Whenever I research anything that’s related to motherhood, self-care inevitably comes up. And each time it does, I think to myself, Of course! That’s a no-brainer. We mothers absolutely should take care of ourselves. Then, days will pass and I’ll begin feeling irritable and neglected. I’ll even resent my husband for taking a minute to himself regardless of the fact that he’d worked 12-hour days for the past week.
For a long time, self-care seemed like it was supposed to be a special treat, a luxury. I thought it was about mani-pedi’s, bubble baths, and shopping sprees. But recently, I realized that I can practice self-care on a daily basis by re-defining it — or, more like, learning the actual definition — which is, “providing adequate attention to one’s own physical and psychological wellness.”
For my current season of life, as an attached parent of a toddler who has significant stranger anxiety and still nurses throughout the day and to fall asleep at night, I have to continually remind myself and accept that “adequate attention” means just the basics. But that doesn’t mean that it should be dismissed. In fact, whether I practice my basic self-care ritual will determine my mood and outlook for the entire day.
The American Psychological Association is aware of the importance of self-care and considers it an “ethical imperative.” You can even find self-care in the APA’s Ethics Code. So self-care is actually an ethical deed!
My daily self-care ritual includes:
- applying a full face of makeup,
- having a cup of coffee,
- doing quick yoga stretches (usually while I play on the floor with my son),
- partaking of a sweet treat (or two),
- writing down my thoughts and ideas,
- and connecting with my husband at the end of the day.
More often than not, my self-care occurs while Lionel pulls on my leg for attention and my dog is pacing around and whining to go outside. It’s hardly relaxing, and there are countless interruptions. But that’s okay. There will come a day when I’ll have so much time for self-care that I’ll feel overly indulgent. I’ll even look back and miss these hectic times.
For now, I can pat myself on the back for bare minimal self-care. I’ll get it done because if it doesn’t, I’ll have broken my own code of ethics. Not to mention, all hell will break loose.
How do you define self-care? What does your self-care consist of?