I fly a lot, and you know how when you’re on the plane and the safety video starts, and they always say to secure your own oxygen mask first before your child’s?

Well, there’s a reason for that! How can you help your child if you’re incapacitated?

Now, I know some of y’all moms out there—heck, maybe all the moms out there—are feeling this modern-day mothering crunch where you want to be all things at all times, but you’re finding you can’t! You’re running on fumes because you’re running to and from work, running to pick the kids up, running to drop the kids off at soccer, running to get some kind of passable food, running to put it on the table, and running to get your kids in bed so you can get ready to do it all over again the next day. You’re exhausted. You’re incapacitated. You’re not you, and you’re unhappy.

Kids before yourself - Family

You need to get in some loving self-care. STAT! I know y’all are like, “Uh, WHEN?!” I get it. I’m a working mom, too, and a newlywed. There is no gosh-darn time in the 24-hours we’re given. However, you’ve got to find time. You’ve got to!  Because when momma ain’t happy, ain’t nooobody happy! Let’s get real—if you’re cranky because you are HUNGRY … because you didn’t get to eat anything for breakfast … because you selflessly made sure your kids were fed this morning and you ate the scraps from their plates, what kind of mood do you expect to be in? #Incapacitated. Please. Somehow, change it up. Get the oldest kid to make cereal bowls for the young ones. You don’t have to cook breakfast each day even though, yes, you do want your kids to have a warm breakfast before they go brave algebra. You need to eat. Find a yogurt, sit down, and eat it.

  • Here’s a thought: make everyone prep for tomorrow’s breakfast before they go to bed. Put the breakfast bowls and juice glasses out on the table so all the kids have to do is SIT DOWN, NOW!
  • Make a game out of your smallest one counting how many pair of shoes are at the door before they go to bed and have them run tell if there’s a pair missing, especially if it belongs to big sister. SHOES NEXT TO THE FRONT DOOR CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE in the morning!
  • Have the kids lay out their own clothing every night so that the morning isn’t chaotic, and YOU can have a better start to the day.
  • Hire the neighborhood teenager or your niece or nephew—they all need money, right?—to come one hour every night at 7:00 to help with homework.

For $10 an hour, they WILL come. That’s $50/week mall money for them. (I HATED doing homework with my son when he got past the 4th grade!)

  • You and your husband trade off as to who will go to which games/practices each week. Tell the kids in ADVANCE whom to expect. You don’t have to go to every single solitary game. Aim for 90% of them. Then store that mama guilt under those lacy bras and panties that you never get to wear anymore.
  • Ask your mom to come to the house and sit with the kids every other Saturday while you go get your nails done. Or just go to Starbuck’s or Barnes and Nobles and sit there alone without anybody calling your name.

This is self-love, my love. Do you even know what it looks like any more? Capture this image in your mind. Close your eyes and now see YOURSELF sitting there leisurely. While someone tends to YOU.

I know that making these kinds of changes ain’t easy! I KNOW you’ve gotten into the habit of doing everything yourself because it seems to save you time and hassle. But sister-girl, you are tired. You are hassled. Use February, the lovey-dovey month, to include yourself in the love. Save yourself first! Trust me when I tell you this benefits the entire family.

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