Head vs. Heart—Welcome to the Tractor Pull

I can just hear it now—Competition

SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY—the main event! The “Head” takes on the “Heart.” Be there, be there, be there! We’ll give you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge!

Was that too dramatic? That’s kind of how I feel sometimes—my heart wants to do this, while my brain knows better. It always knows better. Stupid brain.

As a single mother, taking care of yourself, well it rarely happens. But it should. Don’t flight attendants always tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, then your child’s? But for years it’s been my sole responsibility to make sure those kids had everything they needed. Now they know that I will give up doing something for myself in order to provide for them. But I wonder if that’s healthy for anyone?

Case in point:

I have a meeting I have to go to this week. At the same time as a school event being held at McDonald’s. Not any McD’s—the one with the Play Place. Once my son heard he wasn’t going to be able to go, he broke down. Side note: my son doesn’t throw tantrums any more. He might get mad but he won’t break down. What a relief right? So this is how I know he was really upset.

Boy did my heart strings get pulled! I overcompensate for them due to the challenges they have had to face already in their short lives. I do all that I can to see that they are happy. But then my brain kicks in. It says he will be just fine if he is disappointed. So I let him cry.

And he cried and cried. Then he lost it in his room and began screaming. I let it blow over. Once he calmed himself down I took him aside and reminded him that the whole school was invited to ONE McD’s and if his goal was the play in the Play Place, then we really should go on another day. The light bulb went off in his head and he smiled.

In this case it was easier because he IS getting what he wants, he just has to wait. But it’s not always so cut and dry. I am always letting go of my things because of Girl/Cub Scouts, birthday parties, when one is sick, when one is in trouble…and I don’t always have the money for a babysitter or a reliable backup. Their father lives in a different state, my fiance takes his own classes, and my friends are often in the same boat as me.

It’s frustrating. I don’t have any answers. But I know if I don’t stay healthy and put my mask on first—the whole plane is goin’ down!

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