I have been working on this post for a couple of days now. Starting and stopping, sitting to write when I have a minute then going to wipe noses, tears, bums, fetch small objects out of a mouth, feed another mouth...the life of a Mom.
And that is really what this is about. The life of a Mom and how easy it is to get lost in that life.
I have not slept through the night (unmedicated) since the summer of 2002. For those of you who are math challenged, that is almost 8 years.
Eight years ago this April I found out I was pregnant with Emma. In that time, save 1 month, I have been pregnant, breastfeeding, or both. Think about that for a minute. Yeah, that's a long time.
I have been giving of myself so much. I give and give and give. I do receive, don't get me wrong, but my well is starting to dry up.
Last week I talked about my therapy assignment, and I'm working on that. But another assignment I've been given is to say to myself everyday, "I am important, I am valuable, what do I need?"
In order for me to say this to myself every day, multiple times a day, I think I need to analyze it a bit first.
I am important. Really?
The fourth of five children, I was probably the easiest child for my parents to raise. I had three older siblings who required a lot of mental, emotional and at times, physical energy from my parents. To say they were difficult is a bit of an understatement. My younger brother was always very sweet, but had some medical issues that required a lot of my folks also. I was just me. Overly dramatic me. Maybe it was my way of crying out for some attention. Maybe it's just the way I am wired, or my reaction to my surroundings, but I was dramatic and that was that.
I never felt very important and never felt like I was someone that was worth a lot. I had one brother who constantly berated me and verbally abused me. Those wounds are slow to heal.
I remember being really amazed that Jeremy wanted to spend forever with me. I mean really, who was I to be worthy of that? I kept waiting, and if I am being honest I still am, for him to realize that he could do so much better and be gone.
Fast forward to now; 4 children in 5 1/2 years, very little to no sleep, very demanding children (aren't they all??) and I find that it is easy to let myself get lost in the shuffle. It becomes increasingly easier to say that I can't do things because of my family. To tell myself that they are more important than I am. That what they want is more important than what I want. That their needs are higher than mine. And while this may be true sometimes, I am equally important. I am equally valuable.
I am valuable.
I imagine every Mother out there thinks, "Sure I'm valuable, I am the nurse, chauffeur, cook, housekeeper, laundress, seamstress, referee, tutor, coach, psychiatrist, teacher, nurturer...I have some value".
But, don't I have value outside of being a Wife and a Mother? These are the two best jobs I could ask for, yet I find that I am not satisfied, not content.
As I think about this, it occurs to me that you can not be happy with others until you are happy with yourself. I can not give something that I do not have. I can not be satisfied and content with being a Wife and Mom until I am satisfied and content with being Kim.
This is where realizing my value comes in. Am I valuable enough to take the time to work on me? Am I important enough to save?
I escape a lot and hide at the computer, on the internet, but I don't take the time to go to the gym, get the rest I need, fuel my body with good foods, and have daily meditation. I don't take the time for me.
The last part of my assignment is to ask myself everyday, "What do I need?"
I never thought that would be so hard to answer. I am really very good at listening to my body. When I am pregnant or in labor, I know exactly what my physical body needs. However, when listening to my soul...I am really struggling. I struggle to hear it. In my heart, I know that I need to take time, to slow down, even stop at times. I need to learn to say "I can't" and "No" and "I need help". I need to remember that I am not alone in this journey.
My soul is pleading with me to do these things.
1. I need to exercise. Not just for my physical health, but my mental health as well.
2. I need to read my scriptures daily and pray, really pray every day to get the help that I need.
3. I need to make something for myself. I know this one sounds silly, but I sew for my girls, knit for my kids, sew for other kids, knit for other kids...and rarely make anything for myself. I am going to knit myself a pair of socks this year!
4. I need to remember to take my medicine every day. I usually forget because I am too busy getting ready and taking care of my kids at the same time.
5. I need to sleep. I need to love myself and value myself enough to get to bed at 10 pm every night so that I can wake up early to go to the gym.
6. I need to stop hiding. Whether it be behind my weight, the computer, or the walls I've built, it is time to stop hiding and show the world (and myself) who I can be. I also want to figure out why I am hiding and how to stop.
Now I know this sounds a bit like, oh I don't know, New Year's Resolutions? It's not. I don't like resolutions. I don't do them anymore because I feel too much pressure to do them and then get overwhelmed and just can't accomplish a thing.
So, these are not resolutions, but a new way of thinking for me. Things I want to become second nature to me. Things I need to do, so that I can be the woman that I want to be and I know I can be.
I am important. I am valuable. What do I need?
Say it to yourself and see what happens.