Do you remember your first time flying on an airplane? The excitement, the anticipation, the butterflies in your stomach? Do you remember how you hung onto each word the flight attendant said because you didn’t want to miss anything? You probably watched carefully how to fasten your seat belt properly and looked behind you to see if your nearest exit was there.
A seasoned traveler promptly gets to their seat, and gets busy with a book, laptop, or even goes to sleep. They don’t even hear the instructions anymore. They tune it out, and with that, they miss some very important advice given to each of us that we should be using and applying in our own life, especially if we are a Mom.
Shortly before take off, a flight attendant will tell you that in the event that the cabin looses pressure, an oxygen mask will drop down from above you, and then proceeds to give you detailed instructions on how to place it on your face. The flight attendant will specifically tell you to put your own mask on first, before helping another, including helping your own child.
How is this critical life information? Simple. You are no good to anyone, including your child if you have not taken care of yourself first. You must be alive and breathing to survive.
Daily we will experience trials and challenges we must over come, but if we are not prepared to handle them, they become much more difficult to deal with. If we find those moments daily, to put on our own oxygen mask, and breathe in, deeply, the ability to cope with daily temper-tantrums, appliances breaking down, or dinner burning, again, will be much easier to handle.
Not too long ago my sister in law was struggling. She had recently had a baby and had 2 other ones to keep her busy when the baby wasn’t. She was tired, down, and not feeling much like herself. After talking for a bit, I realized she had not done anything for herself for quite some time. I suggested she put on her oxygen mask and find a few moments to do something to make her happy. The next day she called me with a completely different tone in her voice. Instead of down and discouraged, she was upbeat and happy. She could now handle a new little one and 2 active girls. After asking her what had changed, she simply said, “I curled my hair today!”
Isn’t it truly amazing that something as simple as putting a few curls in our hair, painting our toenails, or reading from a good book for just a few moments in a day, can completely change our outlook? And remember, letting the kids watch 5 extra minutes of TV, planning a girls night out, or leaving them with a sitter for a couple of hours, is not selfish. It is actually giving your children your best you, and that, is truly an incredible gift.