I was coming in dead last. It was hard to even say out loud. That didn’t make it any less true though. When it came to making sure everyone was alright, I was forgetting to check in with who should be number one – ME. My husband and kids were my priority and it was getting to the point that I just revolved around them. I adjusted myself to their schedule and needs. I was trying to be everything to everyone and leaving nothing on the table for myself. Self care and motherhood can be a crazy balancing act!
I know as well as anyone that my needs matter. I know that self care is a priority and still, I fell off. I was dead last on my own list. Ouch! Once I was able to let those words escape my lips – now what? Once you know the truth, you can’t un-know it. So I had to sit with it. Then I had to figure out how to change it. Figuring out how to make myself a priority again. Ugh! I’d done this before. I’d been here before. I had a plan before. I was doing fine. Then, not so much. That’s the thing with self care for moms, it ebbs and flows at times. I step in and out of alignment. When I’m on it, LIFE flows better. My husband and kids are good and so am I. So, why is it so hard to stay there?
For me, I think it goes back to the year I had last year. It was a hard year for me health-wise. I saw way too many doctors and had to take it easy more than I like. So, in many ways I put myself first because I had to. My well-being was at stake. Still, I’d do too much trying to make up for what I felt I was lacking with my family. I’d push myself too much in an attempt to be fair to everyone else while not being fair to me. Now that I’m doing well and nearly back to my old self, I feel like I’m making up for lost time and bending myself to the needs of everyone else. No bueno!
I was speaking at a conference last month and the topic turned to self care. I said that it seemed like self care was mostly something we talked about once we became moms. When I didn’t have kids I didn’t talk about self care, I just did it. It didn’t need to be discussed. I was really good at checking in with myself and being honest about where I was and what I needed. Then I did those things. I made the things I needed a priority. It’s why I was in the gym at 6:30 am everyday. It’s why I made time on the weekends to go walking in my fave parts of the city. I always had a Jamba Juice in the summer or a tea latte from Coffee Bean in the cooler months. I spent time with my friends, I took classes that were interesting to me – just because.
Then things get complicated. There’s more to do. More people to consider. Time constraints and sometimes, just flat out – excuses. I’m slowly working my way back to a place of “just do it”. Right now that looks like me diving into reading again. I used to tear through books one after the other. That stopped. I’m back at it again and on my fourth book this month. Here’s a few that I’m working my way through currently. I’m also making maintenance a priority again. That looks like me spending part of my morning getting a pedicure. That looks like making hair appointments a consistent thing instead of a thing I do when my head looks like tumbleweed. Ok, it doesn’t get that bad but you know what I mean!
It’s all about the baby steps. They add up. When I’m a more balanced, happier woman that shows up in all the other titles I juggle. I show up as my best self because that’s how I feel. They say you’ll keep getting the same lesson until you learn what you’re supposed to from that lesson. I’m not happy to say that this is one lesson I’ve had to repeat. You? I have a few small ways (cuz I’m all about baby steps) to jump start any self care practice. Just five days of taking it one day at a time so our practice becomes our new normal. Did I mention it’s FREE?! Check it out if you’ve been stuck repeating this lesson too!
What’s self care looking like for you? Have you found yourself bending for the needs of everyone else? How do you keep yourself a priority? I’d love to know!