You know you’re a mom when you look up and it’s been two months since your last pedicure. Or maybe that’s just me? One of the things I struggle with most in motherhood is making time to take care of myself. Sure, I shower every night – one of my life’s simple joys is a shower at night when everyone in my house is asleep. Yes, I use some nice skincare products on my face each day. And I even put on a little makeup when I have extra time in the mornings. But the pre-mom version of Jerrell had bi-weekly appointments at the hair and nail salons. She had time to watch YouTube makeup tutorials and actually put them to good use. She had time to read magazines and go shopping and “Netflix and Chill” (which was just called “binge watching” back then) every Saturday. The mom version of me gets her hair and nails done when she has an event coming up or when she simply can’t stand looking at her undone self any longer. She has pared her makeup collection down to the products she can apply the quickest. And she only binge watches tv during the first trimester of her pregnancies and middle of the night nursing sessions.
When I lived in Virginia, I was better at taking “me time” because I had lots of babysitters in my family. And because my mom wasn’t as nice as my husband is and would tell me when I looked a mess. In Orlando, it has been difficult to find people who are available during the day to watch the girls. Sometimes, I feel guilty even asking people to babysit because I don’t want to inconvenience them. And truthfully, I don’t even really think about it most of the time. I’ve gotten used to spending all of my time with my kids and putting self-care last on my to-do list.
That has to stop.
I love my husband and my children. I willingly signed up to be a stay-at-home mom and housewife and I’m so happy with that decision. But when I’m not taking proper care of myself, everything suffers. My relationship with my husband suffers because I pull away when I don’t feel good about myself, and I’m simply too exhausted to give him the attention he needs. My relationship with my girls suffers because, after being with them nonstop for days (weeks) on end, my patience grows thin and my temper grows short. And I suffer, not only because my eyebrows have grown into caterpillars or my hair has been in an ugly bun for weeks, but because I haven’t given myself time to reset and recharge. I haven’t given myself time to just be Jerrell.
So what does self-care look like for me during these little years? It’s not just a mani/pedi or a blowout, even though those things surely count and are important to me. Self-care can also be reading a new (non-parenting) book or taking the time to write this blog post. It’s having breakfast with a girlfriend (even if we have to bring our babies) or a date night with my husband (even if we don’t leave the house until after bedtime). Sometimes it’s simply running errands alone and getting to listen to a podcast in the car instead of listening to Matilda play in the backseat for the 75th time. Most of the time, self-care happens in the middle of a day that is otherwise filled with momming. Sometimes, if I can manage to get the girls into bed early, it happens at night in the peace and quiet of my living room. And every now and then, it’s a full day away on the weekend. (Like a few weekends ago when two sweet friends took the girls for a full day and night so Sam and I could both get a break. It was glorious!)
As I prepare for the birth of my third child, and the busyness that addition will bring, I know that I need to make self-care more of a habit. So I’m challenging myself to one me-moment every single day. I know that some days the only self-care I’ll have time for is that long shower in the quiet of the night, and that’s ok. But I hope that I can make more time for myself during this season. Because I really do deserve it. And my entire family will benefit from it.
What does self-care look like for you in your current season?