By Chanda Alicea
May was Mental Health awareness month, and I really wanted to end the month with a blog about it, but I was working with an empty tank and I had nothing left to give. The last few weeks have been so stressful, that I have been barely hanging on by a thread. I did the best thing that I could do for myself, which was take a break before I snapped.
Now as all of us parents know, having sick kids is a stressful situation. And that’s exactly what I have been dealing with off and on for the last month…a sick kid. My poor sweet baby caught 2 different strains of the stomach flu on 2 different occasions during the last 3 weeks of school. She had 1 week of being healthy before round 2 came for her and the struggle to make it to the last day of school was so real. Thankfully she ended up recovering and made it to the last 2.25 days of school and this momma made it to the New Kids on The Block concert with her friends that she had been EAGERLY anticipating going to for over a month! To be honest, I was terrified that I wouldn’t make it, it seemed like Murphy’s Law was making its presence known hard core in my life with everything going wrong but thank the stars it worked out and I had an AMAZING and much needed night out! I came back feeling refreshed and ready to start summer vacation and have tons of fun with my little lady.
But here we are week 2 into summer vacation, my kid is sick again, and my resolve and strength are being tested. It’s honestly so frustrating to have such a wonderful week and weekend and it ends with your kid waking up at 4 am on Sunday after passing out from what you thought was all the playing she did at the Unicorn Festival we attended on Saturday and starts complaining about her head and body hurting. As the day progressed, so did the head and body aches and a fever also arrived, but the silver lining is at least she’s got somewhat of an appetite and she isn’t throwing up. But the fact that she’s sick again for the 3rd time in a month is honestly more than this momma can take. So how do I best take care of her? Well honestly as selfish as it may sound, I take care of me.
Judge me if you will, but I left my house and my kid in capable hands and went on my already planned movie date with a friend of mine. I needed that time out to myself after being up off and on all morning since 4 and I don’t know what kind of night I am in for, but I feel ready to take on whatever comes up after taking some time for myself. As a mom, it’s hard to commit to taking care of myself. I ignored and neglected myself for years. I felt guilty for leaving the house and felt like I wasn’t being a good mom if I went out and did something for myself. It was a long time before I realized that doing things as simple as going to grab coffee and chatting for a few hours, or going to the movies with friends (even if my kid is sick) are things that help me refresh mentally so I can come back having shaken of the stress of the day and not feel like I am carrying the weight of everything on my shoulders while basically feeling ready to snap like a twig from feeling so on edge from not being mentally or emotionally stable enough to handle whatever new situations (in this case, A LOT of sickness) were being thrown at me.
At the end of the day, the people we care about most suffer when we don’t take care of ourselves. We end up taking our anger and frustrations out on those closest to us kids included, and we aren’t really taking care of them how we should. I think that you can say that self-care is a lot like loving ourselves. If we can’t take care of/love ourselves, how are we going to be able to take care of/love others? Remember that we all owe it to ourselves to make sure that we are making ourselves a priority because you can’t pour from an empty cup and no one else is going to take care of you but you and you are most certainly ALWAYS worthy for acts of self-love every single ever loving day. My 2 requests are going to be to make sure you’re taking care of yourself and to send me all the good vibes that whatever sickness my child has no goes away quick. No one wants anyone to be sick while on summer vacation!!