A few months ago my husband and I were on our way to a birthday party. We were running a few minutes late but realized that we had forgotten something at the store so we turned around, grabbed what we needed and headed back out of the plaza. We still had to drop off the kids who were strapped into their car seats in the backseat. My husband was driving and I was texting my Mom to notify her that we were on our way. The girls were so excited for my mom to babysit, they always are.
We sat at the light waiting to leave the shopping plaza and saw a young girl, maybe 19-20 years old waiting to cross the busy bypass. As the “walk” sign lit up to give her the right of way, a minivan came from across the highway and turned just as she approached the middle of the two lanes. The van hit her and then proceeded to drive off. As we sat at the same stoplight waiting for our turn to make our exit, she was struck just 30 feet from our stopped vehicle. I don’t think I’ll ever get the sound of my husbands voice out of my head. I jumped from the passenger side of our car and began to run towards this young girl. Before I reached her, another car came and struck her again. The bicycle that she was pushing was tumbled and she was still fumbling to stand and get it out of the road. She was still trying to be brave and hold back tears and as soon as I reached her she collapsed into me. Seconds later another woman appeared who asked the girl who she could call while I called 9-1-1 and held the girl on the side of the bypass. It felt like an hour but my husband assures me that it was just minutes before the EMS and police were on the scene. From the moment that they arrived I was no longer needed in the situation and I was simply in their way. The other woman who had managed to get in touch with the young girls family was also standing with me now as we watched from the sidelines. There wasn’t anything left for us to do so we hugged each other and awkwardly introduced ourselves to each other before heading back to our own vehicles and families. I don’t remember her name but I do know that she was on her way back up north after spending the week here for her family vacation. She was an angel among us who fluttered in and out.
By the time we got home my Mom was sitting on our couch. She hadn’t heard from me in 30 minutes and the last text that I sent her stated that we would be there in just a few minutes. My hands were still shaking and my husband and I stood in disbelief in our kitchen. We regrouped and headed to our friends birthday party down the street.
The entire night I kept replaying the events in my head. I was worried about the young girl and I just felt a bit off. That was the night that my rapid heart rate began. 178 beats, resting.
That was in August. My rapid heart rate began to bother me on a consistent basis that week and with our busy work season in full swing, I didn’t even think about going to the doctor until September. By the time I finally made it to a cardiologist, it was November.
Last week my daughter started coughing late at night. I had spoken to her doctor by 9am the next morning.
My oldest felt like he needed some more conditioning after his high school soccer season ended so I jumped at the chance to join the YMCA and get him started with weight and cardio training.
Tiny Eloise turned 2 and her appointment for a well checkup had already been scheduled months prior.
What’s my point? As moms, when something is going on with our children we don’t waste a milli-second to make sure that they are ok. Shoot, my dog goes to the vet more often then I see my primary care physician.
I finally made the appointment to see a cardiologist after feeling like I could barely keep my eyes open at 10am because my heart was working so hard. I had to budget the extra money for expensive tests, take time off from work and find childcare. It felt like a whole lot of fuss for a heartbeat. Honestly, it felt selfish. I ended up wearing a heart monitor for 2 weeks and even the small amount of extra time and energy that this required felt selfish.
But in reality, it’s called “self care” and guess what y’all? Self care isn’t selfish! It’s necessary.
Being a mom is the most wonderful part of my life. It’s rewarding and precious and so beautiful. It’s also hard as heck. If I’m not healthy enough to steer this ship, who is going to do it? So without being too “New Years Resolution-y,” I have started to put myself on my to-do list. I’ve re-added my own name to the list of things that I get to do daily.
“Take Joey to soccer-5pm”
“Take Penny to dance-3pm”
“Take Audra to OBX Hot Yoga-9am”
I’m done negotiating my self care. I’m giving myself 45 minutes after the kids are in bed to read or write, paint my nails or watch a YouTube makeup tutorial because I don’t even know what contouring means and apparently, I really 'ought to know. Shoot, I might even whiten my teeth after years of using organic toothpaste because I've been nursing babies. Doctors appointments and workouts, time set aside for breathing and enjoying things I haven’t had time for, these things aren’t selfish. These things are self-caring and I know that they ultimately make me a better mom. Here on the Outer Banks, I've found that the best thing that I can do for myself each day is to take a walk on the beach in pursuit of seaglass. It doesn't have to be a long walk but connecting with the ocean each day is life-changing for me.
If you are anything like me and you’re looking for a way to add some self-care to your routine, check out these options below!
1. SeaCore Barre Class
Let Angelique guide your workout and technique in this modern class at the ballet barre that will leave your legs shaking!
2. OBX Hot Yoga
Sweat your day away with yoga in the heat! With a room around 95+ degrees you will release toxins and poisons while doing yoga!
3. Schedule some time with Andrea Johnson, Licensed Counselor.
Andrea's professionalism combined with her upbeat and positive attitude create a safe place to talk about motherhood or anything that is on your mind.
4. Art Journaling or a Mixed Media Class with Donna at DeJaNew.
Discover the benefits of unleashing your creativity during one of these incredible classes that connect you to your inner-self and to a community of like minded individuals. Let the creative expression be a healing in your life!
5. Schedule your annual physical
You'll feel the weight come off of your shoulders as you take the time to put your own health first.
6. Take a weekly walk on the beach
Never underestimate the power of natures song! Search for seashells and sea glass while breathing in the salty ocean air.
7. Unplug and spend 1 hour per day away from digital distractions
Science shows that the less time that we spend with our phones the less stressed that we are in social situations.
8. Create a gratitude jar and add one thing that you are grateful for per day
By focusing on the things that we are grateful for we are able to see the beauty in the simple and wonderful things in our lives.
9. Schedule a haircut or spa treatment with your favorite local salon
A little bit of pampering goes a long way!
10. Catch up on sleep
Get some well-deserved rest!