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The Importance of Taking a Moment to Recharge

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“If the cabin pressure should change, the oxygen masks will deploy from the above compartment…. place the mask over your nose and mouth and secure with the elastic band…If you are traveling with children or are seated next to someone who needs assistance, place the mask on yourself and then offer assistance.”

Whenever I was on an airplane and heard this announcement I used to think to myself, “What sort of a mother would really do that?” I assured myself that I was the kind of mother who would take care of my child first. Now that I am older and have had time to process my strengths and weaknesses as a mother, I get it. I have learned that I am not as good a mother when I am tired and tapped out. The familiar airplane announcement is a clear illustration of the concept that in order to take care of another person, you need to take care of yourself… first. It is a logical concept, yet it can also be one of the hardest things for a mother—a mother who earnestly wants to be a good mother—to do.

Now that the holidays are behind us and the kids back into a routine at school, it is a good time to think about recharging your “mommy batteries.” Recharging can be something as simple as walking around the block while someone else watches the kids. It can be curling up with a good book. It can be a weekend away with girlfriends. It does not mean spending the college fund on facials and pedicures; it does mean taking a moment to indulge, rest and replenish. Like any endeavor worth doing, parenting takes energy. Would you drive your car into the ground before getting it tuned up when there is a problem? No, you know better.

There are moments when it is appropriate for mothers to run themselves ragged in their efforts to be great moms, but it is also appropriate for mothers to take stock of just how ragged they are feeling and be responsible too—responsible enough to take care of themselves and make taking care of themselves a priority. Only by taking care of oneself can one be effective at taking care of someone else. As hard and counter-intuitive as it may feel, secure your own mask on that airplane and, in so doing, better prepare yourself to help those you care about most.

[AUTHOR: Hilary Doubleday]

January 26, 2015

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