Of all of the professional and personal titles I have had, there is no doubt that the one I’m proudest of is “Mom.” Any mom knows that it is the biggest job there is…I liken it to the greatest endurance event of my life. I adore my children deeply, and as they grow I find myself both enjoying their increasing independence and wishing their little personalities could remain young, sweet and innocent forever.
Undoubtedly, one of the hardest things to do as a mom is to balance your children’s health and well-being with your own. As I write, I can think of a couple of doctor’s appointments that I need to schedule for myself. Of course, we never intend to put our own wellness aside, but like the many things that just seem to “happen” (like those odd pen marks on your wall that no one remembers drawing), our health and wellness just seem to slip.
If you have ever flown on a plane, you know that the flight attendant always stresses that in the case of an emergency you apply your own oxygen mask before your child’s. I know you moms are thinking…yeah right. But there is a reason for this essential advice: if you don’t take care of yourself and remain strong, you won’t be able to take care of your loved one.
So, this Mother’s Day I am asking you to reflect on how you can learn to “put on your own oxygen mask” first and make your wellness a top (or almost top!) priority.
Start with a regular exercise schedule.
I can’t think of a better way to incorporate regular health and wellness into your life than to adopt a regular exercise schedule. Make it a priority and your family will not only learn to give you the space you need for it, they will expect that you want and need the time. I realize that it is nice to exercise with friends but, I have to admit that I prefer exercising alone so that the experience is all about me.
Look at the calendar and outline your appointments ahead of time.
Here is the thing: if we don’t get regular screening and tend to our annual appointments, we are putting our health at risk, which is not only dangerous for us, but potentially awful for our children too if a health issue isn’t caught early. You wouldn’t miss one of your children’s health appointments…why skip your own?
Take “me time” whenever you can get it.
I can recall that when my daughter was very young, simply arriving somewhere 15 minutes early afforded me time to flip through a magazine and enjoy some quiet (she was known to fall asleep in the car almost instantly). My point is that it doesn’t always have to be an entire afternoon or evening out. If you wait for these opportunities, you are likely waiting too long for your solo time. Rather, seek those small moments (mmm…another reason for that gym time) that restore you and give you the boost you need to continue the great endurance event of motherhood.