What a wretched lady I was today. Despite the gorgeous day (I hardly noticed), despite the joys of motherhood and relative youth, and everything in the world I’ve got going for me right now, I was utterly wretched.
And I was utterly wretched to be around. All day I looked at my poor little girl and felt unutterably sorry that she had to be around me. All I could feel for her all day was sheer aggravation—I’m ashamed to admit. It’s also true that she is a very wretched person these days: another of her best friends has just moved, she has to adjust to a new schedule and she had her first day at a new school Monday. All of this is sudden and all at once. She has been impossible in her broken-heartedness.
And I guess between that and our very intense situation at work right now, I have just reached my limit. The words “compassion fatigue” floated into my consciousness from somewhere in my past this evening. I may be overly dramatizing what’s going on in my life right now– compassion fatigue is often reserved for people living and working in the inner-city or medical personnel in disaster/crisis relief situations– but nevertheless, I think I’ve got a light case of compassion fatigue right now. I can’t FEEL anything but irritation. I can’t enjoy anything or take delight in anything. I’m beyond running on fumes in my soul; I’m stalled on the side of the road.
While my little one took her bath, I escaped to the living room to enjoy my Madeleine L’Engle book and a cup of tea. I couldn’t believe the change I experienced in my inner self after only 25 minutes of self-care. I could smile, I could laugh, and I could play with my little girl and read her a book and cuddle her to sleep. None of that was possible at any other point in the day.
Always remember, an investment in yourself is an investment in everybody else around you, too.