I may have broken my foot… on Monday, but I just now (Friday afternoon) got around to getting it checked out. Hopefully it’s just a ligament thing, but apparently all this walking around, driving, running errands, carrying my kid up and down that stairs and umpteen other activities which make my foot throb are actually BAD for an injured limb. Who knew?
I would be leading the charge if it were my husband, my child or a random stranger off the street who needed a doctor’s care. But when the I am the patient, the rules are different.
The walk-in clinic physician explains in a slow, patronizing way that if it hurts – don’t. do. it. Clearly, HE doesn’t understand a very important fact. I am not a mere mortal: I am the mom!
There are playdates to arrange, groceries to buy, meetings to attend, doctors to visit, pharmacists to bawl out… And when I’ve taken care of everyone and everything else, then and only then can I address my own needs. Usually this is somewhere around 9:37 at night – at which point I can focus on what really matters: facebook, pintrest and eating my weight in fair trade chocolate.
I’m quite familiar with the concept of injury and recovery. After all, only two years ago I broke my foot (in exactly the same place) and after only three weeks I finally found time to seek medical care. Three x-rays, two bone scans and 11 weeks in a stylish grey boot were my reward for delayed treatment.
Medical professionals, women’s magazines and Oprah are always telling us that we need to take care of ourselves and not just everyone else. We nod our heads and hum in agreement. Sage advice. So true.
And then we carry on exactly the same way. Or maybe it’s just me? Lunch consisting of scraps that the kids left on their plates. Exercise plans deferred to sew ribbons on ballet slippers or shop for a last minute birthday present. Missing the fun during special events and visits with loved ones, because I’ve spent the whole time rushing around making everything perfect.
It’s not a bad thing to put others first; to experience moments of complete selflessness. But I need to find balance. After all, this motherhood thing is a marathon, not a sprint. And I’m not going to keep up if I am hobbled (literally) by shortsighted decisions.
All my life I was taught the rule: “Love others, as you love yourself” (Galatians 5:14). This verse loses its steam if we believe we are second class citizens. If I were to take care of my children the way I take care of myself, I would delay medical attention, forget to feed them, cancel their plans in favour of mine and banish them to the kitchen during parties.
I count too. And I’m not hurting anyone by counting myself in. It will make me better (and more spry) in the long run.
So here’s me, lazing on the couch with my foot up ALL NIGHT LONG!
P.S. – FYI, I have PLENTY of selfish habits I need to work on also. It’s not all self-sacrfice, all the time at our house. But that’s a post for another day.