"Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel." - Eleanor Brownn
It took me thirty years to realize that I need to make myself - and specifically my self-care - a priority. Honestly, I just let things get away from me. Have you heard of the "quadrant method" for helping you prioritize your responsibilities? Basically it's just a way to help you map out what is (or isn't) urgent and what is (or isn't) important. That way, you can decide what needs to get taken care of first. And you know what? I haven't been putting myself in the Urgent And Important category very consistently.
Now, I'm not encouraging you to be selfish. I severely dislike selfishness - that's probably a sign that it's something I see in myself too often. But self-care isn't selfish. If anything, it's considerate of the people in your life. When you can shoulder the responsibility - and yes, it is a responsibility - to take care of your own mental, physical, and emotional health, you're making sure nobody else has to carry your burden for you. You're also making sure that whatever your issues are, you're not teaching your kids poor coping skills - or worse, traumatizing them. Seeking help when you need it is HARD for someone as stubborn/independent as I am. I'm hopeful that, by handling my own scandal, my kids will learn that there is help out there. We just have to seek it out.
Remember when I said I'm finally addressing some chronic foot pain that has been going on for over a year? Well, it's only been a few weeks and I'm already starting to see improvement from my physical therapy sessions. It's not easy to make time for these appointments - or to squeeze the actual exercises into my day with two crazy kiddos. But if I keep putting myself last, these kids won't learn how to take care of themselves in a healthy way. Instead, they'll think that love means you don't take care of yourself. And that's not what I want to teach them.
And let's be honest. If I don't put my foot down and say, "This time is for ME" - these kids will run rampant over me. As weird as it sounds, having boundaries between myself and the rest of my family is what keeps me from losing my shit on them on the daily. For example - I don't let my kid into the bathroom to watch me pee. If he has to go pee, too - fine. But he can't just come in and proceed to climb onto my lap while my pants are around my ankles. How is that respectful of my need for personal space, time alone, or privacy? It just isn't. And while I am probably far too forgiving of him invading my space, not everyone will feel so generous. So I ought to teach him to respect my boundaries - because by so doing, I'll be teaching him how to respect others'. And, maybe even to set his own!
Don't be like me. Don't wait for years to convince yourself you DESERVE some basic self-care. Seize the opportunity when it arises. And if it doesn't arise on its own? Make it happen anyway. You deserve a little love, mama.
How have you set aside "me" time? Do you think it makes you a better parent to have some moments for self-care? Help me figure out how to balance this all on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3.