All in a day's (hard) work
"The purpose of life is the expansion of happiness and the ability to love and have compassion." - Deepak Chopra
What do you think of when you read this? I'm thinking of you.
...how much work you do everyday for your baby (babies). Going to work outside the home and pumping 2-3x a day while you're there, even at JFK as you head home from yet another work trip. Or staying home with baby and rearranging your day from wake to sleep around them and every little thing they need.
...how much love and energy you put into making sure they are thriving. From the visits to the pediatrician to the choosing of another nanny to the choosing of different pediatrician. You are tireless when it comes to making sure she is getting everything she needs, the best you can afford, the best you can find, the best you can offer.
...how much care you take when you change and bathe your baby. New wipes, on the go or at home, with every. single. diaper. change. Fresh, clean diapers, whether disposable or carefully laundered, with every. single. diaper. change. Checking to make sure the water in the bath is just right. Gently washing tiny fingers and toes.
You expand your baby's happiness every single moment of every day...whether you are with him or whether your partner or another caregiver is. I know you do; you love like you invented the word. With all your heart, head and soul. Every action you take, every decision is seeped in compassion for this little being. Because you are not only caring for her but teaching her a lesson about how to love and what happiness means. But don't forget there's another piece to the lesson: turning these actions on yourself too.
Caring for yourself at work- Asking for the raise. Taking a walk at lunch. Stepping away from a meeting to get fresh water. Heading out of the office for 15 minutes to meet a colleague or community partner for coffee. Getting the supervision, mentoring you deserve.
Pour energy into your own physical and emotional health- Going to the chiropractor for an adjustment. Connecting weekly with friends for a run. Talking to a coach, therapist or other support person for reassurance, advice or with any concerns you have. Schedule time alone.
Personal self-care- Shut the bathroom door and let your partner worry about the baby. Shower everyday. Get a haircut or a pedicure. Take a hot bath occasionally. Toss clothes that don't work; buy ones that do. Take deep breathes & vitamins. Eat foods that make you feel good.
You can't expand anyone's happiness or even teach anyone that their happiness is important unless you're willing to show yourself some. As a mom, it can't usually be a 1-1 thing. It can be a 3-1 though: 3 parts doing for your baby, 1 part for yourself. Any less than that and you risk your baby (who will be a watchful, smart child before you know it) learning a different sort of lesson: happiness comes from someone taking care of us and if that doesn't make us happy, something is likely wrong with us. Ugh. Who would want their child to learn that?
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