When we become parents, we learn everything we need to learn about how to prepare for our children, to keep them safe, how to nurture them, the best developmental programs for them at each stage of their growth, etc. We invest and justify amazing purchases for the perfect strollers, cribs, bouncers and high chairs, and we never blink or feel guilty about providing "the best" for our children. The journey of parenting is far from a straight line. In fact, it can be a daily dose of zig-zags as we learn what really matters and how to truly enjoy the journey and not just make each day a list of to-do's.
I have made time at least once a week for the last fourteen years to be alone with myself because I deserve, need and want some time to be me. I invest in myself by fueling my life with things that I enjoy such as books, working out, "stay-cations," manicures, education, mentorship and more. My story of beginning my motherhood experience understanding that I would always stay connected to the "me" in mommy is a unique one, but it has allowed me the opportunity to share with thousands of women that you don't have to embrace calamity as your new normal. You have the power to influence your schedule, to say no, to ask your family to help you, to take off your cape and say that you don't like to fly.
For me, taking care of myself first has allowed me to take better care of my family. "Me Time" matters because it has allowed me to be clear about what I really need to do to begin with, what priorities to accomplish first, and what I need to scratch off my list because it is unimportant or taxing. I don't struggle with taking time to be alone because my alone time has allowed me to be completely present to my family and not resentful that the day and expectations never end.
Turn on any television show about mothers or parents, or read stories about their journeys, and you will soon learn that embracing calamity is the picture of parenthood. Typically, when we see order represented it usually accompanies a zealot mom who might have peculiar ways to get the children to learn, eat or dance. Where are the moms like me? I don't see them on television and yet I meet them every day at school. Disorder isn't my love language either and I don't have a radical approach that requires my family to suffer while I thrive or vice versa. As a result of knowing myself better, I am able to share all of me with my family including the things I love, want and yes, need. This example has modeled a life for my children that says that giving to others and refueling yourself are both important and they are not in conflict.
Self-care is an intricate part of my family's values along with love, honesty and respect. Taking care of one's self is not a dirty word in my home, but a language that we all understand and support. Yes, I'm making the case that perhaps what parents need in the beginning of their parenting journey is to know how to create life systems that are sustainable. They need to know that just as you create and prepare for your baby, you need to prepare and build community and learn how to grow your own life. Enjoy my vlog about why "me time" matters to me. I can't wait to read your thoughts.