This week, I had a day off. A true day off where I was not responsible for any human other than myself, I didn't have to do any dishes or laundry, and I didn't have to make any meals that were inevitably going to be rejected. It was the first true day off I have had in years and it was simply lovely. I woke up when I wanted, napped when I wanted, and watched something on television other than Mickey Mouse's Once Upon a Christmas. I didn't change out of my pajamas and heck, I didn't even brush my hair! I felt like a whole new woman. It was so liberating to remember what it was like to only have to care for myself. The house was peaceful and so was my mind. It honestly felt like a vacation. I mean, I also had the stomach flu, but boy, was the peace nice. Even though my stomach was moving in tumultuous tsunami waves, it was wonderful to get a chance to relax and breathe.
Within minutes of finishing one of my last work obligations of the season, I could feel my body succumbing to what was almost certainly brewing for weeks. My immune system fought the good fight, gave it all it had, and finally, was waving the white flag of surrender. The 4am wake-ups courtesy of my son combined with concert season work schedules and the stress that goes along with it posed for the perfect recipe for illness. My body knew it only had a one day window to give in before the next work event and it jumped on the opportunity. It knew that giving me the stomach flu was probably the only way I would actually take time for myself during this crazy season. And for that, I guess I'm grateful. Not the stomach flu, that part sucked. But the part where I got to focus on myself, where I was the only person I was worried about for a couple hours. For that, I'm grateful.
Isn't it odd, that having the flu feels like a vacation once you become a mom? I have talked to several other mom friends and they have all said the same thing: Being a little sick is still work. You're still responsible for day to day tasks, for cleaning, for keeping the family alive. But being really sick? The "I can't get out of the bed because I might vomit," sick? That's the sweet spot. That's when people remember they can survive without you and while I love feeling needed, sometimes, it's nice to just be left alone. And while I lay there, watching my trashy tv in between naps, I also meditated. I read. I daydreamed. It was a day were I was not only healing my body, but my mind as well.
While my stomach is still on the mend, my spirit is lifted and I am reminded that I should not wait until I am debilitated by the flu to take care of myself. Self-care is important, and while it is more difficult to do during a busy season like the holidays, it is all the more important. If nothing else mamas, view this as a public service announcement: Take care of yourself, take time for yourself, and don't wait until you're eyeing the bottom of a puke bucket to do it.