I have been asking myself this question a lot. What does self care look like for you Sam? Well, to be honest, I didn’t even know what it was until more recently. I know, weird, but I thought self care was just sleeping in on a Saturday because you knew that you stayed up way to late on Friday.
My ignorance led me to feeling really burned out and not sure where to turn next. What I didn’t realize is that self-care, especially with toddlers, is one of the most important tools we have as moms to survive.
So often, I would just give and give and give to my little man and by the end of the day I was whooped. I was tired and cranky, crabby towards my husband, and really didn’t know why. I didn’t quite understand that unless my own tank was full, I couldn’t give to the little one at my best.
Before I realized this, it got much worse. I didn’t want to be around anyone, I snapped at my son, and thought my husband wanting to be with me was the devil’s work. It even started affecting my performance at work – my 100% commission sales job.
This is when I started to realize that I wasn’t my best self, and I decided I would go on a mission to figure out what it meant to be and feel better. Truthfully, I had NO idea where to start.
This was also about the time that my husband asked me “Sam, how come we don’t have FUN anymore?” What? I didn’t realize that it had gotten that bad. Seriously. I was oblivious to the longer term effects that were taking place because of my ignorance.
Thus began my self care journey. I started reading everything that I could get my hands on. I discovered again how much I loved reading, and how much I had missed it in my day to day. Major Book Nerd Here.
I looked at all the pieces of my life and realized that things were pretty out of wack and my priorities weren’t in the order that I truly wanted them to be. So I got to work.
Self-Care, as I discovered, has to do with filling yourself up with the things that bring you joy and fulfillment before giving your entire self away to the people that may need you most. Seriously, I was dumb-founded.
I had been giving on an empty tank, and as some have found out, the car doesn’t run without fuel to keep it going. I had to start by asking myself, what DID fuel me? What did I enjoy doing that brought me a tremendous amount of joy and happiness?
One of those things is reading, but then I discovered blogging. I love writing, so I had to make the conscious effort to do it more. For the first time in a long time, I finally was starting to feel more full, so I kept chasing this idea of fuel.
What fueled me in my marriage? As a mother? How about as a daughter/sister? I looked at each of the pieces and tried to figure out what gave me joy and fulfillment in each piece of life. It was thrilling.
I discovered that my husband and I hadn’t been speaking the correct love language to each other, or that the things my husband liked to do as a family, weren’t necessarily the same things that fueled me up. I love spending time together like at the Zoo, but hanging out at my in laws doesn’t really do it for me. My husband on the other hand, feeds off of seeing his family – which is great!
The whole experience is really just teaching us the different ways that we like to be loved and heard. We started communicating better, because we knew better what we needed and wanted – Including in the bedroom.
With my son, I started to realize that the things that fueled me most were doing activities and games with him, taking him to the park and hanging out at home making pancakes. What didn’t fuel me? Making sure that he was organized in his closet or that every single load of laundry was done.
Some of you are like “Your house is probably a dirty terrible place” Well no. I just don’t prioritize it over being a great mom. In my eyes, being a great mom is defined to me as being present and spending quality time with my son. The dishes can wait!
The idea of self-care for some women can look like bubble baths and spa days and massages. For others, it’s an entire day devoted to the four legged hearts in the barn and giving them a good grooming and chores done early. For other people, it looks like meeting up for coffee with a friend, or even just treating yourself with ice cream once in a while.
There are ways to take care of yourself without spending money too. Let’s say your thing is Yoga – Go on YouTube and look up any yoga classes you want! This is actually how I started practicing it. Instead of going to wine and paint night out, find your buried craft supplies and do it at home. Make a game night with friends and make your own lattes. The point here is if you are on a tight budget, get creative and just start.
You have to make time for yourself, or else you aren’t going to feel or act like yourself. And that really isn’t fair to the other people around you. Your babies and husband need you to be your best, not just for them, but so that you can be happy and fulfilled as well.
All it takes is a single step in the right direction to really take your life to the next level, including self care. If you aren’t your best self, than how can you expect to show up well for others in your life?
This idea of self-care truly is going to be different for everyone- including men. The first step is just starting with the right questions. What fills me up? What do I need to stop doing in order to do more of those things? When in my day can I do more of these things?
What are some of the things you do to practice self-care and self-love? How do you show up for your family best? Are there things that others should know? Drop a comment below or check out our Facebook page to hop in the conversation!
You are incredible!! Just keep moving forward!