My son was three years old and my daughter was a newborn when I went through my divorce so I was sleep deprived and exhausted the first few years after. I remember one Saturday being so overcome with anxiety; I put the kids in their car seats and drove around all afternoon for hours. The three of us were happy in the car so I would just drive and drive until I felt calm again. I felt overwhelmed when I was alone with my kids and I felt guilty, resentful, and lost when they were enjoying time with their dad. It was a no win situation.
Then one weekend while the kids were with their dad, I cannot to this day remember the circumstances under which I had an epiphany, but I did. I finally saw the light! “Why don’t you go see a movie,” I thought. I did go see that movie and then I did something else…I went and had a pedicure. It was hard for me to treat myself back then because like so many women, married or single, I took on the role of martyr as if it was a badge of honor. However, sound thinking began to take a firm hold in my mind. If I want to be a great mother, I need to take care of me. And there is no better time to do that than when the kids are with their father.
So today’s tip again: YOU HAVE TO FILL UP YOUR CUP BEFORE YOU CAN FILL SOMEONE ELSE’S. There are only but so many withdrawals you can make before your physical and emotional account will be overdrawn. You have to make some deposits too. And then…DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. You deserve to have some pleasure and enjoyment in your life too. Trust me, you will be a far better mother, role model, advocate and nurturer to your children if you recharge your own batteries when time allows.
Until my next post…with LOVE,