Taking Care Of Mom
It doesn’t seem right that there’s only one day a year to pamper Mom. 364 days on, one day off? Not a great gig at first glance. Of course we all know that the rewards of motherhood are far greater than the costs. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy or even possible to carry on full tilt without pausing to recharge. And yet…that doesn’t stop us from thinking that we can.
Amidst young people trailing after us for more ketchup on their grilled cheeses or for help with a science project or for car keys, it can be difficult to remember that we are not responsible for anyone’s happiness. Anyone but ourselves, that is. It is tempting to believe that if we do that little bit more everything will all fall into place. Yet what often happens is that our best is still never good enough. So we try harder, and harder still, and are left depleted, cranky, and perhaps resentful at the end of the day. If we can stay awake long enough to notice.
When we take care of everyone else without taking care of ourselves, at some point we have nothing left to give. We just can’t give away what we don’t have. And as the airline staff always remind us, it is essential for the well-being of everyone that we put on our own oxygen masks first.
So what gives you “oxygen” in your life? Nothing coming to mind? Then you need to turn some of that nurturing inward. A life of sacrifice is not something to aspire to if it means an undercurrent of discontent and half-heartedness. Motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint. We didn’t become mothers so that we could burn ourselves out and be miserable.
Give yourself permission to say no sometimes. Take some time just for yourself. Shut off the never-ending to-do list that constantly runs through your head. Get back in touch with what makes you the person that you are, even if a small taste is all that’s realistic right now.
It is just not possible for one mom to do everything that needs to be done. And thinking that it is? That’s called crazymaking. How much crazymaking is going on in your life right now? How much of your internal resources are devoted to managing this craziness? And how much of your time and energy do you invest in nourishing and replenishing your own spirit, in spite of, or because of, all that is crazy in your life right now?
The official Mother’s Day has come and gone for another year. Resolve to set aside some time this week to consider your priorities, and to check in with your partner about how your lives reflect them. The reality is that life really does move at warp speed, and if you don’t make the time to take care of yourself, your whole family will feel it.
These are difficult times we’re living through. Make sure you are keeping yourself Mentally Healthy.
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