I’m trying to listen to myself more. I’m learning to give myself permission to really listen. I used to force myself to do…
If I was tired, I would stay up anyway to watch the last part of the movie.
If I was stressed, I would stay later at work anyway to finish that “last” item on the list.
If I wanted to stay home, I would accept the dinner invitation I didn’t really feel like accepting.
But motherhood is teaching me there is no time for that sort of crazy behavior. I’ve been attending these breastfeeding support meetings (hosted by La Leche League of Miami-Dade County), even though I’ve had a pretty easy time of breastfeeding, and there’s a line I heard at one of my first meetings that really stuck:
“A baby’s needs won’t go away until they are met.”
At the LLL meeting, they may have been encouraging mothers to indulge their natural tendency to respond to baby’s every cry. But I think that statement rings true for everyone. As we grow up, we’re sort of taught to start ignoring our needs. School is the easiest and earliest example I can think of, so I’ll put that forth. Is it natural to expect school-aged children to sit in a chair for three or four hours at a time? Given I find that difficult as an adult, I don’t think so. I don’t know about you, but the longer I ignore the need to get up and move, the more on edge and distracted I become. I might be able to get another page or two of a contract read, but the need, to take a walk or a simple breath, does not go away, it just goes ignored. And then, like the ignored cry of a baby, it gets stronger, harder to tame.
If I ignore those simple needs for the sake of getting just a little more work done, I’m less productive anyway and a wreck when I get home, whether I admit it or not. And who suffers? I do. My family does. Maybe I give my husband attitude in response to a simple request. Maybe I’m short with my kiddo. Maybe that makes them upset and starts a negative cycle that leads us all to bed grumpy.
Who has the time for all that jazz? Better to keep things running smoothly.
A little break. A little time to put my feet on the grass. A breather (literally).
Sometimes that’s all I need. To listen to myself. To take care of me.