Be Good to Yourself

“Be good to yourself when, nobody else will
Oh be good to yourself
You’re walkin’ a high wire, caught in a cross fire
Oh be good to yourself
When you can’t give no more
They want it all but you gotta say no”
- Journey

So, I’m feeling  just a wee bit stressed out.  Summer is officially over and I’m cranky. This has been the wettest, coldest, grayest summer EVER and I am so over it.  Just call me  bitter (and unseasonably COLD) party of one.  Then – school started.  Yep – my kiddos went back on August 18th and there is nothing weird about ringing in the school year in the middle of August.   Not at all. :-) My oldest entered his final year of elementary school (5th grade!!!) while my  youngest started her first year (Kindergarten) and while I was thrilled to discard my $700 a month daycare bill (whoopee) I was a bit saddened to realize she is officially a school-ager.

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Can you just FEEL the excitement? Hayden is totally blase and Harlyn is ready to rip it up. Love those kids.

Let’s pair that with me starting a brand new full time job ON THE SAME DAY.   At the time it seemed like brilliant planning but was obviously nothing but an aspirational delusion on my part.   One of  the biggest stressers is starting a new job so it makes PERFECT SENSE to couple it with the most stressful thing a Mom can do – get kids successfully off to the first day of school.  Magic moment, right?  Well,  if you consider tears and emotional breakdowns magic then I’m freaking David Copperfield. Finally, can we top the whole thing off with a wicked summer cold that literally kicked my butt?  I honestly thought I was going through THE CHANGE (couldn’t sleep, hot flashes, light headed) before I realized that I had myself so worked up that I didn’t even notice I was running a fever for 2 days.  Ahh the joys.

And while this storm of madness transpired – all I could think about was “it needs to be perfect.”  The kids first day at school, my first day at work and everything in between.  Hubs has been traveling quite a bit for work this year so I’m flying solo more and more frequently.  In addition, we’re preparing for a trip back East to see our family and friends.  I was so focused on making everything “just right” that I decided to forgo some of my own personal needs in favor of attending to family obligations.   I LOVE to work out (mostly because I am a bundle of nerves and exercise calms me down) but ended up missing several of my regular classes so I could take care of business.  I told myself it would be worth it.

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Disclaimer: Despite an eerie resemblance to my 8th grade school picture – this is NOT a photo of me. :-)

Except it wasn’t.

Skipping out on taking care of me just made everything else that much worse.  Not only was I super busy and over tasked, I was also stressed to the max and straight up cranky town.  Everything set me off.  I yelled at the kids, yelled at the hubs, even yelled at poor Bella beagle – all for the crime of existing.  My kindness crusade was going down in flames.

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Aww Bella – sorry about the yelling. (((Hugs))))

Then I remembered that being kind isn’t just about being good to others – it’s about taking care of  ME too.  What had I done to build myself up?  Nothing.  Quite the contrary, I let myself become bottom priority and everyone was reaping the rewards.  I was a mess, my family felt the brunt, no one was happy and it was FAR from the perfect utopia I had envisioned.  So, I picked myself up, put on my gym shoes and headed out for some much needed aerobic therapy.  And…somehow…it all started to feel so much better.

In the immortal words of Steve Perry of Journey (I LOVE that man and band) – Be Good To Yourself.  I forgot that taking care of myself allows me to take the best care of my loved ones.  So, as we move forward on this kindness journey – I encourage you to make yourself a priority – both mentally and physically – because you deserve it.

What do you think?  Is being good to yourself part of your kindness crusade?  Or should it be focused only on outside influences?