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A Little Bit Me First

I have a confession to make:  I don’t like going to the dentist.

 

I know, I know, no one likes going to the dentist.  But I really don’t like it.  I avoid it at all costs.  I think about it often.  I know that the more I put it off, the worse it will be.  Thinking about how bad it might be causes my heart to race.  So I take a few deep breaths and think about sunsets on the ocean, because that keeps the intrusive thoughts away.

 

And then I continue to put my head in the sand and avoid the dentist.

 

But you can only avoid the dentist for so long.  You have to take care of yourself.  You have to show your children that taking care of your body is important.  You have to prioritize you sometimes.

 

So, the other day, I went to the dentist.

 

I was convinced that she would tell me that I needed 20 root canals and 5 caps.  Minimum.  That’s how long it had been.  I was prepared to shout, “Sedate me, please!”

 

But, I had to do it.  So I put on my brave face and entered the office with as much calm as I could possibly muster.

 

And you know what?  It wasn’t so bad.

 

I sat back on a very comfortable recliner and watched the news.  Sure, there were x-rays, there was poking, and my lips were stretched farther than I ever thought possible.  But it was actually (dare I say it?) kind of relaxing.

 

I stopped worrying about my prognosis the minute I entered the office.  For better or for worse, I was there.  All I could do was wait and see.

 

And for the first time in a long time, I prioritized my own health.  There’s something soul soothing about that, even if prioritizing me means sharp objects in my mouth.

 

And?  The prognosis was good.  No root canals.  No caps.  No big deal.

 

I walked out of there with a fresh clean smile and some pep in my step.  Who knew that a dental visit would provide such a boost to my self-esteem?  Not me, that’s for sure.

 

But the more I thought about it, the more that it made perfect sense.

 

As moms, we talk about finding that coveted me time.  We need time alone.  We need to recharge.  We need a break once in a while.

 

And I’m pretty good about factoring in me time.  I exercise daily.  I get a manicure each week.  I sit back with a mug of tea and a magazine at night.  I hug my husband often.  I find the small moments that recharge my soul.

 

But I fall very short when it comes to my health.  I only visit the doctor if I’m really, really, really sick.  I rely heavily on Web MD, despite my physician’s frequent warnings against this sort of thing.

 

And, until the other day, I avoided the dentist like the plague.

 

As of this week, I’m turning over a new leaf.  I’m prioritizing my own health.  I’m making appointments and following through.

 

It’s not enough to simply steal a moment of calm here and there throughout the week.  We need to make sure that we are making healthy choices, getting physicals, and overcoming dental fears.  We need to model a healthy lifestyle for our children, for sure.

 

But it’s so much more than that.  To be the best parents that we can be, we need to be healthy and present.  We need to take care of us.

 

Me first in 2013.  Ok, maybe not totally me first…that might be a little selfish and probably completely unrealistic.

 

But a little bit me first in 2013.

 

Are you with me?

About Katie

Katie is a Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist/Parenting Expert in Los Angeles, CA. She has a five year old daughter, three year old son, and a rock and roll husband who makes her life complete. Katie has a parenting advice blog, Practical Parenting, an infertility support blog, Clomid and Cabernet and can be found on Twitter. She also writes for moonfrye.

Comments

  1. So glad the dentist went well! I actually enjoy going to the dentist every year because of how clean my mouth feels after lol. But it really is amazing how much we pester our kids and hubby to see doctors and dentists, but are too stubborn ourselves most times! LOL. We need to make sure we’re healthy too! :)

  2. Glad to hear the dentist trip went well. I’m also not a fan. I don’t know why. I’m not anit-dentist or anything. I guess it’s more of a chore? Does that make sense? I don’t know why. I always leave the dentist’s office feeling great and with really clean teeth! LOL!

  3. This is such a good point! I’m bad for neglecting my health for the sake of my kids too! Time to start a new routine! :)

  4. I worked in a dentist office. Fear of the dentist is a big thing! I agree about us having to be good role model for our children. I made their first experience fun at the dentist and they love going! Lets see if that lasts after their first cavity! eek

  5. I am proud and jealous that you can manage daily work outs and weekly manicures. I too see the dentist as ME time. Sad isn’t it? I just wish I could sleep through it, not because its painful, but because it would be a great multi tasking job, don’t you think?

  6. I’m afraid of the dentist too. Avoided the dentist for, oh – 10 years. Started to go again a couple years back and had one minor cavity. I now go once a year (my husband would prefer more often, but he’ll take once a year).

    My 5 year old has already had 4 fillings (been going since 3). We just go to the regular dentist, all but 1 of her fillings were done without freezing and she still likes going. What a weirdo eh?

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