My first years of marriage and motherhood (which came at the same time) were spent focusing so heavily on the wants and needs of those around me. In fact, I barely ever stopped for a second to even think about myself.
I was so consumed with being selfless that I never stopped to take care of myself, and it pretty much came to a head all at once.
I was nearing the end of my 20s when I looked in the mirror and barely recognized myself one day as I got out of the shower. I used to love doing face masks, getting my nails done, making sure my hair was cut, but most importantly, feeling good about myself and the way I presented myself to the world. That all had kinda stopped. Instead, I was staring back at a tired, overworked mom who hadn’t gotten a haircut in a whole year and couldn’t remember the last time she had a pedicure or even plucked her eyebrows. I felt horrible, and it pretty much got worse from there.
Taking care of myself didn’t need to be expensive, but it needed to be a moment when I stepped away from my mom and wife roles and focused on just me for a second.
I was so down about myself because of this need to just think about others at my own expense that I started to resent my family. I was mad at them for getting all of my love and attention and me not turning around and giving any of that to myself. I felt like it was their presence, their expenses, and their needs that kept me away from having any connection with myself whatsoever. I was in blame mode.
It’s a horrible thing to feel, and there was truly no one to point the finger at — except for myself.
So when my 30th birthday came around last year, I said “no more.” I had learned that I truly do matter and that taking care of myself is just as important as taking care of my family. My eyes were wide open to the fact that if I wasn't taking care of myself, there was no way in hell I was taking care of my family to the best of my abilities.
I started doing regular things for myself. Sticking with my fitness routine, making sure there was money in our budget for a quick manicure at least once a month — and Sunday nights became reserved for a face mask and a glass of wine. Taking care of myself didn’t need to be expensive, but it needed to be a moment when I stepped away from my mom and wife roles and focused on just me for a second. And I was magically able to breathe again.
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I don’t know why I pushed these needs and feelings aside for so long, maybe I was worried that I would be judged for putting myself first for a change, but either way, I knew that I deserved these moments.
The amazing result of practicing self-care in my everyday life was that I was able to refresh not only my love for myself, but for those around me as well. I could take care of my children better and be one hundred percent more present when I wasn’t so busy feeling inadequate. I had more energy and excitement for life, which has made a tremendous impact on my marriage. It’s truly flabbergasting what a few minutes of focus on just me could do — and how it also trickled down to those around me.
Maybe I needed to hit rock bottom before I could come back up, or maybe I just needed to be an older and wiser 30-year-old for self-care to be such a necessity, but either way, I’m so glad I got to this place.