If you’re a mother and have completed a consultation with me in our orthodontist office in Irvine, you most likely have heard me tell you that my favorite patients are moms. As a mother myself, I know that we tend to place everyone ahead of ourselves and it makes me so excited to see these amazing women do something for themselves.
My grandmother once told me about how much she loved golden kiwis and how in her 80 years of life she had only consumed a handful because they were too expensive, thus she had her five children eat them instead of indulging herself. I grew up watching my mom cut mangoes for our family, only to give us the sweetest pieces while she gnawed on the sinewy heart of the mangoes as to not waste any fruit. I have done my own share of leaving the last bite of cake or fries for my daughter because of the knowledge that it would make her happy. These are all simple acts, but they are manifestations of how we are ingrained to put our children and family first.
It only took me seven years of motherhood to decide that it is not only important but essential to take care of myself over others. I read a parenting book once that truly resonated with me. In it, she described how flight attendants on airplanes prompt adults to place oxygen masks on themselves first before their children or neighbors in case of emergency. This is easily translated to parenthood. In order for us to serve others, we must take care of ourselves first.
When I was in the newborn hysteria phase of motherhood, I developed a tooth infection. I was distraught when I was told that I needed a root canal, which was a one hour procedure. My husband and I had just recently moved to a small town in Illinois away from family and friends, and I had no one to care for my infant for this procedure. The receptionist could see my anxiety over finding a way to schedule my appointment without childcare. She immediately offered to take care of my daughter while I was in the chair. Although I was hesitant at first, she encouraged me to take her up on this offer as I had already put this procedure off for over a month.
I remember finishing my procedure and walking into a completely dark reception area to find the receptionist cuddling my daughter and swaying her to sleep in her arms. This stranger impacted me in such a way that I swore I would do the same for anyone who needed help in the future. Just thinking about this story brings tears to my eyes.
This is why we encourage parents to bring in their young children if they are comfortable. We have a toy basket with trains and crayons just for these situations. Our team is no stranger to pushing strollers with fussy babies or entertaining young ones with balloons—all so that parents can get the care that they need without stress.
Mothers, fathers, caretakers, we see you and applaud you. It truly does take a village and we are happy to be a part of your village.