Giving Yourself Permission

For the longest time I couldn’t imagine ever being away from O and Jake. I mean, it took us four long years just to bring O into our lives so the thought of being away for even a day was inconceivable. If I had been away for any period of time (a day or so) I’d feel super guilty!! How could I miss one moment of their lives? How could I let a night go by without kissing their sweet cheeks!? Staring down over their cribs looking at their big eyes reflecting back into mine. This was a nightly routine for me, and one that I’ve cherished.

I thought about these things on a recent overnight trip. I had a long drive to my destination and so I had time to think about things. I was going on a personal trip and one that was completely my option to go on. I knew I’d miss them both for an entire Saturday, the evening, and then part of Sunday. At first, I was bothered, as I had been in the past. This time was a little different though. I began to feel myself become calmer. The anxiety, guilt, and worry that was there before was still there but a bit less. I realized I was giving myself permission to be me.

Every day I’m Josh the employee, I’m Josh the friend, I’m Josh the husband, I’m Josh the Dad, I’m Josh the Dog Owner, I’m Josh the Home Owner, I’m Josh the Household Finance Manager, I’m Josh the Cook, and the list goes on. Yes, I do make time for myself when I can (thanks to the support of my wife) but it’s usually late in the evenings. Kind of like right now, as I write this! However, this trip was not just a couple of hours at night with the kids asleep down the hall. And no, it wasn’t a week-long trip either. It didn’t need to be. The feelings I had were still there and yet I allowed myself to take a break from all the other daily roles. I allowed myself to do something for me.

I convinced myself that this was okay. It was okay. Why? We need to care for ourselves as much as we do our family and the other roles that come with them. If we don’t take care of ourselves we won’t fully be able to give to others. There will be emptiness in us and maybe even built up resentment over the years. Only when we feel full can we truly give all of ourselves to others.

This is a hard concept to grasp. It’s almost counter-intuitive. We think we don’t have time for ourselves since our families come first. Then we wake up one day and realize there’s nothing left. It’s like the story of the goose that laid the golden eggs. We’re that goose and we lay these golden eggs. Our eggs are our gifts of doing for families. What happens when we don’t take care of the goose that lays the golden eggs? We run out of eggs! We can’t keep withdrawing from the bank without making deposits.

Think in terms like this and you’ll quickly see how you probably haven’t made many deposits lately. If that’s the case for you, then do yourself a favor. Do your family a favor. Start making those deposits, start taking care of that goose inside of you. When you do? You’ll quickly see how much more you really have to offer and your children will learn that it’s as important to care for oneself as much as it is the ones they love.

I took those two days for myself. When I came back I had a better appreciation for what I had waiting at home for me. The deposits had been made and the goose was ready to deliver some golden eggs again!

Read more from Josh on his blog Dad Street and follow him on Twitter @DadStreet. Thanks Josh!

Comments

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kelly Loubet, Josh. Josh said: RT @Childhood: Have you done any Dad Stalking this week? @DadStreet talks Me Time http://bit.ly/hoANFY #dadstalking […]

  2. You are so right, Josh! This is a hard feeling to reconcile. Sometimes, even feeling OK about being OK with it can make you feel guilty. Glad you had an awesome time and that the goose is good and ready. :)