I apologize everyone for not having posted the last few days. My POS computer has caught some virus that is being a total bitch to remove, and I’ve been working on that the last 2 days. The problem is still not resolved, so as I’m still running scans, posting logs, and awaiting my knight in shining tech armor, I’m using hubs’ laptop because I’m just chomping at the bit to write!
Anyway, so, yes, as you are humming Aretha’s signature song in your head while you are reading, I’d like to share a little story. A while back, I had mentioned my in-laws living with me and how it was a total nightmare. But they moved out, and everything started going right-side-up again. Things are still okay there, but one of the biggest issues we had to hurdle this week has been about my mother in law. Right now, she is living with them, but our intention when she came here was for her to live with us. She has long-term medical needs that her other son would not be able to provide for her since she is too young for Medicare. We, on the other hand, would be able to add her as a dependent under my husband’s medical and dental and her needs would be taken care of.
So what’s the issue? Simple, really. My sweet MIL has been doing nothing but taking care of other people, practically forever. When I first got married, she was caring for her mother-in-law. Then she was having to care for her mom, who had a stroke, and then her sister-in-law who had terminal cancer. The sister passed, and then her mom recovered enough to come home, but then she was caring for her full time. Not long after she passed, her husband got sick, and she took care of him at home until he died. Now, before y’all freak out, all these things happened over the course of the last 10 years, but she took care of these people for a long time, as they became ill, dysfunctional, until death claimed them.
Now widowed, with an assload of debt left after FIL’s death, and their national economy in the toilet, we convinced her to move here until the debts were paid with her meager pension. Once my BIL and his family got an apartment, he was convinced that his mom needed to live with them since his wife doesn’t speak English, and they need someone to translate and help his wife and kid learn some English. To go into the drama that goes on in that place would take too long and is really apropo nothing, but the bottom line is: his wife does nothing but fart around on Facebook all day liking fashion pictures and talking to her family back home, and his kid doesn’t do any studying after school. So, MIL is basically useless over there, the only time she leaves the apartment is to go wash the sheets her granddaughter’s soiled overnight, or when she comes over here.
She comes over to our house to watch the kids so the hubs and I can go to the gym, or on one of our 5 mi walks, and usually stays for dinner. Every time she is here, I can see how unhappy she is over there. She feels like all she does is sit there all day, watching TV, but she can’t call her friends or her brother to talk to them about her troubles because a certain someone is sure to take offense at being called a lazy ass. She’s right to worry about her son not being able to take care of her medical needs, but she doesn’t want to leave him in a lurch. She needs to be needed, and there she feels not only unneeded, but unwanted.
The other night, I finally told her, in pretty much these words, that she has spent her life taking care of other people. Her sons are grown men with families of their own. She needs to start putting herself first in her life, because no one else is going to do it for her. I also told her that her staying over there is just another crutch for those jackalopes to not learn English, or learn to do things on their own without her as a crutch. I told her that we don’t need her to live with us, but we want her to, but she’s got to make the decision on her own.
I feel, like a lot of women, regardless of whether we have kids and families, don’t put themselves first in terms of personal needs. There is something, I don’t know if it’s genetic or a learned behavior that sort of keeps us from doing the right thing. For those of us who struggle to get healthy, a lot of the excuses we might make have to do with time. I don’t have time to go to the gym, or workout. I don’t have time to cook, so let’s eat out. I don’t. I can’t. But how many of those excuses are really because we are not putting our needs first? I don’t think it’s selfish of me to make time for myself. But I used to. I’m slowly learning that taking that time each day to exercise helps keep me balanced, emotionally, and physically. It doesn’t make me selfish, or imply that I don’t care about my family.
In truth, taking care of myself first shows how much I DO care about my family, and how much I respect myself. I’m taking the time to ensure that I will be around for a long time. That I’m worth it. I encourage all of you to go into the weekend with a little more respect for yourself. Put YOU first on your long list of To-Do’s and see what happens.