Flannel on Fire; A Sure Sign of Burn-Out

womanonfireBurn-out. It’s a thing.

When you’re the glue that holds it all together, it’s dangerous for everyone when you get so worn out that you crack.

My therapist calls it ‘over-functioning’. I call it every-day living, or at least I have since I became a parent.

When you’re too busy to even think about taking a break, and nobody cares enough to pick up the slack, something’s gotta give.

Something’s been giving for a while here, and tonight I think it snapped.

If you’ve read enough of my sagas, you will recall when I super-glued my foot into a pretty little open-toed sandal. You will remember when I had tummy-trouble in the middle of a boot-camp fitness class. You might even recall the cat setting his giant fluffy tail alight. You will know that very little passes by without getting a deep, full belly laugh reaction from me.

But not tonight.

Absolutely burned out at home and work, I allowed myself the indulgence of a candlelit bath.

With my face covered in an organic chocolate cleansing mask, and my hair dangling in the front of my wet face, I thought I detected the smell of something burning.

I have a terrible sense of smell, so I wasn’t too alarmed. But that quickly changed.

With deep conditioner in my eyes and a slippery hold on the edge of the bathtub I skittered to attention as I glimpsed a trio of candles burning rather too brightly on the vanity. Wait. I didn’t have a trio of candles, I realized as the smell of something burning became overwhelming. I had a candle. One.

And that was smoke in the air not steam.

And something was burning!

In my hurry to retrieve my forgotten face mask something had snagged my all-time-favourite-snuggle-in-at-home-costume; my mommy-flannel-nightie. The one my five-year-old son insisted was the most beautiful piece of clothing I owned. It was flaming on the vanity, melting a bottle of lotion, and shooting flames up, up and away.

Sometimes we ignore the signs when we need to slow down, that we need to administer some strict boundaries and compassionate self-care.

But trust me when I say this; a flaming flannel nightie gets ones attention. Fast.

“Mom, are you ok in there?”

Barely, I thought as I pulled my charred nightie into the sink and then returned to the bath, resigned to the fact that perhaps this was as good as it gets.

Thank you universe for reminding me that not protecting my own time, energy and values will cause me to burn-out, by sending me a big hunk of burning-flannel.

 

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