Monday, April 22, 2013

Me? First? Why Being at the Top of the To Do List is The Best Thing for Your Family.

Q at 4, Me, No at 2 and JJ at 5
As moms we know we need time and attention, but we balk at the idea of putting ourselves "first".  The words alone make us very uncomfortable.  Against our religion even. I think we erroneously equate putting ourselves first with being selfish.  Suddenly we go from being a responsible loving mother to being the mom who leaves her young children alone while she goes to grab some smokes.

But that is not necessarily true.  Putting ourselves first is an acknowledgement that if all is to be well in our families and homes, than we need to be well.  It's the airplane rule in application. Put your oxygen mask on first.  If you stop breathing - everyone else will too.

For about two years I kept pushing down the feeling that I was not quite "right".  No matter what I felt rushed and anxious.  So I figured that I just needed to get more organized and be better - about everything.  My everyday thought became - If I could...just. Get. It. Together.

The more I tried to get myself together, the more I fell apart until one day I ended up in the hospital in what I can only describe as a scene from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".

Despite the slightly tongue and cheek language, putting myself first isn't about making my breakfast first or expressing myself at the expense of my children's feelings.  I just recognize that I have a right to being taken care of as well as I take care of everyone and everything else.  Putting myself first in my world simply means that all the things that need to happen in order for me to be healthy spiritually, mentally and physically happen.  And they happen consistently.

First and foremost,  I take at least 15 uninterrupted minutes of quiet. Everyday.  It is my prayer and journal time where I connect with God and ground myself. It is the most important thing I do for myself.   Secondly, I weigh outside requests very carefully.  My time and energy is for me and my family. I have learned that I don't have to go to every PTA meeting, school bake sale or meet-up.  I have found, the less I do, what I do is more fulfilling.  Thirdly, my husband and I split dinner and bedtime duty.  I'm on three days, off three days - the extra day being a toss-up.  It's funny that my household runs much smoothly now that I am not trying so hard to get it together.  Putting myself first allows me to focus on my family with purpose and clarity.  There is much more laughter and less yelling. My kids are crazy happy, my husband is inspired and I am able to enjoy my life.  We are still imperfect and have our unique issues, but I tell you, when mama is good - everything is good.

There was time where I had an almost 3 hour commute with two small children.  There was a time when  I had to take care of the needs of my very little preemie after losing her identical twin.  Sometimes all you can manage to put yourself first is a few extra minutes in the shower or reading a magazine at the Dr's office.  That's OK.  However you do it, prioritizing yourself means a better you for all you love.

Q at 8

No at 6

JJ at 10


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  2. As a mom of two and someone that always has 325+ things going on, I often hear that it is so important that I take care of myself... As hard as I find that to do, reading your story put a new light on it. Thank you for sharing your story! I also want to thank you for stopping by my blog earlier. I am following and looking forward to some more inspiration-- I can always use some :)

    Magena-- http://childrenatplay2.

    1. Hi Magena,
      Sorry for the late reply, I just saw your comment! We all need some inspiration right? I have three kids and it's hard to not feel guilty when we just chill. But we have to learn how to do it! We matter too!