How I Learned to Put Myself First

People often ask me how do I do it all. School, work, blogging, being a mother and finding time for myself.

My initial response, although it sounds cocky, is: It’s what I do.
I have been a mother since the age of 15. At that time I was still going to school – in honors and AP classes, working, a fiance, mother, step-mom and a chorus and drama student.
I learned early on through SEVERAL and MULTIPLE trial and ERRORS that the only way to “make it work” is to plan, make list and above else, demand me time.

After my daughter was born I was ALL about her. I remember I wouldn’t eat, drink, shower or sleep out of fear that she would need me. A few weeks into this horrible cycle I would wake up and feel like I had a lapse in time. Somehow or another I just lost minutes from the day and had no way to account for them. It wasn’t until one day when I was in the dinning room peeling potatoes and Leilani’s father was in the living room with her that I learned what was going on.

I felt someone shaking me by my shoulder and saying “Baby?, Baby?” I opened my eyes and Leilani’s father was staying over me with a look of worry stamped across his face. I looked down at my hand a realized I was still holding the knife I was using to peel the potatoes and then I realized I was slumped over on the wall.
I had passed out! Right there! Right in the middle of peeling potatoes. In the middle of a conversation with him.

To put it mildly I was scared as HELL!

I was neglecting myself so much that I wasn’t even aware of the fact that my body was literally shutting down in the middle of the day, multiple times a day, from a mixture of exhaustion, malnutrition and being over worked.

I guess Leilani’s father must have told my mother about my little episode because when she came home she talked to me about the importance of eating. I lied and told her I was eating and of course she knew I was lying. Then she said the only thing that got me to stop depleting myself. She told me “If you don’t sit down and eat a REAL meal, everyday, at least TWICE a day you’re not feeding your daughter.” I must have given her a what the ‘hell are you talking about’ look she continued,
“You’re breast-feeding. Everything you eat, all of vitamins and minerals that you take in go into your best milk. This is what makes your breast milk fulfilling to Leilani. Without eating REAL and HEALTHY food all your feeding her from your breast is basically water.”

I couldn’t believe it. This is why Leilani was so hungry and was always wanting to breast feed. No matter how long she would breast feed, my habits were not producing healthy, nutritious and full-filling milk for her. See in neglecting myself for her I thought I was helping her but in reality I wasn’t even feeding her.

This was my first, and by far not the last, lesson in learning to put myself first.

Unless you take care of you! You are not taking care of your child(ren). Think about it. Who is responsible for the well-being of your child(ren)? You, obviously.
If something happens to you who will be able to take care of your child(ren) as good as you? No one. So if you let yourself go and don’t take care of yourself, are you truly taking are of your child? NOPE.

Think about it for a minute. Realize that by taking care of you everything else will and does fall into place. You will no longer be extra cranky, tired, or upset because you are taking care of you and in turn taking care of your family.

You can read more posts from Gloria at her blog!