I have the the life I always wanted, so why am I still not happy?

This story begins about eighteen months ago as I was sitting eating an evening meal with my family. It had been a productive day; the house was clean, I had made a vegetable lasagne (and everyone was actually eating it), Josh was cracking jokes and the girls were laughing happily.

“This is it” I thought. This is the life I have dreamt of. I’m a stay-at-home mum, my husband has a great job, we have a lovely home and two beautiful children. I had everything I said I wanted and yet I was crushed by guilt because I still wasn’t happy. Instead of joy I felt exhausted, irritable and…empty.

In hindsight I was depressed and I just didn’t realise it. I was deep in grief after the death of my sister and my youngest daughter was waking up throughout the night, sometimes every hour. It wasn’t until I came out of it that I realised it wasn’t normal to feel so low. I had presumed that I just wasn’t cut out for motherhood, that I couldn’t cope even though I’d said it’s what I’d always wanted; which only added to my guilt.

This post isn’t about depression though. It’s more about the fact that barely anyone knew how I truly felt. On the surface everything was still running as normal, and even though people knew how exhausted we were I never wanted to voice the words that I was actually thinking; “this is hard, and I’m not enjoying it”.

Some days I scroll through Facebook and I long to see past the holiday photos and happy statuses.  I want to see someone who also feels like the housework is never ending, only had four hours sleep and lost it with their children this morning because then I wouldn’t feel like the only one. It wouldn’t make me feel so overwhelmed because it would be normal. Of course, social media is the highlights reel of our life, and it’s not helpful to be constantly bemoaning our circumstances but I think we sometimes feel too guilty to say how we really feel because surely we should be more together than this?…and remember “you’ll miss these days when they’re all grown up!”.

This isn’t me with any startling words of wisdom. This is me being honest saying that although I have the life I’ve always wanted I don’t always enjoy it. Ironically, as I type this life is feeling pretty great but there are definitely other times I just want to stop the ride and get off. I get tired, I get bored, I shout at my kids, I get resentful cleaning up yet another mess or staying in to look after the children. I just want to be left alone and not have to be responsible…and yet I get up and carry on one day at a time because that’s what we do, right?

I was recently asked how I ‘do it all’ with three kids. Well…I don’t. I don’t want my pretty photographs or curated Instagram feed to make us out to be something we’re not and if writing these words can make one other mum like me feel better then I’ll be glad.

I love my life and I wouldn’t want to change it but it doesn’t always make me feel happy. I’m pretty sure that makes me normal.

Comments

  1. Hannah
    November 8, 2017 / 2:02 pm

    Absolutely normal! Its as if I have written this myself! Thank you for writing this, it is nice to know I am not the only one that has moments like these!! X

  2. Julia
    November 9, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I, too, long for a greater degree of honesty and authenticity (although not melodrama!). The feeling of nobody seeing or really knowing us is awful. I’m sorry you went through such a tough time but I’m glad things are better – even if it’s just for now xxx

  3. October 20, 2018 / 9:58 am

    Thank you for your honesty. I totally understand this and am struggling through similar feelings. I know I have the life I wanted but still feel like something is missing and that far too often it just all feels like work and not enough play. I think acknowledging that out loud is a good start to making some changes.

  4. Heather
    October 26, 2018 / 1:17 pm

    I don’t think anybody can feel content and fullfilled 100% of the time. With small children and everyday life you probably werent getting the chance to grieve for your sister who was obviously far too young to gain her wings x x my thoughts and love are with you on your loss x i to am in a similar position now, a husband who adores me, i work 2 days a week because i want to not because i have to, i have dogs, 3 girls (31, 29 and 20) all doing fantastically well who i am so proud of as i brought them up single handedly as only met my husband 5 years ago. My eldest has a psycholgy degree and a good job in Birmingham, the next a teaching degree and works in the local primary school and the youngest moved to Winchester University to start her teaching degree and yesterday received an email from the University asking her to be part of the ‘Scholars of excellence’ to represent the University. Like you though i still do not feel happy and content with life and know there is something missing, stopping me enjoying life and functioning fully. Like you it is depression/grief that is stopping me, as sadly my Mum has gained her wings 4 weeks ago today. Exhaustion has been taken over by tears. I know things will get better and the black days will go. I get glimpses of my happy life when at Abermawr watching the seals play, or watching the magpie pinch the whole fatball i had just put put out or my husband cooking me my favourite vegetarian shepherds pie. Its the little things that keep me going and remind me that one day my days will become brighter. Its these dark days that give us our strength and learn us to appreciate the bright days and what we still have around us. Enjoy your beautiful family, remember it is ok to say ‘No i’m exhausted’, its ok to have beans on toast for dinner at times and its ok not to be everything to everybody all of the time. Its ok to let somebody else watch a film, paint, play with the girls whilst you go upstairs have a bath, go to your guest room, treat yourself as the guest and say thankyou to yourself for all you do for others. Just always try and BeKind in all that you say and do. Take care , with love and kindness x x x

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