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By Sonia Salfity , Family Flavours - Apr 11,2021 - Last updated at Apr 11,2021

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

I want to ask every mother who is reading this to join me on a mission to better care for ourselves.

It’s past eight o’clock at night and I just managed to sit down after packing lunch for our daughter to take with her to medical school.

I am reminded of how we mothers serve our families all year long trying to make life easier for everyone around us. We cook, we clean, we organise and we plan. We work at our jobs outside the house only to come back and find more work at home that never seems to end. We do this day in and day out and consider ourselves blessed to have families that need us. But we are also blessed with backaches and heartaches as we find ourselves often depleted at the end of the day because we have neglected to take better care of ourselves. 


Your oxygen mask


I’ve mentioned this before but I’ll repeat it because we are a forgetful people. I know it’s hard to remember the last time we flew on an aeroplane given COVID-19 travel restrictions, but try our best to recall those inflight instructions. The one that tells us what to do with the oxygen overhead in the event of cabin pressure loss. They remind us to put that oxygen on ourselves first before our children. I know what you’re thinking because I’m a mother too. I always had a hard time picturing myself helping myself first before reaching out to help our children in an emergency. Yet this is what we must do because if we lose consciousness, we will not be able to help them at all!

So it is in our day-to-day life. If we don’t come up for air and take a deep breath to ensure our wellbeing, then it is our children who will ultimately suffer. Neglecting ourselves causes us to burn out and to be emotionally absent for our kids, or physically present for that matter, as we eventually succumb to a slew of aches that prevent us from being fully functional. These can vary from migraine headaches to other ailments as the body slowly breaks down when we ignore it. Physical and mental breakdowns are real and many have paid a high price learning this lesson the hard way. 

You might ask what any of this has to do in me, the desperate dieter. If you have been busy putting the ‘oxygen’ on everyone else around you and neglecting to take care of yourself, then I don’t need to explain. Self-neglect for me is:

•Eating leftovers while standing up in our kitchen because I don’t take time to sit down and eat a balanced proper meal

•Trying to scarf down a few bites while I’m driving to a meeting and hoping the police won’t ticket me for distracted driving

•Getting yet another headache because I forgot to drink water all day long and wonder why I’m so dehydrated

•Grabbing the chocolate bar at the grocery checkout because I basically checked myself out from the reality of my situation and gave up on even trying 

•Ruining my best handbag because I forgot I left my kids’ snacks that melted or crumbled into the bottom lining


My challenge to each of us


Let us make it a priority every single day to take some time for ourselves. For some, making it a point of sitting down at a table to eat will be a novelty. For others, making sure our phones are out of reach to prevent distractions while eating will be a miracle! Perhaps spending a few extra minutes in the shower will be a luxury we haven’t allowed ourselves as we rush to get to the million things on our to-do list. 

Ask yourself: 

•When was the last time you curled up with a good book and allowed yourself to rest with a cup of tea? 

•When was the last time you practised deep breathing to calm your mind, body and soul? 

•When was the last time you dared to love yourself enough to put the oxygen mask on yourself before reaching out to save everyone around you?


The Daniel Plan


I discovered the importance of being a good example to our children by showing them what it looks like to practice self-care. God willing, one day our daughters and sons will be parents too and when that day comes, they will remember how to keep their heads on straight in the middle of sleepless nights and exhausting days. They will recognise the importance of daily exercise and balanced nutrition. They will remember what I learned this week in the book, The Daniel Plan, that focuses on mind, body and soul as we care for the body that God gave us.

The authors remind us that we have three choices regarding our bodies: we can neglect, perfect or protect our bodies. Perfection is not what we’re after because that is not the purpose of our existence on this earth. We do not seek perfection lest we become so obsessed with our bodies that they become idols that control us. Nor should we neglect them as God entrusted them to us. Instead, we must focus on protecting them; after all, they’re the only body we have! It is in our control to protect our bodies by caring for them to better care for our loved ones.

Wishing each of you healthy days filled with joy, peace, harmony and rest!


Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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