My daughter and owner of Breckon Couture, Ashlee, recently delivered her second child. I ran over to visit them a couple of days ago and my oldest daughter and owner of The Scissortail Shop, Samantha, was there when I arrived. She was changing baby Ava’s diaper and when she finished she scooped up my two year old grandson and headed off to Target to grab some formula. As she left, Ashlee broke down into tears at the idea of feeding Ava formula as opposed to breastfeeding. Ava wasn’t gaining much weight and Ashlee was in so much pain and struggling with breastfeeding. She felt defeated and selfish and like she was letting her daughter down.
I explained to her that it’s ok. It’s ok if she doesn’t breastfeed. It’s ok if she uses formula as long as Ava is being fed. As much as she wanted to breastfeed, the healthiest thing for Ava, and for Ashlee’s emotional health was to use formula….and it’s ok. It hurt my heart to have to tell my child that it is ok to do what is best for herself too.
I have found myself saying that quite a bit lately actually, to my children, to my friends and family. I even have to remind myself from time to time. So often we make ourselves crazy trying to do what is best for everyone else and we forget that we need to protect our own emotional health as well. The things that are expected of us from society, our families, our friends, our clients or anyone else become things that we expect of ourselves. So, we find ourselves sacrificing the things that we want and need. But we need to remember…it’s ok! It is ok to do what is best for ourselves.
Ava has been on formula for several days now and Ashlee has accepted the fact that it is what was best for both of them. I mean, how can she be her best if she gives more than she has?
A friend sent me a quote that said “stop complaining about the things you said yes to.” That spoke to me in so many ways, and it was exactly what I had been doing. I wrote it on a post it note and stuck it on my computer screen next to a post it note that says “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with dirty shoes.” I look at them daily as a reminder that I need to stay focused on my plan and not let others expectations dictate what is best for me. While I love helping others, I need to remember that it’s ok to put my priorities first.
So, if you struggle with this, take a deep breath and ask yourself if what is asked of you contributes to your emotional health or depletes it. Eventually, the guilt that you feel for saying no turns into peace, especially when it results in a less stressful, more productive day for yourself.