We give and we give and we give until we are empty. Day 12 Take Care of #1 focuses on the importance of taking care of the one person whom everyone else relies on…you!
When Did The Tables Turn?
It’s amazing really. As children and young adults, we become accustomed to someone taking care of us. Even as we gain more and more responsibility and autonomy, there is still that special someone who checks up on us. Makes sure we are eating…makes sure we have what we need…makes sure we are ok. For many of us, if we are lucky, that person is our mom.
But then all of the sudden, the tables turn…we pop out a baby and BAM! We are the ones who are supposed to be taking care of this other person, 100% responsible for their health, safety and well-being. No one really trains you for this and Heaven knows nothing can prepare you for it.
So we do what moms for centuries before us have been doing. We take the horse by the saddle, throw every ounce of our being into raising this little person and realize, finally, Dear God, how our own mother must have loved us.
Because through it all, we don’t complain, we don’t regret our choice in life…in fact, it’s quite the opposite. We wonder, how in the world we got to be so lucky!
That Feeling Of Blessing Turns Into One Of Neglect…of ourselves
But herein lies the problem – As a mom to my two beautiful, kind-hearted little girls, I feel such fortune that God blessed them to me. That he chose ME, lowly me who is not deserving of such good fortune, to be their mother. And my feeling of gratitude and indebtedness is so great, that I can think only of how to be a better mom…to give more…to spend more time with them…to, in turn, do less for myself.
And of all the posts I have written in this series so far, I am inclined to think this is the one that speaks loudest to me. And if I’m right…to many of us.
And it’s not a good thing – it’s not a proud feeling. That I put myself last…because I know that it is not a smart choice – for my mind, for my body, for my husband, for my family.
And yet, I so often do.
My Hair Tells It’s Own Story
My sweet neighbor, Tamara, is also my “hair stylist.” And I find myself fumbling that term out of my mouth because it seems so foreign…like a completely different language. For all of my life, up until I was nearly 30, my mom always cut my hair….and she did a fine job of it.
But moving away and having a child ruined that set-up. When I moved in across the street from Tamara, I’ve joked that she must have wanted to die…here was a grown woman with a child that had not had her hair cut in a year. And color?! Well never…
Add on to that, I usually had it pulled back in a homely low pony that did nothing for the lack of a cut.
I just didn’t think that taking the time to cut and color my hair was what I should be doing when my job was to raise my little girl.
But you know what I’ve learned over the past 5 years living across from her?
That when I get my hair cut, it makes me FEEL better…and that makes me happier…and that makes me a better mom. Because that feeling of confidence and oh wow, maybe I am a real person carries over into my day-to-day with my children and husband.
I’m not saying I do it as often as I should and it definitely helps that she sends me reminder texts…but I’m much improved from 5 years ago!
Simple Ways to Take Care of #1
So over the past 7 years, I’ve really been working on some things to improve Me…things that either keep me healthy, make sure I am healthy, remind me that I once was something other than a Mom. That I am a woman…I am a person…I am someone of value, outside of being a mother.
I make sure I schedule all of my routine doctor appointments – physical, eye exam, gynecological.
And if I’m sick…I go to the doctor. Because I wouldn’t hesitate to take my own kids when I thought they had a sinus infection or bronchitis.
I schedule regular hair cuts…sometimes regular means every 12 weeks…sometimes 24 weeks…but it’s still better than 12 months!
I found a workout routine I LOVE and I try to go 5-6 days a week. It’s a bootcamp style workout…it’s hard…it’s not close to my house…but it’s worth it every time I step into the class and feel the camaraderie of all my friends.
Last year, my mom and I started going every 3 weeks for a pedicure. (Don’t even get me started on how badly my own Mom needs to read this post!). But let’s just say she didn’t have a pedicure until she was 55…but now we really look forward to that time of togetherness and relaxation…and pretty toes to boot!
I give myself a break of making home cooked meals every once in a while and we all go out to eat.
There Are Still Miles To Go…miles to go
And there are many more things I’m STILL working on: scheduling date nights with my hubby…getting to a comfort level of leaving my girls with a babysitter…thinking it’s ok to go out to dinner with just my girlfriends.
But I will get there…and so will you. But it has to be a concerted effort.
We have to think we are worth it.
Because at the end of the day, if we don’t take care of ourselves, if we give and give and give until we are all used up…what do we truly have to give to our children? What will be left? Not much, that’s for sure.
And when you feel that you just can’t make that doctor’s appointment or spend that time alone, ask yourself this…Would My Mom Let Me Treat Her Daughter That Way? I think we all know the answer.
If you have missed any in the series 31 Days & 31 Ways To Be A Better Mom, catch up here:
INTRO TO SERIES:
DAY 1: OUR BEFORE SCHOOL RULE
DAY 2: UNPLUG AND PLUG IN
DAY 3: STEP AWAY FROM YOUR CHILD
DAY 4: EMBRACE YOUR CRAZY
DAY 5: BE A REBEL
DAY 6: DO AS I SAY
DAY 7: FIND YOUR VILLAGE
DAY 8: DIVIDE & CONQUER
DAY 9: ONE SMART COOKIE
DAY 11: STOP COMPARING YOUR CHILD
DAY 12: TAKE CARE OF #1
DAY 13: DATE YOUR CHILD
DAY 17: PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES
DAY 18: QUIT BEATING YOURSELF UP
DAY 22: FAMILY DINNER SHMINNER
DAY 23: REBELLION IS A CRAZY THING
DAY 24: TELL THEM IT WILL GET BETTER
DAY 26: IT’S OKAY TO WISH TODAY WAS OVER
DAY 27: BE A GOOD DAUGHTER
DAY 28: QUIT TRYING TO BE THAT OTHER MOM
DAY 29: YOU CAN’T BUY THEIR HAPPINESS
DAY 30: TELL YOUR KIDS YOU ARE A FAILURE
DAY 31: LEARNING TO LET GO