Shower Thoughts: The Airplane Theory

I was chatting with a girlfriend the other day about hobbies. Our daughters are a few weeks apart (schoolmates), and both are currently only children. She was saying she finally felt like she was coming up for air, like she could do things that were outside of being a working mom now - what a crazy refreshing, exciting feeling! I echoed every sentiment in kind. We started discussing which classes we should sign up for, which hobbies could pique our interests, etc - it was exhilarating. Ha, the things I find exciting now as a mom of a toddler, woof. But it brought me back to something I’ve always felt super passionately about, something we’ve likely all heard every time we’ve boarded a plane - the airplane theory.


Another friend of mine, Ellie of Birdie Agency, was recently talking on her IG about how she’s literally felt tired for years, but after working with a nutritionist and adjusting her eating habits, she finally has energy again. She’s a mom of two young children, not to mention a business owner of a wildly successful PR & marketing agency.


Here’s my favorite thing about the overlap of these two stories - they’re both prime examples of implementing the airplane theory IRL. The Airplane Theory (not something I’ve even remotely thought of on my own, I’m sure there are countless books and podcasts on it) is as simple as this: take care of yourself before helping others. You’ve heard on every flight “put on your mask before helping others”. And here’s the reasoning - you can’t help a minor or someone dependent upon you if you don’t have your oxygen mask on, because, in short, you’ll be dead or at the most, useless. Harsh, I know. But I sort of think we sometimes need this intense reality check. There’s a million cliches that all point to a similar message, but here’s another I like - you can’t pour from an empty cup. And another - if you don’t give yourself rest, your body will force it upon you. This last one is something I deeply resonate with because I’ve seen how often it’s happened to me - I go go go and exhaust my body to the point where it literally gives up on me, I get sick, and I’m forced to slow down. As a mom, I’ve definitely experienced this, but if we’re being truly honest, the instance of me go-go-going till I’m sick was an occurrence I experienced just about every holiday season from the time I started my business up until a few years ago (during Covid when everyone was forced to shift business models to stay afloat). I thought that if I wasn’t sick during Christmas then I must not have done enough shows/pop-ups, or I didn’t work hard enough that year. Insane thinking, I’m fully aware. But sadly, true, and one I am constantly reminding myself now as I actually have someone else depending on my wellness. (FYI I no longer attempt to do 4-5 shows/month during the holiday season just to prove to myself that I’m successful. I’m working on prioritizing certain things so that my business can still run even if I’m not face forward on every little aspect.)


Sometimes, I hate hearing things that feel too obvious. It’s annoying and, in some insane part of my brain, makes me feel dumb (I am not dumb, but lawd if my brain doesn’t try to trick me on occasion). However, I’ve found over the years that it’s actually necessary to be reminded of the obvious fact; I need the reminder. If I don’t take care of myself, I will get sick. If I don’t find things that fill my cup and make me feel like a whole, full person (ie hobbies, classes, friends who don’t only talk to me about being a mom), I will go insane. I need that reminder that I’m more than one facet of myself, and that is okay - great, in fact!! Yes, I’m a mom. Yes, I’m a business owner. Yes, I’m a wife. I’m a dog mom. I’m a curious thinker. I’m a designer. I love games and puzzles. I just discovered needlepoint and am thoroughly enthralled. I enjoy hiking. I like trying new things and failing fantastically. I’m so so much more than my first three titles. And, I bet you are, too. So, I’m going to end this lil shower thought on a question - what are you doing in your life to take care of yourself first and remind yourself that you’re a multifaceted human with interests and hobbies apart from the first three things the outside world sees?


(PS anybody wanna join a random class with me in ATL? Not sure what it’s gunna be yet, but I know I’ll be mediocre at best at it. Thinking dance, tennis, sewing, needlepoint?)

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1 comment

You know I always love these posts, and will 100% do a random class of any kind with you sometime! I always say that one of these days, I am going to take an improv class. We’ll see about that…


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