I felt the turning of the tide last night. I did what I needed to do. But not until after I did it, did I realize how badly it was needed. Self care is a must. I preach this message constantly to those around me so, how is it that I allow myself to go so far into the dark forest before I realize how lost I’ve become. So out of touch with myself and my own needs. It’s a common theme it seems among mothers in the first year of having an infant…
My friend shared a beautiful speech with me last night. After spilling unto her about the week I’d felt I barely survived, she sent me the link to an audio of the speech, “Love Yourself” by Les Brown.
His words spoke directly to my heart. I heard him speaking right to me as he deliberately spoke of how our hatred towards others takes a toll on our own health and well being. There it was. Someone finally calling me out on how I’ve allowed my own health to suffer because I couldn’t just let go of my animosity towards someone, which at the end of the day, didn’t really affect me at all.
Then, he spoke of how we naturally begin to resent others; our family, our partner, our kids, those we love when we don’t take care of ourselves. These words were hitting so close to home that it hurt to keep listening. The truth hurts sometimes. I felt tears well up in my eyes and they stung because I knew how true that was and that I was letting that happen in my own home.
On Tuesday we had plans to go over to my in-laws after work. This was something Brandon eagerly looked forward to because he loves watching football with his Dad. I loved that he had this desire for himself because he pours so much of himself into work, our family and others and I’m often hoping for him to do something for himself. It’s this season that he gets to do just that every week even if it’s just to watch football with some of his favorite people.
So I rushed home after work, fed the baby, got everyone loaded in the car to take our babysitter back to her house and then back home to get Brandon so we could head to his parent’s. If only it were that simple though. In between, meltdowns ensued… I found out it was a no nap kind of day, which was no fault of our own but showed signs of exhaustion in the four year old and he was beyond able to hold it together. I knew dragging the night on would be no good for any of us. I knew that as much as we both wanted to go to Naunee and Papa’s house, it would only make things worse so, I made the call.
The kids and I would have to stay home and Brandon would go so, that he could enjoy the game. He deserved to. But on the inside, I could feel myself growing bitter. He asked me if I was sure and reluctantly, I said “yes”, while secretly hoping he’d change his mind and stay home to ride out the storm that would surely pour over our bed time routine that night. But he kissed me goodbye and walked out the door…
The door closed behind him and I immediately burst into tears. The baby on my lap, with a confused look in her eyes and P with disappointment washing over himself as well, went to his room to take some space. As childish as my little meltdown seems, I couldn’t help but feel defeated by the day, overwhelmed by my responsibility for these humans and cheated by the fact that I couldn’t just leave to go do whatever I wanted in that moment.
These emotions were simply symptoms of my problem though. And what was my real problem, anyway? Why was I feeling resentment towards my family? It wasn’t really about this one time I couldn’t go because my son was being naughty, there’s plenty of those. It wasn’t really about my partner getting to do something that I couldn’t because that rarely happens. When I dug deeper, it didn’t take much to realize that it was about me and my own inner struggle for some sense of freedom. Just an ounce, even.
So when I heard Les speak of the importance of taking care of ourselves, I knew that I wasn’t doing right by my family by not doing that. I knew I was hurting my own health by carrying this heavy weight of hatred and resentment around on my back. I knew that it was time to learn to let it go and I knew that in order to do that, id need to take care of myself.
It’s time to throw out the excuses and make it work. My family is okay without me at home for a short while. My baby knows she is loved while I am at work or spending time by myself. I have time, when I make time. I am motivated by my need for personal development and love for my family. Only I know what I need and am able to tell those I love how to support me in doing so.
It’s okay that I fell short for a while but now it’s time to get back up. Its time to practice what I have preached. My own health depends on it. My relationship with my family depends on it.
And most importantly, I LOVE myself. Do you?