I shared in my last post how we often mistake self-care for activities that are essential. Why do we do this? The simple answer is because self-care is really hard. Now let me break down why we only do it if we have to.
The first, is that I’ve made myself irreplaceable as mom. No one knows how to do anything because I do everything. This is why things fall apart when I leave, which makes it stressful to take time for myself when I come back to pandemonium.
Second, is the loss of control. I know my children best, and I know how to parent them best. Letting other people take the reins can be so hard. But guess what? It’s absolutely essential to getting time alone. So at first, I just accepted that people would do it worse than me, and I moved on because I needed time for myself. Then I came to realize that people just do it differently, and in trying to prevent my children from picking up bad behaviors from other people, I deprived them of the opportunity to learn from them too.
Third, I don’t make myself a priority. I will take care of everyone else and only sit down once my sciatica makes it impossible for me to stand. I have a lifetime of prioritizing other’s emotional needs above my own, and I have a tendency to do the same with my physical needs as well. I find joy in taking care of others; however, I have to know when I’ve crossed that line into enabling-everyone-and-running-myself-ragged territory, so I don’t completely fall apart. We have to put ourselves first because no one else can.
This goes into my fourth reason that self-care is so difficult: time management. If we don’t set aside time for ourselves, we won’t get it. It’s really that simple. I have a rule that no one gets a snack after breakfast, until I’ve had breakfast. This ensures that I take the time to eat. I do the same with my self-care. I set aside time in the morning for myself, to ensure that I get it.
The fifth reason is believing that we need it and deserve it. Asking for self-care time can be like asking for help, uncomfortable and humbling. And what if you put yourself out there, only to be told you need to hold it together? Asking for time alone can be a vulnerable experience, and so many of us just try to power on. But we are better mothers for taking time for ourselves. Better wives. But most importantly, we are better people. Because remember, you are a woman first.
What do these all have in common? The power to change them resides within us. We are getting in our own ways. People often bring up a financial component, which can be a factor in the types of self-care and frequency in which you engage in them, but it does not have to prevent self-care completely. Make the changes you need to make. Find something that works for you, and hold onto it like the life raft you created it to be.
Why is self-care hard for you?