My divorce journal – taking care of yourself first

Posted in Divorce.

Last week I was addressing when I say “Yes” but want to say “No”.  This week I’m looking at taking care of others and myself.


Then – 4/4/2004


Journal question – Do I take care of others easily, but find it difficult to care for myself?


Yes.  I think most mothers are self sacrificing.  But I do make a point of trying to do things for myself whether it’s taking a nap, going out to dinner with a friend, getting a massage or having my nails done.  I do a lot for the kids, but I’ve never wanted to be one those sacrificial moms who lives and breathes for their kids at the expense of everything else; who walks around disheveled while their kids look impeccable; who doesn’t have any outside interests other than her kids.  I love my kids more than anything but they are not my sole purpose for living.  When all is said and done, they’ll move on to live their own lives and hopefully will be well adjusted adults in the end.


Now – 7/31/11


My answer to that journal question may not sit well with many people but it was the truth then and is still the truth for me today, seven years later.  A few years back, life coach Cheryl Richardson was on the Oprah Winfrey show discussing self care and was booed by the audience for telling mothers that their self care needed to come first.  The women in the audience who reacted negatively missed her point; the ones shaking their head in agreement with her got it.  She was breaking an age old myth that mothers need to sacrifice everything for the sake of their children or else they are inept caregivers.  She was trying to help mothers by giving them much needed permission to put their own needs first in order to give them the much needed energy to be a great mother.  Some women argued that they got their energy by making their children their complete focus.  The point they missed was that the roles we play can completely blur who we truly are; being a mother is one piece of the pie we call “woman”.  Addressing the other areas of your life doesn’t make you a selfish mother it makes you a balanced woman who is a living, breathing example to her children.


I recently wrote an article about this very subject (see where I discussed that airlines direct you to put your oxygen mask on first before your child because you cannot help anyone until you help yourself first.  This is a great lesson for us all and continues to be an important part of taking care of myself and my children.


I would love to hear your thoughts – please comment.


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