One of my 31 for 31 items is to say “yes” more often. Recently, I’ve decided to start saying “yes” to myself. To make myself a priority in my own life.
I hired a nanny. For one afternoon a week.
Just one afternoon, for two or three hours, to recharge my batteries and be alone. Except in public, so not alone.
Whatever. No one’s touching me.
Until recently, like maybe just in the past couple of months, Emma has screamed any time anyone so much as looked at her. The grocery store, the doctor’s office, Target. If they looked at her, she would scream like she was being abducted by aliens who planned to do tests on her cute little baby toes. And they are adorable so I can totally see why aliens would want them.
And then I noticed that she was screaming less and looking more.
And then I noticed that when we picked Joshua up from school, she wanted to get down and run away from me.
Seriously. I would go toward her and she would turn and go in the other direction.
It was like her little baby way of saying “Hey, Mom. You know? I think you’re awesome. But so is the world. I’ve got this. Now scoot.”
So I called up a former student who had offered up her services as a sitter and basically shouted “YOU’RE HIRED!” the minute Emma didn’t scream at her.
Well, okay. No. I sort of eased Emma into it.
I had the sitter come over for a full day with me there so Emma could get used to another person in the house. And so I could clean without Emma coming behind me and destroying my work. It was glorious.
And then Dan and I went on a date and had a real meal with no children nagging us for whatever it is they would nag for at dinner. That was also glorious.
The kids love her. I love her. This is awesome.
I’m quick to put myself on the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to whose needs get met in a given day. I don’t think or believe that moms are supposed to do that, but it’s something that I’ve sort of fallen into.
I think it goes back to when I was working and felt horrible missing so much time with Joshua. I never wanted to really go and do anything on my own because I felt like I was already missing so much. I put spending time with him above spending time with me. And when Emma came along, I put spending time with her above spending time with me, too.
But that was all at the cost of my own sanity. Or, maybe not sanity. But I was suffering from some burn-out.
I love my kids. I love me, too.
Self-care is important. I’ve advised it to many a PPD mom without actually putting it into practice for myself.
I’m not cheating myself out of self-care by pretending that a glass of wine while I work in the evenings is me taking care of me because it’s not an acceptable substitute for the peace and solitude that comes with being surrounded by strangers in a Starbucks.
This is what self-care looks like.