One day you are bending over the dishwasher putting away the dishes and suddenly you remember that you have to be up for an early appointment the next morning and are wondering where the hell the Tylenol is because you have a screaming headache.
You find said Tylenol, only no you didn’t, because someone else took the last of it and left the empty bottle there for you to throw away and you wonder, Will anyone ever take care of me again?
Then you go back to doing what you always do; to getting it all done without complaint and sucking it up along the way realizing that that ship has sailed–you are up to home plate (all the time), you are always taking one for the team, it’s up to you to win.
But that feeling–the longing to be taken care of–never really fades, does it?
We moms feel the weight of all the extra baskets we carry. We take on an ever-increasing load of responsibilities and our self-care gets tossed to the back burner. We work hard to make everything fantastic for everyone else and we forget to make ourselves a priority.
It not that we want to retire from taking care of everyone else or that we aren’t capable of fulfilling our own needs and making ourselves happy, but we often put ourselves at the bottom of the list.
Some days we would love someone to wrap us in warm blanket, ask what we need, and tell us they’d like to take care of us for once because they realize it’s been a while. Just because we are moms doesn’t mean that feeling leaves us. We may feel guilty about it though, and wonder if we are too old to feel like we want someone to stop and see us, really see us.
The sense that we are not being taken care of can leave us miserable. But we think we need to absorb that unhappiness and not give voice to how we truly feel. It’s not long before that feeling turns into resentment, anger, and feeling as though we are being taken for granted.
When I’m not feeling well, my oldest son always makes me chicken soup because I asked him to do it for me once. But I didn’t just say, “Will you please make me some soup because I feel like I am about to keel over and die.” I said, “Honey, can you please make me some chicken soup because I feel like I am about to keel over and die and I really need you to take care of me.”
When I am having a lousy day, I call a friend and ask them to listen, or go out to lunch. I’m no longer afraid to say, “I need you, I need some attention and love because I’m feeling really low.”
When I became a mother I mistakenly thought that the longing to be cared for would leave me because I would be transformed into Super Mom. Super Mom doesn’t ask to be taken care of– she does the caring; she puts everyone else first; she saves the day even if she herself is hanging on by a thread.
It’s not about depending on anyone for your happiness, being needy, or asking to be spoiled. I’m talking about the need to be noticed and taken care of which is a normal and natural need. Sometimes we have to ask for what we need because those who love us aren’t mind readers and would love to be clued into what we are feeling. It gives them an opportunity to do something a little something extra for us-just as we do for them.
So, the next time you feel the need to be taken care of, whether you need a back rub, a night out, or just a shoulder to lean on, don’t ignore it because you feel like you shouldn’t need it or you don’t deserve it. Ask for it.
Just because you have children doesn’t mean that your own need to be nurtured is gone.