Self-care is all the rage right now. It’s kind of been picked up by mommas as a mantra. A method to survive toddler tantrums and babies who don’t sleep.
Potentially unpopular opinion? The commercial version of self-care floating around isn’t healthy or helpful. Am I against certain things? Not at all! In fact, I think that taking care of yourself is incredibly important.
Cheesy but apt idiom #1: You cannot pour from an empty cup.
I believe that a lot commercialism has snuck into the idea of self-care. Memes on social media are riddled with “self-care at Starbucks or Target or “insert brand here”. Some influencers include mani/pedi/massages in their self-care tool belt, or even more elaborate travel, or getaways. It starts feeling like self-care is basically just spending money.
Are any of those things wrong? No! Do I sound like I have a thing against them? Maybe, but I promise I’m trying to NOT sound like that! I think that you can spend your money however you want. My caution is labeling shopping sprees as self-care. What about the mamas on a budget, the single mamas who don’t have certain free times? This can make anyone who isn’t able to spend a lot of money or time on themselves feel like they can’t participate in self-care, but those items listed above seem more like self-indulgences to me.
the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.“expressing oneself is an essential form of self-care”
This definition looks a lot more like potentially cost-free ideas, doesn’t it? Setting boundaries, learning how to say “no” when your plate is full, taking an honest look at your health, and setting goals. Prayer time, rest time, meditation, slowing down. Getting into an exercise program. Maybe you need to KonMari the crud out of a bedroom or basement. (I know I might!) These are things anyone can do without spending money, and maybe managing your time more healthily can free you up some though to go have fun here and there: get a pedi and then flip on Netflix with a glass of wine. But those are technically indulgences- we don’t NEED them to be happy and to refill our cups. They can make us happy, but if they didn’t exist, we would be ok.
Cheesy but apt idiom #2: Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first, it means me, too.
Don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself. You give, and give, and give. Take that nap, or read that book. Sure, drink that Starbucks, too! I’m not trying to guilt you. But see if you can spot the difference in your life. I know that acknowledging that going shopping for me, personally, felt like it was caring for myself, but in all honesty, it was an empty feeling. It was more stuff to clean/wash/fold/tidy up. What I ended up really needing was time to declutter and create a more minimalist style. I’m still working on that it, but it’s a goal for myself. It was a wake up call. You are important. Take care of yourself.