"Fit your own oxygen mask before fitting those of others"
The first time I head this when traveling as a mother I thought, yeah right, as if I would look after myself before my children!! That is crazy, they are everything to me. Little did I understand that actually the most selfless and helpful thing I could do was to put that thing on first. I am not going to be a good mother (or help to anyone else) if I don’t have my own supply of oxygen.
So this year I challenge you - what are some things you could need to make sure you survive as a women as well as a mother. (Keep reading I have some suggestions to help you out if stuck for ideas........) Share any things you are going to commit to in the comments below.
We can often be guilty of racing through life, helping everyone else with their oxygen masks, (juggling roles and responsibilities, meeting the expectations, obligations of others) that eventually we run out of our own, we become resentful, unfit, negative with no idea of who the person is we have become. We don’t give ourselves permission to stop and refuel, to take stock of how things are going, how we are investing our personal resources, time, money, and energy.
The first time I left my daughter was when she was 2 years old to go to a wedding of a dear school friend in Australia. In truth I had little choice, we had my brother in laws wedding the following week in Scotland, so it was simply unfair to drag a her on 5 flights spanning 24hour time zones!
Nevertheless there was a lot of guilt and passive criticism:
"I can’t believe she actually left her 2 year old at home, doesn’t the father have to work?"
“What if something happens, surely it’s not what ‘good mothers’ do"
I went, leaving my daughter with her father, and it was one of my favourite weeks of my life. I maximised all the benefits of enjoying a drink or two on the plane, leaving the aircraft walking swiftly through immigration, then collecting my 1 piece of luggage and wheeling it out the door (no panic because the buggy wasn’t at the aircraft door, no trolley needed, or waiting for oversize luggage) - Keri from Baby Globe Trotters savers every moment with great blog post 15 reasons to enjoy traveling solo well worth the read!
Anyway, I was at the time pregnant with the twins and dreading the newborn/ breastfeeding prism I knew I was in for. But that week away, changed my perspective, I re connected with school friends, stayed up late, danced the night away, met new people, eat incredible food stayed in beautiful places and laughed! When I came home I was ready to devote the next year to being a mother once again, I was recharged and refreshed. Meanwhile, my husband and daughter had created a very special bond and he was much more aware of the day to day routine.
Since then I have continued to take time out, I believe the best gift I can give those closest to me is to be my best happiest version of myself, and only I have the ability to make that happen.
@@If professional athletes need their rest days then so do the rest of us!@@
So upon reflection what are some behaviours you can implement this year to take a break? HEre are my top 6 but I would love to know yours.
1. Exercise - the biggest difference in both mine and my husbands life over the past 2 years has been making time for each other to exercise. We have three small children at home, so it is not always easy, but just running with my dog 3 times a week does wonders for my productivity, making me feel better and obviously staying in shape. It is also a great way to meet new friends, and get you out the house.
2. Keep learning / Being Creative - Take the time to learn a new skill or do more of those things you enjoy, whether its photography, baking, tennis, golf, writing, sowing, For groups or ideas join take a look at MeetUp.com for whole range of groups, or more specifically, DISC - Dainfern International Social Club, International Women's Club or American Society of South Africa. If there is something specific you are looking for ask on the Trailing Spouse of Johannesburg Facebook Page or the I love Parkhurst Facebook Groups both brilliant and very helpful.
3. Log Off / Take Time Out - Schedule in weekends away, with friends, family, or by yourself on retreat, get out of town for a weekend, log off from phone / connectivity, and enjoy. My favourite place has to be Three Tree Hill but for more gateway ideas - head over to our Expat Selected Pinterest board.
4. Eat a Balanced Diet - In SA at the moment lots of my friends have quit sugar, others on the Banting Diet, others 5:2, whatever you do or try, food is connected to our emotions, try becoming more self aware on what you are eating and linking it to how you feel.
5. Rest / Reflection - take a break for tea every day, use the opportunity to not look at your phone and just jot down how your day is going, what you may have done differently, who you have made smile, and what values your time is honouring. Join our #dailyteabreak challenge.
6. Stop making excuses - I constantly feel like I don’t have friends, and always moaning to my husband now I am working in the day and taking kids to activities in the afternoons I don’t really have much space for coffee or lunch dates (chances to connect with people). As a result my life often involves around 2 minute conversations on random play dates or birthday parties…….. BUT ENOUGH with the excuses I have evenings with great access to baby sitting, so I can book in dinner with friends, invite people over for a drink mid-week, I have found ways to make friendships work, because feeling connected to community is important to me. What excuses do you make for not scheduling in time for things that make you smile?
What activities do you need to start prioritising for you to smile more, for your health, relationships, career?
Share your ideas and commitments below.
Are you stuck in a place where you aren’t sure what makes you tick anymore? Maybe you once knew but now you are living in a new place, or have had children life is different, you don’t know where to begin? Come join us either at one of our monthly MEET UPs.
Not in Joburg - then join us online for our Review of the Year online, from the comfort of your own home, just grab a glass of wine and quiet space, to claim back your own identity. Find out more here: