Fill Yourself Up! (The Oxygen Mask Rule)
Being a stay at home mom can be exhausting. A lot of that exhaustion comes from the demands not only others put on us, but the demands that I put on myself. And it is also tricky: I trick myself into thinking that because I am at home PHYSICALLY with my children all of the time, that I am PRESENT with them. And therefore I often take for granted the time we have together, and spend it in “parallel” mode, rather than really connecting with my children. I wonder whether I would have more ’quality’ 1:1 time with my children if I was a full time working (out of the home) mom instead….
It is such a vicious cycle! I am exhausted by feeling compelled to over-do everything else to make up for the ‘luxury’ of staying at home. And then guilt drives me to “do without” in lieu of being with my child. It is insidious, how, little by little I have given up doing things for myself, because I believe that I should be spending more time with my child. But then finally I realized that I was doing nothing for my own pure enjoyment anymore. Everything had become a compromise, or hinged on that love I have for my child. I was sitting there, faced with a stark reality of what my life had become: a slave to my children, and ZERO 1:1 time with MYSELF. I was relegated to snatching stolen moments of the sweet pleasure of my own, quiet, and peaceful, undemanding company of yself, as though I were my own secret lover. I found myself stealing seconds at the computer, all the while yelling to the other room “just a moment honey…” and as I yelled it, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt. ”You aren’t fully attending to your child,” one voice judged. “You are not enthralled in what he is saying,” another voice announced. And I also heard, under all of that, a whisper of resentment that I was, yet again, not able to be fully present with my own things, my own passions, my own stuff!
I realized that I had begun to lose my lovely multifaceted self, and had begun to merge into simply, “mum.” And as lovely as the word is, it is not sufficient to express fully the beautiful essence of who I am. I would never willingly describe myself with one single adjective, just as I could never sum up my children with only one.
So the question is, what about YOU? Remember the oxygen mask rule: when flying, we are instructed to, in case of a loss in air quality, put the mask on ourselves before helping our child. The same goes for life: take care of yourself well, so you can have enough to share with your child and your family. Hire a sitter or swap with a friend so you can each have some mommy time, and fill yourself back up so there more MOMMY to go around!!!!
Riviera PlaySchool in Redondo Beach, CA
Parenting From Balance
A mindful, “kid-centric” hands-on learning preschool program for the “whole child,” in a nature-ful, organic environment. Riviera PlaySchool is inspired by the best of Attachment Parenting, Reggio Emilia and Non-Violent Communication.