As mothers and wives, we tend to give. A lot! We give care and nurture and time and energy to our families. And that is the way it should be! We love them. We want the best for them. We want them to feel loved and cared for. Unfortunately, we sometimes give so much that we have nothing left. We give out of our reserve rather than our overflow and end up empty. That’s where I was when I first came to Oasis - running on empty.
I came in for my first appointment just glad to get away from the chaos. I was exhausted; physically, emotionally and spiritually. As I consulted with the Licensed Massage Therapist about what I was looking for and where I wanted him to focus his efforts, I could barely hold it together. When I got on the table, I quit trying. I let the tears flow. I let a complete stranger care for me. I let him nurture me. I cried. I fell asleep. I snored. I drooled. And when that 60 minutes was over I felt lighter. Refreshed. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could walk out the door and manage some of the train wreck my life was at the time.
And I made another appointment.
My weekly massage became one of the things that got me through that time. (My family, my friends, and my faith were essential, as well.) With a 60 minute appointment for me on the calendar every week, I was more compassionate toward my husband, who became very ill. I was more patient with my children, who were trying to understand what was happening to their dad and, well, grow up. I was more hopeful. I was more capable. I could put one foot in front of the other for one more week.
My weekly massage is one of the things that still sustains me. Carving out time for me each week for the last 11 years has taught me a lot about myself and about being a good mom. Here are my top three:
- There is a difference between self-awareness and self-ishness - Self-ishness says “it’s all about me, all the time”. Self-awareness says “it’s not only about me, but I’m important, too!”. When I am actually aware of my needs, struggles, and stress, I am able to address them in healthy and constructive ways. When I’m not, it all tends to come out sideways, usually toward my kids, like anger, impatience, sarcasm, and easily taking offense. By being self-aware, I am not only making sure I am dealing with my kids from a healthy place, but I’m being a good example to them about self-care. I am also able to help them identify and address their own needs, struggles and stress in healthy and constructive ways because I’ve practiced it.
- I can’t give what I’m not getting! If I want to give care, nurture, patience, time, energy, peace and love to my family, I’d better be getting those things from somewhere. Like they tell you on the airplane, secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Putting myself in a position to receive from someone else and giving out of my overflow, rather than out of my reserve, has helped me to maintain a sense of emotional, physical and spiritual health. And it helps me to be a much more caring, nurturing, patient and loving mom.
- My kids know when I’m stressed out! I like to think I can put a good face forward for my kids. It’s important to me that they see a happy, calm, confident, capable mom. So I try to pretend, taking a “fake it ‘til you make it” approach. But they know. They know I am rarely all of those things, and sometimes I am none of those things. And now when I’m a little down, a little insecure, a little frazzled, they ask “Hey Mom, when is your next massage?”
What about you? When’s your next massage?