Reaching the Limit

We’ve all had those moments. Life is just too hectic, and it’s getting harder to juggle all the balls in the air. It’s two weeks before school starts, and the kids are melting into the furniture, whining that they’re bored despite having a room full of untouched toys and games. You’re trying to get a few minutes of work in while the baby naps, but they’re asking for their 5th snack in the last hour, insisting that they’re starving, while refusing to eat something other than chips, candy or a full meal made by their short-order cook (you).

Your partner is away for work and you’re counting down the minutes until they get back, but you know as soon as they walk in the door they’re going to be exhausted and useless. You haven’t been grocery shopping in a week because the thought of toting the kids around the store when they’re this wound up is insane. Then, as your six your old starts eating his cheezits like Bugs Bunny munches on a carrot, dropping crumbs all over the floor you just vacuumed, you feel rage bubbling up inside…

Pause. Take a breath. Retreat to the bathroom and close the door before the toddler can waddle in after you and unwind the entire toilet paper roll. Just as you close the door (oh-so-carefully as to avoid pinching tiny fingers because said toddler is right on your heels) the pounding on the door starts. “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!” They know you’re there. You can’t hide. You feel like the kids in that scene of Jurassic Park, you know, the one in the kitchen, when they’re desperately trying to avoid the ravenous velociraptors by shutting off the lights and hiding behind counters. (It doesn’t work. For velociraptors or children. They can smell your exhaustion and feed off of your frustration). You know what’s really funny? How much children can sound like those velociraptors? I digress…

“LEAVE. ME. ALOOOOOONE!!!!!!” You shout. It gets silent. You beat yourself up for shouting (again). You take another deep breath, tell yourself to get it together, and slowly open the door. No one’s there. You slowly walk back out to the living room, to find that a tornado has touched down inside your home in the 2 minutes you were trying to hide in the bathroom. Fighting back tears, you start to pick up all the toys for the 3rd time today, and someone says “mom, I’m hungry…”

Where the hell am I supposed to fit in self care? Self care? What is that? This house will literally fall down around us if I’m not on my game 24/7… right? Nope.

I use this analogy all the time with my clients, but it’s just SO GOOD. You know when you’re on an airplane and the flight attendants are doing their safety talk? You know that part about the oxygen masks? If for some reason those masks come down during the flight, you’re supposed to put your mask on first, BEFORE helping anyone else. Before helping the older adult sitting next to you. Before even putting one on your kid. Yours first. Why is that? Because if you pass out, you’re no good to anyone else. You have to take care of you in order to be able to take care of anyone or anything else. Good, right?

So even if it feels wrong, selfish, or uncomfortable to take care of yourself before taking care of everyone else, you need to. Sit through that uncomfortable feeling, because the truth is, the house will keep standing while you take some time for yourself. Try it. Take note of how you feel before, during and after. What effect did it have on you? Can you commit to taking a time out for self care more often?

How do you take time for you?

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10700 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, Building 3, Suite 560
Beaverton, OR 97005

erin@blackbirdcounseling.com
(503) 389-5894

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