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Secure Your Own Mask First

Many mothers have said they did not believe in love at first sight until they laid eyes on their baby for the first time.

But what about when their children are out of sight? Are they out of mind?

Most mothers I know would say absolutely not. Our children are always on our mind.

Contradictory to the saying “out of sight, out of mind” is this: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Now, you don’t necessarily have to fall into one of these two categories, but you certainly can’t be in both. You can’t exactly grow fonder of someone if they’re not even taking up any space in your mind.

Lately, I’ve found that my son’s absence does make my heart grow fonder.

I kind of hate to admit this, because when he was barely three months old I dreaded ending my maternity leave and returning to work. Every day I spent at work I felt like I was being dragged down by the heaviness in my heart. I did everything I could to find a way that our family could afford me switching to a part time position.

But now that he’s a year-and-a-half-old toddler, and I’m home all day every day while I search for a new job, I find myself not noticing the little things I would’ve given almost anything to see a year ago. Somehow, the more time I spend with him, the less I appreciate him.

The guilt is almost unbearable. For years before I got pregnant, I wanted nothing more than to have a baby. For my entire life I’ve wanted to be a mother. And everyone who knew me well told me I’d be a great mom.

So why does it feel like I’m so bad at it?

Why do I feel like I constantly need a break? Shouldn’t I want to be with my precious baby every possible minute?

Despite the guilt, I recently accepted a friend’s offer to babysit. I didn’t even do anything fun – I just brought my laptop to Starbucks and applied for jobs. But when I went home that afternoon, it felt like I’d regained all the joy and patience I’d somehow lost over the past few weeks.

It clicked. I needed the absence, even just a few hours.

I’d heard it plenty of times before: You have to be selfish before you can be selfless… You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others… A change in pressure will cause oxygen masks to drop – secure your own mask first before helping others…
But this was the first time I’d experienced it myself, and the phrase settled into my brain: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

So here’s a reminder, not just to you readers, but also to future me: 
Take care of yourself. Take time away, even just a few hours every so often, when you can just be. Secure your own mask.

You’re not abandoning the person you love – you’re allowing yourself to become your best you.

 

 

About the author:

 

I’m a singing booFB_IMG_1440088487195-1kworm with three tattoos, two dogs, and one toddler. My husband and I are hoping that my tattoo count goes up before my dog or baby count does, but you never know. I love crafts, and despite my feminist frame of mind, I’ve gotten into sewing since becoming a mom – I’ve made my son a simple pair of keepsake baby shoes, a stuffed bunny, a doll, and an almost-finished blanket (we’ll see if that “almost” ever disappears). I’m excited to write for Reno Moms Blog because it merges my love of motherhood with my love of writing. I’ve worked as a writer, editor, and writing tutor, and I’m currently searching for a new writing job that will give me a sense of purpose outside of my home. I’ve had two short stories and an academic paper published, and I’m working on a couple novels as well. You can read more about me and my work on my author’s blog: SierraDawnWriteOn.wordpress.com.

 

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