"It's unlikely, but if cabin pressure changes, the panel above your seat will open revealing oxygen masks. If this happens... Adjust your own mask before assisting others."
She was roughly an hour late. She walked toward me guiding a toddler with one hand, clutching a baby in an infant carrier in the other, and lugging a diaper bag over her shoulder. Oh, how I remember those days when just getting out of the house was a miracle and arriving on time was, well, only a dream.
"How do you do it, Carolyn? I mean, seven kids and all!" She asked.
"Listen, four of my children are through or nearly through the teen years and the other three can get themselves in and out of the car by themselves. Your stage of parenting is the most physically exhausting." I said.
"I'm tired all the time." She brushed a stray lock of hair back from her eye. "My oldest challenges me all the time... I'm sorry, I'm talking too much. I get with others and I just keep talking."
She went on chatting. She needed to speak and I needed to listen. As I stated before, I remember those days. I could tell she wanted one piece of advice, anything that would get her through the afternoon. I dug deep.
"You need to take care of yourself." I said.
She looked at me like most women do when I make that statement, like the thought never occurred to them before, like it's taboo, like it's breaking a code of motherhood to mention self care. We're supposed to be superwomen right? We did this miraculous thing by giving birth and now we're going to keep on being supernatural. Right? Wrong!
True confession: I surrendered my supermom cape long ago. I don't try to fly through this parenting thing without heeding the warnings and when I do, disaster strikes. Always. So here's some motherhood navigation advice:
It's likely, our life pressures will change and there's no panel above our heads that will open to reveal oxygen masks. We need to find what gives us oxygen, what breathes life into our souls, and take a few breaths--before assisting others.
Your turn to share. What breathes life into your soul? How do you refuel in whatever stage of life you're in? How do you make time to refuel?