We have all been there, mamas… The kids have been crying way more than usual and you’re trying to keep it together but you’re one more temper tantrum away from crying yourself. On top of it all, you found a weird leak in the basement and broke your favorite coffee mug. Oh! And your partner is out of town and you feel CRUSHED.
And most of us, myself included, turn to Facebook for just a bit of… anything else to look at. Anything that’s not the shards of the mug you left on the counter because you “couldn’t even,” the list of plumbers you’ve already called and left messages with, the mess you just don’t want to dare ask your kids to clean up because you’re not up for the push-back right now.
And a large part of the Facebook and social-media mommy culture being created has the same message for us, “Mom-ing is tough! Treat yo’ self! Pour a glass of wine and break off a piece of that chocolate bar because you deserve it!” And you are like, “They get it! They get me! I do deserve it! I’m going to pour that glass and stuff this chocolate in my face right now and be a part of this mom-club who gets me!”
And the glass of wine and that chocolate bar feels SOOOOOO good because it’s now more than a glass of wine and a chunk of chocolate — It’s a connection with other exasperated moms, it’s a trophy you won for being a mom on a super rough day, it’s something you EARNED. And doesn’t it just feel nice to have EARNED something palpable in this mom gig? Even if it is just a glass of wine or bar of chocolate?
But the problem with that wine or chocolate (or tiny online shopping splurge) is that it is just treating the symptoms, not the cause, of your stress and exhaustion. That is not self-care. That is a boozy bandaid. A chocolate crutch. A shopping cart simply supplanting your needs.
Question: So if you keep treating yo’ self because you had a rough day instead of addressing the stress, what’s going to change? Well, probably nothing.
How About CARE FOR Yourself?
What can we do instead… or in addition?
- Check in with yourself. When your kids are upset or expressing big feelings, you don’t likely ignore them or start putting on a puppet show to distract them. You check in. So why not treat yourself with the same respect? Write down in a journal how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. What can you reframe? What has a solution? What could you ask for help with? Don’t want to journal it out? Try to systematically go through this process mentally. (I do this with great success.)
- Sleep. Are you getting enough? Another way I like to “treat myself” is staying up way too late to fit in all the me-time I crave after a draining day. I just want to soak up as much of that that quiet and peace as I can when the kids go to bed. BUT I’m left starting the next day feeling more exhausted than I did the previous. And the crap-cycle continues. No good. And as a chronic insomniac, I know I need to sleep at night as soon as I can, whenever I can. (More on that in another post.)
- Eat Well. Nourish your body with healthful foods. Not easy to do when you are exhausted, right? It’s easier and more comforting to grab a handful of potato chips than make yourself a lunch. But the days I take the time to make myself a healthy lunch, I swear I feel better! Partially because I know I did something for ME. And that feels AMAZING! And partially because I’m properly fueled up!
- You Time (Without the Wine and Chocolate). What does that look like for you? For me it looks like hand sewing and reading. A little Netflix and chill by myself if I’m bingeing on a show. (Have you seen The Great British Baking Show? I can’t bake to save my life, but it is truly a feel-good show and I’m in awe of the magic that is baking!) You-time is whatever you want it to be that fills YOU up and sustains you. Meditation, a long walk, a bubble bath, coffee with friends. Extroverts help me here, I just shared a list of an introvert’s happy places! Haha! If sipping something is a habit that helps you regulate emotions, switch to a fancy tea or a bubbly water!
Takeaway: So do I think you deserve treats? ABSOLUTELY. Sure, go ahead and treat yo’ self! But not at the expense of actually *caring for* yourself. (mic drop)
Share this if any of this rings true to you. Or add your thoughts below! I want to know what YOU TIME (without the wine) looks like. Are you a die-hard treat yo’ self proponent? Tell me all about it!