APPLY OXYGEN TO YOUR FACE BEFORE ASSISTING CHILDREN
I just got home from my trip home to California. The flights there and back were not easy. But you already know that. Because, twins. And because 3 kids. If you know me by now (or follow on instastories), you know it’s not easy because I f*cking blurt it out every day. And I’m sorry for cussing. And I’m sorry for blurting out the chaos every day. But twins are hard. Mothering is hard. And this is my space and I share, because I can. Because life is hard and we are all in this together.
But speaking of flights, have you flown lately, with children? Or children on your lap? If you haven’t, then you probably don’t remember the flight attendant saying to you before take off, “Please apply oxygen to your face before assisting your children.” Well, if you read that back, it’s pretty intense. Because, whether or not you’re a parent, if the plane is going down, you’re probably gonna want to help the children. Because instinct. Or because, motherhood. And that’s noble of you. Noble of us. But for the safety of you and others, the flight attendant is handing you these rules for a reason. And it’s a damn good wake up call.
I'm a mother. You might be too. And perhaps you’re the type of mother who gets the kids up in the morning, changes the diapers, changes their clothes, gets the kiddos sippy cups and snacks, all before the coffee maker is even turned on. Well, I'm that type of mother too. And here’s the thing, sometimes that’s the situation. Perhaps your husband is off to work before the sun rises. Or perhaps you don’t have a husband. Here’s what I know. That’s just stupid. Just dumb. And it’s ok, I’m stupid too. But you need your coffee sister. And I blame instinct. I also blame motherhood and love. But in all honesty, there’s a reason why I have opened the CUPBOARD to put the milk away on any given Monday. It's because I didn’t get my coffee. I assisted the children before I assisted myself. I catered their basic needs, before my basic survival kit. And it’s bullshit.
When the flight attendant said this to me on our flight home, I thought about it pretty intensely for the ride home to Nashville. And I thought, for most of my life, I’ve been an assist. A helper and a giver. I’ve put many a persons needs before mine. I get that from my Dad. It’s not the worst trait to have. In fact, it’s a beautiful trait. The size of his heart and the kindness that surrounds his ever giving persona is brilliant. But after thinking about this statement I was given before my flight took off, the human in me realized my safety was at risk if I didn’t listen to the flight attendant. And if I didn’t assist myself with oxygen first, I probably wouldn’t be able to assist any 3 of my children for that matter. And this fellow mommas, is my lesson.
I’m getting better with age, at this whole take care of myself thing, but it’s riveting to me, that in every day life, us momma’s don’t take a second to stop and think about this concept. We feed the children, the family, the world, do their laundry, pay the bills, volunteer at the hospital, attend the galas, and somewhere in there grab some time to brush our teeth, wash our hair and feed ourselves. Now, don’t play me a violin, life doesn’t suck and I still get a bikini wax here and there if I have time, but the very thought of taking care of me first, is an after thought. And yet on a plane ride with your child, it’s a rule of thumb. It’s non negotiable. And that’s fucking brilliant.
Here’s the thing, when it’s ingrained in you to take care of others, it’s hard to shift that perspective. But it’s awesome. And here’s why. Because taking care of your needs and you and what it is in the world you need to tick, it’s a different world. One in which you’re happier. And when you apply the oxygen to yourself first, you breathe easy, can relax and then take on the world. This analogy was meddled in my brain for 4 hours with a toddler on my lap because even though I’ve known this, today, when it was described to me in a ginormous bird made of metal that was flying through the sky, it made practical and logical sense. Safety first. And if we must protect ourselves in this scenario, in order to have the best chance of survival in case of a crash, then I better get my ass in gear and apply this to daily living. Like every day.
And this doesn’t make me wrong. Or selfish. Or non Mom-like. This makes me sharp as a wit. And aware. And present. To hear my breath, to listen to my voice, and to follow what it needs. The kids are all right.....if mommy is all right first. Just a thought. Note to self.