Featured image credit: Nine Kopfer

Last Saturday was a rough day.

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been on fire for helping moms understand that all our kids need or want is us. They’re not monitoring the to-do list check marks, they’re not comparing activities done last week to this week, or to what their friends moms offer. They’re simply not.

All they want is you. To know that they’re special to someone, and they’d really like that someone to be you. They want you to have time for them, to laugh with them, to show them to do things, and to do things with them. They aren’t looking for the competitive angle, or the projection from last week to this week and next week. They just want you to look at the cool rock they just found, to listen to their book summary, or to hear the latest school drama.

That’s great and all, but sometimes, that’s not possible.

(Pin this for later!)

I’ve talked before about how I’ve struggled with depression for the last couple of years. It comes and goes – either I am the most encouraging person you’ve met this year, or I wish I could rock in a corner and disappear, there is no in between. I have high-functioning depression, meaning no one knows by looking at me that I have a massive B of an inner voice, I’m very duty-driven.

Saturday was one of those days. I woke up wallowing in self pity, feeling completely worthless and pointless, like no one would miss me. I have an online recruiting business, run this blog, and parent full time, the house was hit by a toddler tornado, and the sink was full, I deliver papers every overnight, and the house needs a lot of TLC I don’t have the time or cash for. Who here is in the overwhelmed group?

I was in a serious funk, and snapped at my husband all morning, trying to give him the jest that while he gets fistfuls of credit for bringing his company’s location payroll down 13% this month, I wash rinse repeat without a word. I read plenty of blogs that talk about how one parent, usually the one that stays at home, feels like they’re invisible, and the bully that lives rent-free in my head was telling me just that.

No one cares. They could live in filth without me and they’d be fine with it. They can just buy bread, I don’t need to make it. When he runs out of underwear, maybe he’ll figure out how to carry some laundry two rooms over and turn that mystic machine on. Who cares if I’m around.

I don’t talk faith often on GrowingSpangs, but all last week John 10:10 kept running through my head as I encouraged other moms on Instagram, thought about posts to write, and messaged a personal friend going through some life tests.

“The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; I come so that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Some versions use the word “abundantly”. Not partially, not sometimes, but to the fullest.

I have often thought about how distracted we have been made in recent years, and how our focus has drastically shifted from our family, friends, faith…even beloved hobbies. We’re just too busy on the “must do’s”. We’re so busy being social, that we’re not ever social, and our to-do lists grow under our own watch, not someone else’s.

On Saturday, I was definitely feeling like my life was no where near abundant or full. I had spent the week prior being an encouragement, being reminded of the goodness of that verse, the pure redemption, just to have it ripped away from me on a Saturday morning by my chronic self-loathing.

Did I? Was that verse actually gone? It didn’t apply anymore?

As I prepared to tongue lash my husband yet again that morning for some menial thing, it again came – the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Satan lives to squash our hopes and dreams, marriages and relationships. Where there is goodness, there will be negativity. Jesus himself even promises it.

That tongue-lash caught in my throat. I will not be destroyed.

Later that day, we went to a three-year old’s birthday party. The kids were so eager to smash a pinata Chase from Paw Patrol, and I stood there thinking “Chase, I feel you dude. That’s how I feel right now…everyone wants a crack at me, I’m batted every direction…I get you.”

Nevermind the squeals of laughter from a group of toddlers. It was my daughter’s first pinata she had ever seen, and she sure didn’t want to stop trying to hit it, she didn’t even know there were rewards inside.

My Family Doesn't Need Me_Depression Will Not Destroy - GrowingSpangs.com - John 10:10

Sometimes, we just need to take a step back. What is actually our priorities in life? Our families? Our friends or faith? A forgotten hobby?

Or simply, to live life, and live abundantly?

Don’t let negativity win. It will always, always be there. Twirl it into a rope and pull someone else out of their depths with it instead.

-Ashley

Your turn: Everyone struggles to some degree with balancing priorities, being intentional, or even mental health. What’s your story? Where do you see pieces of redemption in it?

Related: Are You Failing Today Too, Mama?When You’re Drowning in Mom Life9 Ways to Get Out of the Mom Burnout RutThe Lonely Season: Surviving the Early Years

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28 thoughts on “My Family Doesn’t Need Me – Depression Will Not Destroy

  1. You can never let negativity win! I’ve battled depression most of my adult life and it is a full-time job (the battling it part!)!

  2. Thank you for being so open and honest in this post. Makes some of us feel not so alone when we know someone else goes through the same feelings! But I do also like the point you make about our kids don’t care about anything except just us being us and being around!

    1. Thanks Jenn! Honestly, GrowingSpangs was born out of feeling alone, and noticing my friends did too, so thank you. <3

  3. Depression is a real monster, even if it’s mild. As hard as it can be, it’s so important to push through and if at all possible find that ray of positivity to get one out of the depressive mood. 🙂

    1. Thanks Nailil, I agree. Even if someone feels like they should disappear for a day, rather than weeks at a time…no one should feel like that. Our headspace is so important to be aware of. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Ashley, you sound so much like me! I’ve found that when my priorities are a bit out of whack, it throws everything off and I end up feeling like I’m in a “funk”. I have a hard time labeling myself as “depressed” but I know that’s what it is.

    1. Bre, totally!! I haven’t quite gotten a handle on how to keep things smooth sailing in the priority department, and you make a really good point – I feel worst when things (like a to do list…) get brought front and center. It took me a long time to put that label on it too – there came a time where I couldn’t avoid the feeling like I should just disappear anymore. Thanks for stopping by. <3

  5. Ashley, you are so succinct with your writing and understanding of yourself. That’s a win in itself. I have anxiety since I far as I can remember. Over the years I have learned the trigger points. On most days I just take account of what is going right instead of what is going wrong to keep my sanity in tact. Negativity is the thief of all joys.

    ❥ tanvii.com

    1. Awww, thanks Tanvi! Honestly, I rarely feel succinct…I write about what’s going on as it goes on, in hopes of processing, I think. You’re absolutely right, negativity is such a joy-thief. I have a couple of close friends who struggle with anxiety, and they’re still trying to figure out triggers. I think it’s so important to do so. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. I’ve been dealing with depression since childhood… I’ve always had to spend a lot of time and energy making conscious choices to focus on the positive and reframe my thinking whenever I can find a way to do it.

    1. Kate, I cannot imagine always feeling like this as being a lifestyle…what strength you have. I’ve only had it for the last few years, and I get so frustrated with the energy it takes to just function. When you’re in the thick of it, it’s so difficult to find any positive…but you’re right, that’s really the only way we can pull ourselves out of the pit. Thanks for stopping by, I really appreciated it!

  7. I’ve had anxiety all of my life and developed depression as I gotten older. I was on prescribed medication when I was in my teens that I don’t believe worked for me so I turned to a natural medication that helps out to this day.

    1. Hey Lucy! I’m so glad you found something! I actually wrote a post about managing depression without medication several months ago…for me, anti-depressants scare me, I know of several suicides from anti-depressants and anxiety meds. I takes a lot of work, but I do think I live a better life by paying attention to what is going on in my head, instead of relying on meds to fix it. Way to go. <3

    1. Thanks Gayle – it’s probably a bit twisted, but I love how more and more people are speaking out about it. 30 years ago when my mom was struggling with PPD, she had to commit herself to a sanitarium to get support. I’m so glad times are changing.

  8. Yes, I have had a struggle with depression and it is such a hard thing to overcome. It is so important to be on board and get with all groups that you can be with.

    1. I agree Kristal. I love that more people are admitting it…it’s becoming a wave, and it’s needed. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Thank you for being so open and honest! Sometimes we all need a reminder to take a step back and re-evaluate things!

  10. I love this more than words can describe. Depression is not taboo and we should talk about it. Thank you fir being so candid as it will help those who misunderstand depression. I will have an article soon titled.your anxiety and depression are not taboo and we should talk about them. Check in from time to time should be done in a week or so and I think you may appreciate it.

    Thepublicinvention.com

    1. Thanks for your kind words! You’re right, and I’m so glad mental health is becoming more of an open thing to talk about than it was even a few years ago. It makes it “easier” to not feel so alone these days. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. I’m not a mom, but I can definitely relate to the anxiety or bully-in-my-head situation. I like the insight and positivity you chose to go with instead. I’m sure depression is something difficult to deal with, especially when you don’t feel understood or appreciated. Hang in there and God bless! Thank you for sharing this 🙂

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! I’m grateful for the recent movement of talking about it – mental health is something that people are coming forward about these days, when that wasn’t the case even a few years ago. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. This so resonates with me and every single mom I work with. We try to be all to everyone, and often leave ourselves out of the equation which leaves us bitter and empty. Hang in there mama, you are definitely not alone in this. Sending you lots of love and light.

    1. Thanks Carine! I started GrowingSpangs exactly for that reason actually…I realized I couldn’t be the only one who had feelings of resentment, mental health issues, or exhaustion. Being a mom stretches us way past the point we ever thought we had in us. We rise…that’s the part I love to remember. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Beautifully written Ashley. I’m not a religious person, but I can see it helps you.

    My children are grown now, but I was a stay at home Mom. I loved it, but it was also extremely hard at times. My husband didn’t help at home and treated me like I was the servant. He is now my ex-husband.

    I love the way you write and how you express yourself. Real, honest, raw. That, my dear, is a good thing.
    Thank you, Loretta

    1. You’re too kind Loretta! Through responses to my posts, I find that mom-hood is very isolating, no matter what variety we are. I love this community that has current mom’s chiming in, but also mothers of older kids passing down their empathy. Our role is an age-old balance that remains largely the same through generations. Also, my dad is my mom’s ex-husband too <3 Her second round was for love...I'm so glad you realized your worth.

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