It’s Mother’s Day. I arose to make coffee for everyone then crawled back in bed to give my husband a back rub. He said he’d fix breakfast, but an hour after we’d risen, nothing was cooking, so I made a whole wheat bagel for myself in the toaster, but only after I had changed the washer and dryer and folded some clothes.
When my husband saw the bagel being stuffed into my face, he stopped, and said, “Hey, what are you doing? I thought I was going to make breakfast.”
With as little attitude as I could respond, I stated, “I was too hungry to wait.”
The truth is that I have a terrible attitude these days. Perimenopause has taken over not only my body, but my mind. After my response, my husband rather facetiously remarked, “Well, it’s all about you, isn’t it?” He was half teasing, but I am sure, as always, there was more truth to his jest.
My response? Well, I said, “For this next phase of my life, I hope so…”
And that is how I feel! I have been raising kids for twenty-six and a half years. I have loved and hated it and relished it and dreaded it. Motherhood has had its joys and its pains. But all of these emotions and events, well, they were centered around everyone but me. So for over half of my life, I have focused on everyone but me. And it has taken its toll.
I was the kind of mom that showed her love through actions more than gifts (money was always an issue), therefore, I depleted my energy doing things for my family even when there wasn’t much of me left. I was always fascinated by my husband’s ability or capability to say, “I’m too tired.” Sheesh, that wasn’t even part of my vocabulary. Not the “I” along with the “too tired.” I could ALWAYS muster up just enough more energy to go that extra mile for the ones that I loved. Even if it meant that I had to pull that energy from the growth of my toenails, I never wanted them to think that I didn’t love them or have time for them.
Most moms would agree that this is the nobility of motherhood. It’s what mothers do. They make sacrifices to their own well being and wishes to make others feel loved and ultimately – to feel loved.
I guess that when my husband made that comment, it was almost with relief that I reached out and grabbed it. I DO want to think of me now! Yes, it would have been a more perfect world and much better for all involved had I mixed a little of “me” in with the “them,” but there’s no going back now. There is only the future.
So on this Mother’s Day, I consciously decided that I will honor myself, and take this day as a new beginning. I want to start thinking of me and making my needs, wishes and desires as important as everyone else’s. I only hope that I can do it without resentment, anger or comparison. In the past those were the “safe” ways to do it; the only reasons that constituted sabotaging the martyrdom that I had embraced. I had to become completely depleted, angry or feel completely taken advantage of before I would stomp off to take care of me. I was always waiting for their permission, or worse yet, for them to do it for me. Which rarely, if ever, happened.
This new phase of my life has brought about an awareness. I long ago realized my downfalls, but now I have this genuine desire to do things differently. Not to teach my family a lesson, not to prove a point, not to get them to appreciate me, not to show them that I deserve, too. No, this time it comes from within me, for me, about me and from me. It is almost as if I have entered a new dimension or if I am completely honest, I feel that I am teetering on the edge.
It is time to take the leap and let myself relish this next phase of life that doesn’t include all of those old obligations or guilt, and the need to please or buy love. And I truly believe that although old patterns are hard to break, there is a knowing inside that says that I can do this. I can do it for me! And I can do it without giving up my love for my family or their love for me. This is going to be a different way of life, and is truly an unknown space. But I’ve gone to places I have never gone before. There was some apprehension, and I had to watch my footsteps carefully and let go of the auto-pilot. And many times I had to ask directions. But when I look back, those were the experiences that always held more power and were empowering. It is like a trip abroad, but this time, I’m not coming back.