Thoughts on self-care & why I eat standing up

Thoughts on self-care & why I eat standing up

Thoughts on self-care & why I eat standing up

Some days it feels like the needs of my children are incessant. From the moment my eyelids open into the 5am darkness to the moment their little bodies succumb to sleep, they NEED.

They need love, snuggles, attention, comfort, and reassurance. They also need pancakes cut up just so, a cup of juice -no, I SAID WATER!, poopy bottoms wiped and then balanced on the “big” potty. They need latex gloves put on both hands and fire truck ladders extended. They need me to listen and offer feedback. They need me to basically bear witness and be available to assist them every second we’re together.

Which, in some ways is totally fine. That’s parenting, and meeting their needs is my job.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t times where I hide in the bathroom pretending to poop for 10 minutes so I can take an Instagram break. Or that I don’t join them at the table because the second my ass hits the chair someone needs me to get something or wants out of their chair.

Occasionally, on the really tough days, I sit them at the table facing the tv while they eat.

I eat standing up in the kitchen, in plain view but far enough away to not trigger the Need button. I hunch over the plate scooping forkfuls of leftovers into my mouth while scrolling through Facebook, eager to accept my Mother of the Year award.  But I am okay with it, because on some days, this is one of the only peaceful moments I get. Some days, this is what self-care looks like for me.

Motherhood is made up of these messy moments, times where we’re doing the best we can. And as much as my kids need of me, I need me too.

What does self-care even mean, anyway?!

To me, self-care means practicing self-love. It means connecting with my self in a space that is free of outside distractions, and treating myself super well.

When I say self-care, I’m not talking about a full on day at the spa (although that would be amazing!).  I’m talking about finding small pockets of time to be alone with yourself and your thoughts. Time to focus on the habits that bring you a feeling of calm, healthfulness, and strength.  Sometimes that looks like eating standing up while your kids watch tv so you can catch your breath.

I can hear some of you thinking:

“That’s all well and good, but isn’t that a little selfish?”

“Self-care is totally indulgent.”

“Easy for you to say!”

“I don’t deserve it.”

Whew.  I hear you. In fact, I’ve said all of those things to myself!  But I would never ever say them to a friend. So, why are we so judgmental with ourselves?  Why don’t we deserve to treat ourselves well?

Listen to me when I say this: You cannot afford not to practice self-care.

Still not sure?  What if you replaced the word “self” with “health”?

Health-care isn’t selfish or indulgent or unnecessary.

This subtle shift in perspective really opened my mind to possibilities. Because healthcare isn’t selfish, it’s necessary!  I have to take care of myself to be around for my family and my business.

If you thought of self-care as a form of health care, what would it look like for you?

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing a bit of my journey back to me. I’ll be exploring heath, self-care, parenting and making changes in my business.

I hope you’ll join me and share some of your thoughts along the way. Thank you for being here.

The Hard Parts

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Mondays are one of the best days of the week for me. I typically have it off from work, and have the morning to myself while G is at preschool. These are a precious three hours!  Sometimes I use this time to catch up on work for the shop. Other times I go to appointments, do the grocery shopping, or tend to other regular life tasks. My favorite days are the ones where I get to hang out at home. By myself. Fellow moms, you know what a treat this is!  If I’m being completely honest with you, I’ll go even further to say that my favorite mornings are the ones where I stay in my pajamas and catch up on The Walking Dead or How to Get Away with Murder and knit until just before pickup.

Regardless of how I spend the mornings, the afternoons are reserved for mama-daughter time. As a working parent, this one-on-one time during the day is precious to us both. There’s something about our own dynamic that really comes out on these days. She just lights up when she sees me at pick-up and gets so excited to hear what we get to do for the rest of the day.

Most Mondays we like to do a little making together. This is something that really helps me feel like a Good Mom (you know, after all those other moments over the past week, ahem) and like we’re really connecting. We often spend the afternoon baking, making play-dough, sewing, or doing other crafts.  This week we started painting some wooden Christmas ornaments that I picked up at the craft store.

It was sweet. We painted together in near-silence. I told her I loved spending the afternoon with her. “Me too, Mama,” she whispered as she focused on getting the paint just where she wanted it. I was impressed with her focus and enjoyed seeing what colors she was choosing.  I was feeling pretty pleased and a bit self-satisfied with the success level of this activity when things took a turn.

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You see, we’re at that age where G is noticing what other people do and is occasionally comparing it to what she is able to do. In this case, she got very upset because she couldn’t keep the orange paint from getting on the blue paint.  I tried helping her wipe it off and reassured her that she could go back over the blue after it had dried.

‘But yours looks better than mine!” was the final cry before she devolved into tears.

It broke my heart, this look on her face. I could imagine her ten years from now, upset from something that happened at school or with a friend, a situation I wasn’t there to help her through at the time. I want her to be confident in herself, not care what other people are doing, and just enjoy what she’s doing.

That is one of the gifts of early childhood; these blissful years when anything is possible and you are so much yourself that you radiate it. It only lasts for so long before we become self-conscious and our confidence is no longer whole.  These moments when I see her self-confidence beginning to fracture are so very hard.

We made popcorn and talked about how things are challenging when you first start out. About how my work looked different from hers because I’ve had a lot more practice. I’m so old, after all (trying desperately to ease the tension with humor)! I even threw in a good ol’ “Who says you have to stay in the lines, anyway?”

I think she’ll be ready to try again another time. We’ll both keep practicing, her painting and my parenting, and hopefully someday we’ll both be accepting of where we are and how well we’re doing it.

The good news?  After a break and a good night’s sleep, she’s ready to try again.  She’s even excited to finish her work today.  Whew.  I guess the popcorn and self-deprecation worked.