Imagine that you are 8 years old again, playing over at your friend’s house, in the living room, having a great time doing the things you loved to do. You hear the front door open, and your friend’s mom breezes in, the wind in her hair, a smile on her face, rosy cheeks, and a twinkle in her eye. She rushes over to your friend and gives him or her a great big hug, and exclaims, “I missed you so much, and I’m so glad to see you!” She starts telling the two of you grand stories about the weekend adventure she just had, making art, eating vibrant food, singing and dancing, relaxing, and connecting with other mamas.
Now, this scene may be very different from your best friend’s house, growing up. And, it may be very different from your own childhood.
But, take a moment to feel what you would have felt, as an 8-year-old little girl, seeing your best friend’s mom behave in this way. What is the feeling? What questions would you have for her? How do you see her, as a mother, in this scene? How do you imagine your friend would feel?
Now, take a breath. I think you know where I’m going with this.
We’ve all heard the analogy of the airplane oxygen mask. The flight attendant requests that, in the event of an emergency, all adults put on their own mask, before placing the mask of their child. This may seem counterintuitive at first. But, if the adult were to pass out, after their child’s oxygen mask was on, what might happen then? In order for the parent to guide the child out of the airplane, the parent needs to be conscious.
The same is true for all care-taking. In order for us to be effective care-takers for others, we must be effective at our own care, first.
We actually know this, intuitively. If we are going into the emergency room, and are given a choice between the doctor who has been there 17 hours and is going home in an hour, or the physician who just came on shift an hour ago, we will all make the same choice. We want someone who has slept, eaten recently, and who has full reserves. We know that the doctor going home soon is probably equally capable of diagnosing and prescribing. But, we are all WHOLE persons, with emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual needs. We want someone who is going to be fully present for us.
Now, as parents, how often do you feel like the doc who has been on for 17 hours? Your head hits the pillow at night, and you are OUT! The difference, of course, is that we LOVE LOVE LOVE these people we are caring for. We give our best, in each moment, and the rewards are far greater than a paycheck. The other difference is that docs do this 18-hour shift two or three times a week; we parent every day.
So, back to your best friend’s mama, above. Who seems to benefit from her weekend of self-care, in the scene? In what way? Who else isn’t in the scene but might also benefit?
The truth is that mamas just need a minute, every once in a while. Call it a wellness day, a day off, a break. : ) It’s a good thing for mamas, babies, partners, and even kids’ best friends to see what happens when women take good care of themselves.
Let’s make it happen, today!
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Also, the trio behind Magical Mamas Retreat is running an exciting and FREE week-long self-care challenge on Facebook. Check it out, here, and share with friends!
All my love,