I believe that wholeheartedly. But I'll let you know up front that this post is not about my house.
It's about me. And all the other moms out there. And it's important.
I take great care and devote lots of time and energy to make our house a home that we love and can thrive in. I also take great care to make sure my kids are healthy. I'm very careful about what they eat - overall they are super healthy kids, for which I'm very grateful. I insist on them getting plenty of sleep, eating their veggies, not too much sugar, and generally taking good care of themselves. I feel that teaching them how to be healthy in a world that is largely not is one of the most important things I am charged with as their mother.
But now here's my dirty little secret. I am much less careful about taking care of myself. And lately, it has been slapping me in the face, trying to get my attention.
This weekend I was hit with yet another sinus infection. Since we moved back to the Cincinnati area, the sinus problems I've always been prone to have gone bonkers. It's seriously been ridiculous. I'm sick of being sick. I'm sick of spending days away from my family and my projects because I feel too crappy to participate in life. I'm also - keeping it REAL here - at about the highest non-pregnancy weight I've ever been. I'm tired. Add to that... my genes do not carry an abundance of mental health, either. Women in my family have lots of issues with moods, depression, you get the idea. I haven't escaped those genes by any stretch of the imagination. I've worked really hard to manage that but in general, I just feel B-A-D. Like, can I remember the last time I felt GOOD? Like, don't need 4 cups of coffee to get up in the morning or two glasses of red wine to sleep soundly?
And I have had enough.
I started reading this weekend. I've always been drawn to the work of Dr. Andrew Weil. He's one of the most famous and well-respected promoters of natural health. So I started reading on his site about recurring sinus infections.
I found this. Part of it reads,
"I do recommend a dietary change to people with sinus problems. Try eliminating milk and milk products. Casein, the protein in cow's milk can both irritate the immune system and increase mucus production. It is often associated with sinus conditions as well as with such problems as recurrent childhood ear infections, eczema, chronic bronchitis and asthma. It may take as long as to two months before you experience the full benefits of eliminating milk from your diet."
This led me to more reading.
I found this blog.
That's where I found the recipe for the Green Monster I'm having for breakfast this morning.
I kept reading. I read about how woman after woman paid a lot more attention to what she was putting into her body, and how much better these people felt.
Check out this site.
Part of it reads:
Can you relate? I sure can.
I'm not saying you should go sign up for anything or pay a bunch of money for a program.
What I am saying is this...
On airplanes, when the sh*t hits the fan, what are you supposed to do if you have kids with you?
Put YOUR oxygen mask on first. First.
Then, take care of the little humans around you.
There's a lesson in that.
If we are deflated, exhausted, sick, tired, and feeling crappy, guess what... it's harder to take care of your kids. And your house. And your marriage.
I have talked at length about this with many friends over the years.
And putting ourselves, as women, at the top of the list goes against almost everything in our current DNA.
Mothers often feel the need to be selfless.
Mothers are supposed to make sure that our kids are safe, healthy, fed, rested, and that they are where they need to be when they need to be there.
Mothers are also often taking care of running their households...cleaning, stocking, maintaining, improving, and more cleaning.
Many of us have husbands who are super helpful around the house, who are energetic fathers and are excellent at contributing in every way they possibly can. I have an awesome husband and I am so grateful that God blessed me with him. Most of the husbands I know are more than happy to go along with it when Mom says she wants to go to the gym, take a nap, have a night out, you name it.
But here's the crux of the problem. It is still the mom who has to decide she is going to do those things. NO ONE can make us do them.
It's so fundamentally simple...follow me here:
If we as women and mothers do not put ourselves on the list,
WE ARE NOT ON THE LIST.
This is akin, in some ways, to how so many of our veterans suffer when they return home from combat. Many, many of these men and women have absolutely no problem giving up their time, sleep, safety, homes, families, and their very lives to protect their country and our collective freedom.
But try and get those same determined, protective, strong soldiers to fight just as hard for themselves when they come back - to recover physically, mentally, emotionally. It's damn near impossible for many of them. It is a million times easier for those heroes to fight for others than it is for them to fight for themselves. (This is why I am so strongly supportive of veterans...but I digress.)
We have to put ourselves on the list. And not just barely on it...trailing at the bottom.
AT THE TOP.
I have not figured out how to do this consistently. But I have realized that the consequences of not being on the list are not fun. They do not, in the long run, benefit my family, my mental health, my body, my work, my soul, my marriage, or my home.
I tell myself it's more important for me to get the laundry off the dining room table, or get a gift made for someone else than it is to get to the gym or make myself a healthy grocery list.
But you know... it is not.
So this morning, I had a cup of coffee. Then I made myself a Green Monster.
Because no one else is going to do it for me.
I have options I need to explore about addressing the sinus issues that have been plaguing me - and I will.
But first... I'm going to get my daughter off to school, and then go for a walk, or call a friend, or hit the gym, or fill up my water bottle.
So if you come to my house, ignore the unmade bed, the dust bunnies, the unorganized, unlabeled closets.
And if you ask nicely, I might just make you a Green Monster.