What I Learned About Self-Care After Turning 30

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.


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