I’m writing this from the beach in my hometown, doing something that if you’d asked me a few months ago, I never thought I’d do again….breathing.
Looking back I see a million ways I could have done it all differently. But at the moment of realization, none of it really mattered – the truth hit me hard and I was sitting in the wreckage that my heart and life had become. I had crashed. Emotionally. Physically. Relationally.
Turns out the flight attendants were right…
Motherhood took off and life was flying by. Without a thought, I was doing what us mothers, and most women do naturally, taking care everyone around me. I had spent more than a decade tending to those in my life. In all my nurturing, I forgot the first rule of flight safety: Always secure your own oxygen mask BEFORE helping those around you.
This may all seem ridiculous to you. Perhaps you have no issues taking care of yourself, and you’re never falling into bed at night in a heap of exhaustion wondering when the last time you had five minutes to yourself. Maybe you’ve never wished someone saw your silent prayers and needs and swooped into rescue you. Maybe you never put on that Super-Mom-I-Can-Do-It-All face…When turbulence came, eventually, I lost my breath. It’s taken some months, lots of grace from my husband, my friends, and CPR from a very wise counselor to rescue me. But as I gain emotional strength and begin to nurture myself first I have discovered that the flight attendants were right. Securing my own oxygen mask, and learning to care for myself may seem like a “selfish” concept to me, but it actually allows me to be healthy enough to care for others! In fact I’ve seen a NOTICEABLE difference in all of my children. Rather than feeling slighted because Mommy isn’t a martyr anymore, they are actually thriving in NEW and AMAZING ways. I’ve found myself parenting from a new, energized place.
Maybe it’s just me. But, I doubt it.
I have a sneaking suspicion there are some of you who, like me, have forgotten the all important rule that you’re no good to anyone else unless you’re good to yourself first.
Let me serve as a reminder to you, that in order to be the wife, the mother, the businesswoman, the citizen that the world needs you to be, you MUST take care of yourself first. Take care of your heart. Take care of your body.
Don’t forget to secure your oxygen mask before assisting others.