“Take care of yourself first Carrie”, this was a client’s advice to me when I was very pregnant with my first child. I looked up at her, “ Trust Me,” she said, “No one else is going too, you will be a better care provider if you nurture yourself first”. This all sounded reasonable to me. Especially because I had many other women lamenting that giving birth and caring for a newborn would effectively render me senseless to my basic needs of taking a shower, brushing my teeth and wearing clean clothes. Luckily said senselessness did not occur, I showered multiple times a day, brushed thy teeth and changed clothes with regularity. I even cleaned my house (somewhat obsessively) shopped for groceries and went to yoga, newborn in-tow.
What I did not do was slow down. Having a baby drops you through some magic portal were time rockets by at lighting speed. I was so high on parenthood I didn’t realize I was neglecting the most important source to my sustainability not only as a mother but also as a person. Me time. And cue the guilt.
It’s funny what we feel guilty about. I do not feel guilty about working or doing yoga. But going to the beach by myself practically makes my palms sweaty. But I need it, so much in fact. The constant chatter and buzz of family life makes it hard for me to be alone in my head and I find myself sometimes feeling dull and uninspired…This is the crux of what my client was trying to tell me. I take care of people for a living I should know this better than anyone and I do. So I finally learned to listen to that advice and this is what I do:
• “No time, tired, can’t, no money.” Theses are the same lame-ass excuses we all have, they are tired and bored and useless, wrap them up in a poopy diaper and deposit them in your Genie II because that’s where they belong. Do things for yourself sans children or go nuclear, your choice.
• It takes a village to raise a child. All husbands, boyfriend, partners, baby daddies, friends, family, etc. should be made perfectly aware that ‘me time’ is not negotiable it must happen like the sun must set.
• Schedule, schedule, schedule. This is the only way. You gave up spontaneity along with your perineum. Make ‘time’ appointments in advance this is the secret!! You have the time you merely need to incorporate it into your life. Just kidding about the perineum it has a fighting chance.
• Pamper is not just a brand of diaper. If you’re like my clients and personal time involves highlights, pedicures, waxing and facials. Enter guilty stage left. And if money is an object between you and desire, I like the very renaissance model of the piggy bank. Like time, money has a peculiar way of making itself available if you want it to. Figure out your ‘money for mommy’ budget. Example, a night out once a month with girlfriends. You have 30 days to save, divide your estimated cost by 30 and put that money into your piggy every day. Waalaa! Girls’ night comes, daddies on duty and you’re sitting pretty, money in your wallet, cocktail in hand and winding down with a much deserved night off. Cheers!
Image Credit: Paragon Salon Maui