It usually starts with a bit of sniffles we promptly ignore. Then a scratchy throat. “Oh, it’s allergies,” we say. Then the cough comes on. “It’s ok, I will drink some tea with honey.” But then the fever and chills hit, we try our best to muscle through. Our family needs us after all. But are we really caring for our family when we don’t care for ourselves?
This question came to light for me this week as I sit here typing this with a heating pad and a pillow at my back. Last week the busyness of life walloped me hard. I never made time for my usual workout, didn’t even stretch. Just kept putting it off and putting it off while making excuses and telling myself I was too tired and too busy.
The truth is I did not make my own self care a priority and it has had pretty disastrous results. (Missing work since I can’t bend and even sitting is painful. Not the way I would choose to spend my time away from work.)
So since I am immobile with time on my hands and the inability to move much, I was pondering how I got here. Here are 3 things us working mom’s need to stop doing in order to live a happier, and (hopefully) healthier life.
Feeling like a Maryter
As mothers we would give up everything for our family. We easily put their needs before our own, like pushing through a cold when we really need a rest. Or going through a sleepless night with the baby and letting out hubby snore away, knowing full well we have to get to work tomorrow.
Part of me will admit there is something in me, and I think in most mom’s, that make us feel proud of the sacrifices. It makes us feel stronger and more important to our family. Almost like we bring it on ourselves so that later we can say “but look…look at all I did for you.”
I’m not saying we don’t do these things out of love. However, on some occasions, we also do it out of a feeling of martyrdom. Priding ourselves in making these sacrifices, when an easier solution might have worked just as well.
There is that “G” word again. It seems to walk along side us as a working mom. So much of a mom’s life is driven by guilt. We feel guilty when we take the time to care for ourselves because we are trading off the care of another.
If I go to the gym, then I don’t get the laundry done. Go out with the girls means sacrifice time with the hubby. Buying something I need then I take money away from something my family might need.
Ok, I know that is a bit extreme but it’s true. (I’m speaking from experience.) We need to care for ourselves or we are not useful to our family.
In addition, what kind of message does this send to our children? Does it make our son’s anymore knowledgeable in how to treat there future wives when they see us trudging on through sickness and injury? They will come to think this behavior is ok. What about our daughters? Are they to believe this is how motherhood is suppose to be? That it is all self sacfrice and no self care. Are you modeling the women you want your daughter to become?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
We are tough, we are strong, we are mom’s right? Well, sometimes we are also stupid. ( I am speaking from experience again.) For most of us we are not in this alone, we have husbands, significant others, sisters, friends, neighbors who have asked us dozens of times if we need anything. We shun the help because we’ve got this mom thing down right? This is our perfectionist side run amock. We don’t want to burden anyone what we feel is our reasonability. We can’t appear as if we don’t have it all together. The truth is we can’t and shouldn’t go it alone.
Not only are we harming ourselves but we are robbing our spouses others from the chance to be a Dad. Robbing out children from the experience of different personalities, disciplining styles and teachings of others. We are steal their opportunities to build relationships outside of us. Why?
Let’s get real. Because we want to be the most important, most treasured person to our little people. When you ask for help, you have to let someone else have this moment in the sun so you can take a rest, and take care of you. Asking for help is also a letting go of control over the direction a situation might take. Buy asking for help you are giving temporary control over to someone else. This might be hard for some of us to wrap our heads around.
If you do these things like I do. Don’t beat yourself up. It is ok. I know this motherhood thing is a “learn as you go” process. It’s funny how sometimes nature has a way (like coming down with the flu or having your back go out) of force you to reflect on how you can do things different in the future.