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You know when you fly and they are going over all the preflight safety and emergency information and they say if you are traveling with a small child put your oxygen mask on before helping the child. What!!! Are you crazy; it’s my job to keep my children safe. If you run out of oxygen, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask.
Motherhood is a full time job with no automatic evenings or weekends off or vacations unless you build those in. Are there times when you feel like you need to grab that oxygen mask and take care of yourself. Ignoring this need can lead to burnout, depression, stress, fatigue, frustration, reduced mental and physical capabilities, and an unhealthy environment in your home.
I was at that point about a little over a year ago. I was stressed and snapping at everyone around me (including my children). I was a stay at home with 3 young children and a husband who worked long and crazy hours. We had just lived through a 6 month renovation of our home and now it was the holidays.
I made an appointment and went to see my doctor. We concluded that I was not depressed…just running low and need to refuel. As mothers, we are constantly giving without taking anything. I had been doing that for almost a decade. We had a detoured road to getting pregnant including a miscarriage and some infertility, three not so fun pregnancies (I did not glow) and several combined years of breastfeeding (I am so thankful for). I was not taking any time for myself to do the things I enjoyed, found relaxing, and recharged me. I love my kids and being at home with them but not making time for me was taking its toll on my family. The doctor and I brainstormed ways in which I could do this. Many of those did not work for me either because we lacked the funds, lived in a rural area (closest gym 30 minutes away) or was just not my thing.
So I came home and thought about it some more and it came to me~READING. I have been reading from an early age, but over the last few years I had made no time for it. I started to read while rocking and nursing my daughter at naptime and bedtime and felt a lot better. Physically I am still present and meeting the needs of my family, but mentally I am able to get lost in my book. It is my escape…my relaxation. I keep my reading very light and feel good. I will share some of my favorite authors in a later post.
Does reading work for you? If not, join me next Monday as I brainstorm some ways mothers escape and refuel.