Ladies? About putting on your own oxygen mask first?

Do you ever get tired of hearing that? The old  women-you-must-take-care-of-yourself-first-before-you-can-take-care-of-others thing?

I have another reason to add to the list of Why I Hate That Theme: Far too often, it’s used to sell you something, like hair coloring or bubble bath or some other such unguent.

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21 responses to “Ladies? About putting on your own oxygen mask first?

  1. Context is important, no doubt about it, but in a non-commercial context, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. I’m doing my part by making an effort to get more sleep. Left to my own devices, I’ll totally ignore my body’s signals and stay up until midnight or 1 am.

    • I wonder why we do that? I can’t speak for any one else, but I’m really good at pushing myself until I get sick. I just hate that the idea has been co-opted for commercial use (as has too many other great notions) and I agree with the writer that we need to not think of ourselves as strictly here to serve others. I’m here to help, not serve. That’s not very Christian of me, but there you are, just lil’ ol’ knee-jerk feminist me. And honey? Go get your own damn beer. (Actually, as a joke once Mr. DJ turned to me in the living room and said, “Beer me,” and I laughed so hard he said he could still hear me as I was walking out the door.)

  2. I can see this in a few different ways, but what I often end up hearing is “if you take care of others first, you’ll be no good to yourself.”

    • Yeah, I can see that. I guess I don’t want to think that my purpose here is to take care of people. That’s kind of how it’s worked out — in a few instances — but I’d like it to be a choice. Or something. I think I need more coffee.

  3. It IS very Christian to think of yourself.

    Many, many years ago I was a guest at a training camp in Connecticut, and the focus was teaching fundies to evangelize children. Yes, pandering around school-yards.

    At meals there would be a long, long prayer. Then food was dished out but NO ONE WOULD TAKE THE FIRST PLATE. Sometimes the plate would be passed around the table three times before someone accepted it.

    I am not making this up.

    Addendum–the participants’ cars were the sorriest I’ve ever seen outside a junkyard.

  4. You know, I just —well actually my dear wife just bought me two pairs of new shoes. I liked them but I wouldn’t buy them myself because I already had several pairs (some them 10-15 years old admitedly) and the Calvinist guilt kicked in! The hypocritical part of that equation is that is “seemed to be alright” because she used her credit card not mine. Isn’t that rediculous?

    • Now why would that bother you, that she did that nice thing for you? (And I’m not asking so that I can fang you. I don’t have the answer all ready, I promise.)

    • Sounds to me like he’s less bothered by receiving the gift (we all know it blesses the giver) than by spending his own money on something so frivolous as shoes that don’t leak. Makes perfect sense!

  5. The ability to serve requires a certain degree of wholeness. Here’s a holiday haiku analogy for ya…

    Dry roses wither
    in a cracked, waterless vase.
    Happy Valentine’s?

    Whether or not one is obligated to serve… or if the person/cause is worthwhile… is another matter entirely! :)

  6. Carol the longwinded

    As a doula, I used this frequently with my post partum clients, and this was indeed what I was there for. Get some sleep Mama! Take a shower, write in your journal but get 5 minutes to remember you are not just the mother of a newborn. Its critical to mental health. And what was fascinating is that every woman had a different thing they needed to do to feel themselves. Most mysterious to me: the mom that had to cook dinner.

    • I wish someone had told me this, and really meant it, you know? I lost something with the first baby and now I can’t even remember what it was. I’m a bit fearful of the day I have to stand as an individual with no mom shield to hide behind.

      • I know what you mean. I didn’t have a doula. Once I gave birth, I became a mom above all else and everyone else in the family came first. I think I’ve been a good mom, but I don’t know who I am without that. That’s why I’m going to school now to get myself going on something so when the kids leave, my life doesn’t end. Mr. Jac isn’t happy that I’m putting myself ahead of a lot of other things now, but I think I’m in survival mode, so he’s got to adjust. I don’t mean to sound dramatic about it. I’m just telling it like it is.

      • My mother has been going through this with my dad. It’s a little different because of his controlling nature and this is just about her standing up for herself now, with my sister and her mom, she is still a caregiver first.
        When they were first married my dad was going to school FT and working FT so my mom spoiled him a little at home, nice, homecooked meals became expected, you know? He got used to being served by all of us.
        It’s funny when my mom calls to tell me that dad did the dishes without even being asked or something.

      • Speaking for myself, it was the weirdest thing when the last one left. All of a sudden, I had to stop and think “Who am I now?” Fortunately, I had outside interests and friends and both helped me immeasurably. And I’m not even that maternal a person. You may not have lost that something. You may have just put it aside. Make a point of looking around for it now and the leave-taking won’t be so traumatic.

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