Taking Care of Me

I’ve never been particularly good at taking care of myself.

Self-care just isn’t something that was ever really a priority for me. In the past, I often relied on my exhusband to push me in that department (among many). He would often shove me out the door to go for a run, or would give me “gifts” of time away from being mom so I could relax and recharge my batteries. There were many nights when he would even tell me to go to bed so I wouldn’t be overtired the next day. In theory it was nice to have someone doing this for me…but the reality was (and still is) that I need to learn how to do this for myself. This dynamic in my relationship ended up being pretty codependent and unhealthy.

CBG is a different kind of man entirely. There isn’t one bit of codependence between us. He will sometimes encourage me to do things, but he’s never one to tell me what to do. He just doesn’t feel responsible to do it. That, added with the fact that we’re physically apart more than we’re together, means that I’m left to my own devices most of the time.

And I’m still not the best at taking care of myself.

I know those things that I need to do in order to feel good – sleep lots, stay connected with my daughters, exercise, journal, do yoga, eat healthy food, practice gratitude daily and stay in touch with myself. I often struggle with several of these things at once – finding balance among them all is difficult. I’ve been making a special effort lately to find and maintain a little more balance and guess what? The result is that I actually DO feel better. The downside is that there never feels like there is enough time in the day to get everything done that I NEED to get done, practical things, let alone do those things that I WANT to do.

And so once again I am left with the question – how do I find balance? And once I find it, how do I maintain it?

5 Responses

  1. I’ve run into this myself. It’s so hard.

    This is the OCD in me, but I’ve actually made daily checklists of things I MUST do. Some to just maintain my household, but some to maintain ME and my own sanity.

    It literally reads:
    Get up. Think positive.
    Brush teeth.
    Shower.
    Do hair AND makeup.
    Get dressed down to shoes.
    Make coffee.
    Spend 10 minutes drinking coffee and activity of choice.

    etc.

    It’s totally an OCD thing, but I was the same way you were. Not taking time for myself, not doing anything for myself. And by the way, I have to get up super early to get those things done before the baby wakes up.

    And my husband is the same way.. You’ve spent a long day with the kids.. why don’t you go spend time for yourself? Why don’t you go to the gym?

    I actually write these things now into my daily ‘plan’, and somehow on paper it just seems easier to do. Sometimes now I don’t even have to look at my list to decide to do something on my own for myself.

    I’m not sure that this is the best approach. Shouldn’t I WANT to take care of myself? I don’t know, but until it comes natural, the list seems to work.

  2. Those are great suggestions above. I like!

    I think it goes against a mother’s very nature to take care of herself. Instinctively, we wish to care for the people around us before taking care of ourselves — much like female animals who lay eggs and die shortly thereafter. I know that sounds morbid, but it’s true: a mother’s job is to look after others, usually at the expense of herself.

    But we’re fortunate to live in a time and place where we can carve out little chunks of our days here and there; we’re not always cooking from scratch, washing laundry by hand, sewing everyone’s clothes, living in war, going without the necessities in life… That gives us a unique and precious opportunity to read a book, have a bath, go for a run… When I look at it that way, I think ‘How could I NOT have time?!’

    I used to work out on the treadmill for an hour. If I didn’t have an hour to spare, I wouldn’t do it. Now, I do half an hour and I’m actually on there more often and am more motivated. I know I can fit 30 minutes in somewhere, right? But 60 all at once? Not so much.

    Take care of you as I’m trying to take care of me. It’s an uphill battle, but so worth it 🙂

  3. It IS weird to finally be in a relationship without codependence, doesn’t it? For me, I didn’t feel supported enough until I realized that the “lack of support” I was feeling was withdrawl from the codependence that I had!

    It is so important to take care of ourselves but girl – I have not figured out how to get it all done. Perhaps it’s a lifetime struggle of give and take (and guilt!)??

    • “…I didn’t feel supported enough until I realized that the “lack of support” I was feeling was withdrawl from the codependence that I had!”

      um…wow. This one hit home for me, big time. In fact, you may have inspired a future blog post. I’ve definitely got to think on this one a little bit more. Thanks for that. 🙂

  4. Oops. That first sentence makes little sense. [sigh] before i try to correct it – let’s just say I haven’t had coffee yet.

    That is all.

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