There are many things I love about women, but the way that we have the instinct to put everyone else's needs before our own is incredible. It's a beautiful trait, but it can also break us. It's like we don't even know we do it until we reach a point where we are so exhausted that we have a MASSIVE meltdown over spilled apple juice because we haven't taken care of ourselves in years. Spilled apple juice has put me over the edge a few too many times...
It took having my 3rd baby, working from home with my husband, and managing my home while attempting to be a wife, mom, and business manager - to see that I need time to refuel myself.
My husband is a gem when it comes to this and I am forever grateful that he is willing to be my partner. I remember there was a day when I felt my entire life was falling apart. Screaming babies, frustrating emails, insanely messy house, and then sitting on my bed was myself...a bawling crazy mess. My husband said to me in a kind, but firm voice - "Quit trying to do everything. Stop. Take a shower. Leave the house and get coffee and take some time for yourself." I tried to give "but I need to" excuses, but he wouldn't have it. He told me to leave or he would take all the kids and he would leave for awhile. It was my choice, but I had to stop everything I was doing and just take time to refuel myself because I had nothing left to give. That day made me realize that I have a partner that I can lean on. I don't have to attempt to be super woman 24/7. And when he says "GO!" or "STOP!" It's not a stab at my abilities. It's him saying, "You've done enough for us. Take some time for yourself."
We make our kids have quiet time. We encourage our husband's to have hobbies. We love hosting play dates with our kid's friends. And we delight in making people feel comfortable in our homes.
Somehow though, we manage to forget about someone. We forget about us. We forget that we need a quiet time. We forget that we too need a hobby that doesn't involve wiping butts, cleaning up cheerios, and hosting a dinner. We need to feel comfortable in our own home. Most of the time though, we use that time we should be refueling, pressuring ourselves to do something else because we see it as time to "catch up" on a chore or work.
My midwife told me over and over with my 3rd baby that I need to sleep when my baby sleeps. Why? Because it not only helps you heal physically, it helps you heal mentally. I understand there are many of you that have other children in addition to your baby, but don't let your pride get in the way of asking for help for a couple of hours so you can sleep. Those first couple of months are so hard. Not having any sleep makes it even harder. Self-care as a new mom is something I cannot push for enough. I hurt for these women that are not even able to enjoy their baby because they have not taken care of themselves mentally and physically. It's not because they are purposefully doing self harm, it's because women/moms in general give and give until they are mentally and physically depleted. We don't even know we do it until we are low. It is a struggle for some women to take care of their new joy without it causing themselves pain. It's not supposed to be that way, but yet it is being more and more common.
We are so focused on the care of the children, being a good wife and taking care of our husbands, making sure we make everyone else comfortable that comes over and sees our family, that we forget the one that needs the energy the most. Women get forgotten. Why? Because we put on this face like "It's all good!" until it's not all good and then people start saying stupid stuff like:
"Why doesn't she shower anymore?"
"Why is her house such a mess?"
"Why is she gaining weight? Doesn't she care about herself anymore?"
"Why is she losing weight? Doesn't she know she looks sick?"
"Are you really going to wear yesterday's clothes to drop off today?"
Why do people say these things? Because we live in a world of insane expectations for women. We get these lies in our heads that we have to be and act a certain way all the time and it's impossible. Until we start giving ourselves freedom to not be perfect, to take a few moments for ourselves, to find something that is important to us that makes us feel good, we will not be nearly as effective as we could be. By taking a few steps back to take care of our own bodies and minds we are actually propelling us forward and becoming stronger for US and our families.
People see the term "Self-care" and immediately think, "That's an excuse to be selfish." That's very narrow minded thinking. Some may over do it, but the truth is self-care is not just about pampering ourselves occasionally to a mani-pedi. Which I completely support by the way! Self-care is building ourselves up. It's taking that little nap that we need to get through the day. It's doing that workout that makes us feel better about ourselves. It's the balance of eating food that we love and making sure we eat what fuels our body in a good way. It's reading a book that encourages us and teaches us something new. It's listening to music that motivates us and gives us a sense of peace. It's stopping for a minute to just breathe.
Say yes to the mom or mother-in-law that want to help you. Say yes to the husband who is trying to do more for you. Say yes to the friends you trust to come over and help you even if you haven't showered and have no make up on. Say yes to having someone bring you dinner if they offer it. Say yes to the bath. Say yes to the nap. Say yes to the good book. Say yes to the shopping trip alone. Say yes to the work out.
Quit punishing yourself for taking care of yourself. You are incredibly valuable. And things of value do not remain valuable if they do not maintain the care they deserve. You deserve care. Don't deprive yourself of the fuel you need to be the very best woman you want to be.