As much fun as it would be to say that I indulge in all things selfish, it would be a lie. See, I have pretty much always been the one to be selfless and sacrifice for others to a fault. As moms, we really seem to do that so often, if not all the time. This is what I thought warranted the “good mom”, the “good wife”, the “good friend”, the list goes on. But let me tell you, I quite enjoy helping others and making their day just a little better, if I can.
But helping others and sacrificing one’s self are two very different things. In theory, it sounds good. In reality, not so much.
I learned this a few years back when I overloaded myself. In theory, I was helping others out and making extra money for my family. In reality, I was not sleeping at all and missing quality time with my family. All of this sacrificing caused me to take two months medical leave from my job. I didn’t know how to function anymore. I was barely sleeping, not eating right, and forgot what the word exercise meant? Even part way into my leave (when I thought I was doing much better) I was on the phone with my husband and just passed out. I fell to the floor, but the memory I have of it was not that.
We had been talking about something that was of real interest to me. I was sitting on my bed when all of a sudden I couldn’t hear him well. It was like I was voluntarily zoning him out. I had a dream (for lack of better word) that I was falling underwater. I was trying to unravel myself from a thin sheet. I could hear someone’s muffled voice above the water. When I came to, I realized the voice was my husband on the phone. The thin sheet I was wrapped in was my hair.
I told my husband what had just happened. It honestly was one of the scariest moments in my life. So many “what ifs” came to mind. What if I had been near the stairs when that happened? What if I hit my head on something and my then two-year-old twins were left alone? I knew right then that my sacrificing was NOT at all benefiting anyone. I knew that “dream” meant that I was completely drowning under all that I put on myself.
My husband had been telling me for a long time that I needed to change my priorities in order to truly help others. As we all know, we don’t always listen to our spouses, but I finally did. I began to say no more often. I asked for more help with the twins from my oldest daughter and my husband to be able to have proper sleep.
Last year I REALLY became selfish. I had worked over eight years on weekend overnights. Last year I took a position in my office that was a weekday evening shift. That meant more help with the twins. That meant I had weekends off to do normal people things (when working weekend overnights, you cannot be more opposite of normal.) It is such a great feeling to be selfish that I will not be changing anytime soon!
I will go into detail of the components that truly helped me in part two of this four-part Health and Wellness series.