I have been blessed today with time to rest my body, but my mind is unable to rest with questions that I need to share. I had the honor of a friend taking me to my last chemo treatment - someone that I considered an acquaintance before my diagnosis. I can now honestly say that most all of the women that have been an acquaintance in my life have now become “friends” due to the overwhelming love, support and giving to me and my family during this time.
Anyway, what keeps me from napping right now is the burning question of “if cancer happened to my husband would the attention and support be the same or different from his friends?” My guess is that his friends certainly wouldn’t be bringing dinners or offering to take our kids on a regular basis. My guess is their wives would be given the duty and they would certainly do it, too. I say this because I’ve noticed that it is not just me that is a “doer” but every woman that I meet is the same way. This has it’s pros and cons of course. I believe if you have a balance it is ok to be a doer. It’s in every woman’s nature. But you also have to be able to stop and care for your own needs.
With my occupation I have been in many homes and helped many women (and men) make their homes more comfortable. I’ve seen empty spaces that could be used as “getaway space” go unused. I’ve seen huge master bathrooms with soaking tubs that look so inviting. When I ask if my client uses it the answer is usually no.
I bring this subject up again because of another conversation with a friend who happens to be a doer, too. We acknowledge that we are like this and there are two things that can be done about it. One being we can acknowledge and accept it and not change it. Two being we can acknowledge it and change it. When faced with the notion of change we tend to get stuck. Why is change so hard? Change doesn’t have to be huge. Change can simply be walking away from the dishes in the sink or the floor that needs to be swept and retreat to our bedroom to read a book or just lay down for a half hour. If your home is anything like mine, there is usually a time period that the kids are content with the tv and my husband is on his laptop in another room. I take this time to go lay down (something I never did before) or read. Of course, expect an interruption at some point from the kids. Why? Because they are used to mom doing something for them when they need it. In my house, they will walk right past dad and come upstairs to me to ask for a drink when dad was in the kitchen. After a few weeks of retraining they are getting there. What’s scarier is that I found myself attempting to get up and go down and get the drink until my loving husband stepped in.
I share about this because rest and allowing others to help has been difficult for me and I understand why now. When I was first diagnosed, every person I talked to immediately asked “what could they do to help us.” I had no idea. At that time I was physically fine and able to do for myself. I was actually preparing myself for not needing help and still doing it all just to keep things “normal” in my home. It wasn’t until about two weeks ago that the effects of the chemo and my continual pushing to keep a normal pace took a turn for the need of more help.
Asking and accepting help is hard for most of us because we are the person that does for others. We are prideful to say the least and I am finding out that I am no different than anyone else. I have certainly been learning my lessons. God has a funny way of making us learn it regardless. I have never been one to ask for much help. And if I did I expected it to be done as I would do it. I’d look over my husbands shoulder to see if he’s folding the clothes like me or washing the dishes like me. I have had to “let go” of a lot of things lately. I have had to accept that if I can’t do them they will get done and it will be fine. And it has been. The dishes are clean, the laundry is getting done and put away. My house is getting as clean as it can be and sometimes I just have to turn away and remind myself that whatever it is I will get to that when I’m feeling better. It’s ok.
So, on this Valentine’s Day, I remind my women friends and all the other women who read this (I love you all just as God loves you) to acknowledge who you are and if you can be happier changing one thing. What would that be? Can you make it a part of your life? Will it make you a happier, healthier woman/mom? If so, it’s worth it.
Now I can rest my body and my mind.