What Is Self-Care (and what it is NOT)

I am a big believer in the NECESSITY of self-care for everyone. As a mom I feel like I need it now more than ever. That's probably due to how much I neglect myself since having Sebastian. Regardless, I feel that self-care is necessary for a person to be less stressed and overwhelmed. Self-care is something everyone NEEDS to be happier and less stressed, but does everyone know what self-care really is?

WHAT IS SELF-CARE?

What comes to your mind when self-care is mentioned? Getting your nails done? Taking a hot bath? Treating yourself? It is so much more than all of that. Self-care is different for everyone, but here is a list of what self-care is (or should be) for everyone.

1. It is something that should be done daily. This means you will have to plan for it. It requires a conscious effort. It is meant to be done deliberately and with purpose.
2. It's a deep sense of self love. You have to acknowledge that you not only need, but deserve to care for yourself the way you do for others.
3. Sometimes it's as simple as self respect. Respecting yourself enough to not put pressure on yourself. Respecting yourself enough to allow yourself to skip things and not feel guilty. Respecting yourself enough to not be mean to yourself when you feel like a failure. It honors yourself, your accomplishments and your efforts no matter how small or unimportant you feel like they were.
4. It is something that you should look forward to.
5. It is about taking care of yourself and treating yourself with the same love that you give to others.
6. Self-care is the key to a happier, less stressed you.
7. It is self preservation.

WHAT SELF-CARE IS NOT.

Self-care won't be the same for everyone. When I ask if someone has made time for themselves today I sometimes get the response, "I don't really like yoga" or "I don't have any money". Somehow self-care has been mistaken for only yoga, meditation, or spending money. And while it is different for everyone here is what self-care is not (or doesnt HAVE to be).
1. Self care isn't necessarily splurging on a new wardrobe or a fancy new gadget. It doesn't have to involve spending money at all.
2. It isn't something that should happen by chance or just once in awhile. You need self-care daily.
3. It's not something you force yourself to do.
4. It's not something you don't enjoy. While I fully believe in trying new things, you shouldn't force yourself to do things you don't like.
5. It's not for when the tough stuff is over or when you earn it. Self-care is not something that needs to be earned or perfect. Don't feel as though you have to earn acts of self-care. It is for everyone, every single day. It's not based on how much or how little you did.
6. It isn't easy and won't just happen. You have to consciously plan to do it and sometimes it will take help from others. Sometimes you may have to be flexible or choose to neglect something to make it happen but it's worth it. YOU are worth it!

MAKING TIME FOR YOU!

So how are you supposed to find time for yourself when your daily life is already exhausting you? You have to MAKE time. You have to figure out what works for you! Put it in your planner. Write it on the calendar. Talk to friends and family if you need help. There's nothing wrong with getting help so you can take care of yourself. Start off with small things daily or every other day and don't give up. Ask for help but be flexible. Plan it around your schedule and deadlines so that you can really enjoy it, even if it's only 5 minutes.

The goal of self-care is to relax, refresh, and refuel ourselves. Don't let it overwhelm you or stress you out. That's not the purpose. It's a lifelong practice that takes time to create a habit of. So remember to be gentle and patient with yourself.

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5 reasons why I don’t make my spouse’s plate first.

So we've all seen the debate about whose plate do you fix first, your child or your husband/spouse. Now I know it stems from religion, where the man comes first under god, however (and maybe I'll get some backlash from this) I'm not religious. That's not to say I don't believe in God, Jesus, miracles, etc. I refer to myself as spiritual and maybe that's why I have a different view on things. I don't believe in making your spouse's plate first and in our house, I don't practice it. Here's a few reasons why:

1. My child literally depends on someone to make his food and his plate for him. Meaning until someone does this for him he doesn't get to eat.

2. My spouse is 28 years old and is fully capable of making his own plate or being patient while I make OUR child's plate.

3. My son is only a year and a half old. He doesn't understand patience yet. While I do try to make him practice waiting for things, food is NOT one of those things.

4. I don't believe my son getting his food before his father is going to make him disrespectful. I mean can we be real here? There are so many more things in life that can make a child disrespectful, getting his plate first is NOT one of them.

5. Okay, call me a feminist if you want to but I don't think that just because he is a male he should be treated as though he's above me. We are equal and he agrees.

Just because I fix my child's plate first doesn't mean I don't value or respect my spouse. I appreciate how hard he works for our family! As a matter of fact he works so hard he's rarely home for dinner but when he is I fix our son's plate first and he fixes his own plate. Why? Because even he understands that my son depends on SOMEONE to make his plate and as a mother I take that duty on.

My spouse and I are partners. We parent together. He goes to work while I work at home taking care of our house and son. Regardless of me being a stay at home mom he knows what I do all day everyday (& even at night) isn't easy. He acknowledges that we both work hard and he doesn't care if I make our son's plate first. As a matter of fact if I tried to make Adam's plate first he would take it from me and make his own plate as well as a plate for me while I get out toddler set up.

Worry about yourself mama

Self care is a very important part of being a mom. As moms we tend to put everyone and everything before ourselves. We excuse it by saying "when the kids are asleep" or "I'll do it tomorrow" but let's think about it like this for a second. What if, instead of self care acts, we were talking about changing the baby's diaper or taking the toddler to their favorite place like you've been promising. Seems a little different now, doesn't it?

So what happens when we do this? When we don't practice self care? Well if you are anything like me you get frustrated easily, you have a lack of inspiration or motivation to do what you used to love. You become burnt out. This goes for every mom. Working moms, stay at home moms, work at home moms, first time moms, moms of one & moms of multiples, it's something we all struggle with. We have that natural urge to give and give and make sure everything is just so for those around us leaving little to no energy or time for ourselves. In turn we become irritable, frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted, etc.

The honest truth? In order to be the mom that our children deserve we have to be a little selfish. We have to priority to our self care. Our children really do need us to take care of ourselves in order to take care of them. We have to give ourselves a little time to rest and recharge. A moment to not be needed, to not be "mom" for a few minutes and become human again. I know personally if I don't take time for myself I can very quickly become overwhelmed and "out touched" to where I just NEED space and no one to touch me after a clingy toddler has been touching me all day.

So what if you don't have time for self care? I know that not every moms situation is the same but I promise you can find at least 5-10 minutes a day that you can implement some act of self care. That may mean staying up a little later after the littles are in bed. Or, if you're a morning person, you could try to wake up a little earlier than them. Even if it's just a hot shower or coffee just the way you like it. Any act of self care will help you recharge.

What are some acts of self care? Taking a bubble bath, lighting candles, ordering your favorite food, watching a movie or tv show you like, going for a drive alone, reading, painting your nails, listening to a song you like, or even just putting the phone down and being alone. Self care does not have to be extravagant or pricey. It doesn't have to be a full spa day. There are so many simple acts of self care so don't overthink it!

Why is it so hard to actually make time for self care if it's so simple and easy? Because mom guilt. it goes against every natural instinct we have as mothers. We are in such a habit of putting everyone and everything above ourselves and our own needs. But I can assure you once you do it, it will be so rewarding for everyone. You're not an awful mom because you snuck away for 10 minutes while they enjoyed extra screen time. You aren't a bad mom for hiding the good snacks for after they are asleep. You DESERVE that. You are WORTH that. You earned it mama.

So please remember to take time for yourself! Get family and friends involved to help you out if you can. If you have a fellow mom friend close enough that you know could use some time for herself use the buddy system! Take turns watching the kids so you each get a much needed break! And most importantly don't let the mom guilt keep you from caring for yourself!

Caution: Removal of Toxic People

We all see the articles being shared on social media about toxic people. But what does it mean when we say someone is toxic?

Toxic people are draining, and often unsupportive. They cause turmoil in your life. They bring negativity to you and in turn they use up every ounce of energy you have. They cause you to be unhappy in your life. They will pick fights and cause drama. They are very draining people to have in your life.

Now, unless you have dealt with removing toxic people from your life, I’m sure you’re wondering why anyone would let someone else steal their happiness. Why would anyone let another person stress them out and cause issues in their life?
It seems so easy to just remove those that are negative influences but in reality it’s not. Truth is, when it’s someone you truly care about it gets complicated. Not to mention a lot of guilt comes with the decision to remove them from your life. These are people you care about and you believe care about you. In all honesty toxic people aren’t always cruel and incapable of love. They aren’t simply uncaring or cold hearted. However, the things they take from you, such as your happiness, just from being in your life isn’t something anyone can allow & expect a positive life.

Life is hard enough without toxic people bringing you down. And as much as you care about these people you simply can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. 

This is something I had to learn recently. You can’t allow people to come into your life and bring their negative energy. You will end up physically & mentally exhausted. Other relationships will be affected by this exhaustion and stress. 

For me it takes a lot to push me to the point of removing someone from my life that I truly care about. I will give everything I have before I get to the point of realizing, or admitting, that this person is toxic. And it takes even more for me to remove a toxic person. I, like many people who have toxic people in their lives, have a hard time turning my back on those I love. I feel guilty, ashamed, even embarrassed for walking away when I feel someone needs my help. I get caught in this revolving door of trying to fix or rescue them.

Toxic people cannot be fixed or rescued. So you have to be a little selfish and you have to make your wellbeing a priority(but that’s another blog post for another time).

No one WANTS to remove someone they love and care about from their life and it’s certainly not an easy process. However, when your well being & basic happiness are being compromised, it’s something you NEED to do for yourself. Don’t allow them to treat you like furniture. You’re a person & you shouldn’t allow anyone to make you feel guilty about wanting your happiness back. It’s okay to tell them when they are mistreating you or putting more on you than you deserve or can handle.

   THAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU A BAD PERSON!

Toxic people will try to spin situations to make themselves the victims and when you try to remove them from your life they will not like it. You have to be prepared for them to make you out as the bad guy. They are going to want to start a fight and it’s normal to feel guilty when they start that fight. You want to defend yourself and your choices. You want to work with them and help them be a better person in your life, but it won’t work. All you can do is silently walk away. Don’t let them pull you into yet another storm.

Go find your happiness again, love them from afar, but don’t feel bad about it. You deserve to have a life filled with positive and uplifting people.

Before becoming a mom

Before becoming a mom I was a nanny. I had 2 families I worked for long term. One was a live in nanny position & one was Monday-Friday 7am-7pm. After both of those jobs and years of babysitting, and daycare volunteering I thought I had mom life figured out. I knew exactly what I would and wouldn’t do… Let’s all take a moment to laugh at that one! In reality I was just like every other first time mom. A nervous wreck! Spending tons and tons of hours researching all sorts of things while I was pregnant and even once Sebastian was born. I still do a lot of research but nowhere near as much. I’ve learned in just my 1.5 years of motherhood that it doesn’t matter if I feed him organic food, he’s still going to find that rock outside to put in his mouth. Every. Single. Time. 

 Before becoming a mom I said I’d never co-sleep. That lasted about a month and a half until I accidentally took a nap with Sebastian on my chest & I swear it was the best sleep I had gotten since he was born. I also said no screen time… that lasted until I needed to get something done around the house. And the nose frida… no way was I going to use one of those!! Well until Sebastian got his first cold at 6 months old and no one was getting any sleep bc his nose was all stuffy. Better believe after no luck with the aspirator I went to the store and purchased and nose frida. Best thing ever! I couldn’t believe how well it worked. I definitely could not believe I had just used it and actually didn’t mind it. 

Before becoming a mom I had no idea how stressful it was to be a mom. Whether you work, stay at home, or work at home, being a mom is not easy! It’s the constant worry about every little thing that needs to get done and the stress of not having enough time to do it in. The stress of making sure everyone in the family is happy and taken care of. The stress and guilt of wanting 5 minutes to yourself and then missing your kid the second you get those 5 minutes. Being a mom is not for the faint at heart that’s for sure.

But most importantly, before becoming a mom I had no idea what true love felt like. Completely unconditional love. I had no idea how much happiness you could get from one tiny human being. Until you experience it for yourself, I just don’t think you can really understand it.