Over Christmas I had a breakdown. Nothing major but I just lost my cool with my family. I was feeling unappreciated, overworked, and taken for granted.
I’m pretty sure over Christmas break all children are hard-wired to misbehave and that is our test, as parents, to see if we were good this year. Well…I failed.
I counted picking up the same toy 15 times in 2 days (yes I counted). I had asked my daughter to put something away 6 times in one day before her dad came home then had to ask her twice. Lights were left on in every room of the house and doors were left open. These are just a sliver of the things that lead to my migraine and well… my tantrum. (I’m not anal I just have a baby and a puppy so they have to be kept in certain rooms of the house and keep them from eating everything!). 🙂
Basically I could ask nicely, I could threaten, I could discipline (all things that did happen) but nothing made a difference. Finally, I got angry and then in a split second I decided I didn’t give a damn anymore about any of it.
At first I was ashamed of my attitude. Then I experienced embarrassment because I am really the only person to blame. Then finally I decided to be selfish.
Now I totally feel like a hypocrite because I loathe the articles that tell you to put yourself first, only think of yourself, never care about others because it makes you vulnerable, yadda yadda yadda. They are wrong. But I was doing something to the extreme in the opposite way, I wasn’t being selfish at all.
I realized in my moment of self-loathing and anger that I had lost myself to my roles in life. I had sacrificed all of my individuality and surrendered to “mom”, “maid”, “chef”, “wife”, “teacher”. Though those aspects of my life are things I love, they became who I am, not what I do.
During my momentary lapse or epiphany, whichever way you see it, my husband took all three kiddos and the dog and ran errands for a few hours and left me to come to terms with nervous breakdown.
While they were gone the house was sleeping. I wasn’t on my toes trying to avoid waking a baby, the appliances and tv were off, and my life was still. It felt strange.
After sitting there for a few moments I decided to dig out my old books, my creative outlets, my writings, my music, all of the stuff from memory lane that had been pushed to the side to make room for Responsability.
I had packed it up because I had new and better blessings and inspirations in my life now, my family. My family took the place of my music, my writing, my sketches and paintings. My art had filled boxes as these people took their place. I wouldn’t trade it back, ever.
However, I wasn’t doing anything for myself. I was…working, and only that. I was working towards graduating, working towards a clean house, working towards a goal, working on photos, just… working.
I decided it is okay for me to fill my own bucket, to do things for me that are not part of a goal or a role, that are just because I want it.
My husband fell in love with my personality, my creative streak, my love for music and spontaneity, but unfortunately I let myself get…lost 🙁
So my breakdown wasn’t just because my kids don’t listen, but because cleaning, cooking, and my many roles became the only things I am. But they are just things I do, they are not all that I am.
When my family had come home my attitude was different, my bucket was full, my selfish new goal of doing more things for myself wasn’t accompanied my guilt. Instead it gave me the strength to do my roles knowing that they were no longer going to smother me.
I choose to be selfish in order to be better at everything else, and for my kids, and it is okay.