I contemplated titles for this article for a long time.
I’m Bipolar and a Really Good Mom
I’m a Really Good Mom and I’m Bipolar
But, no, I’m just a really good mom. Period.
Bipolar has so little and so much to do with my parenting skills. If anything, having bipolar has made me more sympathetic and aware. My kids’ emotional health is stellar because of this. They know what healthy boundaries are and can be themselves 100% of the time with endless amounts of love. They feel safe and heard, things I didn’t know when I was a kid.
Unfortunately, Bipolar also makes me questions my skills as a mother. On the days when I am depressed and can’t get out of bed. On the days I’m manic and react harshly to a messy room. On the days that I am stable but still feel too anxious to leave the house. In the moments where I’m not proud of myself or who I am at all, how can I properly guide little souls through the difficulty of life.
The truth is, I think in my family’s case, having a bipolar parent is making them stronger and as long as I continue to teach them that they have no effect on my feelings, reactions, episodes, they will become stronger and more compassionate humans than I could have ever imagined.
My kids are smart and genuine and honest and understanding and caring and accepting like no kids I’ve ever met before. My eight year old understands concepts I wouldn’t dream of understanding at his age. He recently accused my husband of not carrying his share of emotional labor in our house and pointed out how unfair that is to me. When my suit clad uncle questioned my six year old’s “picnic dress” he responded “I wear what makes me feel good, how do your clothes make you feel, boring?” I didn’t teach him sass, he learned that from Junie B Jones he says. Regardless, I’m proud as hell.
Yes, some days parenting is hard because I’m bipolar; but it no way does it make me a good or bad parent. I decided I was going to be a good parent. I believe every parent faces challenges. Mine are getting out of bed, staying consistent and being even tempered. I face those struggles daily to be a good parent, but because I’m determined to raise good children it is not a deterrent, but a teaching opportunity. I firmly believe those who struggle with bipolar disorder can successfully raise healthy children and advocate for families to make the best decision for them regardless of diagnoses.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them down in the comments. Thank you! -DQ