“Stress is somewhat difficult to describe accurately beyond simply saying that you know it when you feel it.” according to Roxanna Miller, LMHC.
Talk to me about stress. I’m a mom. I know everything about the word “stress.” I’m sure not all moms are as stressed as me, though. Some mommies only have one child to take care of with two or three nannies to help them. Most of the time, some couples only have two kids, that’s because they don’t have the time to take care of their babies 24 hours a day. I mean, who has the time?
It would be too costly to have more than two kids these days. The diaper, formula, baby food, clothes, medicines, private school (if that is what you want for your child), beautiful home, and the likes will consume all your money. This is so stressful, right? But wait, as I said, I know all about stress. I HAVE FIVE KIDS. Yes, you read that right. Big Five-O. I eat stress from breakfast, all the way to midnight snacks.
The Big Decision – Staying At Home
I am a housewife. My husband takes care of everything financial. I’m not saying we are rich. We do have enough to get by, and we survive with three meals a day, a comfortable home, and a family car. As long as we have the basics, we’re good. When the firstborn came, it was about decisions and priorities.
Let me tell you this straight – I wasn’t forced into anything. My husband didn’t oppress me to stay at home and take care of the younglings. No, it wasn’t like that at all. When we got married, I asked him – do we let other people watch over our kids when we’re both out working? He said – what are you telling me? My reply was – I don’t want us to leave them in daycare. His only answer was – You’re right.
We accepted the fact that I was going to stay at home and he was going to feed us all. It’s just that we didn’t anticipate the stress that it will bring us, not only to the family but also to our marriage. I mean, who can predict life, right? This is life. It’s our reality.
The First Born – 19 Years Old
Let me tell you about my firstborn and why she stresses the living daylights out of me. Most of the time we are friends, but there are days when she refers to me as “You’re JUST a housewife, mom. Don’t compare yourself to your lawyer or doctor classmates.” My daughter said that to me when we were having breakfast a month ago. She’s now in college and almost done with her degree, but there are days when she would exhibit disgusting behavior.
I wonder what went wrong with my raising her, but I did my best. She’s not a bad person, but like any other regular human being, when her hormones act up, she’s just plain nasty. And I couldn’t slap her! Well, this housewife is raising an almost lawyer like you, my firstborn. I love you, anyway, even if you make me shiver with anger.
I read the words of psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman from Chicago who said that “Researches have shown regular meditation can help make the brain more resistant to stress.” Well, I need hours upon hours of meditation when it comes to my firstborn.
The Second Born – 16 Years Old
You are a model student, my child, with all your medals and certificates. I could never be more proud and happy for your success. It’s not for me, you know. All of your achievements is for you, but sometimes, you stress the hell out of me.
I just wish that you would tell me the truth, once and for all. I would accept you no matter what. In fact, I was waiting for you to say something last week when we had our brunch at that coffee shop. We had a brief moment of silence, and I was so sure you would say it, but why didn’t you? You will always be my child even if the crow will change its color because I hate the lies between us. It squeezes my heart, and it’s like I’m gasping for air. My son, please know that I love you even if you’re gay.
The Third-Born – 12 Years Old
My mom said that I would have my karma one day, and I think she was right. I was stubborn and would talk back to my mother when I was young. And now, looking at you my third child, you’re my karma. I’m not saying this in a bad way. It’s just that when I hear your whiny voice, my blood pressure shoots up and there, I’m super stressed.
“Mom, you’re not listening to me.”
“Mom, I need you.”
“Mom, this little boy is creeping me out.”
“Mom, why do you ignore me all the time?”
“Mom, look at me.”
Mom. Mom. Mom.
You always want to get my time, my child, and you know what, I want to give it to you. All of it, but I can’t. You have four other siblings, and I am trying my best. I told you about it when we went out for tea yesterday afternoon, right? I’m so sorry to disappoint you, but know this – you are my love, my son. You’re a fifth of my “everything.”
The Fourth Born – 8 Years Old
According to Mary K. Tatum, LMHC, “Stress is variable and affects everyone differently.”
I have had stressful and sleepless nights because of you, my darling daughter, and it’s not even your fault. It’s because of your dad’s genetic predisposition which led to your unusual, but now common, behavior. (My fourth born is in the spectrum with signs of impulsiveness and hyperactivity. Yes, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder plus signs of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.)
Last night, during dinner, you were displaying hyperactivity again. You were running around the dinner table and bumped into me while I was carrying a bowl of soup. It spilled all over me, and it was just too hot – I got burned. I may have said something like an instant reaction, but it’s just the stress talking. I hope my words of comfort and security after what happened will heal your little heart. Forgive me for my short fuse, and I love you even if you bump into me one million times.
The Fifth Born – 4 Years Old
You are my constant source of happiness and stress rolled into one, and for that, I love you all the more. When everyone is sleeping, and you’re still awake, you’d get out of bed and eat those Oreos for the midnight snack. In the morning, you’d cry so hard because of a tummy ache. Oh, my child, you’re young, and you don’t understand. This is my lapse – I should have hidden the goodies. Due to exhaustion, at times, I may have left it lying around. I was trying to put you to sleep. Instead, I dozed off and took a short nap while you ate those sweets.
Now, what did I tell you? Stress from breakfast to midnight snacks, right? This is my life, the life of a mom with five kids and I haven’t even scratched the surface of my daily routine.
The question is, will I trade for it? Do I want a different life? My answer is simple – NO and NEVER. I will face all these stressors and cope to the best of my abilities. Why? My five children are more than worth it. If they are my stress, they are also my therapy.