I swear if I hear the airplane mask analogy used again to describe how a mother should take care of herself before the family... I'm going to lose my shit.
You know the one... "make sure to put your mask on before assisting others."
Let's play pretend for a minute (blurring screen Wayne's World style):
You're on a plane and you have your kids sitting with you. The cabin pressure plummets and the masks drop from the ceiling. Flight attendants are hustling around, shit's beeping, people are crying and freaking out. What does your instinct tell you?
Put your mask on first? Is that really what you think you'd do?
Maybe. But you'd likely have to take a moment and fight biological programming screaming at you, "this bitch is going down!! Masks, masks... kids... oh my God!" Biology tells us, as mothers of little squishy babies, to protect our children at all costs. Even if it means giving your own life in order to preserve theirs.
I know what I would do. I'd hold my damned breath if needed, to secure their masks first. No doubt. However, I do get the concept- take care of yourself so that you can take care of others... and with that, yeah...I agree.
In a less dramatic, real life scenario though... like when you've planned to go out to dinner with a friend, and a kid is tired and throwing a fit, and the other is crying hysterically because she "doesn't want to stay with daaaaaddy, she wants mooooommmyyyyyy", and your husband is already stressed out and giving you the look of 'OMFG', doesn't the same instinct kick it?
That self sacrifice? The mental rationalization "Well... I don't need to go. I guess I can just cancel. I don't want to upset the kids just because I want to get out, I'm being selfish. It's not a big deal. My husband worked hard today too, it's too much to ask..."
The problem lies in the mom guilt that comes with taking time to take care of you. Booking yourself a one hour massage on a Saturday afternoon- getting a sitter or tasking your husband with watching the kids and praying that no one bleeds while you're away.... Laying on the massage table, letting the 7,000 possible scenarios of what may be happening at home while you're trying desperately to relax and making sure your cell phone isn't far away "just in case". How much fun is that?
Even simpler things, like taking an evening walk alone becomes impossible when your toddler is holding onto your leg begging to go with you. Especially when you've looking at the dishes and laundry that need to be done still or the lunches that need to be packed still. Not to mention the exhaustion that beckons you to your bed instead of taking a long eucalyptus infused bath or taking that extra twenty minutes in the morning to actually fix your own hair and makeup instead of the standard bb cream and ponytail.
So what's a lady, who just wants some time alone, to do? Hold your breathe as long as humanly possible? Or work on your own mask while your toddler is throwing a shit fit on the grocery store floor?