Once a month the Russians (in-laws) and I spend some time at a studio near by to relax, chat, and make art. It not only provides an opportunity for community, but it creates a wonderful night of self-care.
As you’ve read in The Duct Tape Debacle, I was in need of some serious self-love. Whenever I have horrible days, Yev and I discuss what led to it and create safeguards against future occurrences. One of these is usually making more time for self-care.
Yev and I value our moments of personal investment and switch off watching the children, so the other can go out for a boys’ night or grab a yoga class. We always make time. Self-care is a core component of the foundation in our relationship. It makes us better partners, parents, and just better people.
Yev exercises and plays basketball most mornings before work. He has created a great community of men known as the “gym buddies.” All of the wives even know each other, and we gather together for holiday and birthday parties. Not only does the physical work out release tension from his body and give him energy, but the support group he’s created helps keep his mental health aligned as well. With three kids under three, every parent needs this!
My self-care involves a few different things. I get a pedicure every two weeks, mostly because I love my nail lady like a second mom, and because I consider properly manicured feet a good hygiene practice. I also go to our monthly art night with my husbands’ family. The women come together, chit chatting over this and that. It is a lovely time for family and fun.
Whenever I am surrounded by the Russians and the Ukrainians (extended family), I always feel like I’m living in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It might sound odd, but I love having women of varying ages and languages clucking over me. Although I might not understand the exact words, I almost always understand the context and content, and it always comes from a place of love.
I had longed for a giant family before meeting my husband, and these monthly outings allow us to come together, outside of the house, and enjoy each other. They also provide the relaxation of creativity.
I have found art to be an extraordinary form of self-care that relaxes my mind through silent expression. There is something exceptional about processing with my body as opposed to my speech, and with art night, we get both!
I encourage you to answer the following questions truthfully. “Am I taking care of myself? How can I make more time for myself? How can I help my partner invest more in him/herself?”
These are really important questions that we fool ourselves into thinking we don’t need or simply can’t make happen. I promise, you will always have time for your priorities. Make your well-being a priority, and you will thrive, as an individual, partner, and mother. Even if it is simply a shower at the end of the night, do something for yourself everyday that restores your humanity.
Because I am not a parent first but a woman. I might be a mom for 90% of the day and a wife 9%, but I implore you to retain that 1% for yourself and work on balancing how you allocate your resources. How can you pour love upon your family if you are drained, with nothing left to give?
Giving my children 100% of me does not make me a better mother. It does quite the opposite, as it leaves me depleted and impatient. It also puts strain on my marriage. I was a wife before I became a mother, and if I want to remain in an engaging relationship, I must spend time with my husband.
Our relationship needs a spot on our hierarchy of needs, and each family unit will decide how to allocate emotional, physical, and financial resources. Luckily these are renewable resources, but we have to carve out the time to rest and recharge.