What would you say if I told you that the best way to be selfless, particularly as a mum, is to put yourself first?
But then I became a solo parent, with a full time job and a 2 hour commute everyday.
And I put my son before myself all.the.time.
We ate what he ate, we slept when he slept and we did what he wanted to do.
And I can honestly say, through all my trying, it was the lowest point of my parenting journey this far.
You know what, I actually forgot how to enjoy the company of my own child. I was so busy trying to do right by him, I forgot to just be there with him.
And it showed. I honestly feel like there was this whole voiceless period of my life. In my mind it plays like a silent film, my son running a muck and me just sitting and watching in the corner. Wanting to tell him I was too tired to play, but feeling too guilty to say it. So just watching, and feeling utterly useless.
I don’t remember the exact moment it changed. It certainly got better when my husband returned from deployment. And sure my sons behaviour improved (thanks to the assistance of speech and occupational therapists), but it wasn’t just that.
I found myself again, I found my voice. I put my foot down at work and admitted working full time wasn’t working. Not for my son, but also- not for me.
I put my foot down at home and learnt to say no to my son, and sometimes it is just because I didn’t want to, because I was too tired or doing something for myself.
And I put myself first. Before my work, before my friends and before my family.
Of course my sons needs always come first, but my needs now come before his wants. And you know what, the world didn’t explode.
Sure, I have lost some friends along the way. And that sucks. But I honestly question the validity of our friendship if they always required it on their terms.
And my relationship with my husband is better than ever. We don’t spend every moment together. He does his thing and I do mine, which means we both get ‘me time’.
Just in time too, because I had very little left to give to my son- I can’t imagine how I could have spread myself even more with a newborn on the way.
I honestly feel like I have so much more to give now. It was a tough lesson to learn, scraping the smiles out from the bottom of the barrel, but it sure was an important one.
I now know that actually, it’s perfectly okay to put myself first, and it’s not just me that’s all the better for it!
How do you find the time to put yourself first?