1.19.2010

flats or heels?...guest post by lucia (part 2)

I apologize for not having this up yesterday. I had it scheduled to do so, but I must of done something wrong. I didn't notice until today. Sorry.

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And now the second part to: Flats or Heels? by Lucia

At times, I have blamed others for not being able to find the time for that x, y, and z project or the sleep I so need. However, in moments of deep self-reflection, I have realized that this space I long for is one that I leave out for unconscious, secondary gain. I have often prized myself on doing it all, full time mom, full time job, and “look my house is spotless (yeah right)!” I am efficient at work and a relatively on top of it mom. Yet, I am finding, that the things I miss by trying to do it all are much more important than what others think of my sparkly floor. Why do I need this approval? Why have I allowed this to continue? While I sacrifice myself, I also sacrifice my children’s time in the process. They, by their relationship with me, are extensions of me. I neglect my “self” I neglect them. Thus, I create an atmosphere in which what is important is not the impromptu game or joke, but an unconscious, agitated, need for others’ approval. And the cycle continues. Do I want this for my children? Well that’s easy, NO!

What I have found over time is that the permission for self, in this case “my” self, was something I sought after from others and have found instead that I needed to give this to myself. Why is self-care the last thing we as mothers think of as a daily part of our lives? We make time for play dates, taking kids to school, our husbands work events, but time for ourselves? It seems selfish. After working with families for so long, one of things I have noticed most is that many people (and not just women) don’t feel that they have permission to do so. It is of fundamental importance to our sanity and well-being. How many of you have scheduled that much needed dental appointment for Junior but neglected our yearly (and vital) mammogram?

A relative of mine informed me that when she was a young mother, she didn’t have anyone to take care of her three boys when she was sick, she “did it herself.” She expressed this with pride, however, after pondering this for some time; I came up with one thought: it doesn’t need to be so. My parents are immigrants, and in their country, extended family members live together not just for necessity but because of different cultural norms making it possible for supportive networks to engage when others are in need. This is familial balance. A family in balance ensures community health. In adopting a do-it-yourself lifestyle, we run the risk of abandoning the very roots of family prosperity. If we have the opportunity to return to familial wellbeing why not start now?

So, I run. I run for my health, I run to clear my head, and most importantly, I run for my sanity. I eat healthy and I take at least a 10 minute power nap to rejuvenate and be ready for anything that comes my way. I make time for finding that lost toy that just so happened to slide under the couch, to fly like Peter Pan, listen to stories, have funny faces contests (“you funny mami”) and “ooh” and “ahh” over amorphous play doh creations. I have a great support system around me and I use them to vent my frustrations because you can’t do this alone. Without support, we surrender the opportunity to experience life authentically. And I apologize. I ask for forgiveness when I am cranky because I am not perfect and I neglected to eat my Wheaties that morning. I respect my children and hopefully they respect me in return.

Getting to the mindset to place myself first has taken several trials and has nevertheless backfired at times. I have often felt anguish over taking a morning run and not making it back in time to when my son goes to school. Therefore, (you guessed it) I neglected to go so that I could help him get ready instead. While my grumbling and crankiness sets in, I feel resentful because my hubby wakes up and takes his time getting ready. How dare him! But wait. Didn’t I co-create this? If he knew how important this was to me, he would also make this a priority. If I have made it an important part of the day, he would respond likewise. And he has. I let him know that running makes me feel grounded. His behavior towards me changes accordingly, thus returning our life to balance. Wow, it all started with a pair of flats.

How did this all pass through my mind in the shoe department? Well, it was a wake up call to remind me to an integrated and complete “me,” not just the “sensible me,” but the “playful and fun” me as well. So, in case you were wondering, I selected a great pair of black, stiletto booties ready to be worn for a date night with my honey.

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Thank you Lucia!

So what kind of pair of shoes did you buy recently?