This rant was posted first on my Facebook profile. In response to an article titled “Stop telling me I need to practice more “self care” by scarymommy.com. I posted it with some hesitation. And risked a big blow up for my opinion on the subject. However it was well received and I had some requests to make it a blog post...so here you are.
I’m not advocating for “self-care” because I want to sell you something...even though I own a gym. And I’m not some kind of perfectly healthy being who overloads on self care...and yes I’m writing this from a spa resort.
All that aside. I call 100% BULLSHIT on this article.
And yes my children are mostly older now. But in the prime days of my child rearing I was a prof and I would have “busy adult” students justify plagiarism based on how busy their lives were. And I would say “do you want to play the busy game?” Because I have 3 kids, two jobs and three rental properties. I win. Today that’s 4 kids, a high maintenance husband, three rentals and a full time very busy gym to run. It’s pretty rare that I don’t win. And it’s not a contest. My point is always...I can do self-care. You can too.
Let’s start by clarifying the term “self-care”. I’ve actually been asked this a few times recently. I’m starting to think this should be a blog post.
Self care is simple - it’s YOU taking care of YOU. Physically and mentally. My heart breaks for the woman in this article and the lies she is telling herself. And this quote.
“There is no time for self care when you are so mentally and physically depleted that all of the last few drops left in your tank have to be reserved for your family because they need you. And it’s your job.”
So what will it take for you to take an hour of your day to take care of your own needs? I’ll get into what that looks like later. Do you need to compromise your own physical health so much that you need blood pressure meds? Or develop type 2 diabetes? Do you need to struggle to get up and down off the floor or worse say no to getting on the floor because of how much it will hurt? Do you need to neglect your mental health so much that you develop and addiction of some form?
What will it take for you to really assess how you spend your time and MAKE time to care for you? To delegate some of those 900 post it notes? Yes you can delegate to a 5 year old. To say...GASP...NO...to your kids participating in every activity available? So that you can find the energy to do your own thing sometimes. Omg what will the Jones say!?!
And here’s a really hard truth. And a unique perspective I have that you probably are not going to like. You could die tomorrow. And guess what? Your family will survive. With time they will even thrive. I’m not saying they won’t miss you. I know far too many widows and widowers to make that kind of statement.
If you get hit by a bus tomorrow the world will go on. So stop making yourself seem so damn important in the lives of everyone around you - and this goes beyond your family...work, friends, all of it. Try that perspective on for size. And then tell me you don’t have time to take care of your own damn self.
Stop reading this for a minute and go into the settings on your phone. What’s your screen time usage daily? What if you took that time to care for yourself?
What if you taught your kids to make their own lunches or you did it together each night? How much time would you save? And you would develop responsible kids who don’t think you’re their fucking slave.
Are you doing all the laundry? If your child or partner can use a cell phone they can use the washing machine. Stop trying to control everything Mary and loosen your bone Wilma. Delegate. So you can get your ass to bed at a decent time.
Look for efficiencies in your day. This was something Kristen Schnepp Giger and I did when we were in the early days of life as suicide widows. Where can you make more time. Sometimes it’s little things. Like making two coffees in the morning. One in a cup and one in a to go mug...just saved 5 min.
Sometimes creating time means learning new habits that you initially won’t believe will help. Like planning your meals at 5am on a Sunday morning...GASP you didn’t sleep in?!?...so that dinner stress becomes non-existent during the week. And a bunch of other time saving habits that are part of a healthy - boundary laden life.
So what does self care look like to me? It’s an hour. Not necessarily all at the same time. Usually for me it’s 15 minutes of quiet time and meditation first thing in the morning...I can’t stress enough how POWERFUL it is as a woman and mother to do something for YOU first thing in the morning. Before you take care of everyone else. And about 45 minutes of moving my body some other time of day. Sometimes that’s a sweaty mess workout. Sometimes it’s flow and stretch. Sometimes it’s a walk with my pup.
For a lot of my clients it’s coming to class. And maybe that takes a whole 1:15 of their day. GASP. The point is you find and MAKE the time that works for you.
And no those post it notes won’t magically disappear. But you’ll have FAR more energy to tackle them. And you won’t feel like a depleted chicken with your head cut off while doing it.
Who the fuck wants to feel like that anyways.
As you were. Or maybe...as you were not.
I am Michelle. Above all I am a mother of four incredible little beings. I am a certified Personal Trainer and Healthy Eating Coach, an educator and a real estate investor. I am a coach who also participates fully as a fitness enthusiast, a runner, and a swimmer. I speak from the heart and have no filter left to tolerate bull shit.