Take Care of Yourself

There's no shortage of advice when you tell people you're pregnant.

Use cloth diapers. 
Breastfeed until they're 1. Don't breastfeed too long.
Make them cry it out. No matter what you do, don't make them cry it out. 
But in the chatter of solicited and unsolicited advice, a friend told me this: treat motherhood like you're on a plane, put your oxygen mask on before helping others. 
Being a mother isn't about being a martyr. It's about doing the best you can with what you have, and not losing your mind in the process.
Does it change your life? Yes. But do you still get to go out of the house for something other than checking the mail? Of course. 

And when you're out there, don't ignore yourself.

Know when you need to eat -- or pee -- even if your little person is also sure she needs you. Learn to hang on tight and shove some macaroni and cheese in your mouth in the mountains before getting up to play.
Be willing to listen to children's songs by Raffi in the car for hours, but also remember to set the speakers so they play on the back right side, closest to her and farthest away from you. 
Heat up enough water for your coffee in the morning and her oatmeal. And if she has to wait a bit longer in between bites so you can take a few sips, it's ok. 
Because if you don't take care of yourself, she won't get the best version of you. 

That's the thing about the airplane analogy. It isn't an excuse to be selfish. It doesn't mean you leave someone else to raise her. It means on those adventures, but put your mask on first. If you don't have oxygen, you won't be any good to her. 

So you moms, and soon-to-be moms, and someday moms, take them with you, but don't forget yourself.

-Christine Peterson

Christine PetersonComment