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Mother/Firefighter: Kind of Similar

As a mother, I feel like I'm always putting out a fire of some kind. It can get exhausting after a while. The key is to put my oxygen mask on first; otherwise, the flames burn me up inside - not that they don't anyway.

Whenever something is going on with one of my kids, I step in to provide support. To do so properly, I must first put on my gear, put my insecurities and self-doubts aside, then address the situation at hand, big or small.

Last week, we drove my oldest to college. Yes, I'm still in the mourning stages. Well, he hadn't slept the night before and I didn't feel it was safe for him to make the four-hour trek across the state. We intended to take two cars up, one back. In the end, I agreed to drive behind my husband. This might not sound like a big deal but to me, it was ginormous. I have extreme anxiety about driving far distances-this one being the farthest I've ever done to date. But as a mother, I put my son's safety before my fears and took the wheel. Thank goodness I had my daughter with me. We passed the time singing along with musicals that my youngest watched in the back seat.

I did it! I faced a life-long fear. Whew, another fire put out.

It seems day after day I'm confronted with fires in need of assistance. Sometimes I just want a day off but as I told my husband, motherhood is a 24/7 job with no breaks, vacations, or anything else. The benefit package far outweighs the workload but my kids are always on my mind in one way or another.

I asked my little one to hang out with me in his brother's room because I am in nesting mode, now that the oldest has left, summer cleaning the house from top to bottom. Cleaning helps me to relieve stress. My little son said I shouldn't go in his brother's room because it will make me sad. I agreed and told him, "Okay, I'll wait a few days and clean it then." His response, "Maybe you should wait six weeks until he comes home for break." I had to smile. Little ones say the cutest things. Needless to say, I waited four days and accomplished the task without a tear. Not to say my heart isn't at its emotional best right now.

The bottom line is, as I said, I have to put on my oxygen mask first or else I'll be useless to the rest of the family. The day after we returned from the university, I cried, mostly while resting in bed, missing my son. I considered that self-care. Interestingly enough, I watched a Kevin Hart movie with my youngest because Kevin always makes me smile. Two days later my husband called me from work, informing me he got us tickets to see Kevin Hart live. My first thought was, "What are the odds that my favorite comedian is coming to the local Improv, a superstar, the same week I feel so sad and could use his help to cheer me up?" Hmm, divine intervention, maybe? FYI-the show sold out in 3-5 minutes and my hubby still managed to get us tickets. Just sayin'. I took it a sign.

I've had ups and downs all week but I am allowing myself to go through the different emotions instead of stuffing them and pretending they're not there. It's okay to feel. It might suck at times and I'd rather not deal with the sad feelings, but they are as much a part of life as the good ones.

Let's take care of ourselves. It's not a selfish act and nobody else can do it for us. It's up to us to do so. But remember to put on the oxygen mask first otherwise we lose the strength and air required to survive the fight.

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