I can't stress it enough! If YOU are not taking care of yourself the whole family will suffer. Yes, you are that important. I have found this to be true in so many cycles of my life. Right now the cycle I'm in includes a newborn. A beautiful boy who relies completely on me for his nutritional needs, who finds great comfort in my arms, who can go from a drunken-sleep slumber to alert and upset in 10 seconds flat if I dare put him down. At 2 weeks old he doesn't understand that sometimes Mom needs to help older brothers or (aghast!) take care of herself!
So yesterday when I decided I NEEDED a shower (for my sake and the sake of those within a two-mile radius of me...) Baby *L* just didn't get the memo. Each time I put him down he screamed bloody murder. I'd pick him back up. Nurse him. He'd fall asleep in less then a minute and I'd put him back down. We did this little 'cycle' for 30 minutes when I decided I needed just 10 minutes; 10 minutes at the most and then I'd feel so much better and able to handle his cuddling-needs. (Yes I was starting to stress over this little 'game' he was playing. And getting frustrated at an infant does nothing to help the situation!)
So I laid him down in a safe place in the bathroom (Yay for 2 week olders that can't roll around) on a soft blanket. He really enjoyed the first 3 minutes. I think the sound of the shower was soothing. But when the crying and wailing started back up I KNEW he was ok. I knew he was safe. I knew he would survive. So I continued my shower knowing sometimes I need me time!
Don't feel guilty about your me-time! Whether you are torn because of your children's needs, the stress of a deployment, or taking care of a wounded-warrior, an ailing parent, or any number of other reasons. Take at *least* 10 to 15 minutes a day to better prepare yourself for the needs of others. I also walk daily - stroller in hand and young ones on bikes in front of me. We go for that walk because *I* need it.
What do you do for stress relief? Does it clear your mind and better prepare you for what is ahead? Here are some great resources to get you on the right track!
- Taking Care of Yourself is NOT Selfish
- Taking Care of Yourself When Your Spouse Has a Combat Stress Injury
- Caring for Yourself While Helping Support Your Service Member
- Ah the sweet relief of a bike ride
- The Importance of Friendship during Deployment