The reality of being a 100% stay at home mom these days has been throwing me off a bit. It’s a big transition. And even though so many people thought of me as that before, in reality I was busting my butt to run a successful photography business. I had a good consistent income and was constantly doing something for the business. Yes I still picked my kids up at school and yes I could come to their classroom holiday parties, but that meant that in the evening I’d be up until midnight catching up on work. It felt like the right decision to step back from my business. I needed the mental break, my kids needed to see me more, and I had too much on my plate. I don’t regret it. But transitioning from making money to not is tough. Especially for me.
Guilt and money often go hand in hand, not just with me. It’s a common thing that most people have and some don’t even realize it. Guilt for having money, guilt for spending money. It’s all there. And the guilt to rely on my husband now even more has been wearing me down. As someone who deals with depression and overspends in periods of low self-esteem, I’m trying to be so aware of myself and my feelings so I don’t do things I’ve done in the past. (Like ruining my credit, buying a bunch of stuff I don’t need but was on sale for this or that, buying others things because I needed to feel good.) And as someone who really believes that we all deserve and need time for self care, I’m caught feeling guilty for that too. That Catholic guilt from my childhood is hard to let go even though I don’t practice any more.
But here’s the thing. No matter what mistakes I’ve made in the past, no matter what money I’m bringing or not bringing to our household, there is time for self-care. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant day at the spa. A nice $30 manicure will do the trick. OR using some nail polish I already have and painting my own can equally do the trick. Dropping the kids with my parents for an afternoon so I can read in peace is actually free. Money and self care don’t always have to go together.
You know what else doesn’t go with taking care of yourself? The words “one day”. Glennon Doyle Melton (you know, Momastery) posted something today to facebook that struck a chord with me. Someone wrote her saying that one day they’d have space and time to write like they wanted. Glennon’s advice? “One day is today.” And she’s right.
“One day I’ll be able to put myself first.”
“One day I’ll have time to do my hair and put makeup on.”
“One day I’ll have the laundry done in time to drink my coffee while it’s still hot.”
“One day” is today. So stop what you are doing. Make yourself a cup of coffee. Put your computer on sleep mode and set your phones to silent. The next 5 minutes are YOURS. Take them. Enjoy them. Hell, take 10 minutes. Go crazy. But I really urge you to just stop, breathe, and think about yourself.
I rely so heavily on my alarms on my phone. To wake up (ok, there may be 3 alarms set to wake up), get the kids to the bus or school, pick the kids up from the bus or school, lacrosse practice, library books, and even one that tells me to stop what I’m doing and go to bed. At one point, I had an alarm every day that said “Stop. Self Care.” At 11:45 am it would go off with a nice little tune and I would stop what I was doing, sometimes mid-sentence in an email response, and I’d step away from my devices and breathe. I don’t know how to meditate, so this is as close as I’d come. But I’d close my eyes and breathe. I’d think to myself “what do I need right now?” Maybe I’d been so wrapped up I hadn’t even eaten breakfast. Or even forgotten to pee. It happens. No matter what the answer, even just thinking about myself and what I needed right then was taking care of myself. No, peeing is not self care. BUT stopping to think about yourself and remembering you haven’t gone all morning is kind of self care. Just that self-awareness that most women don’t think they deserve or have time for. That’s enough. That’s a beginning to taking care of yourself. Not “one day”. But today. Right now.
I’m turning that alarm back on my phone. I deserve to take time to think about what I need right then. And so do you. No guilt attached. It’s a small step toward really taking care of yourself. And we all need a little bit of care don’t we?