A mom's post about the importance of taking care of yourself so you don't hit empty is resonating with parents everywhere during this busy time of year.
"I pressed the ignition on my car early this morning to take my daughter to orchestra rehearsal, and this is what I saw," Fleming wrote as a caption to a photo of her car's gas tank nearing empty.
"I looked down at my hands clenched tightly in my lap, admonishing myself for not remembering to get gas on the way home late last night, feeling the stress reach my already tight shoulders. I said a little prayer that I had enough fuel to travel to her school and then to the nearest gas station," the clearly-overwhelmed mom continues.
She realized in that moment the car wasn't the only thing running low on fuel.
"If I had a gauge like this on all aspects of my life right now, the warning light would be on," Fleming bravely shares, and that includes her relationships, job performance, parenting, and especially, taking care of herself.
"I constantly run on fumes, hoping if I can just make it to the next place, do the next thing, I can possibly fill up my tank," she continues in her beyond-relatable post. "But life doesn't work like that. Life doesn't naturally fill up your tank."
Instead, she writes, we have to seek out what fills us up and makes us feel complete. Of course, this is easier said than done in a life that is always full of "cumbersome and mundane tasks that have to get done -- calling the plumber about our clogged sink, following up on an insurance claim, finishing a report..."
But that day, Fleming decided to start her day with what would fill her soul: She ordered school supplies for victims of Hurricane Harvey. She also shares, "I cooked a breakfast I actually wanted to eat. I made dinner reservations for my family this weekend, ensuring we would spend some quality time together. And I write. Just for me."
She ends her powerful post with this advice to other moms: "Take care of yourself today."
It's a reminder we all need. As I stand here (yes, stand) writing up this blog post, I am thinking about how next, I have to pick my kids up from school, run them to swim team practice, make dinner, make school lunches for tomorrow, walk the dog, and clean up the house. Did I mention I'm also dressing Barbies for my 4-year-old right now? To say I am often running on empty is an understatement clearly!
That's why I get up early every day and do what fills me up: yoga. I don't care how hectic my day gets after the kids get up; that time is for me. Even if it's just 20 minutes on my yoga mat, focused on breathing and nothing else, that is my time and boy, do I need it. It fills me up enough to do everything else I have to do... until the next day!
We asked Fleming why she thinks her post is resonating with so many moms and she told us, "It's back-to-school time, so everyone is overwhelmed with new schedules, activities and such. And even when we are happy in our lives, sometimes the little things get us down."
She adds, "For me, the last few weeks have been full of roadblocks. Broken computers, school buses coming too early, clogged sinks, canceled appointments, etc. When you have so much on your plate already, it's the little things that start to make you feel empty, because you have no time to focus on anything else."
Haven't we all been there? Those are the times when trying to refocus on what's really important can be a life saver. In Fleming's case, that was making those dinner reservations so her family could have quality time together. And donating to an important cause so she could remember how lucky she is to be safe in her home.
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Indeed, the mom-of-three told Parents, "Perspective is everything. Even though I felt like I was running on empty, when I took a moment to myself, I wanted to do something to help others as well. No matter how inundated I get with the 'small stuff' when I have a moment, I need to remind myself just how lucky I am in this life."