Taking Care of Us

Have you ever had one of those days when you keep encountering people from different “parts” of your life, people who couldn’t possibly know one another, who seem to be dealing with “stuff” that is similar in nature?  Sometimes I wonder if that isn’t God’s way of gently saying, “Pay attention.  There’s something you need to understand.”

Today it’s all about taking care of ourselves.  From a friend who has been honest and open on a social networking site about her need for medication to deal with depression to a woman who is stressed with demands of a new job and needs a little “pick-me-up” to a woman who has lost someone dear and needs to do something simple to feel good again.  I could give more examples but you get the idea!

What breaks my heart is that some of the women I mentioned felt like they needed to apologize for being selfish.  Why do we do that?!

Each of these women is married and all are mothers though some of them are now at the “empty nest” phase of life.  Every single one of them has “done for others” to a great extent.  Many of them volunteer their time in various ways – church, school PTA, animal shelter, etc.  On their worst day, you would not call these women selfish.

One woman who I have been chatting with via Facebook message (side note – I have permission to mention the story as long as I leave out her name!) said that all she wanted was a pumpkin spice something from Starbucks and half an hour to sit on her back deck and read.  Then she said, “But I’d feel so selfish.”  Really?!  This woman’s oldest child is in elementary school and the baby just started Kindergarten.  She is a giving, loving, selfless woman who is always busy for others or in her home for her family – gardening, canning, sewing, volunteering, you name it!  She went back to work part-time now that her youngest is in school and she hasn’t quite adjusted to the schedule change.  All she wanted was half an hour to just be her; not a mom, an employee, a volunteer, or a wife.  Just her.

Why do we do this to ourselves?!  Why do we feel guilty if we aren’t absolutely everything to our family members?!  And don’t even get me started on the amazing women I know who live with Depression, Bi-Polar disorder, or physical disabilities, OR who are battling cancer, caring for a dying loved one, or just “being there” for an elderly relative who needs someone checking in on them from time to time.

Ladies, listen up.  Do not feel ashamed if you need some “me” time.  Next time life is overwhelming, take a deep breath, step back, and grab your favorite color of nail polish.  Or a favorite book.  Or that seasonal Starbucks beverage you’ve been waiting to have for months (salted caramel mocha is back!).  When we take care of us, we are better able to take care of those we love.

Think it’s time for a coffee break.  Who’s with me?