Well, Mom is spending her first day "at home" today. Except she's been everywhere but home. Ed is with my parents in Taunton right now while I'm home near Worcester. My parents and Ed made an executive decision and gave me the day off. I feel a little guilty about it, but Ed is between jobs right now and they've been running errands all day. I suggested to my mother that I come down before class and she sounded a little tense. Apparently my evil sister-in-law is coming down with the grandkids and my mother is afraid that I'll scare my nephews.
So I'll spend the day tomorrow. My brother and his family will be moving that day, so my mom can breathe easy. If I sound like I'm rationalizing, it's because I am. Why is it so hard to take a day off? As a society, I think we often put others before ourselves, not even taking a break when we need it. I don't think that's the way to better health. But I don't think taking a day off if you can't do it without self-flagellation is any good either. Why is it we have such a hard time saying this is what I need to stay healthy?
The doctors agree that my mother's heart attack was from stress. Stress she had been holding in and not dealing with because she put everyone else's comfort first. Where is the line between taking care of ourselves and being selfish? I think Americans often have a heard time recognizing the difference. For example, Ed is spending the day with my parents today so I can catch up on some work. So I told him that I would spend tomorrow with my parents while he stays home and relaxes. He's fighting me on it right now. Not because he doesn't need a break, but because in his heart of hearts, he feels like it is morally wrong to do something for himself if everyone else's needs aren't met.
In turn, my parents are insisting their fine because they don't want to be a burden or to selfishly absorb our time. So they would rather disobey doctor's orders rather than have us take time to help them out.
I have no words of wisdom here. I can only say what I've observed is that in general our society doesn't seem to have a healthy attitude. We either can't seem to take care of ourselves because we're too busy taking care of others or we only take care of ourselves and don't even notice others around us.
So when is it okay to be selfish?