This issue is an old one, but so central to the premise of SaneMoms that it’s worth revisiting. It was brought to mind again by a comment on Christina’s Inside and Out post.
And sometimes I find you even have to defend those moments when you are doing something for yourself, right? My husband lately realized that I was steadily making my way through a series of books and some nasty comments came out about how lucky I was to have time to sit and read during the day while he’s at work and late home every night this week… My response that one of us had to stay sane competely stumped him. I had to fight off my own guilt too about being able to sit quietly for an hour each day, but seriously, if I don’t take care of myself and we BOTH lose it, what good does that do?
What good does that do?! Makes my blood boil just to think of getting comments like that, and yet the jealousies rear their heads all too often. They get stumped at what we need, and to be honest sometimes I’m jealous of my husband too, like his “free time” during his commute. The grass is always greener, right?
The guilt thing, oh the guilt. There is always some to fight off, always, at least for me. Isn’t it selfish to take down time during the day? Of course not, but I still fight the feeling. I even manage to guilt myself over asking my husband to watch the kids while I work, somehow devaluing the work I’m doing and assuming that his studio time takes precedence! Why? On some level I still think I should be able to do it all I guess, to fit my work into the wee hours of the night, be refreshed and happy teaching my kids during the day, all while taking care of the house, the food, the planning, and everything else. Oh, and have time to read, blog, watch movies, and socialize. Easy, right? Ridiculous, but why do I feel guilty asking? The simple sentence above “If I don’t take care of myself and we BOTH lose it, what good does that do?” is the antidote. I just need to heed it. Just wrote it on a bright yellow piece of paper and taped it up.
This week I’m actually taking better care of myself than normal, perhaps just due to friends asking to get together, and I’m going out 2 nights in a row! I’ve asked for daytime backup for my work too, and it’s on the schedule. If I just do it often enough, perhaps the guilt will fade. I found it interesting yesterday at the American Museum of Natural History’s Brain exhibit to see that they labeled fear, shame, and guilt as social emotions. They all relate to our perception of what others think of us, not just our own feelings, hence the complexity. I can’t just ignore the feelings of my family, it looms large in my heart, as it should. Letting it supplant all of my own feelings is deadly though, and results in craziness and anger and mommy-meltdowns which are bad news for all. Self-care it is then!
So how are you practicing self-care these days? Do you have to fight for it, or does it come easy now? Love to hear other stories!