I’ve always put The Kids first. I used all my energy for them and, although it wasn’t a lot, I did as much as I could with them. That sounds honourable but actually that left nothing for B. Or myself. Or anyone else.
When The Kids were babies/toddlers/very young children I think they needed that attention and I am glad that I fully focused on them; I had so many Carers around that it was important to make sure The Kids were cared for in the way we wanted and they understood that we were always there for them. That I was Mama.
It worked. They trust that I’m there for them and on their side. They trust me.
Those early years of focus have given me a secure foundation with The Kids but what about my relationship with B or my relationship with myself? I have severely neglected both and now begins my journey to reconnect. I need to get to know this version of me- what’s my style? What do I like to do? Where do I like to go? What are my hobbies?
I recently started making a concerted effort to put myself first (at least some of the time) and it has made a bigger impact than I expected. I am beginning to feel more like an individual and less like a doormat for the kids. I cut my hair, painted my toenails, got a massage and felt more like a person than I have in a long time.
The real change was the way I thought about it; I realised that there was no need to feel guilty about wanting time for myself to do what I wanted to do. It is ok to leave the kids for a few hours – or even a night. They will be just fine and I will be just fine.