Put On Your Mask First.




Hi, my name is Shanicka and I am notorious for putting my children first. If I’m drinking a bottle of water and my children say, “Mommy, may I have some water please?” I, without hesitation, give over the rest of my water. Nevermind the fact that I’ve not had any water today, and I’m pretty sure I’m dehydrated. My children MUST have water! If I’m eating and my children ask for my food, I will allow them to finish it while I search for something else to fill my tummy. Granted, I might be doing some serious grumbling while searching the fridge or cabinets as they enjoy MY meal, still, I am excited deep down that they’re eating real food!


Last week, at several different times during the week, I heard Holy Spirit say to me “Neek, put YOUR mask on first.” You see, my girls picked up these coughs from who knows where. Well, I think I know... First Raegan (which means she likely got it from school), then Rhian (which means she’s likely got it from Raegan)... Not wanting me to feel left out, I suppose, they kindly passed the cough to me. Wanting them to hurry and recover I was making sure to give them their Zarabee’s and Elderberry Syrup but was ignoring the little tickle I felt in my own throat. I suppose my husband took notice of this as he asked me what I planned to do about my OWN cough.


Let me confess something right here: I do not like to take medicine. There, I said it. I don’t like to take any medicines, but I absolutely LOATHE taking liquid medicine. @stillchrishouse kept pushing for the liquid, just believing that it would work better/faster. I gave in because with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday right around the corner I had zero time to be sick.


I was taking the incredibly nasty liquid medicine but it still had not fully gotten rid of that cough. I didn’t feel bad at all though, so I was pressing along and coughing in my elbow when need-be. On this past Saturday afternoon, I was completely over the liquid medicine so I switched over to the pill form. I figured surely I was near the end of this cough, and these pills would be just the thing to push me towards the finish line. Imagine my surprise when about an hour after taking the pills I began to feel horrible.


I was working my butt off, showing up for my husband, making sure the girls were straight, and clearly not doing enough to make sure that I was as well as I needed to be. I felt like I’d been in a wreck, but I just attributed it to having a busy week. Having no time to be sick I paced my home, praying, crying, declaring, and commanding. What did I hear? “Neek, put YOUR mask on first.”


I went to bed feeling better than I had during the day. I just assumed I took one too many pills and would be totally okay the next day...and would only take 1. Imagine my surprise again when, after only taking 1 pill, I started to feel horrible again. I couldn’t do anything without feeling miserable, so I went to lie down on the sofa. After one pretty bad cough, I said to my husband, “I’m gonna go to urgent care because I might need an antibiotic. This might be the beginning of bronchitis!”


I caught a bronchial infection every year of my life from probably about 5 years old up until my senior year in high school. If ever I was sick for too long, bronchitis was sure to be the end result. I was certain that’s what it was... I get to urgent care, have chest x-rays, blood drawn, and I’m ready for them to tell me what I know, give me my prescription, and send me back home so I can prepare for the week ahead.


“Mrs. House, you have pneumonia...and your white blood cell count is much too high - meaning your infection is pretty substantial. We are going to give you a shot to kick-start things and give you a prescription for oral antibiotics. Lots of fluids, and LOTS of rest!”


“Neek put on YOUR mask first!”


I’ve taken more flights than I can count, meaning I’ve heard the flight attendants give these instructions at least 100 times. Funny thing, I would hear it and think “what about people flying with their children? Wouldn’t they put their children’s on first? I would want to make sure they’re secure!” I’ve lived my life of motherhood in that very same manner. For 4 years I’ve been putting my children’s masks on before my own and what I’ve found out is that when you’re out of oxygen there is nothing you can do for your children. That is the importance of putting your mask on first... It’s the same as saying you can’t pour from an empty cup. My children need me, yes. But my children need me to be well. My children need me to be whole. My children need me to put my mask on first.


MOM, self-care is more than a mani/pedi (although I could seriously use both right now. Lol!). What are you doing to ensure that you’re putting your mask on first?

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