If you are a parent, be it biological, step, foster or other, then you are a care taker. You are a person who has the responsibility of teaching, protecting and nurturing a child or children. Maybe you are also balancing a full time job, career, volunteerism, care for aging parents or other family members. Few of us are free to stay at home and focus on the house and family. If you are lucky enough to be doing that, I am sure you too understand the need for time to yourself. We all need time to care for ourselves. With so much to do all the time; schedules to keep track of, school calendars, extra curricular activities, dentist appointments, sick days, work, spring break, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, walking the dog, and on and on and on. Our lives can become very busy.
Some days I have literally found myself leaving for work in my slippers!!! Yes, my fuzzy, brown slippers!! Why? Because I was so busy making sure the baby had a clean diaper, the pre-schooler had her backpack and jacket, and that I didn’t forget my lunch or my nursing pump. But…there I am, without proper footwear for work.
Or those nights when I get dinner made, dishes done, prepped for the next day, folded the laundry, did bed time routines, nursed my infant to sleep and went to bed without brushing my own teeth. It’s true. I am the last person on my list to take care of and the result of this is not very positive.
Apart from poor oral hygiene on occasion, it’s my attitude and fortitude that suffer. And probably my husband too because I tend to blame him for things. My attitude becomes critical and judgmental. I forget how to relax. I get rigid when anyone touches me. I am short tempered. Looking at how taking care of everyone but myself affects me, it’s glaring that not one positive thing is happening.
Yet, those glorious nights when the kids seem to fall asleep fast and it’s only 8:30 and a Saturday night so you don’t have to get up for work the next day!!! Oooooh the feeling of sheer relief and happiness that I am an independent woman without a child tethered to me for a few hours. Far and few between, but the rejuvenation I feel after a few hours of alone time, that’s what we ALL need.
Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s the kindest gift we can give ourselves. The recognition that we matter and that we can’t be our best selves without it. Maybe it’s once a week or every day, we should strive to give ourselves a little extra time.
How do you do your self-care? How do you find the time?
Good Article for more reading on why self-care is important: In defense of Parent’s day off