Yesterday’s post on Self Care is doing really well. I’m getting emails, tweets, and messages from moms applauding my decision to take time off. A lot of them say that they wish they could do what I did. That makes me pause – mostly because it is something I would have said just a few weeks ago.
The truth is that this was an emergency decision. This was not a break or a vacation, but a self-care intervention. Yes, I came home with energy and purpose, but there was a cost.
The Cost of Self Care
1. Motherhood Martyrdom
I can’t show off my wounds anymore. I’m not the person in my house who has had the least sleep. I’m no longer the one who can recite the last six nap times of each kid, how long they were, and what (or whether) they ate beforehand. The daily pattern of our lives slipped through my fingers while I was away. Also, Dork Dad dealt with two kids by himself for six nights. No one got hurt, no one broke anything, everyone is not just alive, but thriving. The least they could have done was had a minor flood…
2. The Myth of Mommy Glue
It’s possible that what was holding our family together was not me juggling every possible ball alone. That should be a relief, right? Right? But if I’m not essential, if the world will continue to spin and my family can thrive without me – what is the point?
3. The Belief That I Escaped PPD/A This Time
It has been the central story of this pregnancy – that the Little Miss healed the broken mommy. I never realized how tight I was holding to that. Even as I accepted that the dosage of my medication needed to be raised, even as I stayed in therapy, even as each week got more and more difficult. [clickToTweet tweet=”The cost of self-care? A hard look in the mirror.” quote=”I was healed. I was healthy. That HAD to be true.” theme=”style2″]
4. The Brand I’m Building
Would women still want me to coach them through their pregnancy and postpartum period if they knew that I had gotten sick (not just once, but TWICE)? Obviously, moms would only want someone picture perfect to walk this road with them. They would not want someone who has actually been there and may have been scarred by the experience.
5. Our Budget
I went to a place three hours away because that was where we found a deal on a place that we could (almost) afford and where I could feel safe. I took Ramen with me, y’all. Still, we will be paying for this for a while.
6. My Pride
I had to ask for help. I had to tell people who I work with and who depend upon me that I was not going to be able to fulfill an obligation, to come through on a promise made. With most of my business contacts, I framed it as a family emergency. With my closest friends, I laid myself bare and asked for support, for grace. Every single person came through for me. That was (and is) humbling and heartwarming.
7. One Week of Their Lives
The Little Miss doesn’t like to be rocked in the same way she did when I left. She also has two more teeth and has started cruising the living room. She babbles three more syllables, has more hair, and weighs at least 150 more lbs.
The Little Monster turned 40 while I was gone. His three-nager has kicked into high gear and with it have come all sorts of new sayings and attitudes.
It has been hard to see the changes in them and to know that I’ll never get this time back. And then I remind myself that it was six days out of a lifetime.
Totaling the Cost of Self Care
So what did I really lose? What did I really have to let go of in order to choose myself? Not much. I let go of things that were holding me back, ideas that were keeping me boxed in, and situations I thought I was controlling which were actually controlling me.
I had an idea – I’m going to start taking my own advice. The most important person in my life from now on is me. I’m the one I have to take care of first. Yes, it will make me a better mother, a better partner, a better peer supporter and coach. That’s not why I’m doing it.
I’m doing it for me. Because I am important to me. I almost lost me and I realized that I don’t ever want to lose me. To everyone who has called, messaged, and checked in on me I have two things to say. First, thank you. I feel your love and support. Second, you can do this too. You are important and all of the things that you have to lose? They aren’t much.
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