Although the conversation with the amazing woman was a brief one, it was such that it changed my life: As we were buying food for cat at the pet-food shop, she had brought two kittens along with their mother cat who was nursing them. The mother kitten was all skin and bones, and not even one-year of age. Even though she was starved she looked beautiful, although she was scared and she wanted to feed her kittens. I enquired the shopkeeper whether I could get the starving mama a wet food can, as it needed food for sure. I was allowed to buy her food and we watched as the mother cat gobbled up the entirety of the can in one go. The 7 week old kittens were pushed away by the mother when they tried to taste the canned food.
“Good job mama, that’s your food,” said the worker while he watched and smiled at her finishing up the can of food all by herself. Perplexed, I asked, “Isn’t it good if the kitten eat it?” He said, “No, it’s alright, but mama needs to get nutrition for herself.” And that, fellows, was my Eureka moment. Definitely, she does. How many instances have we learnt this? Mothers are supposed to give themselves the first priority and take care of themselves. Even though it seems quite rational, but let’s talk practically, how many times do we actually practice this?
It was that one short instance inside the pet shop, and I headed towards the car line it hit me – After about 7 years of being a mother, I had to take good care of my own. Now. This was how mother nature planned it anyway. Even though her kittens were hungry, mama cat did not feel guilty, and she did not care that the kittens might dislike the green specs in the food. That she needs to eat properly to live was a basic instinct for the mama, an instinct that I had been surprising for way too long. In the process of being everyone’s everything, I had neglected and forgotten my own happiness, health, and general well-being.
However, as I drove to the school the question mark of how came up. How are we supposed to focus on ourselves when the responsibilities are seemingly endless? How are we supposed to find self-time to enjoy ourselves when the kids are constantly crying for us? How are we supposed to listen to our own voice and quiet up what the mind says? Out of my many favourites, the top quote I like is – When things don’t add up, it’s time to subtract.” That quote answers the question of how.
When it feels like life is too overwhelming to live happily, that the world around you is crashing, and the weight and pressure of the entire universe is on your shoulders, that is the precise moment when you have to begin to subtract. Something has to be subtracted out of your life to make room for yourself. Most of us follow a schedule, so analyse that. And if you currently don’t follow a schedule, get one. What thing can be not done so that time can be taken out for yourself? Is it less work-time? It is getting less of volunteer work at school? Less cleaning time for the home? What can be avoided or skipped today so that you can get an hour everyday by yourself?
Then, ask what is needed by you. Tell a family member, a friend, your spouse that you need this hour all by yourself to do something that brings you solace, and then make sure to do it! Make out the time for taking care of yourself and enjoying. The stillness, the peace, the quiet – Savour it all in. Without thinking about what is not being done, be present in the moment, in what you are doing. If and when there is a creeping of guilt-filled thoughts, change them id you can, and your emotions will trace the same path.
The way in which these lessons of life are presented by the god or the universe, or whatever it is you believe in is surely funny. The usual course followed by a book about spirituality that sits on my bookshelf is sitting on my night-stand, without me putting it there. On the kitchen island, a card of affirmation of Louise Hay turns up normally. Surely, they were brought out by my kids as they found it pretty when they it. Anyway, they were there. At last, this small instance at the pet shop. A lesson that in life, no matter whether an animal or a human being, all mothers have to take care of themselves first. I’ve finally learnt the lesson, have you?