Let’s talk about self care. If you are anything like I used to be, that very combo of those two words in that order make you want to throw up on your shoes. You are probably thinking, “Are you kidding me? She wants me to take care of myself? When??? How?? Does she really think I have the ability (time, money, energy) to do anything above the required semi-weekly shower and pee when my bladder is about to explode kind of care? Cause I don’t. I can’t take care of me because I need to take care of everyone else! ” When I say, “I get it” I’m telling you the truth...I definitely get it.. You see, for a LIVING I told other parents to take time for them. I ran whole support groups on self care and why it’s so important. I did this for years....All the while I was so neglectful of my own needs that I ate donuts like they were going out of style, would get so tired I’d fall asleep on my living room floor as soon as I did the required after work, work. I had headaches every day. A day without a headache was like winning the lottery, it hardly ever happened. I was quickly gaining weight and just plain miserable but not many people outside of the McNulty house knew...In fact, I was so good at hiding it that I actually got called perfect, “Super Woman” even! Now, this wasn’t one of those, “I don’t know how you do it all, you must be superwoman” kind of statements it was, “How will you EVER know how hard this is for me. You have it ALL together! I see your Facebook page and you’re perfect! You’re basically super woman!” I was talking to another mom. A mom that was struggling. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was heavy and hard to hear. She really thought I had it all together. She really thought I was some super human that could do it all and was always okay. What didn’t she know? She didn’t know that I cried twice that morning on my commute. She didn’t know how unhappy I was and how stressed out I felt. She didn’t know that I had stress induced mouth sores, headaches and chest pains. She didn’t know that when things got really hard instead of being in that hard place I’d eat junk food and nap (if possible) to mask the overwhelming feeling that I just can’t do this anymore. She didn’t know any of that because all she saw were perfect looking pictures of me smiling while changing a dressing or walking Case back to surgery. She saw family pictures with perfect, happy faces she had no idea that I could scream so loud at my girls my throat would hurt and I’d eat another donut to mask the sinking feeling of failure.
She believed I was perfect because that’s all she ever saw. I looked at her tired, worn eyes and told her I was sorry. Sorry that she really thought I wasn’t struggling and that she thought she shouldn’t be too.
Guys, this is hard. So freaking hard! Raising children, praying your teens turn out okay, working long days, being a wife and just, well life. I felt like I was drowning and caring for ME was the last thing on my to do list until it hit me..It was TIME to put my oxygen mask on. If I didn't care for ME soon, everyone I was CARING for would get the bare bones that were left when I was in survival mode. So, I did!
I started taking care of Me and not in the luxurious bubble bath and manicure way (well, sometimes) but in the “care for your emotional and physical health” way. I started listening to self help books and podcasts on my work drives. I STARTED ASKING FOR HELP (and anyone that knows me knows that's a hard one). I started caring about me, drinking more water and eating less donuts. I started seeing a therapist, not because I’m weak (I used to think that if I sat on a couch and told somebody the ugly truth it would mean I wasn’t strong enough to do it alone) but because I was desperate for peace and tried every possible avenue to get it. Holy Molly does it help! Sitting on that couch baring my soul to a complete stranger is one of the most helpful things I’ve EVER done! All of THIS started years before I started Mosaic Sisters (a virtual Women's Self-Care group). I knew THEN what I know now...We HAVE to take care of US, of each other. The results of focusing on mental and physical health are LIFE ALTERING. DO I still have bad day? Yes. Do I still feel overwhelmed and angry sometime? Absolutely! But I am working on me and that MATTERS! I am putting the oxygen mask on first when this plane goes down so I have the right head about me when I'm taking care of others. You can do this too because you are important, we will help you because we are your village! Join Mosaic Sisters for more self-care and self-love!