Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 4:: Go on....go be selfish

“Oxygen and air pressure are always being monitored.  In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you.  To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you.  Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head and breathe normally…. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first and then assist the other person.” ~Flight Attendant
photo credit: Kevin_Morris via photopin cc

Before a flight on an airplane, the attendant will stand conveying the above instructions to keep you safe in the event of an emergency.  Initially, it may seem backwards to not secure your child’s oxygen mask first.  For most, it’s almost innate instinct to protect your children and take care of their needs above your own.  

But logistically, the above instruction is simple:  Take care of you, so you can take care of them.  If you lose consciousness, you can not properly secure their mask, nor can they help you with yours.  
As mother’s, single or not, we tend to give and give and give.  Our needs become an after-thought.  We’ll take care of us, if we have time. 
But worse, as single mothers, we don’t have that other person to refill our tanks; emotional or otherwise.
We give and we stretch and we wear ourselves out.  We drain ourselves dry.  We deplete all reserve.  And we get up and do it again; simply because we’re it.
I am blessed my children go to Dad’s every other weekend.  But even on Dad’s weekend I’ve found myself packing in way too much to try to get ‘caught up’.  Housework, laundry, extra hours at work. 
The weekend comes, and the weekend goes, and I never took a break.
Or, on the other extreme, I find myself in a pit of despair sitting on the couch eating bon bons and watching Neflix.  Well, maybe not the bon-bon part, but you get the idea. 
I’m here to tell you: you need to take advantage of this time away.  You need to rest and relax and enjoy something just for you. 

And that is not selfish.  You are not slacking.  And it is OK to enjoy that time and even look forward to it. 
If you have to get something done on your to-do list, pick one or two items to accomplish.  But don’t spend the entire time working. 

Go out with friends.  Get a pedicure.  Paint a picture.  Read a book.  

Whatever you ‘wish’ you had time for... do. 
I know some of you may not get that break every other weekend, if at all.  

I’m going to get radical here:  hire a babysitter.  

Grab a friend and swap kids for a day or even an overnight.  Ask your family to help out.  Do what it takes to give yourself a break, if only a few hours a couple times a month. 
And don’t feel guilty.
"Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)
That guilt: roar.  That anxiety: roar.  That fear that keeps you going like the Energizer Bunny, because if you don’t, who else will: roar!
The enemy would like nothing better than to find you at the end of your days tired, cranky, overwhelmed and gasping for air. 
Remember the oxygen?  You need this time away to live well.  If you are not taking the time to take care of you, I guarantee you will not be able to give your best to your family. 
After awhile, the tank is depleted and only leftovers remain.  Your kids need you at your best.  And they will appreciate that you take care of you.  In turn, you will feel better and be able to give more.  Everyone will benefit.

Sneak away for a coffee...
 So, I am giving you permission; permission to step away from your duties; to take time out and focus on you.  Go ahead and unwind.  Breathe deep.
You crave it.  Your children deserve it.  And you are worth it.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."  Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

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