It strikes when we least expect it. For the most part, we are content with life, and yet there is a longing for something out of our reach, a mirage on the horizon, a thirsting that can no longer be ignored.
Days pass with normal rhythms of life, often without a second thought given to ourselves. As mothers, serving others often becomes the priority.
Undeniably, motherhood is a rewarding profession. Watching babies grow and blossom into young adults and then on to parenthood is joyous.
So why does it sneak up on so many of us?
Feeling out of balance and running on empty startles us into facing a reality we strive to avoid. We are thirsty. We can no longer function at a high level, and what do we do? Instead of drinking the needed water, we work harder while ignoring basic necessities. We push away the first warning signs, by prioritizing our family’s needs as first and using our last bit of fuel, only to stall at empty.
Conflicting advice exists about whether to drink before you feel thirsty or when your body tells you, you are thirsty. Either way, if you disregard signs of thirst, you will eventually become dehydrated which can lead to a state of imbalance or worse, immobility.
When signals of nagging thirst call for your attention, ignoring the warning is the wrong strategy. Overlooking your own needs, physical or emotional, is tantamount to self-neglect.
Do Not Neglect You
Unfortunately, once you begin following that path, it becomes extremely difficult to turn around.
My tears fall, today, for all the moms out there that work tirelessly to support their families in every way possible, and then beat themselves up for not doing enough or being good enough. The following is an excerpt from my journal written some time ago exemplifying my own struggle with the same.
Not good enough. Not skinny enough. Not smart enough. Not successful enough. Not enough. When is enough, enough? The standards that burrow into our psyches and souls define us or destroy us.
When did I stop feeling that sense of true accomplishment? That overwhelming feeling of “I did it!” So many “dids” yet so many “I’m not good enoughs”, “I need to do more”. Wow, I’m tired. Tired of trying to be everything to everyone. Tired of dressing to impress. Tired of sacrificing my sanity for someone else’s sake. Yes, I’m trying too hard.
When I can accept me, I will have accomplished enough.
You Are Good Enough
It is clear from my experience, once you neglect your needs…the result is a “not good enough” theme song that plays repeatedly in your mind. The moment actually calls for self-attention to survive, yet that is in direct opposition to everything you’ve built your foundation on…putting yourself last. This is when emotional exhaustion takes hold.
Working mothers are most susceptible to this malady as they just run out of time. The planned end-of-day self-care turns into end-of-day collapse.
Empathy motivates this recognition. Not too long ago, I walked in those shoes. And I forgot to grab ahold of a crucial lifeline. So, I implore you, drink before you get too thirsty.
Define Your Needs
Make some time for yourself, pour yourself a glass of water. In that refreshing space, you will be able to see things clearer…then write it down. Follow your definition as a path to rejuvenation.
You deserve that attention. It’s time to accept an embrace of compassion. You are made of love and you are made to love. Now, allow yourself to be loved.
I love you,
-Erika K Rothwell