I like to joke with my best friend that I’m a fraud. I preach about mom’s self-care and ways to create boundaries so that a mom maintains her sense of self, happiness, and positive overall well-being….and what do I do? I agree to get a puppy? OMG. A little crazy, especially at this time in my life with so much going on like posts to write, workshops to conduct, coaching calls to take, and all the details that continue to exist around raising three children, even when two of them are teenagers (I should probably say “especially when two of them are teenagers).
The truth is that I wanted to say “no.” I didn’t necessarily want another dog, or need a second dog. My preference would have been to devote any “puppy time” toward any one of the other pulls on my attention and energy, especially my growing business. I also knew going into this that I would end up being the primary caregiver: feeding, walking, training, and my favorite…cleaning up the yard. Yet, despite knowing all this, I found myself unable to stop the speeding train (that was gaining momentum) around the possibility of getting another dog. With more and more pictures of puppies online, the burning desire spewing from my son, and an absentee husband (away at a conference), I was doomed to travel “the rescue express.” And so, on a beautiful but chilly Sunday afternoon, my son and I made our way to the adorable puppies who had come from TN to find their new homes.
So, if I wanted to say “no,” why didn’t I? And have you ever found yourself in a similar situation where you really wanted (and maybe needed) to say “no” but found yourself saying “okay”? Could the answer lie in what a store clerk said to me the other day? She and I started a conversation around how much easier it was for me to buy an expensive pair of boots for one of my daughters, yet I battled reason when it came to buying the same pair of boots for myself. In response, the clerk said, “You know us moms. We always put ourselves last.” Oh brother! That’s exactly the opposite of what I teach when conducting workshops for moms. Am I a fraud or simply a mom who derives incredible pleasure seeing her son hold his new puppy or my daughter wear her gorgeous boots? I vote “mom” and will tell you that I get how much you love your children. I know they mean the world to you. I know you want them to be well-adjusted, happy, confident, etc. I know you worry that somehow you might be screwing up (when you do say “no”). I know you have bad days, and I know you have good days. I know all this because I, like you, continue on a journey that always makes me pause to think about my life and how I’m affecting my children with each mood I have, every responsibility I accept, and all decisions I make. I’m a mom too. I get it.
We are human. We love deeply. And chances are we usually see the bigger picture. The joys that will create memories for a lifetime, the confidence that comes along with feeling great in a new outfit, especially for a teenager. However, and this is a big however, you must be clear, as your heartstrings–and purse strings– are being pulled, that you assess how your decisions will affect YOU. Make decisions after you figure out the details, like the boundaries you must set, the lengths you are willing to go for another before it becomes unacceptable, or the rules that need to be in place to preserve your sanity, comfort, integrity, and overall physical, emotional, financial, social, and spiritual wellbeing. With a little forethought, planning, and the fundamentals of self-care firmly in place, go ahead and say “yes” and reap the joys you suspect will result for those you love the most.