Sometimes motherhood is a matter of survival. While water continuously floods your canoe, you're just trying to keep everything afloat. You don't do it just because you're selfless, it's about refusing to let everything fall apart. How do you practice self-care when you're quelling a tantrum, cooking taco soup, teaching fractions and cleaning up an "accident" all at the same time?
"I can handle this. I'll be fine," you say. And you hang on to that, believing it must be true because it has to be. Because with all the people you have to take care of, if you can't handle everything, if you're not fine, who will take care of you?
Let's grasp the truth right now: you can't handle this. For a second, sure. But it's not sustainable. One day you will collapse, but it doesn't have to be that way. You don't have to work until you're weathered thin with nothing left to give.
Decide today to be your own advocate and reclaim yourself. Here are four reasons why putting yourself before your husband and kids is actually the right thing to do:
1. It's not selfish
If you've ever been on an airplane, you've heard them say, "In the event of an emergency, those travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance should secure their own oxygen mask before assisting the other person." It's clear why this is important: you will only be able to provide help to other passengers if you are breathing. If you pass out while helping someone else, you will be useless.
This concept applies too all aspects of life. If you aren't happy and healthy, you won't have the ability to help others be happy and healthy. Imagine how much easier it is to parent with patience and empathy when you aren't tired, overwhelmed and hangry. Refusing to take care of yourself is actually more selfish than getting the sleep you need, taking 30 minutes to go on a morning walk or listening to your favorite tunes in the car to pump up your attitude.
2. The people you care for love you too
Remember this: as much as they depend on you for help, the people you care for love you too. Your husband, your mom and your friends would all be devastated to know you aren't getting the care you need. Even your 2-year-old knows he wants his mommy to be happy.
The people who love you might not realize how much you have spread yourself thin, but with communication, they can help you take the time to put yourself first.
3. You teach others how to treat themselves
When your little ones try to imitate your words and love pretending they're moms for fun, it indicates they're absorbing absolutely everything from you. Do you want them to pick up your self-care habits? If you don't want your loved ones to treat themselves the way you treat yourself, make some necessary changes.
4. You get more done
Have you noticed on days when you are worn out from lack of sleep, lethargic from missing meals and pessimistic from skipping your shower you are less productive than on days when you put your needs first? If you believe you don't have time to take care of yourself, realize you don't have time not to.
If you're struggling to put yourself first, schedule it out. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to get yourself together or, better yet, plan a trip where you can get away and you're forced to have some necessary "me time." For only 39 dollars you can spend a day rejuvenating at Island Spa and Sauna for all the relaxation and pampering you need. (Because seriously, you need it.)