Saturday, June 11, 2011

More Questions Answered

I know, I know, I'm kinda dragging my feet answering your questions.

Here's the rest of my answers:
Questions about my husband (aka Texan Papa)
Questions about a big family
Questions about cameras

Today I'm going to talk about me.
Ellie asked:  My mom had five of us. She was a sacrificial mom, always taking care of us, never enough care of herself. As I grew older, this was of great concern to me. Do you allow yourself to take care of you? I don't mean a mani or pedi every now and again or a girls' night out, I mean good, healthy care.
  And she also asked:
When you're busy and overwhelmed, and something has to "give" (or go), what is it you let go of?

I grew up with a martyr for a mom. Maybe that's just the way I saw it? Maybe I just didn't understand how much a mom has to do, that being part martyr is just part of the job.

But needless to say, I learned by example. I give a lot to my family. I put myself last. I do for others before doing for myself.

And that's NOT A GOOD THING. I'm not saying that out of pride. I'm saying that out of shame. As a matter of fact, I am just getting over a stomach bug. I was up all night last night throwing up, with fever, and not sleeping. And as I lay there in bed, trying to get to sleep, I realized: I am the only person in our family who doesn't have a doctor. I haven't been to a doctor since my 18-month-old daughter was born (unless you count the time I went to the walk-in clinic when I had mastitis, about 14 months ago.) My kids all see their pediatricians regularly. My husband has a GP and a chiropractor. And me, I haven't even seen the lady doc in over a year.

I don't get manis or pedis. I used to get acrylic nails but decided that was too much of a luxury for our budget. It just felt too selfish and frankly I was tired of justifying the expense to my husband. I do get professional haircuts now, which is a big change. Previous to about 6 months ago, I either went to Great Clips or just let my hair grow on its own and took the scissors to the split ends whenever I felt the mood catch me.

Is going to the dentist considered "me time"? I do try to go once a year because I'm a freak about dental work and I fear getting a root canal, or anything worse. However I feel like the dentist is one of those places I hate to go to because I fear what he'll say. Yet at the same time, I know if I ignore him it will just be worse later.

I wear my disposable contacts twice a long as I should. I often fix meals for my family, then stand at the sink and clean up instead of eating with them. I don't fix myself snacks; I eat the leftovers of my kids' snacks.

So, Ellie, what gives when something has to? Pretty much, anything that's not an immediate fire that needs to be put out. Clothes that need mending, ironing that needs to be done - those go WAY to the back burner. Library books that need to be returned often get renewed online instead. And me, I'm always last in line. Even if it's just to use the toilet, I try to cross my legs and serve up another plate of chicken nuggets to my hungry brood.

I wouldn't call myself a martyr or unselfish. I would just consider myself in survival mode. It's not a happy place to be but I won't be here forever. I am trying to recognize that this is the time in my life when putting myself last is a crucial part of the success of my plan. I will tell you what I tell my kids: we all need to just take turns. Right now it's their turn to be the focus of my energy. One day they will be grown and not need me as much (or at all) and then I can turn the focus more inwardly or maybe toward another goal.

But please don't read this and think I'm forgetting myself. I do remember how good it feels to be taken care of (by another person, even if it is a doctor!) and I will get that care if it's really urgent. For the time being, though, if I have to let something go, it's usually my composure. My kids have seen me cry and yell quite a few times and I just explain, "Mommy has to let off a little steam. We all do from time to time."

I'm guessing they'll understand one day!

Texan Mama

9 comments:

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

That's what I asked? Boy, I ask good questions. Oh wait, did you edit it?

Anyhow...I was concerned this would be the answer--the no doctor thing. That's upsetting to me. Please, please go to the doctor. "Survival mode" may mean you don't survive as long as you should.

You know my mom died at 59, and a part of me is so sad (it used to be anger) that she did so much for others and nothing for herself.

I am glad you let off steam. An occasional purge is a very good thing.

Heather said...

I think you put this very well, many of us are in survival mode. Me I haven't been to the doctor in over 2 years and I know if I make an appointment I will probably cancel becuase something will come up.

I, like you, though know that my time will come after the children no longer need me and I plan to put those years to good use!

Gigi said...

Very well put; with children that age you ARE in survival mode. But please, please make time to get to the doctor for your checkups - it;s important (says the woman who's been putting it off for weeks).

Jennifer said...

I like that term- "survival mode" and I think those of us with small children are all there to some degree. I do go to the gyno once a year, but that is because I have had problems in the past that need to be monitored. I also go to the dentist twice a year. I think I do both of those things, because I schedule my next visit before I leave the one I am currently at. But I am just like you for GP. I haven't had a GP in years and I can't just go to one... I have to actually choose one with my insurance but didn't want to just pick ANYBODY and I couldn't seem to get a good recommendation for someone that is on our network list. And then it happened- I actually got an infection that I couldn't clear up on my own and I had to find a dr (this just happened a few weeks ago) and now I have a GP.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

Perhaps if we nag, I mean encourage you enough, you'll go?

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

I'm laughing 'cause I just came back here to see if there were any additional comments, and right next to mine is a man flipping me off.

But here, here I am cool since I leave not only one name but five that I go by.

Whew!

And I haven't let a single anonymous comment on any other blog since your post...have you received any since THAT post?

Jennifer said...

You are a great mom. For real. I'm not just saying that. You really, really are. Lots of moms would not sacrifice as much of themselves to ensure that there children had what they needed, and you go far beyond just what they need.

But I am glad you have photography because you need something for you.

Selena and Anna said...

Found you through SITS and your post moved me. I love your honesty in it but you need to start being a little more selfish and take care of yourself. You are the backbone of your family and they rely on you....this means you need to keep yourself healthy. That includes going to the doctor but also doing things for yourself. You have to fill your cup in order to be able to fill the cups of those around you. We all run ourselves ragged but then we have to step back and take care of ourselves. You are an amazing woman!!! Tell yourself that on a daily basis and take a moment each day to appreciate you :-) Nice to meet you through SITS!!

Melani said...

I am just like you Texan Mama! I am always cooking for them and then cleaning up after them and sometimes, I don't even eat dinner. I am too busy, I know that sounds lame, but after dinner and clean up, someone has to have a bath...I have not been to the happy pappy doc in 2 yrs, my bad. I have a few days off and I think I will make an appt for one of those days.