As days seem to currently mesh together, I have come to determine during these hectic times, you can’t pour from an empty cup. I find myself asking a lot of questions. One being top of mind is, am I doing the best I can? I constantly have internal battles with myself between working a full time corporate job and being a parent of a special needs child.
I know that may seem pretty straightforward and you may be rolling your eyes at this statement. However, the more that I drained myself, the more I realized I have less to give. Giving all your energy to everyone else is exhausting and you begin to internalize judgment that is solely self reflection. This is especially true for those like me, that tend to put everyone else first. As much as I huff and puff, you really can’t pour from an empty cup.
The first action that I decided to take was to have a talk with myself. Yes, you read that correctly. I literally talked with myself. You know that voice inside your head that provides you a buffet of intrusive thoughts all day long ? My brain is wired to be anxious. Therefore, I had to tell myself it is OKAY to set boundaries. It is OKAY to put yourself first! The more I repeated it, the less guilty I felt. My new mantra I needed to say out loud was you can’t pour from an empty cup.
My next move was setting a plan in place. This allowed me to consciously make decisions that would prevent me from pouring from an empty cup. As someone who tends to not take a lot of breaks, I decided on taking 30 minutes to work out every day. This was my “me” time and allowed me to channel my anxiety into efficient energy.
Next, I started prepping my meals so that I didn’t skip any. I also communicated with my husband what I needed. Sometimes we get so wrapped into our own habits and routine, that we forget to communicate. We expect others to just know. Unfortunately, mind reading isn’t my husband’s forte. Remember to tell your loved ones that you can’t pour from an empty cup.
I take on the bulk of the processes and routines for my Autistic son. He has schedules to adhere to with various therapies. We have sensory integration I need to provide daily, nanny schedules to make, IEP meetings and documentation, doctors visits for multiple specialists. The list goes on and on.
Giving Yourself Grace
I realized that I needed to give myself grace and that I was doing all that I could to provide my son with everything he needed. Therefore, there were going to be days I just wasn’t able to give 100% to everyone and that was me allowing myself to be human. I wanted to be the best Mom I could be, the best wife I could be, the best employee I could be, the best friend I could be and it takes a toll trying to be all those things ALWAYS!
Pouring From An Empty Cup is Impossible
To my fellow parents who need to hear this , pouring from an empty cup is just impossible. Allow yourself to make mistakes, don’t judge yourself too much and remember your children will love you even on your worst days. Check in on yourself, have that conversation where you need to tell your brain to get it together! Tell yourself you are important, you are doing the best you can and you deserve grace and time to reflect and do what you need to do to make yourself feel happy.
The more I provided what I needed by allowing for actions that benefited my happiness and health, the more I felt like I made the right decision. Do I still have bad days? Heck yes! But I allow myself to understand emotions are temporary and as long as my bad day doesn’t turn into a bad week or month, it is what it is.
So please… make that time to put your needs at the top of the list. YOU MATTER TOO!
For some tips on how you can take time for yourself, please see these resources below: