A Mental Health Day...Even for the quite Motivated:
Years ago as I lay in bed with our then almost three year old at 8:35pm, I had my alarm set for 12:30am. I had to get in a fifty mile run in the morning before taking our daughters to ballet and then to the playground to meet up with their playdates for my day off of work. I have to say, I didn't think they were aware of what I did in a day, let alone anything, except my watching their ballet, soccer, Karate and doing ceramics, beadery with them and reading to them.
I thought they were aware that both my husband and I worked, stayed in shape, doing our own home chores, landscaping and so forth. But I don't think they understood the crewing Norm did for the charity running I'd done. The perception they must've had of seeing my running on a treadmill for twenty-four hours, then meeting me in Cape May and then in some obscure town nearing northern New Jersey after days of running. Adults I knew couldn't grasp it. How could they? When our youngest was eighteen months old, after my two days of running she latched onto me, never wanting to let me go even as I showered myself with baby wipes so we could go out to eat smelling "clean". Before my "wiping down", my three and a half year old said, "Mommy, you smell." My friend Dr. Jim Manning and husband, Norm laughed.
I wondered what effect that my high-energy, self-motivation, along with my husband's desire to push the envelope would have on them. Then a couple years later, Norm pushing me to drastically change athletic careers from the peaceful essence of ultra-running to becoming a grappler and MMA fighter.
Over two years ago it truly showed. At the time my husband tried to slow the girls down, especially our oldest. And now I imagine my late husband scolding me at first for allowing our daughters to do so much. But he'd witness me waiting in the wings with making certain our daughters had good meals made, time and conversation shared at nearly every dinner time. Freedoms allowed with respect to staying in touch, and my waiting up for our oldest, as she had become eighteen after his passing.
As well, I do hover, yet let the leash out because I know I should. At the same token, I make them take charge of things that not all parents in my neck of the woods do. At first they're frustrated. But then they realize, I don't have to be at every meeting, function, nor eye appointment. Nor can I do their banking, or get their passports renewed They need to do that But I can educate them beforehand.
I can set up a Zoom meeting in the future with a financial advisor for setting up their own retirement fund. Yes, and I'll pay for that for them right now. In the end, they are a product of their environment. As my late husband would state. That being so, I've taught them that you do NOT sell yourself into injury or illness for others.
This year, both our daughters witnessed my saying on separate occasions, "You need a mental health day." My oldest fought me on it, but then I ruled saying, "Sorry, but this is a dictatorship of your mind, body and life for a better future." She acquiesced. I've explained my imperfections in sport and life to her. That is what I can offer as her mother. --- Jody-Lynn Reicher