By Christine, The Mom of a Teenager
Place your own oxygen mask on first, before helping others. It’s what flight attendants instruct us to do as they prepare passengers to take off. Have you ever stopped and thought about the importance of taking care of yourself before helping others around you?
Since the beginning, I’ve unintentionally been the doer of all things within our home. For as long as I can remember, I have been taking care of everyone and everything before my own self. Mothers are caregivers by nature. As much as we would like to believe we are super heroes, we can’t have it all, do it all and be all to those around us. For a good 15 years, I was that mom and it was exhausting. You won’t realize how deep you are in your children or spouse’s BS until it too late and you lose sense of your own self.
Because of my daughter’s insane schedule, she recently found herself beginning to pack for a trip at 10:00 pm, the night before our 6:30 am flight. Partially her fault, and the other circumstantial. Regardless, situations like these tend to send my need to control and anxiety into overdrive. My first reaction was to obtain her list and do the work for her. I admit I did take a shot at it. However, I found that doing this was enabling and feeding into an old and unhealthy way of thinking. That’s when the notion of securing my oxygen mask came to mind. I needed to make myself #1. In order for me to get the bare minimum of sleep and be able to function the following day, I needed to shut down and let it all go. That is exactly what I did. It was scary and powerful. Letting go and holding others accountable for themselves sets you free from the insanity.
For all you moms and dads out there, know better and do better. Realize when enough is enough. Say no and realize what is your problem and what is not.
You’ll be a better human because of it.