Don’t Forget to Breathe

Written by Angela Atkinson

Well, Oprah’s done it again. I watched her show yesterday afternoon and was once again floored by what I saw. The show featured a mother, a professional and educated mother, who accidentally left her two year old daughter in her car for more than eight hours while she worked.

The mother said that her husband normally took the girl to daycare but asked her to do so on this fateful morning. Apparently, he had a dentist’s appointment, so Mom added the drop off to her already too hectic schedule.

Since she’d been running early that day, daycare wasn’t open when she first left, so she ran some errands, thinking she’d come back and drop her daughter off.

That never happened. In the midst of rushing around, this mom drove herself to the school where she worked and left her sleeping daughter in the back seat of her car. This happened in the month of August, where temperatures were over one hundred degrees inside of the car during the day.

At the end of the school day, one of this mother’s friends and coworkers came into the school to tell her that her daughter was in the car. By the time the mother got to her, it was too late and this poor innocent baby had passed away from heat stroke.

This story made me very angry and upset. I tried very hard to comprehend how a mother could forget her own child, and I tried to have compassion for her. I’m still struggling with it, so I’m going to withhold my personal opinion on this situation. I will simply tell you that I cannot make sense of it, and that I feel horrible for the family.

Now, the point of this post.

These are my kids. They are quite literally my first priority, always. I do make a point to take care of myself, though, because without doing that, I cannot take care of them effectively.

But watching Oprah yesterday made me realize something. Even though I would never leave my kids alone in the car, there have been times where I’ve completed my motherly duties with less than a smile on my face. I have felt overstressed and under appreciated in the past, many, many times.

Still, when I took the time to examine my feelings, something occurred to me. These kids are SUPPOSED to take me for granted. That means I’m doing my job right, because they KNOW they can count on me. That was a lightbulb moment for sure.

But then, where do I find the appreciation I naturally need? Does it come from my husband, or my mother? My friends? Who will tell me I’m doing a good job?

I struggled with this concept for a long time. I felt like no one considered me important, like I didn’t matter to anyone. I thought that if I died, the only problem would be finding a baby sitter for the kids.

Then, one day, it came to me. I had to consider myself important and worthy before anyone else could. I had to realize that I AM worth loving, and I had to do that by loving myself first.

Now, this does not mean that I became selfish and self serving. I still put my kids’ needs before my own, and sometimes even my husband’s. But now I make time for myself. Time to nurture myself spiritually and emotionally, time to pursue my passions, and even time to shower. 🙂

I now work out regularly and watch my diet a bit more carefully. My body is in better shape and my mind is a whole new thing. I don’t feel overwhelmed all the time any more. When those feelings creep up now, I notice them and CHANGE MY MIND. I tell myself that I’m canceling those negative thoughts and replacing them with an affirmation of my true divine desires, and that’s what I do.

I realize this sounds simplistic, but I ask you to give it a shot. It truly makes a difference in the way you feel and the way you perceive your life. And perception is what it’s all about. Recognizing the good in your life only invites more.

Here’s where I’m tying it together folks. The bottom line today is this: BREATHE. Take a little time to take care of yourself so that you can better take care of those you love. Don’t let the stress of the mundane details of life get in the way of what’s important.

I feel terrible for the woman who lost her daughter on Oprah, but I will bet that every day she wishes that she’d been more focused on her true priorities than those mundane details. So if nothing else, let’s learn from her. Let’s slow down and breathe, and concentrate on what really counts. The rest will come.

Learn it, live it, love it!

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