Self-care; self-indulgence or self-preservation?

4th October, 2019

I recently read a blog post by The Bright Mama about self-care. It intrigued me because I have always been very pro-self-care; I always, without fail, have my nails done, I’m rarely seen out of the house without my face on and I like to dress well whether I’m in jeans or dressed for work. All this got me thinking about what self-care means and how much we attribute self-care to the superficial things.

I’ve suddenly become very conscious of how much time I used to set aside to spend with my stepchildren and how my own children just fit into daily life. And this makes me feel like the worst mother, EVER. But the reality is I’m not taking the time to make the time. “I haven’t got time” is a misnomer. If we really want to do something, we find a way to make it possible. And this is where self-care comes in.

This year, I’ve been more into self-care than ever, focusing on improving my diet, finding a regular exercise that I can do around the kids and concentrating on achieving 1% marginal gains across all aspects of my life. This has gone as far as being more present with the Husband and the kids, using my phone less when I’m around them and implementing my work policy of ‘if you’re going to be in the room, be in the room’ at home too.

In the last year, I have travelled without the kids and I have plans to do so in the next year too (travelling without kids posts to come!). This week I’ve been away for 2 days at a women’s summit and I enjoyed it. Not because I like leaving the kids because that never gets any easier. But because the space achieved by getting away, having adult conversations with likeminded people, doing Pilates without two toddlers crawling under me doing downward-facing dog, getting ready for an evening out without tag-teaming with the Husband when the kids hop out of bed to see where we’re going, and spending two hours in the car alone on my way there and then back again keeps me sane and gives me a little more resilience to cope when all hell is breaking loose at home, which is pretty much daily!

So, I’ve concluded that self-care goes deeper than just make-up and nail polish. It’s holistic. It’s about all-round health; your mind, body and soul. And for me, putting a little more effort into those things makes me a better parent.

I adore my kids and I would not want it any other way. But I was me for a long time before I became Mummy and allowing myself to be that person makes it at least 1% better for the whole family! We can’t be all things to all people, and each one of them can’t be all things to us! Self-care is not an act of self-indulgence, it’s an act of self-preservation.

Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash



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