To be able to effectively and healthily care for your loved ones, it is necessary to look at yourself with love, compassion and patience.
A wise friend once told me that if I rolled my eyes and ignored my son when he saw him crying, instead of running to attend to him, this was an important warning sign.
I had a two-month-old son, and to be honest, I thought his advice was overkill. In what world would I, who deeply love this tiny being, deliberately ignore him?
But now, nearly fifteen years and six children later, I highly value your words. And today, I want to share with you what I’ve learned since then.
Have you ever given up?
I remember as a child I liked to make others laugh and wanted to learn jokes for that. A few years ago, I remembered a joke that I told several times without understanding because it seemed to amuse my parents and their friends, I share:
Once upon a time, there was a woman who was caught by thieves who injected her with gasoline. At some point, she managed to escape and run away, but after a few meters, she fell helplessly to the side of the road. In my innocence, without fully understanding it, I asked my audience to guess why she had fallen. The “joke” was to answer clearly: “Because the gas ran out”.
Remembering that joke made me very sad. To my childish eyes, it seemed obvious that if a car without gas stopped, so would an “injected” person. But this joke (bad, very bad for me today), is not funny.
When things go wrong, you must speak out
I don’t know what happened to my audience with this tasteless “joke”, but although I’ve told it several times, no one has ever told me that it really isn’t funny.
I would have liked it very much if, at that time, someone had bothered to tell me, because I still didn’t understand many things. Today I start this text by telling you this story because I think something similar to the tiredness of mothers happens.
What am I saying? I’m gonna explain.
Mothers’ tiredness is not visible, it seems “normal” and (supposedly) we have to endure it “without complaining”.
I’m exhausted! but “it’s normal”
Of course, it’s normal for us to be tired, but I’m not talking about that right now. Exhaustion is a state of excessive tiredness, which wears us down and desensitizes us.
And no, it’s not normal to feel exhausted. I still remember the day I called my very patient pediatrician for the sixth time to ask, worriedly, why my baby had been crying for almost an hour. I hadn’t been able to shower, I was wearing flip-flops, I had a huge pile of dishes to wash and, of course, I still hadn’t put the two laundry machines that were pending to wash and my beautiful little baby was crying bitterly.
I had changed his diaper, I was sure he didn’t have a fever, he had just woken up from his nap in my arms, I had sung my entire repertoire to him and I didn’t know why. Thanks to his advice, I found to my shame that it had been more than three hours since my baby had his last bottle, he was hungry! In my exhaustion, I ran through all the options but this one.
“ Did you want to be a mother? Now can handle it! “
No, being a mother is not some kind of debt you have to pay. It is a privilege and a blessing. Getting support in this work is not about “bothering” your husband or other children or grandparents, it’s just sharing that blessing.
To hold on? Being a mother is not putting up with crying, insomnia or putting life aside. It’s caring with all your heart, it’s managing your own needs and solving them to be whole and ready to meet and manage with love the needs of your own, especially those of our little ones.
How to take care of ourselves to avoid burnout?
I share with you some basic tips for juggling health and efficiency, learning to balance your work as a mother and wife with your basic needs.
1. Learn to look at yourself
It’s beautiful that you want to give yourself entirely to yours, but if you keep destroying yourself to donate, you will end up aridly ripping, from those you love, the pieces of skin you left by neglecting yourself.
Do you feel irritated? Cry for no reason? Think the most basic tasks are impossible? Don’t you remember when was the last time you went to the bathroom in peace? Ask for help! Organize your day better! Make time for yourself!
2. Learn to ask for help
Speak. Help those who share life with you to understand the needs you have. Loving implies serving. You can’t always position yourself as the provider of attention and support in your home. It is a great reinforcement to know how to demand what you need to feel complete and able to give of yourself in a healthy way.
3. Review your expectations
Expectations can become our greatest enemies. It is better to have high dreams and low expectations. Let go of that illusion of what you would be when you became a mother, accept with love and compassion who you are today, with this house, these children, this husband, this financial situation and this life.
4. Be patient with yourself and your circumstances
You want to get to a certain place and you can get frustrated. Be patient. A great path is made by small steps. Breathe and live today with love, enjoying, building links to that bright future that your heart longs for.