It is interesting that sometimes I start writting I think I'm going to talk about one thing and it turns out I ramble about another subject. I started writting about boring being underrated, but it turns out that I needed to spend more time taking care of me.

I’m often asked what I do all day in the hospital. “Do you just sit around all day long?”

Stay at home parents get “You must not do much, just play games all day!” People with desk jobs hear “It must be nice to not do much.” I’ve done all 3 and I get those comments a lot. The remark isn’t bad in and of itself, but the tone of “you must be lazy. You don’t do that much at all.” That gets to me. For a few reasons. First off, it totally discounts everything that is going on behind the scene, there is a TON of work that goes into all those things. And second, more importantly, why is slowing down bad?!


I was a desk jockey for a few years. My body ached all the time! I was constantly stressed about making sure my huge list of responsibilities were taken care of. I didn’t want to lose my job! The stress of sitting was pretty big. And eventually I was laid off as the company started to go under with The Rescission. Who was going to take care of me?

As a stay at home parent I took care of the majority of the household stuff. Cleaning, cooking, yardwork, and most importantly, Conor. He deserved some good times with his mom! I concentrated on taking care of his physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. That is a pretty heavy load. Who was going to pay attention to me?


Then, in the hospital, that is hard. I stay on high alert 100% of the time. I sleep very lightly just in case I get a call where we have to make an immediate decision. It doesn’t matter that that is a VERY rare occurrence, it is a hard thing to convince myself of that, so I don’t sleep. I am always watching for a worsening of a condition, someone to come in and tell me that the blood draws found something irreversible. Most of the time, I’m flipping out for no reason and I have to either get someone to talk me down, Todd, or find something to center myself and calm. Who is going to focus on me?!

Starting with my desk job I learned it was ok to slow down. I did my best work when I took a few minutes to just breath. As a new mom I learned fast it was ok to ask for help so I could get a tich of sleep so I could be awake to take care of Conor. As a mom of a complex child I have found it ABSOLUTELY VITAL to take a moment and realize that my mental and emotional health counts as much as Kadlin’s physical health. I realized that I need to take care of me.

This is in no way discounting the amazing support system I have starting with Todd as my first line of defense. I have my parents and siblings always ready to help lighten the load and be supportive of me. I have friends, gym family, doctors, nurses, therapist, social workers and pretty much anyone that gives a kind word. BUT, I have found that I need to be able to take care of myself as well.

So, what do I do at the hospital? I do things that bring me back to earth and ground me in the moment. I take care of myself, even if to you it seems boring. I have myself an adult coloring book, yes the one with all the vulgar words J, I play the piano and sing, I read, I drink some coffee, I use the alone time to look inward and have conversations with myself, I workout. Once emergencies have passed and I have taken time to ground myself I use the time for personal improvement. I do research and work on becoming a better coach for my Gym Family. When I take care of me, I can better take care of those I have committed to help. 

How do I fit any of those in being as busy as I am? Simple. I know I matter just as much as any other responsibility I have. I have a responsibility to myself. I also know that if I don’t take a time out for myself I will not function as well. Which means, I won’t have my full mental capacity with me if I try to make a decision, large or small. To me, that sounds far worse than just taking some time for myself doing something that I love that takes care of me.

I’ve noticed that when I take time to do what I love I am more able to handle stress and the emergencies where I may not get the time in that I need. I am balanced and able to deal with situations and NOT flip out, which is always a good thing. I don’t often get to the point of being emotionally depleted and drained because I have taken care of myself the whole time, not just when I “break”.   

I make time for myself so that I can put my heart and soul into the people I love. And the beautiful thing is, I have found I love myself as much as I love my family. I can show it by taking care of me. I have scheduled “me time”. At home that is normally my hour for working out. I concentrate on me and I then am able to turn that into being my very best for Todd, my kids, and anyone I happen to see throughout the day, all the while feeling good about myself and being happy in my own skin.

Mary Beth Stubbs  

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