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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

The Ultimate Heroes

Our May issue arrives with spring in the air and “Her Soul in Bloom: Self-Care for All Stages of Life,” Marlaina Donato’s blissful feature on the importance of me-time.

Recently having the opportunity to be the primary caregiver of my 8-month-old great-nephew for a mere 30 hours was an eye-opening experience of the greater necessity of parents figuring out and making me-time happen for themselves.

As a single person who is ultimately only responsible for herself and a small dog, it’s not that difficult for me to squirrel away for some mental recharging when necessary. For me, it seems more about listening, paying attention to what’s going on in my mind and allowing a little break when I know it’s time. I had no true concept of what full-time parenting actually entailed. With grand visions of catching up on reading for a weekly class, dragging along my computer to clean up some loose ends for work while the baby slept, all seemed reasonable. Because that’s what babies do right, they sleep. I know, funny!

From the moment he was handed off to me to the moment I handed him back, there was never a dull moment. I remember thinking to myself, how do they do this and live life at the same time? He was a bit stuffy and congested so sleep was pretty much nonexistent for auntie as she spent more time listening to him breathing or staring intently at the monitor to make sure he was breathing than catching zzzz’s for sure.

Finally getting a few early morning hours of sleep, he was up shining brightly at 6 a.m. and we were off and running. Wake up, diaper change, prep a bottle, feed a bottle, a few minutes of playtime, another diaper change… a really bad one with a serious blowout. (I don’t know how such a tiny creature could even hold all that!) And so the day went. Naps were far shorter and less frequent than expected so it was clear those books and my computer would lay right where they were dropped when we walked in the door.

I think it took me three days to recover from the exhaustion of caring for this tiny human being for less than a day-and-a-half. So, I have a whole new appreciation of the importance of self-care from the caregiver perspective and a whole new appreciation for caregivers—the ultimate heroes.

Kudos to all the moms and dads out there, especially the single ones. I don’t know how you do it, but I sure do give you credit. And Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and pseudo moms… my hat is off to you!


Maisie Raftery, Publisher