A duty of care?

As a mother, wife, daughter, daughter in law, friend I feel that I have a duty of care to all of my friends and relations who mean so much to me, to do my best to help them out. Of course, the extent to which they need my help varies widely between, for instance, my sons and my friends, but the principle remains the same.

Today, another thought occurred to me. If I am trying to live by this principle of doing the best I can for the people I care most about, surely that means that I should be doing the best for myself as well. Not because I care about myself as much as I do these other wonderful people (I don’t, by the way, and often wonder how I’ve managed to gather such a great group of people around me!), but because if anything were to happen to me, it would rebound onto those I care about. For instance, quite apart from my sons and husband not having a fully capable mother and wife respectively, I wouldn’t be able to take my mother to do the shopping, or share the many moments of laughter we enjoy over the silliest of things. I’d be unable to make cakes, biscuits and preserves to share with, well, all of my nearest and dearest, as none of them ever turn food down! I’d not be able to help Jo out with the pigs and chickens on the occasions when she needs a hand. And many other small things which I like to think make a (very small) difference to these people’s lives.

In line with my new year theme of discipline, I’ve once more decided to try to lose my excess pounds, and take more exercise. It would definitely benefit me greatly, in both mind and body, but it feels so self-indulgent to spend that amount of time on myself, rather than on the hundred and one other things I’m sure I could find to do. But maybe I’m looking at it all wrong. Perhaps I should think about it like this; if I take regular exercise and get fitter, if I lose weight, I will be better able to live the sort of life I’d like to lead. If I manage to give up my bad habits of excess snacking and a fairly sedentary lifestyle it will undoubtedly improve my health in the long run. I am healthy now, but who is to say what troubles I am storing up for myself by staying that couple of stone overweight as I am?

So maybe taking the time to look after yourself isn’t purely selfish, but slightly selfless as well when you consider that it benefits the people around us as much as it does ourselves. And I really don’t want to give up my snacking and neither do I enjoy exercise, so I definitely won’t be enjoying my new lifestyle, at least until I’ve settled into it! In my book, that counts as not at all selfish if you’re not having fun!


3 Responses

  1. I’m happy to go for a walk after dropping the kids off at school, I could do with a bit more exercise. Let me know.

  2. If anything were to happen to you, not having anyone to help with the pigs would be the last thing on my mind.

    How’s about looking after yourself as a person, not just all the roles you’ve described above?


  3. Agreed. Giving up snacking is horribly painful and I loath the treadmill with a passion. Having fun on the Wii Fit though 🙂

    Good way to look at fitness, more of a gift to your family than torture to yourself.

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