I called my sister before I had looked at the clock. “I just realised this is probably the worst time to call you” I began, thinking of the hundreds of tasks that can arise at 5:40pm for a working mother of three boys. I was pleased to hear my sister recount she was ‘actually sitting down to take five minutes before getting on with the evening jobs’. How timely I explained, because I was on my way home from facilitating a presentation on Caring For Frontline Workers. In agreeance, my sister went on to share an anecdote she was once told during a similar discussion. ‘The Aeroplane Example’ she stated, referring to the instructions given by flight attendants, which requires an adult to access their oxygen mask before assisting their child.
In a moment of high pressure, stress and fear, the collective agreement to promote the wellbeing and safety of all involved is the care of the adults – or more capable – first. I hope this supports mothers and educators to appreciate the importance of self-care, for the purpose of supporting those they love. You may be able to burn the candle at both ends, pushing through and running on empty for bursts of time, but the decision to consistently put the needs and priorities of others before your own will eventually take a toll. This toll could be on your health or the wellbeing of others … even those you care for. What a contradiction! Striving with all your heart and soul to provide for your family, friends or colleagues, only to one day snap from irritability, become ill from ignoring early signs of fatigue or falling into a state of depression.
This is not your goal, is it? This is not the legacy nor memories you wish to leave. When you catch yourself doing more than you know is enough, when that voice is whispering to you to slow down, I urge you to recall the Aeroplane Example… and breathe first.