Maternal Mental Health: A Bad Day in the Life of a Good Mom

maternal mental health

I want to run away.

I am standing here washing dishes looking out at the street from the window in front of me and the overwhelming urge to put on my shoes, and walk out the door takes over. I could pretend to be taking out the recycling and no one would even realize I was gone.

I would be free, free from the confines of the daily grind that has become my daily routine.

Just put your shoes on and go.

But this is not about the “where” to go. I do not envision white sandy beaches with turquoise waters, in reality, this plan is not thought out. All I see is the end of the driveway and then that is all.

This is about the “why”.

I seem to be washing the dishes for the third time already today, now it is the dinner load but I know there will be a sink full again by the time I finally decide to go to sleep. It is never ending and I can’t figure out why they keep taking new cups so they can drink water every 20 minutes instead of using their old ones (which they leave everywhere but the sink anyway).


I can vaguely hear my son and daughter arguing, today seems to be the day when World War 3 will erupt and it will begin in my living room. There is some mention of “nerf” and “eating of the darts” and I am choosing not to focus on this right now.

Just turn off the water and grab the recycling…

The toddler is whining, probably because she wants something she can’t reach or because she just wants to be held, but the whining continues and no one seems to care that she obviously needs attention.

Don’t they hear her?

All I am thinking of is all of the laundry that still has to be done, washed and dried before the kids go to school tomorrow as there uniform are in the first load and I have really pushed their wardrobes to the absolute limit as it is.

If you leave this will not be an issue…

I remind myself that I have to make sure that I have clean clothes so that when I go to my kid’s parent/teacher interviews I don’t look like I feel, overwhelmed and a mess.

Ugh…I hope these interviews go well…

Did I mention that I am still washing the dishes, the window is steamed up and so the end of the driveway is barely visible but I can still see it, still see the freedom that could be.

I glance over at the living room, my daughter is playing with my toddler and although there is no more fighting there is now a crazy amount of running and laughter going on. There is paper strewn all over the floor and I can just see one of them stepping on a piece and slipping while they are running around.

Am I the only one who sees this?

I ask the kids to tidy up the living room of all the things that are on the floor. They say “no”. Am I surprised? No. I know this argument all too much, I will keep pleading/asking for some help around the house and finally one of them will break and start to clean. It takes 3 minutes with both of them cleaning but the prequel to the work will take me 3 times that.

Why don’t they just do it when I first ask?

These thoughts happen every few months, they become more intense when I am really not sleeping well and I am just at my ropes end.

Just breathe…

I want to scream, just scream at everyone around me, to make them realize that I am burning out, but I can’t. My issues are my own and I can’t expect them to understand right now.

You will be fine…

I also understand that all of my extra pregnancy hormones are making my mind like this. Through every pregnancy, I have had this anxiety, this feeling of being stretched too thin, this unexplainable and irrational need to run.

You don’t have to run…

I am in a mental fog that is only aggravated by my hypothyroidism and the lack of energy due to growing a baby and breastfeeding. Finding a balance between flailing in the deep end of the mental health pool and wading in the shallow end is a challenge.

Just go back to the shallow end…

But as I try to look out the window at the end of the driveway again I am brought back to reality by the reflection on my son and daughter playing quietly at the dining room table. They are laughing and there sweetness breaks my train of thought.

It’s ok…

I watch them making up rules to UNO and realize I am glad for the noise they make because that noise has the power to make me whole again.

That mess they make, I am glad I get to clean it because it just shows we have things to enjoy.

Those dishes I am washing are just a reminder that our bellies are full.

That laundry will take 67 minutes (there is a timer) and then I just have to put it in the dryer before I fall asleep tonight.

One glance in the living room and I see my husband with the toddler in his lap, watching his millionth episode of the Backyardigans because she loves all the music and dances along. They are both laughing and cuddling and all is good again.

So I turn the water off and decide that the dishes can wait. I dry my hands on my paint splattered sweatpants (where did I really think I was going to go looking like this?) and go join my family for some quality time before the kids go to bed. I know I will be fine. I always am. But those fleeting moments when I am unsure, really mess with me, even if it is just for a moment.

I am fine…

** Before anyone mentions more help around the house I want to mention that my husband and I share in our household duties and he does his fair share, actually more when I am feeling like this. He is a wonderful father and when I need a break he steps in and takes care of our kids so I can rest**


Aneta Alaei
Aneta Alaei

Aneta is a Toronto-based mom of four that loves a good meal, great company, and learning something new. In her free time, you can find her trying to keep yet another plant alive.

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  1. kathy downey
    July 2, 2015 / 5:55 pm

    I had many days when I was raising my children that I just wanted to run away,sometimes everything can just pile up on you tell its so overbearing you could scream….but its time to sit and count to 10

  2. Treen Goodwin
    November 5, 2015 / 8:07 am

    OH Trust me , i have wanted to run away many times , from the screaming kids , stress etc , its a hard job , we have all felt like this i’m sure !

  3. kathy downey
    December 26, 2019 / 10:54 am

    It’s a Mom’s life and it can be extremely stressful at times !