The caretaker mom, dad, grandparent, the special needs parent, the single mom, the parents that have to do 1000 times more than the mom of typical children or grandchildren. Hear this, if this is all you read, all week, you need to read this.
You matter, you are important, your health, your mind, your body, all matter. They matter most to the person or people you have to care for. I know that it seems like that is an incredibly challenging concept to wrap our brains around. As caretakers to our family, in addition to being parents we have conditioned our minds to put our "special" person as a priority and that our own needs fall last, even lower than last a lot of the time.
Well I'm calling us all out. We need to wake up, we need to step up, we need to practice some self care and self love. I'm not a therapist, and I'm not a doctor, and I'm totally not into psychobabble at all. However, since Carrie Fisher died last week and her mom died the next day it has consumed my mind. That us the caretakers of those with special needs really have that one wish "I want my kids to have a happy life, and that I live just 1 day longer". It's true, my biggest fear and the thing that keeps me up at night is, who will care for my kids when I'm gone? Carrie Fisher had many mental health, and addiction issues, and I'm sure her mom was a bundle of nerves for 60 years, because that is what moms do. But how do we outlive our children if we take crap care of ourselves? We can't always be put at the bottom of the list. We put the needs of our family and those with special needs so far above our own, it's actually stunning that we are even able to care for those that need the care.
This is my 6th year being cancer free, and that put a shot in my ass to take care of myself. Because I really have no one that will care for my children if something were to happen to me and it makes me cry every single time I think about it. I made a commitment to myself 5 years ago to lose weight, and eat healthy blah, blah blah.... and I did, I lost weight, I became a runner, and drank too much to cope, and had to get sober, and I gained some weight back, and I fall of the exercise wagon, and I stress eat, and I am far from perfect. But you see, I'm real, and I fall, and I get back up and I keep getting up until I succeed. I don't set goals, I just try to do good for myself and everyone in my family one day at a time.
If you're a care taker, parent, grandparent, foster parent, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, you matter, you need to care for you. Don't add something to your list that overwhelms you, because we are so easily overwhelmed because we all have the weight of the world already on our very narrow shoulders. But make tiny changes, give up one crap thing for one good thing, and then another, and another, and another. It's the tiny things we do for ourselves, that will end up being big things, that make us better moms, and caretakers. When we feel better, we do better, we help more, we conquer more, we feel happy (which is undeniably challenging in most of our cases). You can do this, you deserve to feel good, you deserve a smile, a laugh, and good in your life. Find something that you can handle and do it for 20 minutes, sweat for 20 minutes. I didn't have 5 dollars to put together years ago, so I couldn't do any of the fancy for sale exercising that everyone was hocking and telling you it's the only way to get healthy. Well HORSE MANURE, you can sweat in your house, you can walk around your block. I think I started pushing my kids in their stroller and pushed them about 1000 miles getting my 20 minutes a day in.
Slow and steady changes, and little tiny progress is good, moving forward is good. Keeping yourself up on this list is not a bad thing, everyone will survive if you take 20 minutes for yourself. I swear to God, they will. Your health matters to your loved ones, it really really does over everything else, because you can't care for others if you can't care for yourself, there will be a day where your body says NO. My kids are just getting bigger and stronger, and faster, I need to be able to keep up. I need to be able to be healthy.
My pair of running shoes and weights has been the best therapy I could have every asked for. Exercising sucks, seriously, I don't know anyone that loves it, but the after, the feeling after is what you will fall in love with, the accomplishment, the endorphins, the strength, the wonder "holy crap I didn't think my body could do that". That's the awesome, that's where your change will happen, because when you change your mind, everything else will fall into place.
Just try it, do you have anything to lose? The crumbs on the floor will be there after your 20 minutes, the paperwork will still be there, the cooking will still be there. You have 20 minutes. 20 minutes a day will change your mind, your body and your spirit. Your family will notice, you will notice, and who doesn't just want to feel better? I promise this to you.