I want to speak specifically to my women friends this morning because I see and hear things that distress me, especially when I see you making mistakes I’ve already made. As a group, women are the caregivers of the world- the “chief cooks and bottle washers” as my grandmother was fond of saying. We take care of people. We take care of things. We take care of problems. We just don’t take care of ourselves.
My generation learned to sacrifice our own feelings and needs at a very young age. We endured tight pony tails that gave us headaches. We wore shoes that pinched our toes and dresses that prevented us from playing. And we are told it was all worth it because we looked so cute. We learned to be polite, be responsible, and be kind, while our brothers and boyfriends were often left to their own whims because “boys will be boys”. Many of us worked in the house helping our mothers long before and after our male counterparts were watching or playing football. We learned and adhered to the Biblical principle that the male is the head of the household and therefore has more privileges. However, I believe that we skipped right over the idea of the male species also being responsible for his family, and women have taken over that role to the extent of neglecting their own health and well-being. Of course many women in our society don’t even have a male in the family and are raising their children alone.
If you are one of those women who takes care of everyone but herself- if you make sure your children get a check-up but can’t find the time or money for your own; if you cook for your family, but grab your own meals “on the run”; if you tuck your children in for eight hours of sleep, but you get by on six; if you dole out vitamins to everyone except yourself; if you are frantically completing chores while everyone else is relaxing; if you can’t remember the last time you did something fun…I want to ask you an important question. Have you made arrangements for someone else to attend your child’s high school graduation? Do you have a friend or family member who can plan your child’s wedding or hold your first grandchild? Because chances are you may not be around to do it yourself. Some of the self-neglect I see is really that serious.
For the past year I’ve been eating better and sleeping more and trying to correct some of the health mistakes I’ve made in the past.
But I’ve waited a long time to take care of myself. Don’t make the same mistake.
Start today and put your own needs on your “to do” list. Make yourself and your health a priority. Your family will benefit far more from you wellbeing than from your self-sacrifice.