I don't mean when it comes to our kids. Certainly we hear them. Even when we're busy stuffing cotton in our ears to try not to hear them for at least a few moments out of the day, we still hear them.
What I mean is: are we deaf when it comes to taking care of ourselves? Ever-sacrificial, we moms seem to turn off the ability to care for ourselves once that womb is opened. (And, for some of us, it happens even before that.) And what is one of the first pieces of advice we get as a new mom or as a not-so-new mom to a newborn? "Take care of yourself." "Make sure you take time to take care of you." And, usually, the words come first unwanted from some old lady at the store. Then, however, the words seep from the lips of people whose thoughts we actually do care about.
What happens next? We take the trip to the baby's first doctor appointments as well as our OB/GYN follow-up appointments and, what? what does that magazine headline read? "10 Simple Ways to Take 5 for You"or, my personal favorite, "How to Take Time for Yourself without the Guilt". Taking time for myself SANS guilt?! Are they insane?! Moms eat the measly scrapings from the bottom of the pot (usually in line after the dog has licked said pot) and we still feel guilt. And I'm supposed to take time for... ME?! Ha!
But that's what all the magazine articles tell you (cause, they're experts, y'know) - add to it that your doctor and your baby's doctor tell you the same thing. (Really, what could they possibly know?!) And then comes the irony that your friends and your siblings give you the same piece of advice, and, oddest of all, so does your mother. Yeah, your mother. You know, the one who never took time for herself? It's an interesting moment when those words of "wisdom" come tumbling from her lips.
"Make time for yourself." "Do something you enjoy." "Be free to baby yourself, too." We hear it and read it all the time but we never heed it.
In conversing with a Fellow Fabulous Mom (D - 4, S - infant) today, we came to the subject of our husbands and their interaction with the children. Fellow Fabulous Mom says, "Yeah, and as soon as Hubby comes home, Daughter asks him to help her with something and he replies 'in a minute, I've gotta get changed outta these clothes.' What?! What is that?! You don't get to do that!"
I have been positioned at the same sideline of this situation more times than I can count. I mean, how dare my Hubby come home and leave his cross neatly leaning against the wall while he nonchalantly takes time to wipe the dust from his feet?! Climb on that cross and sacrifice, boy!
Then, as I'm listening to Fellow Fabulous Mom, it dons on me. What if her Hubby and my Hubby have the right mindset? I mean, the idea of the men being correct is possible, right?
What our Hubbies are exhibiting is the same notion the stewardess comes down the aisle with to specifically instruct us parents after the "if-we-crash-into-the-side-of-a-mountain-your-seat-cushion-turned-floating-device-will-not-save-you" speech. The stewardess stops to tell us: "if the oxygen mask deploys, put the mask on you first and then put on your child's." You know, cause you're the (presumably) more intelligent one of the bunch so you need to be taken care of first.
Put my child's mask on after mine. Huh.
As moms, if the plane's yellow mini-romper room cups deployed, we would skip right over our mask, gasping for air, turning blue, to insure that our child got air first. Obviously, whoever designed these stupid planes and stupid masks doesn't have kids.
Or do those designers know something we don't? And have our husbands learned something we haven't? I'm just kidding, I know that last part's ridiculous.
So what is it exactly that's keeping us moms from putting that oxygen mask on ourselves first? Why are we stuck in this mentality that if we aren't suffering, then it isn't love? This notion that says "I will throw myself in front of a train for you even though it's 50 miles off and you're completely out of harm's way. I will wait here til it hits me just so I can sacrifice for you!"
That's why I'm starting this blog. I've asked this "are we deaf" question too many times. And I've pondered too much on how to create a support group for my Fellow Fabulous Moms to foster a mom-gets-the-oxygen-mask-first mentality and ditch the get-off-the-cross-Jesus, I-need-to-use-it attitude.
And that's why you've been invited or found yourself here. Because you, too, need to hear that it's okay to put the mask on first and then attend to the children. It's okay to heed those words screaming from the magazine cover and from our double-messaged friends and family.
I know I need to hear it. And, by typing it, I'm hoping I will.
Please join me by adding your wisdom to the comments section so we can begin this "support group". Now, who wants to sing Kum-By-Ah? We can count it as "me" time!