll deal with it later, or that it just isn't that important. However, my anxiety and ocd won't let me do that and I feel stuck between a rock and hard place.

Kindly do not judge me. But for all the parents out there who identify and struggle with the same issues, just know that I am open to feedback. I'd like to give crazy back and not feel the need to have my house perfect all the time!


  1. Thanks for sharing this very open and honest account. I know your gift for writing will help others cope =)


  2. Thank you! That means a lot to me. It takes courage to talk about these things but I truly believe it is so helpful to know that you are not alone! It's all about creating ripples in the water so other people can feel comfortable with talking about their issues!