Before I was pregnant I knew what taking care of myself looked like for the most part. I understood “Me Time.” While pregnant I figured that “Me Time” and “Mommy Time” would look the same. Then the girls were born.
Suddenly I wanted to tell everyone who’d told me that self-care was important to kiss my tired ass. Self-Care! Mommy Time! Baloney! When the heck did people expect me to do this mythical “Mommy Time”?! When I took a bath? Hard to do that when your kids have magic sensors that tell them to scream as soon as you get wet. When they sleep? But I thought I was supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps?! (More mythical fairy tales told by people who have forgotten what its like to have babies. Even more of a crackpot fantasy when you have multiples.) Ah yes! Self-care while they play! You mean in between trying to keep them from escaping and putting everything in their mouths? And if I find time then what do I do?
People tell you when you’re pregnant that self-care is important but I never really thought about what self-care would look like when I was caring for tiny humans. “Mommy Time” looks nothing like the “Me Time” I had before. This took me longer than I’d like to admit to figure out. Over and over I got frustrated that I couldn’t read a book or draw or paint my nails. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to do these things when I can but I had to find little things to hold me together when those things weren’t possible.
Some days self-care means that I treat myself to lunch instead of packing one. Other days it means I shave my legs for the first time in God knows how long. Some days it means you allow yourself to throw out the absolutely awful “wear only in case of laundry emergency” underwear that you frown at every time you open your underwear drawer. (You know the kind that make you consider wearing your dirty underwear inside out because you were too damn tired to keep up with laundry but you hate to throw them out because you spent money on them.) It can be as simple as wearing your favorite T-shirt or texting your best friend while you’re on the toilet.
To all you Moms out there who are like me, please don’t get discouraged or give up on the idea of taking care of yourself. Take a moment sometimes and listen when your brain says “if you don’t take care of me I’ll make you do stupid things like accidentally wear your slippers to drop your kid off at daycare.” (Did it while wearing sunglasses AND glasses at the same time. Looked like a complete disaster.) Find your weird way to tell yourself that you can survive this insanity. Don’t be upset if it isn’t Pinterest worthy. Don’t get too hung up on the fact that “Mommy Time” doesn’t look like “Me Time.” You deserve it. You need it. You are freaking awesome!