Ok I take it back. I realized I still totally have days where the depression/anxiety come back, but it’s only for a little and way, WAY better than it was before. I was tempted to keep this to myself because I don’t want to take hope away from those of you still in the thick of it. Seriously, life is gooOOOooOOOood. But the malfunction going on in my brain is still there in some small capacity. It really is manageable, and I’m a woman so I’m used to dealing with major swings in my emotions, but I wanted to mention it so anyone still dealing with it wondering what’s wrong that theirs isn’t completely gone can see that they’re not alone. Nope! Still nuts over here.
But I did find another thing that helps emensly and I know this won’t fit into everyone’s life but I’m going to share it anyway in case it can help someone. I got a gym membership! I know, first week of the year, how cleesh. I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to do this, it helps on like 9 different levels. First, exercise is KEY to a healthy mood, at least for me. Taking River out for our walks just wasn’t enough. I’m a runner and I need to sweat and get my heart pumping, it’s the most therapeutic thing to me.
I went and looked at about 5 different local gyms that I knew had child care. Truthfully I barely even looked at the gym portion of any of them, I just looked at the day care areas because that was the most important to me. I wanted to make sure that not only was it safe and clean, but that it looked fun for River! I couldn’t just dump him off somewhere and feel ok about that, I needed to make sure he would look forward to this time every day as much as I do. I was actually shocked at a couple upscale gyms that had really depressing day care areas. Some were tucked back in an area with no windows. I wasn’t cool with that. Some had zero kids in them even though the gym was busy. So I wanted to find one that had a lot of moms with kids who frequented the gym and day care. River loves other kids and that was going to be part of the fun of this, so busy day cares we’re a must.
I’m not a big class taker or weight lifter. I run on the treadmill and use the elliptical from time to time if I’m feeling exotic, and that’s pretty much it. But I ended up joining a gym with a shit ton of amenities just because of the kid’s club.
For SAHMs I think this kind of thing is imperative. At least if you’re like me and your husband is gone most of the time and you have no family near by. We have the BEST part time nanny, but I’m not going to have her come all the way over just for 2 hours every day. But to get out of the house and away from River for an hour or 2 on most days makes such a huge difference.
Obviously being a working mom is hard in it’s own way, but there are studies that prove working mothers actually heal faster from PPD and PPA because they actually do get away. Of course whenever we’re away we miss them terribly and they are always on our minds so it doesn’t really feel like we’re “away,” but there is something chemical that happens when we are not in the same vicinity as our children. I’ve even told a few girls I chat with to leave the baby with their dad and go sit in the car for an hour. You may sit there and bawl and hate each second of it, but you are actually healing yourself.
River was really excited the first couple times I dropped him off, but the 3rd time he was not having me leave him. He instantly started crying and it gutted me to leave him in this tiny Disneyland. The girl working there promised me that they do much better if you just go rather than hang out and wait for them to feel better. So of course I stood just outside the door for the first 15 minutes peaking in to make sure he was alright, even though he had quit crying within the first minute.
He was happy as a clam the next time I dropped him off so I was glad to see he had not been traumatized by the last experience. But the time after that he had a full on tantrum meltdown. Again I just walked out and peeked in on him and he was fine again as soon as he couldn’t see me and walked straight over to jump up and down to cheer on a bigger kid playing ski ball. I instantly went from having a broken heart for him to thinking “faker!” Well fine, if it’s going to be like that I’ll go sit in the steam room, he’s someone else’s problem now.
Here are some things to look into if you’re thinking about joining a gym with day care (DO IT)
- What is the check in/out process? You want one that is lengthy and involved to the point of being meticulous and annoying. It just means they’re safer. Mine requires a finger print, etc.
- Are there windows? This might not matter as much to you, but I just think daylight is so important that it was one of my requirements.
- Are all the doors locked? Seriously this seems like a no-brainer but some had unlocked doors! One of the kids club gyms backed up to a courtyard where a bunch of men on their breaks stood and smoked and it was nothing but window back there with a door that “must remain unlocked during business hours.” I’m sure it was locked from the outside, but I still didn’t like how all the kids were basically on display there.
- Check their policies on food and diaper changes. Most places don’t change diapers, which I actually prefer. So they just text you when your kid poops if they’re still in diapers so you can come change them quickly.
- Make sure everyone who works there has had a background check and is at least CPR certified.
- Ask about their cleaning system, find out how often the toys are washed. The place we go to disinfects the toys twice a shift if that helps you gage what you should expect.
- Most places don’t allow for snacks which makes total sense, so just be sure to drop your child off with a full tummy.
- Check their hours, most gym child care closes for a major chunk of the day, from about noon-5 or something and has very short hours on the weekends. Make sure they are open enough in the times you can go to make it worth your while.
- Ask them when they are at their busiest and how many employees they will have per child per their policy.