“Mommy…” pulled me awake at just after midnight.
“I don’t feel very good…” my daughter said as she crawled into bed with me.
And she didn’t. Burning up with a fever of 103, Mother’s Day started early with the mad scramble that comes with sick children – searching for medicine and throw up pots, praying for a quick painless passage and hopes that it’s really nothing…
“I think I’m going to be sick…”
“Happy Mother’s Day,” I thought as I pulled my daughter’s hair away from her face just in time.
Nursing sick children is not one of my strengths as a mother. Helping bolster their self-esteem and self-love; helping find solutions to emotional concerns, encouraging independence and putting on the odd band-aide is a strength, but caring nurturing doting nursing – not so much.
Spending Mother’s Day out of my happy mothering place was not exactly what I had in mind, but it proved a wonderful reminder for me of the challenges of single parenting and the importance of giving myself permission to take a “me break.” Regardless of whether or not one has a partner at home for support with chores and sick children, mothers all too often take on the role of caring for the needs of everyone and putting themselves at the bottom of the list, if they make the list at all. Mother’s also carry an intense guilt if they consider their needs and try to take some much needed time for themselves; hence, Mother’s Day, a day of appreciation for all that a mother does.
But this Mother’s Day reminded me of the importance of giving myself permission to take some time to do what I want. Despite all of our conditioning to the contrary, taking time for yourself, insisting on time for yourself, does not make you selfish; it keeps you sane. Whether it is shutting the door to the needs of others to have a hot relaxing bath or going for a walk or out with friends for a drink and leaving the sick child at home, taking the time is critical to one’s ability to handle all of the duties and responsibilities we heap upon ourselves as mothers.
So if you struggle with putting your needs first, write yourself a permission slip, show it to the people you care about, and then go and do what you want and need to do guilt free. The people you care about might complain at first, but go anyway because in the end, you’ll feel better and you’ll show people how you value yourself and how you want them to value you.
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