Blog #174~Mom, Take Care of Yourself!
A message to all of you moms out there in the trenches, up to your elbows in laundry, cooking, cleaning and wiping up snot, or changing countless dirty diapers…….
Trying to be perfect and do everything yourself doesn’t work. Sometimes the items you put on your to-do list get bumped to the next week or month. Life gets in the way, especially if you are raising a child with special needs. My son Nick is 23 years old, and has Down syndrome and autism. There was a time when I would beat myself up. I felt tremendous guilt about not doing enough for him, and the rest of my family.
The internal dialog was something like this…..
Nick’s not sitting up yet, I need to do more physical therapy exercises at home. I shouldn’t be sticking in a Barney video all the time. He should be potty trained by now, what am I doing wrong? I don’t have enough time to spend with my older son. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done around the house.
This was the first lesson I learned. Stop trying to be perfect and let go of the guilt….
There’s nothing wrong with having your own pity party every once in a while, along with a good cry. But self-pity and guilt can eat away at your psyche and rob you of happiness. It is at these junctures, that I learned to evaluate the challenges in front of me. Prioritize what is urgent and act upon them. The rest of the expectations, were often things that I put upon myself, causing more unwanted stress in my life. Don’t get me wrong, the guilt still pops up on occasion. But it doesn’t consume me anymore.
Which leads me to the second lesson I’ve learned…….
I’m no good to my family if I can’t let it go, and take care of myself. What makes you happy? Do it, get back to doing it! Carve out niches whether it’s taking a walk outdoors, meeting a friend for coffee, reading a book, or getting back to a hobby you left behind once the kids were born. Slow your pace during these times and savor the moments when you make time for yourself.
The third thing that I’ve learned, combines the two above. It is the importance of finding balance…..
Life can be crazy with kids, running them around to therapy/doctor appointments, sports programs, and enrichment classes. On top of those Uber duties, there is running a household and if you have a job outside the home, the pace can be non-stop. A car can’t run from zero to sixty mph, without shutting off the engine and stopping to refuel. What are you doing on your fuel stops? When you turn that key and the motor stops, think about going to a place that gives you a simple pleasure.
On my pit stops, I tend to grab the remote to shut down, kick back and do nothing. Sometimes it’s a binge watch of Fixer Upper on HGTV, other times it’s a show on The Bravo Channel (thank you Andy Cohen). It’s a time to de-compress, relax and escape. This “do nothing” time allows me to re-fuel.
As Mother’s Day approaches, my hope is for all moms to let go of the guilt, make time for yourself, and find balance and resist the urge to get everything done. Take care of yourself, you can’t pour from an empty cup! When you find the balance, the happiness returns and there is more peace and fulfillment in your life as a mom.
That’s what is in my noggin this week. 🙂
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