I see you. I see you everywhere: at the grocery store with a child or three. At the dog park. Running or riding your bike on the bike path, often pushing a child in a stroller in front of you or pulling them in a cart behind you. I see you in my friends; so many of them are beautiful mothers.
I see you change diapers, wipe mouths and noses, comfort your children when they have fevers, stomachaches, skinned knees, and broken hearts. I see you make sacrifices for your children that they never know about. I know you would lie down on fire to keep them safe.
I see you work long hours outside the home away from your children. I see you work long hours at home spending all day being everything to your children.
You are so much to so many people. Your children, your spouse, your friends, your community. There is someone I don't want you to forget: yourself.
I'm not a mama. Unless we count Lionel, I don't have any little ones following me. But I was pretty sick for a pretty long time. This spring and summer are mostly a blur. I felt like I was trying to keep a whole bunch of balls up in the air at the same time while simultaneously being sick all the time. At one point near the end of July, when I was my sickest, a doctor who knew me said, "Go to the ocean." Go to the ocean, I thought...is he crazy? I can barely move. But not long after, I started going to the ocean.
At first all I did was sit on the rocks and look at the water. Sometimes I would stand in the water. After a few visits I realized hmmm, I think this guy was right. Each time I visited, I felt more and more calm. My ability to deal with everything life was throwing at me became better. The pain in my joints was less. It seemed that I was not so tired. Sometimes I climbed over rocks. Each morning I would think, can I go to the ocean today? I hope so!
After almost a month of visiting the ocean and drinking green smoothies and all sorts of other changes I started feeling better and stronger. On one ocean visit I took my surfboard with me. I love surfing, but I hadn't been able to do it for a long time. Not only did I get to look at the ocean that day, I got to be in it again! It was the most amazing feeling.
So what is the moral here, mamas? Find your ocean. Whatever it is, wherever it is. Find that little thing that gives you solace and peace. Even if it's five minutes a week at first. Even if you can't climb over those rocks. Do this for yourself. Remember how important you are. Take care of #1.