I’m (not) Taking Care of Me.

398 Days of Loving More!

The first pimple was easy to attribute to P.M.S.
The first day of back pain was easy to attribute to “standing in one position too long.”
And the first night going to bed early was easy to attribute to “staying up too late the night before.”

But then when the second zit popped up in full force I knew it wasn’t P.M.S. as I never get more than one zit strategically located in the center of my face for all to see. And then when the back pain continued and got worse I knew it wasn’t just from how I stood because that back pain always goes away in a day. And then when I completely forgot an important conversation with my husband and couldn’t get out of bed the next morning because I was so tired, I knew it wasn’t from staying up too late.

Nope, all these recent ailments are from one thing and one thing only: STRESS. Or put another way, not taking care of me and trying to do too much. Right now, my body is trying to tell me something and it is sending out a pretty gosh darn clear warning: SLOW DOWN or you are going to have a meltdown.

Source: Google Images

And my body isn’t the only one telling me that, my boys are too. I didn’t need the throbbing pain of the pimple and my back to warn me, I just needed to listen to my boys. This past weekend I heard “Orange Rhino mommy, Orange Rhino” more than I have in weeks, months past and rightfully so. I have been completely on edge with them, grumpy as grumpy can be. And I know why, and my body knows why; I am simply not taking care of me.

A friend of mine always likes to remind me that if I am in an airplane and the oxygen masks drop down first that I need to put mine on first so that I can then assist my younger ones; that if I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of them. It’s the truth. And guess what? I stink at taking care of me! While I have come a long way over the past year plus in learning that I need to take of me in order to be able to love my kids more and not yell, for some reason this past month I have completely forgotten the importance of it.

I know that for me, I need to get at least 7.5 hours of sleep to function normally AND nicely. I know that for me, I need to eat healthy and exercise to ward off grumpy moods and impatience. I know that for me, I need to interact with my friends to feel connected and therefore in a better place with my kiddos. I know that for me, I need to accept that I am not Superwoman and can’t do everything!

And right now I know that I am not doing any of the above. In fact I am doing none of the above and my body and my interactions with my boys are a perfect reflection of that. Actually, an imperfect reflection. I look all pimply and haggard. The bags under my eyes rival that of a zombie. The way I am walking makes the Hunchback of Notre Dame look like he’s standing up straight. And the way I am talking to my kids, the speed at which my heart is racing lately, the slight sweat that is starting in my hands, well it tells me I am close to completely screaming at my sons and I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit.

This weekend I had one of the closest calls I have had in a long time to losing it completely. I was bordering on becoming the “old me” and it was the biggest, hardest, warning sign ever that I need to slow down and take care of me so that I can take care of my kids with the love, patience, empathy and calmness that I aim too.

But again, I am not very good at taking care of me. I am really good at saying: “oh, I just have to get one more thing done tonight, I can manage on less sleep.” And “oh, I’ll start eating healthier tomorrow” or my favorite “but I really like being productive, it makes me feel happier.” Yes, these things might be true in stand-alone cases but not all together. This weekend proved that to me as I flirted with going absolutely ape sh*t on my son all because I was so worn down that I could barely control myself. I could barely control my emotions, my reactions, and my voice. Fortunately, my son squeaked out Orange Rhino before I became a charging rhino, but still, that moment was so close to out-of-control that it slapped me in the face. It shook me awake and screamed at me: “ENOUGH LADY! Start taking care of yourself now!”

So I am declaring the rest of March as “ME” month. My goal this month is to take care of me; to force myself to take breaks when I am tired, to force myself to find 5 minutes to play, to force myself to let some things go, to force myself to slow the heck down! Yes, I am going to “try” to slow down so that I don’t have the epic meltdown that I was headed towards with great (and loud) speed.

It might mean that I say no to more things and say yes to less things, but that is how it is going to have to be. It might mean that I write more because writing relaxes me and helps me figure out stressful issues sometimes, or it might mean that I write less because I need to go to sleep or connect with a friend.  And it might mean that I get less done because I am taking a bath or gasp, watching T.V., BUT I need to accept that so that I am more relaxed and have more love to share with my kiddos…and myself. Because right now, this burning the rope at both ends, well it’s leading to my boys and myself barely feelin’ the love and it just ain’t working for me anymore. I had my wake up call this past weekend and I am not ignoring it.

I am going to take care of me so that I can take care of my boys.  I am going to love me a bit, even if it is hard to do so, even if it feels selfish, even if it is hard to find the time, because simply put, I want to show more love to my boys than I have lately.

On that note, time to ignore my to-do list and go take a bath and go to bed early! 

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8 thoughts on “I’m (not) Taking Care of Me.

  1. I once heard an acronym called “HALT”. Don’t let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. The idea of giving yourself a break reminds me of this. Hope this helps someone. I know it helps me.

  2. I am just realizing that this is a huge! Trigger of mine I just had my 2 child and I’m having a tough time finding me time. I’ve done a lot of journaling in the past and recently taken up exercising more regularly, so I’m hoping those things help.

  3. Thank you for this. I really needed this. I have been so cranky and angry lately and I don’t like myself that way. I really need to force myself to take some time each day to take care of me. I can’t remember the last time I shaved my legs in private or finished for that matter!

  4. Unfortunately, it took the flu and now a ridiculous cold on top of a meltdown last weekend for me to realize what you’ve written here… So here’s to taking some “me” time! Hope your stress levels go down soon!

  5. I just wanted to say … well a lot of things. But part of taking care of you is being you. Sometimes it is hard not to lie to ourselves. I fight lying to myself all the time. You started this blog and being orange rhino for a very personal reason. You designed it for yourself so it could be what you needed it to be. It has morphed into something in and of itself and now you being you has changed and helped countless people. Do not change yourself, orange rhino, just because the orange rhino community has become something more than you. We all know you because of this place and taking care of yourself means being true to yourself. So I guess I am saying whatever will be will be and by focusing on yourself and your family what needs to be will be. And I am also sending mellow energy your way.

  6. You’re so right! I had the same thing happening to me, and yesterday and Sunday I found myself feeling so cranky about every little thing the kids did. It was so stupid. I sent myself to my room to get myself out of the situation and have a chance to cool down before I yelled or did something else I would regret. Phew…funny how those two days were the days I missed going to the gym. That makes a HUGE difference for me. Sometimes I just forget that going to the gym is a favor for myself instead of a chore. 🙂

  7. I like the idea of March “me” month. I think it makes a lot of sense to take a break at this point in the year because we’re coming out of the doldrums of Winter so its time to organize and prioritize. I guess its time to start my spring cleaning!

  8. I think this is one of biggest triggers – stress. I feel like it’s almost impossible to get me-time lately being a single mom who also works at home. I feel like I have a weight hanging over my head most days and I know that this is what makes me lose it with my son.

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