As a therapist, I often ask my clients, “Would you drive to Nanaimo on an empty tank?” At which point they typically look at me like i’m crazy…Of course not! Would you try to squeak by on 1/8 of a tank? I don’t know many of us who would…But then why do we try and do this parenting thing without any self care? Do you want to be the best mom you can be? Take care of yourself! There’s no way to get through the day – day after long tantrum driven/teenage angst filled/insufficient support/finances/sleep/not enough coffee in the world (god forbid if you’re breastfeeding and it’s decaf!) to get through the next few hours of this day! Oh…and multiply that one very long day by 356 and again for however many YEARS you’ve been experiencing the joy of parenting…I don’t know about you but I’m on year 5 of sleep deprivation. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE my kids. But let’s face it – unless you’re taking really good care of YOURSELF…it’s nearly impossible to be the parent you want to be.
You want to go on a road trip? I don’t know about you…but I get my car serviced, get an oil change, check the tires, wipers and lights, fill the tank, detail the inside and out, pack all the necessities, bring fun stuff for the road, tunes enough for a trip around the world and, of course, it’s not a road trip without snacks! Leave me at home with the kids however and by the time i’m putting them to bed i’m trying to remember when last i ate, or washed my hair or took the time to go to the bathroom (never mind sleep!). I’ll admit that has slightly improved since i went back to work and actually have to appear somewhat together in public on a regular basis.
“…If I was a car I would be sputtering up the Malahat on fumes, at least one flat tire, one wiper half falling off and my hazard lights on. Permanently”
Why do we treat our cars better than ourselves? Seriously…if I was a car I would be sputtering up the Malahat on fumes, at least one flat tire, one wiper half falling off and my hazard lights on. Permanently. And I KNOW better! I actually help people with this on a daily basis – yet as a mom I seem to accept that my fate is to come last and focus on everyone else before doing even the most basic things for myself.
I know I’m not alone in this! I’m working to take better care of myself – i’m eating regularly again, attempting to go to bed earlier (at the price of my only and very precious ME time), making more time for some of my hobbies (I think I’ve almost finished the simple scarf I started mid-summer), actually working on my business (although my days off disappear quickly with school drop off/pick up and the Pro D day schedule that I wish i had as a kid – seriously there’s no way we got that many growing up!)… and then there’s exercise, bubble baths, reading books that aren’t based on rhyming and farm animals and listening to music with *gasp* BAD WORDS! (Even better when I can belt out the swear words without any little people wanting to know what they mean or telling daddy on me).
So now I ask of you…what are YOU going to do to take care of yourself today, this week, or even this month? Share with us in a comment your favorite way to spend a little “me time” and recharge!