Friday, May 7, 2010

Taking care of me

I've been taking Emma to the hospital for therapy at least 2x/week the last 18 months. We see many of the same people week after week - parents and grandparents on a similar journey, many who we know by name.

I've observed them in waiting rooms, at the cafe, waiting for their cars. What I've noticed is that so many of them look exhausted, burnt out, in need of sleep and perhaps even a brief vacation. Taking care of a child with special needs requires a significant amount of effort and sometimes there just isn't much energy left over for the parent's to take care of themselves. I was secretly feeling good that I didn't look like the other caretakers and thought I was doing a good job of taking care of myself. Except......

The other day during Emma's therapy session I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror - you know, the really flattering kind that is mounted on 3 of the 4 walls in the therapy room! - and I didn't recognize myself. I looked older, exhausted. I was dressed in so-so clothes with a body that showed the effects of my neglectful relationship with our YMCA membership! I looked like the other parents I see and it did not make me feel good. I walked out of the hospital that day and decided that I need to make time to invest in myself and my health.

I went to the gym that day and a couple of times since then. I've put on a bit of make-up a couple of times, too. In the morning when I get dressed I am choosing to wear more of the nicer clothes in my closet. I still have a long way to go, but I'm now marching in the right direction and it feels good.

3 Comments from readers:

Steph said...

I love that & good for you! I've been struggling with it too - trying to convince myself that I need to start working out again. We all know that happier, healthier moms make happy, healthy kids - it's just one other thing on our already long "To Do" list! :)

Anonymous said...

I hear ya! I just made myself a doc appointment, my first one in 5 years. I'm getting a physical. I also hope to exercise more and hope that the weather will be encouraging. It's all so easy in theory, but putting it into practice is so hard!

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

I know exactly what you mean! Moms tend to put themselves last and we don't even realize we are doing it. I started exercising recently. It feels good to know I am doing something to take care of myself. Amazing how little things like picking a nicer shirt to wear makes a big difference in how I am feeling!