Reframing Self Care

I shared about my need for some self-care last week and I am so glad I did. I heard from lots of you that are going through the same struggles and trying to make time to care for yourself. Thank you for letting me know—I always appreciate those messages to let me know I’m not alone. I also think it was perfect timing because we had a bit of a tiring week. Little man got a cold, I wasn’t feeling so hot myself, we had some late nights, and things just didn’t go according to plan. I know for sure that if I hadn’t taken that time to myself last weekend I would have melted down…probably by Monday evening. But I felt rested, appreciated, and full of love for my snotty, snuggly little guy.

As I’ve thought more about this season of life, I’ve decided I need to change my expectations. This definitely was a game changer for my week. I have a little man who needs supervision 100% of the time, lest he bite through an electrical chord, fall down the stairs, pull something heavy onto himself, or choke on whatever tiny thing we missed in our sweeping. We have child-proofed as much as we really can while maintaining the functionality of our home, but he is an adventurous boy and always getting into something. I used to get frustrated that I was always having to redirect him and make sure he didn’t crawl out of my line of sight while I was working on other things. This week I decided to just play WITH him. What if together we crawled around, taking in the varying perspectives from different windows and areas of the house? What if instead of being annoyed that he was chewing on all of the books he pulled off the shelf, I let him chew on one of his while I read him another? What if instead of it taking me three times as long to make dinner because I have to keep pulling him away from the stairs, I follow him up the stairs and then put him in his crib to play safely while I work away in the kitchen?

I also changed my expectations for my to-do list. I picked one thing per day—for instance, if laundry was the only thing I finished, that was great—because I finished it! I stopped beating myself up for all the things I wasn’t accomplishing and all the play dates I haven’t set up. It’s so hard to coordinate outings around a baby’s schedule, let alone everyone else’s busy summer schedules, so we are taking a social hiatus. We are happy to tag along to things we are invited to, but I am not kicking myself for not being the coordinator.

My favorite day this week was the one we dedicated to rest. I took a two hour nap while the baby slept (which NEVER happens-despite everyone’s well meaning advice), and put nothing but playing and resting on our agenda for the day. In order to stay sane, we normally try to make it out of the house once a day, even just to run errands, but that day we were slow moving so instead we tried something easy, fun, and new. I set up a blanket with toys in the backyard and the little man played while I read my book. It was amazingly simple, yet the change of scenery was enough to keep him happy and I felt good about not being cooped up all day.

I think when we talk about self-care it’s easy to think it’s something we don’t have time for or something that involves going and doing— while massages, pedicures and trips to the beach are nice, they just aren’t that realistic (for me) on a regular basis. So I was pleased with how some small changes made a big difference this week!

After thinking about what I would do this weekend during my “time off” I decided that I would rather lock myself in my office and get some projects done than leave the house for a solo coffee date or shopping or wherever else an afternoon alone would take me. I am not sure it was the greatest decision, as being “home” seemed to mean I was “available” and well, I didn’t do a good job of staying in the office. But I learned, and now I will know for next time—my “time off” goes better if it is done away from the house!

What are you doing for self care this week?

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