Have any moms out there had the internal debate about whether they should take a shower or just chalk the day up to a “giving-my-hair-a-shampoo-break” day and move on? Gosh, I sure hope so, otherwise things got super personal real quick because I have been there…and am there.
Truthfully, if given the choice between sleeping thirty more minutes or taking a shower, more often than not I’ll choose sleep. I am really attached to my sleep and while this has been emphasized a LOT since becoming a mom, I have been this way most of my life. I just find it easier to make excuses for myself because I am a mom. When B was a newborn I could not fathom taking a shower. I would swear that I could hear her crying every time I was washing my hair when, in reality, that only happened 50% of the time. Now that I am nearing the third trimester and sleeping is becoming increasingly more difficult, I am finding myself saying that my hair can handle it (yay for thick hair again!) and not worrying about it as much.
You might think this isn’t a very big deal…and most of the time I brush it off as not that big of a deal, either. It drives my husband crazy, though, because he knows that if I go more than a day without taking just a little more care of myself than usual it starts to reflect in my attitude. I am usually grumpier, and a lot harder on myself personally. It took me a little while to admit that he had a point…I mean, we have been together for a decade so he kind of knows me well.
It is interesting to me that I am so willing to sacrifice thirty minutes for just a little more sleep when, deep down, I know that the positive impact of washing my hair and basically”resetting” from the day prior automatically adds ten points of positivity to my day.
Has anyone heard this term: “mothering ourselves?” I only just recently came across this concept and the discussion of self-care when this article (http://www.thetinytwig.com/2015/01/08/mother-yourself/) from The Tiny Twig popped up on my Pinterest feed. It was incredibly relevant to me as a mom, but I also feel I would have benefited from employing a little more self-care when I was working full time.
There is so much personal development that happens in your twenties. You’re considered a full-fledged adult and are faced with all sorts of decisions and potential life-paths. In a sense, you start learning how to take care of yourself in ways that you might not have had to worry about before. That laundry pile? You need to wash it. It’s time to eat? Better whip something up! Those bills need to be paid? Yup, that money is coming out of your bank account. And yes, there’s that constant decision of whether you should sleep in or get your butt out of bed to make yourself presentable. With independence from your parents comes a whole lot of responsibility too.
While some of these responsibilities may seem trivial, I think the concept of self care from a physical and emotional standpoint is important to remember. When you are grown up, you won’t always have your mom or dad there to remind you to sleep if you’re not feeling well, or not stay up too late because you have to get up early the next morning. Similarly, if someone rubs you the wrong way at work or if you find yourself nursing a bruised ego, we don’t always have the luxury of turning to our parents for advice or a pep talk. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just part of growing up.
I have struggled recently with the balance between caring for myself and cutting myself a little too much slack. I am very Type A and most of the time I feel super guilty if I don’t get things done on my to do list…if blog posts are not written or if my planned tasks for the day don’t get done. On one hand, I tell myself I should be getting up earlier and having a little more discipline. On the other hand, I’m like “Dude, you’re pregnant!! Take a chill pill.” I am finding there is a fine line between having a little discipline and granting yourself too much grace. And I definitely have not mastered walking that line (I was never very good at walking in a straight line anyway).
In her post, The Tiny Twig mentions one way she changed her mindset to start taking better care of herself was by thinking “If my child was in this situation, as the mom what would I have him/her do?” Even if you are not a mom, this thought would apply. “If I had a five year old, what would I ask him/her to do?”
I did a little self-examination and identified a few areas where I would like to improve and applied The Tiny Twig’s thinking: “What would I say to B if she were in my position?”
- I spend too much time on social media: I know that I look at my phone too much. Most of the time I am checking things that are relevant to my photography business or the blog, but it is still way too much. If I were counseling B I would tell her to put down her phone and enjoy life more. No one is going to suffer if I don’t look at my phone every fifteen minutes (or less, truthfully).
- I wish I woke up earlier. I have not been sleeping well at all during this pregnancy. It has actually been pretty rough, and most nights I find myself not getting into a deep sleep until the few hours before B wakes up. I used to be able to take that time to work or do things for myself but it has been a battle with my alarm clock lately. Usually I win and the alarm clock is silenced. If I wasn’t pregnant I wouldn’t be cutting myself as much slack, either. I think that if B was having similar issues I would tell her she should listen to her body and give herself rest if she needs it. If waking up earlier would help her feel better about herself, then really commit to going to sleep earlier at night. I know when I do that I am able to wake up a little easier. Plus, as indicated earlier in this post, it’s an unscientifically proven fact that I will be in a better mood if I get up and take a shower before the day really gets going.
- I don’t eat enough vegetables. Okay, this might seem silly but it is so true and I really would like to work in this. I also am already dealing this from a mom perspective…B is super picky about her foods and far prefers fruits over veggies. I am slowly working on getting her to eat veggies by hiding them in her food. My most recent success? Puréed sweet potatoes mixed into macaroni and cheese. I want to try carrots next. While I don’t need to go to such great lengths to hide vegetables for myself, maybe adopting the thought process of “one vegetable per meal” and “just try it once” will help.
There are a ton of other scenarios where I have started applying this “mothering myself” thought process. While it’s not perfectly mastered I do feel like it is making a difference on my mental and physical health.
From strictly the mom perspective…another quote popped out at me today: “The Mom sets the tone.” If you think about it, it’s true. Everyone takes their cues from the mom – if she’s happy, everyone is happy. If she’s not, well, chances are the rest of the family will also feel down. I choose find this encouraging more than anything else…it just emphasizes the importance of self care and making sure you are feeling good so you can be there and also set the tone for the rest of your family.
Is this something you also struggle with? In what areas of your life do you need to practice self care, mentally or physically?