Children need to see you taking care of yourself.
For single parents, parents who work different shifts, or just any parent, this can be one of the most difficult things to achieve. When my children were younger, my husband would work a twelve-hour snow shift during the winter months. I would work all day and come home to him sleeping and my kids ready for a parent to play with them. They would meet me at the door screaming hello and well you know where this is going……….I had to find some way to stop the madness. I set the children down and explained that Daddy needed his sleep and Mommy needed some mommy time if they would quietly greet me and then give me 10 minutes to be by myself. It worked most of the time. This was my self-care or at least I thought it was.
But, BAM!…when my youngest was a wee lassie I started having problems with a racing heart, shortness of breath, and fatigue. I had been told as a child that I had a heart murmur, but it was nothing to worry about. So, of course, I thought I was going to die and leave two small children behind.
To make a long story short, I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation. In May 1999 I had open heart surgery to fix two congenital heart defects. I was also diagnosed one year earlier with type two diabetes.
The Practice of Self-care
I had never practiced self-care before this and then I was hit with some serious health problems that made me take a step back. I needed self-care, but was too embarrassed (more fearful) to let people know my problems, so I was still supermom. My main fear was of losing my job if I let on that I couldn’t do it. I failed at the self-care! I was of another generation. Raising my children in the 1990’s we were supposed to do everything, be everything, work all day then come home, raise our kids and be there for our husbands. I knew that wasn’t possible once I got sick, but it was still the norm.
My health problems have continued during my adult life causing me to learn a self-care routine and try to carry it out. It has been hard, never easy, but my family is my life. I am proud to say that my kids now are very focused on self-care for themselves and for me.