Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had fabulous weekends full of fun and relaxation. R was off this past weekend and despite the super rainy conditions, it turned out to be a nice couple of days.
Yesterday we had a little day date thanks to my sweet mom (he starts a 9 day stretch today, so it was our last chance to connect minus kiddos for a while). We went to what is fast becoming my new favorite place, Fine Creek Brewing out in Powhatan. I love, LOVE, Richmond breweries (in fact there’s an article I wrote coming out soon about my favorite family friendly breweries, that’s how much I love them). But sometimes I really crave a more Charlottesville-esque brewery, somewhere picturesque and rural, with lots of outdoor space and a big fireplace and a cozy, woodsy vibe. Fine Creek absolutely fills that niche. It’s gorgeous, all rustic wood and beams and big stone fireplaces, and the outdoor space is so pretty too. I can’t wait until spring/summer to be able to go and sit out at the big picnic tables or play cornhole in the field there.
I got the Farmhouse Saison which was right up my alley (I love an orange-y wheat-y beer).
I try to be pretty insistent on carving out time for dates, at least once a month, even if it’s during the day or a quick drink out in the evening. We love spending time with our children, but I think it is essential for a married couple to spend time without their kids. We’ve gone to Fine Creek with Bobby and Ryland before and had fun, but with any kid included outing you’re always kind of half listening, half doing something else, half tackling your toddler to prevent her from diving headfirst into the fireplace. You don’t really focus on your spouse or speak in full sentences or taste the food you’re eating. We won’t be going out on Valentine’s (not that I really care that much about Valentine’s Day as a holiday) so this was a nice little chance to have a mini date.
Rewinding a bit more, on Saturday during Ryland’s nap I got out for a mani/pedi.
It was a really nice and much needed break, and it got me thinking about how important self care is. I am a firm believer that you can’t take care of other people without also taking care of yourself, but because I am a mom and a (lapsed) Catholic, I also deal with a lot of guilt when I do take time for myself. If I let myself slide down the crazy slope, I will start feeling selfish or self indulgent or frivolous. Pioneer women didn’t get mani/pedis or go to the gym or have girls nights and they did just fine! I’m pretty sure spin classes weren’t around for the Vikings. Who do I think I am needing these luxuries, the Queen of England!? (also pretty sure she doesn’t do spin classes, but just go with me)
I think as a mom, especially a new mom, you sort of have whiplash the first few years, from going to a life where you could do whatever you want, whenever you want, to a life where you can’t so much as go for a run in your neighborhood without arranging a babysitter. And it’s hard to navigate this massive change, and especially hard to figure out how to take time for yourself without feeling bad about it. We all want to be that super mom, whether we’re working or staying home. And it creates so much pressure. There have been a ton of great articles recently about the “invisible workload” mothers carry. Basically a woman either works outside the home or works as a full time mom (and momming is a full time job, anyone who has done it knows this beyond a shadow of a doubt). But in addition to either job, a mom carries the burden of all this invisible crap that runs through her mind all day turning her into a crazy person. And it never ends. It follows a mom in every waking moment and in her sleep. There is an awesome poem written by Ellen Seidman, on her blog, Love That Max, that describes this “invisible workload.” It’s so good you should read it in full, but I’ll excerpt a big chunk of it here.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on clean silverware/
• I am the person who notices we are running low on coffee pods.
I am the person who notices we are running low on clean underwear, unless you count the pairs with holes which some people do.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on toothpaste/dental floss/mouthwash/anti-cavity rinse in bubble gum flavor and NOT the one with SpongeBob on the bottle/soap/shower gel/shampoo/conditioner/that detangling spray that supposedly wards off lice [insert product critical to good hygiene].
• I am the person who notices we are running low on matching socks, unless you count the pairs with holes which some people do.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on eggs, milk, bread, yogurt, butter, cream cheese, chocolate ice-cream, that pasta shaped like little wheels, Cheerios and other food basics.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on granola bars, brownie bites, dried fruit, kale chips, cheese sticks, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and other lifesaving snacks.
I am the person who notices we are running low on ketchup, one heavy burden to bear.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on OJ, juice boxes, chocolate syrup and the organic strawberry lemonade our son has been drinking by the gallon.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on Bac-Os, although I keep meaning to look those up to see if they might kill us.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on creamy peanut butter and chunky peanut butter and Natural with Honey peanut butter and whipped peanut butter and I so wish our family had consensus on p.b.
I am the person who notice we are running low on sprinkles, that essential food group.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on aluminum foil, plastic wrap and Ziploc bags. (As someone wise once said, “You can never be too rich or too thin or have too many Ziploc bags.”)
• I am the person who notices we are running low on vitamins, aspirin, Tylenol and Midol, and while I am the only one to care about running out of Midol it would benefit other people to care about this too.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on tissues, Children’s Tylenol, Benadryl, Band-Aids, Neosporin, bacitracin, Aquaphor, more Band-Aids [insert items critical to children’s well-being].
• I am the person who notices we are running low on gift wrap, birthday cards and birthday candles.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on light bulbs.
• I am person who notices we are running low on dry-cleaned clothes to wear to work.
I am the person who notices we are running low on AA batteries, AAA batteries, C batteries, D batteries, 9-volt batteries and ALL OF THE BATTERIES.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on crayons, markers, colored paper, tape, glue sticks, glitter, index cards, highlighters and, sigh, who was the last person to use the scissors?
• I am the person who notices we are running low on paper towels, sponges, laundry detergent, bleach, stain spray, dishwasher detergent, sponges, dish soap, refills for the scrubbing thingies, bathroom soap, hand sanitizer, bathroom cleaner, furniture polish, dust rags, floor cleaner, glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaner [insert products critical to household cleanliness].
• I am the person who notices we are running low on children’s outerwear after most has gotten left at one activity or another.
• I am also the person who notices we are running low on children’s clothing that actually fits them.
• Not to mention shoes that still fit them.
• And the hats.
I am the person who notices we are running low on storage space for all the toys and games and race cars and fire trucks and crappy plastic thingies from birthday party goody bags.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on stamps/matches/paper clips/
various crucial little things.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on family photos and that we’d better take some before the kids are in college.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on sunscreen, bug spray and Chapstick.
• I am the person who notices we are running low on writing utensils and where do all the pens go, anyway?”
Awesome right? She just hits the nail on the head of the universe of tasks and lists that run through a mom’s head. But my point in all of this is basically to illustrate why you NEED to take that little time for self care. Otherwise you will go insane. And I mean that quite literally. Because who couldn’t not go insane right? I’m sure pioneer women and viking moms did go crazy, but back then everyone was just like, oh there goes Nancy running through the wheat fields naked again. Don’t mind her. That’s just her monthly exercise. Or oh Helga, she’s not weeping into her mead. She just has allergies!
I don’t really want to run through a field naked or do some mead weeping, and because of that I try really hard to practice self care. For me that can be a mani/pedi or massage, an exercise class or a night out with girlfriends, or even just a trip to Starbucks for some solo time to write. If I can get a babysitter (which thanks to my mom and awesome friends I usually can), I really try to use that time to do things that are restorative. Sure, I could go to the grocery store or clean the house without a toddler trying to play with the vacuum cord, but that isn’t going to do anything to fill up my spirit tank. I’m not going to come back to my kids feeling relaxed or energized. So I really try to prioritize that time to do things that are for me, even if there’s that little voice in the back of my head that wants to suggest it’s selfish.
I also try to find time for self care even when my kids are around. I take a shower every day, even if it means the baby fusses a little or Ryland destroys our bathroom. I watch some mama TV, which typically involves some Housewives or Sur employees. Because my brain needs that little mental version of a candy bar, sweet and easily digestible and kind of bad for me but worth it. I take the stroller for walks in the city, even though it’s out of the way, because it brings me joy. I make that third (or fourth…) cup of coffee and savor it while I put on Sesame Street to keep Ryland entertained. I sit in the bathroom with the door closed so she can’t see and eat a cookie without sharing a single bite. I pour that sweet, sweet glass of wine at 5pm and sip it while I give Ryland dinner or a bath.
And this is all just what self care looks like for me. For some women it might be a Bible study or meditation or knitting. Some women hate shopping and mani/pedis and would rather use that time to go for a run or check out an antique store. No version of self care is bad if it makes you happy. Nothing is vain or stupid if it feels good to you.
Basically this is a really long winded way of saying that I hope any mamas (or anyone really, because we all need self care, whether you’re a crazy busy career women without kids or a mom of 7 who hasn’t stepped foot in an office in her life) who read this know that it’s okay to take some time for self care. It doesn’t make you a bad mom or selfish or self centered. It makes you human. And at the end of the day you’ll be a better mom (or person) because of it.
I’d love to hear from you! What do you guys do for self care? Facials? Listening to music? Carving sculptures out of sticks of butter? (hey to each his own)