The insights, conversations and behind-the-scene news of Heather Headley.

In Case Of Emergency….

posted on: Sunday, January 13th, 2013

I was on a flight with the Commander General a few months back. As we were getting ready to take off, the flight attendant stopped at our row and strictly reminded me that ‘in case of emergency, you are to put your mask on FIRST and then the boy’s.’ Well, if I ever see those little masks fly in above my head, my heart and I have a deal – – it’s supposed to take me out, or at least stop long enough to render me unconscious until the trouble has passed. But seriously, I always sit there saying to myself, ‘I’m not going to put my mask on first, and have my precious baby fight to breathe for any amount of time…what kind of mother do you think I am!?’ But as you well know, they suggest we do this because if I’m putting my son’s mask on, and really find myself unable to breathe or in greater trouble, then I have left a helpless 3yr old without a caretaker, and defenseless against whatever we’re going to be facing. And that’s not good! I’ve helped neither of us! Being the older, wiser one, and with my mask on first, I can assess the situation, and get us both to safety…or to Heaven!

Anyhow, a few months ago, I found myself adopting the slogan in my own life.

Put Your Mask On First, Heather!

So many times I’m dealing with everything around me, and finally look up to find myself gasping for air.  For instance, as a mom (or anyone else) you wake up in the morning, and before you have a chance to eat, someone is screaming for you to feed them, wipe their nose, iron a shirt, find keys….  You race to get everyone out the door, and then, you remember the errands, the email, the cleaning…and who’s knocking at the door?! Before you know it, afternoon arrives and the house is once again filled with hungry, you-need-to-entertain-me kids, and you’re trying to make or find something appetizing because a hungry, also-over-worked man is on his way. By night time, you look in the mirror and figure out that you’ve hardly eaten, and if you really think about it, haven’t had a moment to even use the bathroom…. and then your husband looks at you in that loving, wink-wink-hello-honey way. AHHHHHH!

Well, it’s in these situations that I think sometimes I have to put my mask on first! Stop! Eat first, bathe first, wipe my nose first, pray first…. Sometimes, the only way we can be of use to our families and others is if we’re inhaling oxygen ourselves. We can’t be good husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and co-workers if we’ve been putting masks on everyone else, and suffocating ourselves. Now don’t get me wrong: there are countless days when I need to “mask” someone else before myself. Life is about serving and sacrifice, but I can’t ‘serve or sacrifice’ efficiently unless I’m strong enough to do so.  I also have to be nourished physically, spiritually, emotionally…. We can’t neglect ourselves under the guise of “unselfishness,” but rather we have to take time to care for ourselves, so that we can then be more ‘selfless.’

So, if you feel run down, and you feel like you’re running out of air… in case of emergency, take a minute and put your mask on first… like me, you just might find that you’re better equipped and able to serve and help everyone else on your row.


They’ll survive!

You Inhale…. That’s it!



One response to “In Case Of Emergency….”

  1. Tekia says:

    I agree. I think as women, we’ve been conditioned to always put others first and that if we take care of ourselves first it implied we were being selfish. We know this is not the case, but it’s something that has been ingrained in our thinking. I look around at the women in my life and I see what looking out for everyone else, except self, will and can do. Personally, this has inspired me to establish a balance between myself and those around me. It has become a must to always take care of myself first, not in a selfish manner, but, to take a little time out for me to renew and organize my mind so that I can turn chaos into the order I need. When there is order, I find everything else lines right up like bim-bam-boom. That which is left unfinished will find another day to get done (no need to stress the small stuff anyway and if I left it, it wasn’t that important in the first place). Since women are the Chief Operating Officer in life, I believe it’s imperative for us to look after self on all three levels as you pointed out, spirit, soul and body. We have to make sure everything is clicking as one unit. Then we can pull from our renewal and give what is needed/wanted to those around us.

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