by Kelly, iknowwhytheycallitaspergers
Navigating my way through the land of parenthood can be fantastic and challenging. Recently I decided to make an effort to be more connected to the parenting world, and this is when I stumbled upon the Oxygen Mask Project. After reading about the Oxygen Mask Project’s mission, I decided to take the challenge to do ONE thing each day to take care of myself, so in turn I can take care of my children. As many parents know, my needs tend to be at the bottom of the list… I am the last one to eat my dinner, my laundry is put away after everyone else’s laundry, and I am generally the last one in bed at night.
Parenthood is a marathon, and unfortunately there are no water stations along the way to force to pause and take care of yourself. Thus, I decided the one thing I would do to take care of myself is to drink water everyday for 30 days. How hard could that be? Water being the metaphor for pausing, breathing, and remembering I have to put on the oxygen mask first before I can help me kids.
Day one of my challenge seemed easy. Then by day two and three, I had already forgot what my goal was. I even remember laying in bed thinking, “I did drink a sip of water at lunch, right? That counts”. Now wait a second, my plan was to drink water, at least 8 ounces to a gallon a day. At yet, I am now accepting a sip of water as taking care of myself?! Really this is symptom of a bigger problem, I have to plan to take care of myself or I will squeeze it out of my schedule.
I had to step up my game if I was going to meet my simple goal of drinking water everyday for 30 days. First, I had to buy bottle water at the store, in a large container and smaller travel bottles. I find if I don’t have the bottled water staring at me every time I open the fridge, I will get amnesia and won’t drink it. Next, I had to start thinking about my day, and plan when I would have a chance to drink water… eating out, bringing a bottled water for the car, using the water machine at work. Who knew I would have to plan for water? Finally, I had to trick myself to make it a priority. “You can have another cup of coffee, if you first drink a glass of water”. Mind games.
But doesn’t this water analogy define what it is like to take care of yourself or not take care of yourself in the journey called parenthood? I find I have the best intentions to care for myself but when the rubber hits the road, I drop my needs like a hot potato for someone else or because I get lazy. Thought. Planning. Follow-through.
Today is day 16 of “The Great Water Challenge”… in fact I am drinking water right now, just so I can say I am! Wish me luck, as I wish you luck on your journey.