Put Your Oxygen Mask On First
You’ve heard this before while on an airplane. In the event of an emergency, place your oxygen masks on first and then your child’s…but have you really ever put those words into perspective before? Someone once mentioned that old adage to me before and that lesson really stuck with me. If I’m not right, then how can my children be? As parents it is within our natural instincts and DNA to take care of literally everyone else in our household (including our pets), before even worrying about ourselves. Making sure that all are fed, changed and happy, before taking a bite to eat, much less a shower. I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to do YOU. Have you ever heard the expression “Happy wife, happy life?” Well the same goes for happy moms and dads! If you are in this mindset that you must take care of every little thing your toddler or even spouse asks of you, without taking care of your basic necessities, then you WILL crash and burn.
I remember it all too well. I had my first born baby boy a little over 5 years ago. My world came to a screeching halt! I know I can say the same for my husband. We didn’t care about the things that made us, “us.” Was the baby sleeping? Was he breathing? Was he pooping? Well, what time did he poop? We were literally documenting when he ate, slept and passed a bowel on timers on our iPhones! All the while, a little piece of us were fading away. Now, I’m not saying it’s not important to put some things on the back burner to take care of this little human who needs you literally to sustain LIFE, but I think it was a breaking point for the both of us, when we started to lose sight of the last time WE ate or took 5. I don’t mean 5 minutes together (although that’s crucial), but completely alone! I remember my husband calling out to me saying, “Hey Bri? When was the last time you ate?” I honestly couldn’t remember? I was too sleep deprived, too obsessed with this new normal, that it didn’t really occur to me that if I wasn’t taking care of ME, how on earth would that baby be able to sustain without ME? Once I realized that…yes things started to shift, but still ‘til this day I need to constantly remind myself that it isn’t selfish to take 20 minutes to write, because that’s my passion and what makes me, ME. That if going for a bike ride makes me feel better than by golly, I had better start pedaling!
Even while I write this article, my five-year-old has interrupted me to ask me what’s for dessert, because he finished his soup! He can wait two more minutes for that cookie. He’ll live.
Again, while I reminisce of the craziest yet exciting time in our lives, it had been days, maybe even weeks since my husband and I had even noticed one another, because we were so focused on baby! I remember us both putting him down after a screaming, crying fit, 3 calls to the nurse asking why our baby was crying…only to get the response, “Well ma’am, all babies cry.” LOL She was right. We turned to one another and hugged. It was the first time since I didn’t have a big bump separating us and in that moment, I was instantly transported to that bright sunny day on 10.10.10 overlooking the ocean, when we said our “I Do’s”. It was in that moment, that I knew everything was going to be alright.
Ultimately, my children, husband and even my dog will always be first, but I’ve finally started to get back to being me. Even if that means having to schedule in a date night in advance (something to look forward to), starting my own blog (heck yes! One of the best decisions to take that leap!), starting my own business (Yes, it’s been quite the busy year and I’ve got enough bosses under one roof!), taking the time to give myself a little makeover and maybe someday writing that book I’ve always wanted to write. I’m slowly getting back to being me and I can’t encourage you enough to do the same…or at least try to, because there’s only one YOU in the world and you’ve got an army of people who depend on that!