I was recently traveling across the country for what seemed like my billionth flight. I remember when flying was so exciting and fun, and now, while I’m beyond grateful for modern technologies, it’s become just another means of getting from one place to another.
I was with my 4 year old, and since we have family in two different states she has logged quite a few miles already. She was a champ on the flight (thank goodness), and like always she enjoyed ‘reading’ the magazine, menu, and safety information found in the seat pocket in front of us. As she happily played chef and went over her own version of emergency protocol with me, I mindlessly tuned out the same ol’ spiel from the flight attendant.
“Seatbelt goes like this…”
Blah, blah, blah.
“Emergency exits are here…”
Blah, blah, blah.
“In the event of a water landing your seats can be used like so…”
Blah, blah, blah.
“Parents seated with small children, place the oxygen mask on your face first…”
Blah, blah, wait a minute!
Suddenly, she had my attention.
As the attendant walked through the aisles targeting parents of little ones with this specific prompt, I let her words sink in. It’s not because it’s something I hadn’t heard many times before, but this idea of putting your mask on first had just come up during a conversation I had with a friend.
Like all moms everywhere, I had been giving and doing for those around me, and like all moms everywhere, I hit a wall and was feeling a bit burned out and stressed. I just needed to take a breather and do something for myself, but saying it and acting upon it are two different things.
I may be quick to encourage my fellow mama friends to set aside some time to recharge and refresh, but it’s very easy for me to fall into the ‘mama martyr’ trap. It’s not that I don’t love some me-time (believe me, I do!), but I sometimes feel like if I’m not sacrificing something all.the.time, then I’m not doing enough for my family. This is a bold face lie of course, because as the oxygen mask reminded me, I am a better mom when I take care of myself. I’m more present and content when I put a little effort into my own wants and needs, and it doesn’t always have to be the big things!
If you’re anything like me you might need a little nudge in the right direction, similar to the one I received from my friend that day. Consider these 4 points:
- Vocalize Your Need – Whether husbands, friends, church members, or associates, those around us are not mind readers!! Don’t be afraid to ask for that alone time. You are not a burden, rather an amazing woman who needs to remember to love on herself in order to better love on those whom the Lord has entrusted to you.
- Stop the Guilt – Just. Stop. So you chose to treat yourself to a gel manicure instead of buying your darling daughter her 12th pair of baby jeggings. Guess what? She’s going to be ok! I’m sure you’re taking care of all her basic needs and it will be more beneficial for your little one to see a happy and relaxed mother who is showing the example that she matters too.
- Don’t Make Excuses – No time? No money? Who will watch the kids? Oh the list goes on and on and ON! Now, I know that no one knows your children or your family dynamics better than you do, but if you really want something you can make it happen. Where there’s a will there’s a way! Be flexible and realistic. A little time to yourself is better than no time at all.
- Unplug and Enjoy – Don’t freak out. I’m not telling you all to ditch your phones. Hahaha! While that might not be a bad idea, what I’m saying is find your peace. Relax and don’t worry about wearing your dozens of hats. Just be you and enjoy what that feels like.
If you can have a girls night (better yet, girls weekend!), spa day or massage that’s great! But if doing for yourself looks more like making that solo Target run, painting your own toes and nails, soaking in a warm bath, taking a walk or simply retreating to an undisturbed corner of your house to read or write or eat that dessert without little grabby hands, then go for it!
Do whatever it takes and do it often mama, because YOU ARE WORTH IT!!