You Can't Pour From An Empty Cup
My oldest was born October 18, 2011. That’s 2,343 days since I began giving 100% of myself to someone else 100% of the time. 2 years and 9 months later her little sister came along and I went into overload to provide everything I could for these Little’s while being a single working momma. Life was hard but it was plentiful, I had two happy healthy girls, a great circle of family and friends, and a God who never failed me.
Life became a whole lot more difficult when my youngest daughter began showing signs of developmental delays which eventually lead to an Autism diagnosis, followed about a year later by a Chiari Malformation Brain diagnosis. What I thought was me giving all I could give before didn’t hold a candle to the new role I was thrown into. Hours upon hours of therapy a week, doctors and specialist appointments, evaluations, and testing. I literally put every single ounce of myself, mentally, physically, and emotionally into getting my daughter the treatment and help she so desperately needed. For so long I felt so much, that I eventually began to feel nothing at all. I didn’t cry when I should have, I couldn’t stop crying when I needed to, I didn’t know who I was anymore outside of being a momma to the girls. Our lives changed so drastically and I was so focused on my girls and making sure that they were coping, getting all they needed, and essentially at the end of the day just okay that I forgot to make sure I was too. It wasn’t until I started questioning my feelings and the never ending ache inside of me that I realized just how much I had been neglecting myself.
One thing I’ve said time and time again and frequently have to pause to remind myself of when life gets too hard to bear, is that you can’t pour from an empty cup. You can only give so much before you've completely depleted yourself. Once you start pulling from parts of you that aren’t there things get sticky. I know when I’m in need of a need a break, some me time, girl time, date night, or sometimes even just a shower or grocery trip alone. I feel it deep inside of me. My patience starts to go quicker, stress and anxiety take over my mind and body, I automatically think the worst instead of the best, when I’m on overload I am not the best mom, friend, or spouse I can be. My girls suffer, my relationships suffer, I suffer. I have begun forcing myself to take a break, to allow myself a girls night, and time away from the girls without feeling guilty. Now that the girls are in school and ABA all day I honestly feel terrible doing anything on the night or weekends that don’t involve them. But it is crucial to all of our well beings that I do so.
As a mom you give every single thing you have to everyone else around you. Our days are filled with school and therapy drop offs and pickups, bills, cooking, cleaning, and shopping. Most days we’re lucky to drink our coffee while still warm, eat a hot meal, or use the bathroom alone. We give from the time our eyes open until we fall asleep. We sacrifice so much which often includes our own mental, emotional, or physical well being. We as mothers and women have to start taking care of ourselves and valuing our own well being, we have to be a priority too. I’m not saying let your house fall apart and forget all your motherly duties. But give yourself a break, go to dinner with your girlfriends, the dishes and laundry will still be there when you get home, I promise! We have one of the most important jobs on the planet, we have to fill our own cup so we can continue to be happy and thrive. Our children deserve to see a happy mother, to know we value ourself and our job as a mother and to learn in return how to take care of and value their own self. Fill your cups mommas, fill them with love and happiness, shopping and girls night or with coffee, wine, juice whatever it may be. We are worth it. We deserve it. We cannot pour from an empty cup.