We live in a hectic society. Where being busy, busy, busy is the new normal. It struck me this morning how much we do for others, especially our children when we don’t do the same often for ourselves. I met a Mum at the school gates this week, looking frazzled, stressed and unhappy.
By contrast, her child was calm and totally unaware of the chaos that surrounded them as the mum struggled to colour in last nights homework and trace the alphabet with her left hand, (cursing under her breath) as each letter had to be done in a different colour of pencil crayon. I looked on at this mother and thought "Why?" What is the point of trying to do everything, be everyone, all of the time when you don't get a minute for yourself.
Take vitamins for example. How often have you shovelled them into your kids, chatting about how you need them to keep healthy. Yet, your own vitamin packet (bought in a moment of self-care) lie languishing still in the back of the cupboard as you are just too busy to take them.
Putting yourself first is not a crime. You shouldn't’ feel guilty. Start small. Today I’m going to take my vitamins and tomorrow I’m going to try and even take them before I give the kids theirs! Putting your own life mask on first is not selfish, it’s the responsible thing to do. In the long run, if you’re not functioning well, the family is not functioning well either. Don’t you agree?
I find now as I am getting older that life is passing by quickly. A few more years and primary school will be a distant memory. Before I know it, there will be Leaving Cert, then college. Judging from how fast the last ten years have gone, I can only presume the next ten will go just as fast. Then what? What is left of 'me' the mother, when my own children fly the nest?
I'm starting now to think of that. To develop strong networks and friendships. To strengthen my relationships with family. To find and invest time in hobbies that keeps me happy. Ultimately if we do our job right, our children will turn out to be well adjusted happy adults. It's important as adults that we look after ourselves as much as we look after others. You cannot pour from an empty cup.