Friday, October 2, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Cara: The Oxygen Mask Theory

We have all heard the instructions of an airline attendant reminding us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help anyone else with theirs. You won’t be any help to the guy/child sitting next to you if you have passed out from lack of oxygen, right? This advice is often said to be a metaphor for self-care because it hits the nail right on the head.

“Self-care? There’s a word (albeit hyphenated) you don’t find on your to do list much if you are like me. And bathing doesn’t count as self-care. That is a public service to those with whom you come in contact. I used to think that getting manicure or a hair cut was self-care. Maybe in the days filled with toddlers and poopy diapers that would count (since bathing back then only happened on a good day).

Self-care defined, for me now anyway is putting what’s right for me and (my family) first for a change. I am sick to death of doing what’s right by other people only to put myself out. Why is it that others are allowed to do what’s right for them, what makes them happy, and then if I want to I am wrong? Who says I am wrong? Apparently I do, otherwise I would not be having a dilemma. Never putting my needs first, I am afraid will do me more harm than good in the long run. I can’t be any good to anyone if I am resentful.

I think it’s a learned skill this doing what’s right for you and to hell with everyone else. I am really not good at it. I am no wimp mind you; anyone who knows me can vouch for that. But I have guilt when I decide to (kinda) be selfish and not give a dam. Is putting yourself first being selfish or self-centered? I would say being selfish sometimes is OK, good for you even. Self-centered? Ugh. That’s a total other post…self-centered people make me want to hurl.

But really, let me lay it on the line here, as I have been accused in the past of sugar coating my blogging. And maybe I have just to be nice (there’s that four letter word again).

My cousin-in-law is getting married this month to a lovely girl. She is sweet and we all love her. Cousin-in-law has been part of my life since he was 5 years old. He is going to be 30. He was a junior usher in my wedding. He picked me as his sponsor for Confirmation. So of course I am happy he is getting married. My Diva is a bridesmaid, and the groom's mother (hubby’s aunt) just asked my hubby to walk her down the aisle. Sounds peachy don’t it? Yeah wait. The wedding’s on Halloween. The ceremony is in one Borough of NY and the reception in yet another. (Both may as well be in Mars ‘cause they are quite the ride from Mayberry)

Halloween is big around here. We have always made a big deal out of it in my house; costumes, decorations, trick-or-treating the works. And hello? I still have a 7 year old that is having a HUGE hard time understanding why I can’t be with him to go at the very least trick-or-treating (side note: he and Junior are not invited to the wedding). I have even relinquished my “After Trick-or-Treating PizzaPalooza” whereas trick-or-treating friends and all their families come over for pizza, soda and what ever sugar laden snacks we can think of. I have left it in the very capable hands of my Halloween loving friend. (See working on the control issues here!)

So my issue is…do I miss the church and spend the afternoon tricking and treating with my little boy who, by the way does not have that many more Mommy tagging along Halloweens left? Then get dolled up and go to the reception later on? That apparently is an option for other family members who are allowed to do what they want. Or do I skip most or probably all of Halloween to go to church and reception and make everyone else (including hubby who has stated he really wants me to go to the church, and will drive home the 7000 miles, after the church before reception so I can get some time with my kid) happy? I am sure by the gist of my post you know which way I am leaning…so I will ask, what do you think?
Thought of the day:
“Putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say no to someone else in order to say yes to you. We begin to understand that taking care of ourselves is neither selfish nor indulgent; it’s just plain practical. “


Jenn's two cents: In 20 years, MP will not remember that you did not go trick or treating with him in 2009 when he was 7. You, however, will. That is your decision - let it bother your for the next 20 years or figure out a way to make it happen. Maybe you can do trick-or-treat on main street or at the library with him - they usually happen early - then he can go with the gang for the rest of the day while you are doing in the Cupid Shuffle in S.I. Try not to be mad at the wedding... they will get theirs when they start having kids and have to have share their anniversary with goblins and ghouls!

5 comments:

Cherie said...

I guess you have to ask your self what would make you the happiest. I don't think its selfish to want to trick-or-treat with your 7 year old! Those memories don't last forever! My opinion is do the best you can and try and do as much of both as possible. Just prepare yourself for a very busy day:)

Stephanie Faris said...

I think many people understand if you can make it to the wedding and not the reception or vice versa. Most of the time they're so busy with the wedding, it's not that they even notice. To me it seems almost more feasible for you to be there for the wedding and not the reception, since you'll see your hubby and your diva (your daughter?) do their thing...

Kristen said...

I know how much you love your entire family and I am sorry that you have to make such a tough decision. Having 2 teens you know first hand how fleeting the "little kid" years are, so I was thinking skip the church (you could see all of the heart warming parts on video later on.) After reading Stephanie's comment though, I am thinking that skipping the reception instead may be the way to go. It seems that, for our generation (and in NY anyway), the reception has become more of the "have to be there" than the wedding ceremony itself. (odd?!) If you go to the church, you could experience all of the heartwarming moments first hand, then come home for some trick or treating fun w/ your main "little" man! BTW, your perspective on self-care was thought provoking...love that!

Anonymous said...

Comment form DAD....I think we can pull bot off ...leave early for the churc hand bolt right after...estimated time off church ending is 2:30 at the latest....I can be back in Long island at 4:00 the latest more likely 3:30...do hour and half gathering mounds of candy...then dress and bolt for the Bronx...If I arrive at the reception at 7:00 and miss the 30 differen choices at the cocktail hour I will still have my salad ..pasta...and intermezzo and filet mignon followed bt the 65 different choices at the venetian hour...so in short between the 150 miles circle i will par take in the $17 in tolls and $386 for the bridesmaid dress for my daughter the $80 purchase of a Vest and Bowtie to coordinate with my aunt who I am walking down the isle with...the $200 dress my wife probably already purchased for the wedding and of course the manicure and pedicure and oh yeah the hairstyist who is coming to do my daughters hair and the $400 gift for the happy couple and the food I will by for the children who are staying home...I will spend just over $1300 on the day and everyone will be happy....any one who lives outside New York move here so you can enjoy it as well....

Anonymous said...

Comment from DAD....I think we can pull both off ...leave early for the church and bolt right after...estimated time of church ending is 2:30....I can be back in Long Island at 4:00 the latest more likely 3:30...do hour and half gathering mounds of candy...then dress and bolt for the Bronx...If I arrive at the reception at 7:00 and miss the 30 differen choices at the cocktail hour I will still have my salad ..pasta...and intermezzo and filet mignon followed bt the 65 different choices at the venetian hour...so in short between the 150 mile circle I will par take in, the $17 in tolls and $386 for the bridesmaid dress for my daughter the $80 purchase of a Vest and Bowtie to coordinate with my aunt who I am walking down the isle with...the $200 dress my wife probably already purchased for the wedding and of course the manicure and pedicure and oh yeah the hairstyist who is coming to do my daughters hair and the $400 gift for the happy couple and the food I will buy for the children who are staying home...I will spend just over $1300 on the day and everyone will be happy....any one who lives outside New York move here so you can enjoy it as well....

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