Saturday, July 6, 2013

Help! My toddlers are making me depressed!

Yesterday, I was trying to make dinner. We weren't having anything special (homemade waffles, bacon, sliced berries), but my terrible twosome were not cooperating. Rose kept climbing up onto the island and eating or throwing the berries. Eli begged to be held or put up on the counter while I cooked, but I need two hands to make waffles, and although I am definitely the kind of mom who risks putting her kid on the countertop from time to time, even I am not stupid enough to do it when operating the waffle iron. Ed wasn't home and all of the older kids had made themselves scarce. So I stood there, with one kid pitching strawberries off the island, and the other throwing a major fit on the floor, and smashing the berries between his toes. And I thought to myself, "I used to love cooking!"

And a line from one of those commercials for antidepressants went through my mind, "Have you stopped finding pleasure in things you used to enjoy?"

Just for fun, I locked the kids in a bathroom, pulled up the Mayo Clinic website, and found the following:

Depression symptoms include:

  • Irritability or frustration, even over small matters (if small matters include not being able to make dinner, babies throwing punches, or the twelfth poopy diaper of the day, then yes)
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities (like going to the mall or the movies? You'd better believe it)
  • Reduced sex drive (pleading the fifth)
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping (although it's getting better, the babies are still up enough at night that I need 30 minutes of down time in the afternoon, and woe unto thee if you happen to call me during that time)
  • Changes in appetite (they want to eat or drink anything I have in my possession that actually tastes good, which means I do a lot of eating at night and closet eating to make up for the vultures at the table. And don't even get me started on how they've ruined Diet Coke for me, which means I now drink twice as much)
  • Agitation or restlessness (it's more that I while I'm pinned to the floor by a whining child, I can't stop thinking about the laundry that needs to be folded, the dishes that need to be washed, or the older kids who need to not be ignored)
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements (carrying 60 extra pounds around tends to have that effect on people)
  • Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration (decreased concen...what was that again?)
  • Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort (going to the grocery store seems to take about the same amount of effort as climbing Mount Timpanogos-- more if you count making the shopping list and unloading the van)
I'm not entirely sure that antidepressants would help, because I know my frustrations are situational, and because none of my other coping strategies is working particularly well.

I hired a nanny so I can get out for a few hours a couple mornings a week, but even though the kids are great for her, they just cling to me harder when I get home (and besides, I spend most of that nanny time ferrying the older kids to dance lessons and swim team). I thought about just giving up on cooking altogether and getting Cafe Rio every night, but I know that there are some hard things you just have to go through. And I may eventually reach my capacity for Creamy Tomatillo dressing.

I also know that eventually, these babies will stop being babies and I will miss this period of my life. If I outsource it too much, I worry that I'll become one of the hysterical Victorian yellow wallpaper ladies. I may just have to be a little bit crazy for a year or three. But as long as I have these babies, a chance to run in the morning, and an endless supply of Diet Coke and ice cream after the kids go to bed, I think we all may make it through unscathed.


Blue said...

And you've got me. I'm here. And I'm good for a thirty minute nap break anytime... you know my #. ♥

Katie said...

Only one toddler here, but I feel ya. Jackson generally takes awesome afternoon naps, but on the rare days that he skips his nap I think I need to be locked in a padded room by the end of the day. Or at least run an errand by myself.

Luisa Perkins said...

Whatever it takes to cope, my friend. You'll get through it. If I can make it through that stage, anyone can.