So I’ve established the fact that I haven’t been taking the very best care of myself. Rather than beating myself up for it, I’m confessing.
Hey, it’s hard to be a new Mommy. People say that all the time but it took me until now to realize what they meant. Taking care of a baby is easy. I feel like I was born to know him, care for him, love him…
It’s taking care of me that gets difficult.
And it wasn’t until the last couple of weeks that I realized just how important that is. I may have had to learn the hard way, but I get it now.
No matter how well I take care of my son, I can’t be a good Mom unless I take care of myself. It’s counter-intuitive.
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a friend at work. When I confessed that I’d been putting myself last (the plight of every mother), he looked at me and shook his head. He said…
“Allison. When flight attendants give you the oxygen demonstration on a plane, what do they tell you to do first?”
Puzzled, and thinking we were quite off topic, I answered, “they tell you to place the mask on yourself first, then the children around you.”
“Right” he said. “And why do they tell you to do that?”
No longer puzzled, I answered like a child who should have already known the answer.
“Because if you don’t take care of yourself then you can’t take care of those around you.”
Well, shoot. Why didn’t someone point that out before?
And with that, I was on a mission to take care of Isaiah and Allison. I started where most people would: drink more water, eat healthier, exercise, take your vitamins. But then I started to realize there was more to the equation.
Now I wouldn’t say I’ve been running around in sweat pants, but let’s just say I haven’t been giving my appearance the attention I did pre-baby. Only natural right? Every morning I’m playing double duty as I get ready for work and watch Isaiah, I am just getting used to my post-pregnancy body, and believe it or not – I had to get used to wearing “normal clothes” again. (There’s so much freedom in maternity clothes. No matter what you put together, there’s a certain amount of grace since no one expects you to look like a runway model).
So this past Friday, I decided to *gasp* take my time getting ready. No rushing. No stressing. Just me, my baby, and my closet.
I picked a fun skirt, threw on a cute top and slipped on my flip flops (hey, I was easing into it, ok?). I was meeting some friends from work at a movie that day, and as I walked through the mall to get my ticket, I noticed something.
I was different.
I felt different. I was walking different. I was confident. And it felt nice.
As I rounded the corner I saw three young girls (probably around 11) prancing up the escalator. And I mean, prancing. I’m talking hands on their hips, shoulders back, heads high. When they got closer I noticed they were wearing their “best” outfits. They were a “hot pink/awkward high heels/covered in sparkles” mess. Their make-up alone was worth a double take.
As they passed (on their way to Claire’s, I’m sure) I had a thought. Those little girls looked like how I felt.
Epiphany: We’re all the same.
No matter your age, no matter your personality, no matter your lifestyle – everyone wants to feel good about themselves. Everyone struggles with feeling good about themselves. And everyone struggles with taking care of themselves in a world that says so many other things are more important.
Well. I for one, won’t be fooled again. That doesn’t mean that I will always get it right, or that I won’t need to be reminded every now and then – but this girl has learned her lesson.
That night we went out to dinner, and I got all gussied up. And you know what? Pretty sure I was prancing.