Self-Care and Selfishness
I made a decision to dedicate the entire month of September to Moms.
The obvious reason is that moms’ need a lot of help. I’m not being facetious, I’m telling the truth.
We’re so busy spending our energy on everyone else that there’s often none left over to give to ourselves.
Just the other day my girlfriend with two small kids told me she didn’t have time to cut her toenails.
I could relate, I had days and weeks like that. One weekend I hired a baby sitter so I could take a bath and paint my nails. As an aside I gave up trying to find a nail salon that did not do acrylics. I just decided to do it myself.
I had another colleague who would lock herself in the bathroom just to get some privacy. She even evoked the “no touching mom policy” in her house where her kids had to refrain form touching her for 5 minutes.
But it got me thinking, if she couldn’t find the time in her day or week to cut her toenails what else was she neglecting? Hair appointments, doctor appointments, annual blood work, self-breast exams, sleep, and what about food?
Many times over the years I have suggested to the woman sitting in front of me that eating off her kids plate was not a meal.
As the head of your family you deserve more than leftover scraps. You are the captain of the ship, the conductor of this orchestra, the big Kahuna, of all things coming and going in your domain. It’s ok to eat and be selfish for a few moments.
Just to be clear, the definition of selfish is “concerned exclusively with one’s own interests” and it is in your best interest to eat regular nutritious meals. After all how do you plan on making it through the day? Starbucks and a prayer?
That will work for the short term but what about the long term? The 18-year plus long-term.
How long can you keep going giving away your heart and soul to everyone but yourself and at what price?
In this post I want you to see how being selfish can actually help you and your family more for the long term.
What if I told you it was better for your health to be selfish? What if I told you it was ok to put some of your needs first?
Is it selfish to take a bit of personal time to get yourself balanced and healthy?
I know it goes against the societal conditioning. I can still hear the voice in my head when I think about it, “You’re being selfish. Don’t be selfish, Andrea” It’s a small ancient voice in my head from the depths of my childhood long, long ago. Listen up, chances are you are a great mom, if your kids are safe, you can forgo their immediate needs to take care of yours.
When you meet your own personal needs you come into balance and actually have more to give.
By being selfish not only do we have more to give but we also show our children how to respect self. This is an important lesson and prevents development of the doormat personality type.
Since children learn by example when you put yourself first you can teach them the valuable lesson of listening to their bodies. Being selfish demonstrates a type of self-regulation that I call self-care.
Surprisingly it is a lack of self-care that causes many of my patients to become sick. What if you could take care of yourself and demonstrate how to do that to your children? That would be an amazing gift.
So do yourself a favor and get out your pen to answer these questions:
What are you doing right now where you could ask for help?
Where in your life could you get more support and what would that look like for you?
What small changes would make a big difference?
How can you communicate your needs so that your whole family respects them?
When you forgo your needs not only will you eventually become sick but you also miss a valuable opportunity to demonstrate self-care.
It’s easy to keep going in the hamster wheel of your life but it’s time to take a closer look at your routines. If you just take a moment to stop going through the motions you can get clear on what needs to change.
-With Much Respect
Here’s a Cute Recipe for Being a Better Mom with a Dose of Self-Care!