I can’t say that I am afraid of flying, but I do pay close attention when flight attendants talk about emergency procedures and walk us through the use of oxygen masks and emergency exits. At first I was puzzled when they instructed flyers travelling with children to put masks on themselves before their children. Our lives revolve around our kids; we would do anything for them, so why wouldn’t we instinctively put masks on our kids first?
I soon realized that their instructions made perfect sense - I can’t help my children if I am incapacitated. I have to ensure that I am healthy and alive so that I can take care of them properly. There’s a larger lesson here.
We as parents, and especially those who also care for aged parents or grandparents, can’t care for others if we don’t first take care of ourselves. I am useless as a mom if I am so completely exhausted that I cannot prepare a proper meal or keep the house in a reasonable state of cleanliness. Moreover, if I can barely scrape together enough energy to care for my kids, how I will take care of my aging parents too if I am part of the “Sandwich Generation”)? The simple answer is, you can’t. You must first take care of yourself in order to be an effective caregiver.