Is it selfish to take care of myself before others?

Happy motherhood was an oxymoron for me until recently. What changed it all was a shift in my attitude, in what I expected of myself. I finally surrendered to the fact that I wasn’t going to be the mother that my mom was: protective, concern, a good cook and a devoted homemaker.
This made me feel guilty and ashamed, but what was really causing my unhappiness was my reluctance to accept that I was never going to fit my mom’s mold because I wasn’t supposed to. I had to reinvent my roll as a mother in a way that wouldn’t sacrifice my authenticity, my happiness. In the process I was labeled selfish and irresponsible. How could I put myself before my kids? The truth is that there is nothing I can offer to my kids if I don’t take care of myself first, and I can only teach them what I am. It’s similar to what’s advised in the case of an airplane crash, you must apply the oxygen mask to yourself before you can help anyone else.
My journey started with one question: What’s on the way to my happiness? I concluded that it was my shit: beliefs, emotions and habits that I acquired from my family and culture but didn’t serve me any longer.
Cleaning my shit wasn’t enough. I needed support. I needed people that believed in me, in the wild woman tamed inside of me. I couldn’t do it by myself. I was filled with guilt and self-doubt. The voice of the wild woman was very clear, but I was petrified by fear. I had never been on the outside walls of my self made yell. I knew that a scape was inevitable, not only for my well-being, but also for the well-being of my family. I attracted the people that I needed and jumped. With one leap of faith, I moved out and dared to start a new life.
Fear can only be dismantled by disindentifying with the story that creates it, so I started acting as if I weren’t afraid. I was labeled crazy and reckless. Everybody, “out of love”, tried to fix me, diagnosing me with depression and denial. They stopped trusting my judgment and started making decisions for me, “for my best interest and for the best interest of the family”.
What kept my sanity was being able to disidentify with the reactions of everybody around me. I was able to understand why they were doing it so I didn’t take it personally. My love for them was reinforced as my spirit grew stronger.
I realized that I could only transcend my crisis by focusing on what excites me the most, one moment at a time without expecting a specific outcome; at the same time that I embrace with gratitude the place where I am now.



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