Recent actual message!
Recently I’ve been hashtagging some of my pics and messages to my friends with the tongue-in-cheek #selfcare. It might be a glass of wine, a face mask or a square of chocolate. I might be talking about a café coffee, a haircut or time spent immersed in my latest book. I say it all very sarcastically (default function unfortunately!) but there’s definitely a hint of truth there.
I used to think that I would stay at home until my kid(s) were five years old. After staying at home for a year and then returning on a casual basis I realise now that initial thought was totally unrealistic for me personally, even excluding the financial advantages that working brings for our family. Part of caring for myself AND for CJ is knowing that I need more in my life than just being his mum. With any future kids, I’ll be looking to return to work after that first year with zero guilt.
That care will look different for everyone – it’s whatever you need to do to be a little selfish. Whether it’s that one weekend a month you dump your kids at their grandparents, the nails you get done every week or the bottle of wine you crack open after the kids go to bed, no one has the right to criticize your self care practices. Life is too short to drudge through it all, and what works for one may not work for another.
That’s not to say you should be completely selfish. Finding things that your partner is keen on and participating (or at least showing an interest in) is a worthwhile investment and will make them feel valued too. Just on the down low, I couldn’t care less about the NBA but I know that M-Daddy does so I try and keep up with the play! I spent Mothers’ Day at a car show because I knew it would make my two dudes happy. Trying to scoop out time for the two of you (when you are not being mum, dad, boss or employee; just when you are being two humans just existing in the same place at the same time) can be useful too.
When we get into the cycle of not caring for ourselves it can be incredibly difficult to get out of that rut but it is so necessary to do so. If you are feeling down and weary, not connecting with others in the meaningful way that you would like, maybe it’s time to look a little closer at what you do for yourself and for those you love.