Here’s the deal. The Oxygen Mask Metaphor is the worst self-care metaphor in the land, ESPECIALLY for moms.
The problem is that the Oxygen Mask scenario starts with an emergency. So what this metaphor is REALLY saying is: In the event of an emergency, take care of yourself.
Speaking as someone who has MANY TIMES waited for an emergency to take care of myself, please do not wait for an emergency. Do not wait for the oxygen to be sucked out of the room to take care of yourself. Do not wait until you are in a crash-and-burn situation to start thinking about yourself and your needs.
The modern mom is pulled in so many directions. And people will say, “you signed up for it,” and “you want to do it all.” Maybe we tell ourselves this. And, hell yeah, we want to do it all! (And we can, thank you very much)! But in doing it ALL, we often forget ourselves. With jobs, kids, partner, pets, cooking, housework, play, school… how do you fit YOU in? I’ll tell you the easiest way to start.
Put YOU On Your To-Do
Add yourself to that list of things you have to do everyday. It can be yoga for 30 minutes. Meditation for 8 minutes. A cup of tea for 5 minutes. Whatever it is, whatever you have time for that day, schedule YOU in. And don’t limit you-time to the bandaid treats we talked about in You Need To Stop Treating Yo’ Self.
You need to fit YOU into every single day because:
- You are essential to everything happening around you. You NEED to be good to yourself and love yourself as much as you love your kids and fur babies! Taking care of yourself IS directly taking care of your family. Hello! You are part of your family! Take care of yourself.
- You get to make your schedule. There are some things each day we HAVE to do, but you have control of parts of your schedule so pen yourself in there. And don’t cross you out! And if you look at your schedule and you see NO ROOM for 30 minutes or 10 minutes or 5 minutes, look at that schedule and figure out what needs to change to make room for you!
- It is NOT SELFISH to do something for yourself everyday. This is your life
too. Yes, your life. It sounds totally weird, but it’s so obviously true. But somehow we forget that as soon as that child is in our arms. Or we are told to forget that. I don’t know how it happens, but it does. You are an amazing person and you deserve to build your own interests and hobbies. That doesn’t have to stop because you are helping your kids build their hobbies and interests too.
- It is NOT LAZY to put your feet up and sip that coffee on the couch. Moms… Moms! I see you doing mental gymnastics to get your boundary-testing toddler into the car without making a scene. I see you chasing your now screaming toddler up a snow-covered hill when that mental gymnastic routine fails (actually that was totally me last Wednesday). I see you holding your kids while they cry their eyes out. I see you getting dishes in the dishwasher while lunch simmers on the stove. I see you do this and SO MUCH MORE all day, every single day. If you saw anyone else work at this pace, you’d say, “Take a seat. Take a break. You deserve it.” Because you do! So take that break!
Whatever you do, please don’t wait for an emergency to start thinking about fitting yourself into your day. If you are in a fatigued sort of place or if adding yourself into your day is new to you, I have complied a list in a PDF file to get you started. You can find the list HERE. Plug at least one into your to-do list each day! Better yet, take a few minutes to come up with your own list of positive self-care ideas to fit your life and interests!
And for bonus points… add to my list by sending me your ideas! Comment below or tell me at @thathappymom on Instagram! I will keep adding to this list!