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First Help Yourself, Then The Children - Matthea Osinga

by Heleen Rittershaus | | | 0 Comments

Self care is not selfish.
You cannot pour from an empty cup.
First help yourself, then the children.

All a cliche, right? But so, so true!

This is a story of me completely depleting myself as a mom.
But I reckon this is something we all do as women. Taking care of others, doing our jobs, being the good daughter, friend, relative, all comes first and we put ourselves last. It is not even a con-scious decision, it is about being part of a rat race, blinders on and living life in survival mode. Stubborn as a mule, we ignore the subtle signals of our bodies and minds that something needs to change. Irritability, poor sleep, stress symptoms, anxiousness, lack of joy, unhappiness, maybe even signs of depression. The feeling like you lost yourself somewhere along the line.

That's what happened to me.
At 41 years of age, I found myself in Australia with a 1 and a 6 year old, feeling tired and empty. Of course having two babies, and doing 3 overseas moves with small kids, it would make even the healthiest person a bit tired. But this felt different, like there was something wrong with me physi-cally. Knowing what I know now, on top of the pile of not dealing with issues I kept inside and not dealing with the results of the not so conscious choices I had made so far in my life, adding chil-dren to the mix while I was already bursting at the seams so to speak was not the best idea.

But like I said, I was stubborn as a mule, ignorant of my issues and busy surviving everyday life.
Until I ended up at the doctor's office for a blood check (which came out healthy as a fish) and her describing me anti-depressants (which I didn't take) when I realised I needed to make some changes.

I recognised I had lost myself in motherhood, I gave it my all, out of a sense of responsibility.
I recognised because of that sense of responsibility I had ignored all of my own wants and needs, hid them in a vault and locked the door. A tight lid on a bursting vulcano.

So I started to take some steps to become healthier and stronger.
I started eating more and better.
I started taking beach walks.
Going out with friends, without the kids.
Picking up a study.
Finding a passion and doing things I like to do.

And slowly during that progress I realised, the better I take care of myself, the better I am capable of taking care of my children. And maybe even more importantly, I am teaching my children how to take good care of themselves. I am setting an example to them to be yourself, to be proud of yourself, to find yourself worthy of solid self care. That you are an individual who has the right to put her wants and needs first (within reason of course) and pursuing a passion is not a selfish thing to do.

So yeah I can see now why I would need to put on my oxygen mask first. Because if I suffocate who will be there to take care of my children?!

Matthea Osinga
Health & Wellness Coach

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