…with a mental health condition is:
- Hard (there’s no getting away from that fact!)
- Teaching your children how to handle their emotions from a young age.
- Telling your children to enjoy themselves because life’s too short.
- Explaining that you’re tired/sad/angry because of your broken brain.
- Getting up at stupid o’ clock on a Saturday morning because apparently it’s time for breakfast.
- Talking to dolls as if they were your grandchildren because it makes your daughter happy.
- Listening to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on the tenor horn/violin/recorder. Over and over and over and over again.
- Becoming an engineer in order to understand Lego schematics.
- Fixing recalcitrant onesie zips at 4.30 in the morning.
- Reading Biff, Chip and Kipper books for four years, and then reading Rainbow Fairy books for another four years.
- Sitting through an hour of school nativity play where the only line you understand is the one you coached your child on for several hours.
- Cleaning up guinea pig poo.
- Eating fairy cakes baked at school with a grin on your face (even though they mixed up the ingredients).
In other words, parenting with a mental health condition is just like parenting without a mental health condition; but with a hundred times more awareness of what’s going on in your own head, enabling your kids to understand their own heads from the off. Parenting, regardless of your state of mind, is: