The Value in Taking Time to Be With Those You Love

family self-care Oct 26, 2023
Taking time for self care

My last couple of blog posts have centered around my recently stepping into a caretaking role for my mom.    The events leading up to it have been rather sudden and have had a significant impact on my life, to say the least.

I have been on an emotional roller coaster ride.   One day feeling strong, in control, and on top of it all.   The next day sad, scared, and wondering how this will all play out.

This relationship has been a difficult one for me for my entire life and now, again, I find myself consumed by it because she needs my help.  

A couple of months before things started going south with my mom, we decided, with the kids, that we were going to do a beach weekend with all of them when our new house was set up and ready to go.   

As things began happening with my mother, I wondered if we should cancel that weekend.   I wasn't sure about leaving her for a period of time. I considered it, I decided to move forward with the plan.   She was in a skilled nursing care facility and was safe.   She'd be upset that I wasn't in town and visiting every day, but she'd be okay.

And I needed to get away and spend some time with my husband, the kids, and our grands.

So, I made the decision to leave on a Thursday and come home on Monday. Thursday night and Sunday night were spent with just Chris, and the kids and grands were there for the weekend. 

Deciding to go was the best thing I could have done for myself and my mental health.

Why This is So Important, Especially Right Now

I Was Surrounded by Love and Support

By family members who know and love me and also know and love my mother.  Who know our history.

And who I could lean into if and when needed that weekend.

We need always, but especially when we are going through rough times, to find our healthy, supportive relationships and surround ourselves with those people.

Whenever we possibly can.

I Was Distracted

There were several times that weekend where I would realize that it had been HOURS since I had thought about or wondered how my mom was doing.  I was distracted by fun conversations with grown kids and little kids.   Beach time.  Disney movies. 

And these zones of distraction were so very good for my soul. 

I Would Have Been SO Resentful Had I Not Gone

In a relationship that's already complicated and full of resentment, me making the choice not to go would have added to that.

And it would have been MY choice not to go.   That's not something that I would have the right to blame on my mother.  

This is an important point for us to remember as we navigate these toxic relationships.    They definitely evoke feelings in us, but the actions that we take based on those feelings are ultimately our own decisions and no one else's.  

We have to accept responsibility for our choices and our decisions.

On the last night that the grands were there, I went down to say goodnight to two of them.   The youngest was asleep and his older brother was choosing a Disney movie to watch before he fell asleep.   We settled on Toy Story 4 and he snuggled in with me with his sleeping brother beside us.   

I lay there with him listening to the other kids playing upstairs and their parents and Chris talking.

The contentment that I felt in that moment was indescribable. 

I knew I had made the right choice in taking a few days and surrounding myself with my husband and kids.  It was a healthy move for me and although my mother was miserable while I was gone, I was more able and ready to deal with all of that when I returned.

Self-Care Looks Different For Everyone

I know and have heard from many of you in the Life Balance community who are dealing with similar situations and relationships whether it be a spouse, an adult child, a parent, a grandchild, or a friend.

It is so so important to take time for you.  To take care of you.  

Not only does that look different for every person, but it can vary within the same person depending on the situation, the day, or the time of year.   There are some days where self-care, for me, means taking a walk and listening to an audio book alone.  And other times where beach with family is the answer I need.

I encourage everyone who is reading this to have an ongoing list of activities and situations that are truly a form of self-care for you.   

Keep it somewhere where you can easily see it every day.   Add to it when you think of new things.

And, most importantly, make time regularly to do the things.   It can be something as small as putting your phone down and reading a book for 20 minutes. Journaling for a bit.  Picking up the phone and calling a friend.

Or something as big as taking a few days away with your supportive loved ones.

So many of us in this community continue to put our needs off in order to help others.  

And, while helping others is a large part of who we are, continuing to suppress our own needs at this stage of the game is not healthy.

We CAN help others while also continuing to create time for our own joy and purpose.