Where’s My Oxygen Mask?

ME FIRST“In case of emergency, put your oxygen mask on first…”

Every time we fly now I think about that phrase. Usually it’s while I’m explaining to the Big Kid for the 9000th time about why he can’t go to the bathroom during take off or wrestling the Peanut to nurse without creating a National Geographic moment for my seatmate. But no matter what or who I’m dealing with at the time, the phrase makes me pause.

I believe in that phrase. I believe in that idea of taking care of yourself. Of self preservation.

But what about my children? My family? Shouldn’t they come first?

My answer to that is a resounding NO.

Because I firmly believe that if you don’t take care of yourself, then how can you possibly take care of someone else?

I’ll be totally honest, I’m struggling a little bit these days. The Peanut isn’t sleeping for crap, the Big Kid is 3.5 going on total asshole and any semblance of order I once had is slowly crumbling away. I’m not in control of anything and it’s kind of killing me. But the one thing that I can control?

Me.

I can recognize that I’m drowning, being slowly sucked down by the demands of being a mom, a wife, a homemaker, a writer and whatever other hat I have to wear that day. I know that things are rough right now… but will eventually get better. I recognize all of these things. But I also recognize that without me being my best self, nothing will change. That I need to make sure to take the time, take a nap, read a book, go for a run, get a sitter, drink wine with friends… whatever it is that makes me happy. Whatever it is that keeps me whole and sane. Because it’s easy to lose yourself in motherhood, or the rat race of life. It’s easy to get burnt out on staying at home with the kids, the Groundhog Day of it all. It’s easy to be racked with Mommy Guilt at the idea of leaving the kids with a sitter to go drink wine.   <— My best advice for that? GET OVER IT.

I love my family. And I love them enough to not want to be a bitchy exhausted shrew.

Your family is MUCH better off if you are happy and healthy. And even if it’s just locking yourself in the bathroom with a piece of chocolate cake (that you don’t have to share with a 3.5 year old) or walking around the block without answering a single question about anything (omfg child I don’t KNOW why the sky is blue, stop asking), just do it.

And revel in the moment that is purely yours.

Comments

  1. says

    I adore my children and my husband. I love being a mother, it was something that was hard one and I feel like it’s something I’m very good at. I also never feel guilty leaving my family. I may get anxious beforehand but the minute I’m gone, I’m gone. Some may say this is horrible, I feel it is not. I know that if I’m not in a good place nobody else in my family will be either. Thanks for the great post! More moms need to know that taking a break can be a wonderful gift we give not only to ourselves but to our families too!

  2. says

    i love this…and after a particularly rough day with my own 3 year old, otherwise known as the devil’s spawn, i needed it…

    and the bitchy shrew comment…i can totally hear your voice saying that. and that made me smile!

    • says

      Isn’t three just CRAZY?? Some days I just boggle at how insane it is. I’m ready for 4…
      Although I look at the peanut and think about how much time/life there is between her and the big kid. Deep breath, I can do this again. :)

  3. Sue says

    there’s a sort of cool pinterest board called “make stress your bitch” that I’ve been following for a couple of days that’s interesting. I don’t stress very much so I don’t know if it works. I deal with other peoples stress though. You could be like a guinea pig for us!!

  4. says

    Since our second daughter turned one, I have been a huge proponent of myself. I hope that by making it a priority to take care of my needs and wants, and by talking to my family about how important it is they will grow up understanding that I am more than just their mother. I love your writing style, I’ll be back for more!

    • says

      Thanks Carisa!! When I had my son I wasn’t such a big proponent. Once he got older I realized that I needed something for myself to make me less of a nutso :-) Now that I have two? Oh.Mah.Gawd do I need time to myself… My children thank me for it.

  5. says

    Amen to this! I once spent so much time focusing on worrying about what others wanted, needed, felt, whatever. If I dared to focus on me, I felt guilty and selfish. Over time, not surprisingly, my emotional well-being and physical health took a tumble. Worse, I became resentful of others. They got everything while I stood in the shadows and got nothing. They got the glory while I remained invisible.

    Recently I’ve taken more time to focus on me and what I want, what I need. I’m thankful I have a husband who not only supports this, he encourages it. I’m getting better, albeit slowly. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful post!

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