Every night I fall asleep with two monkeys an elephant, my husband, our 5 month old baby, and a dog in my bed. Though the monkeys and elephants are toys, they still take up room in our overly crowded queen sized bed.
At the beginning of the night I might have a small chunk of space carved out with monkeys and elephant to my side, baby to the other side, husband on his side and a dog between my legs. But as the night goes on I soon find baby on top of me, dog tucked up against me, stuffed animals on my head and a heavy husband arm draped across my chest.
It’s crowded. It’s sticky.
And occasionally I imagine myself on a deserted beach in Hawaii sipping on a frozen drink.
When you add breastfeeding to the mix – meaning that at any given point during the night my breast might be hanging out with a baby attached to the nipple – I realized I spend even my nights catering to other people.
Being a mother is hard work!
It’s very easy to get lost in the crowd. When your whole world revolves around nurturing a human being, while also maintaining a healthy relationship with your husband, while also taking care of a needy dog, you can find very little time to look after yourself.
But I had the profound realization the other day…
that now more than any other time in my life I need- no I NEED- self care. I need massages or pedicures, I need solitary meditation time, I need creative outlets. Because if I don’t I will break down.
In order to be giving and loving and present for your spouse, baby, friend, or family member, you must take time to fill your own cup. Otherwise you will only give them a small part of your awareness. When you are full and complete, you are capable of being fully present for your loved ones.
So as the monkeys and elephants and babies and dogs and hubby sleep on me tonight I still feel gratitude in these moments of sharing my bed with so much love. And yet I also know that no matter how much they love me I must also love myself. So that I can be the best version of myself to receive their love.