Self Care is the Best Care
To be honest, self care wasn’t something I paid too much attention to before baby girl was born. My idea of self care before her was a "special" something to be done on or for a special day like a birthday, anniversary or anything along those lines. *cue Martin Lawrence voice* Oh! Is that my birthday playa? Coming across the Himalayas?? Let me organize a pedicure for myself or get my nails done or style my hair. I think most women typically think like this and sadly, this mindset stuck with me for 27 years of my life.
My boss (bless her heart) is big on self care, so I constantly hear her voice in my head saying "Make sure to include self care time in your weekly activities" or "Self care is self love". Honestly, it's because of her I try to prioritize self care time for myself at least once per day, but as a first time mom factoring in self care time is hard as hell!! I mean... How do I get the time to have self care sessions when I have a baby who requires feeding and my attention constantly?
I remember in an episode of Jane the Virgin (a must-see tv series btw), Jane did not shower for the entire week after her son Mateo was born, due to her caring for him - much to the disgust of her entire family. Thank God this did not happen to me due to my need to bathe at least once everyday (a hot shower holds a special place in my heart ok?), but I can imagine many women, like Jane, succumbing to the motherly obsession of caring for their child 24/7. Nobody can care for your child better than you, so you might as well do it yourself right? Lol! It is very easy, especially in those first couple of months, to be so consumed by your baby and providing for their needs that you forget yourself completely... but we can't forget ourselves ladies!
Self care for me now means any time I can get alone (no offense kid) doing whatever I choose to do during that time. Having a kid makes you truly appreciate your alone time a lot more. It varies from just a few minutes alone on the toilet to washing and steaming my hair (either at home or at my hairdresser's salon), or even going to the spa for my monthly upkeep. To be honest, my utmost favourite self care time currently is my hour long shower time (yes a FULL HOUR). My bathroom is a sacred space for me so I light candles, play music, the full works. During this time, I bathe (obviously), exfoliate my body, have a mini concert (dancing included), hold a manifestation session where I say my Momantras and affirmations, and basically just enjoy myself.
Remember that your child is watching you all the time. They must see you care for yourself because that's how they would learn to care for themselves. Baby girl and I have a special affirmation we recite every day (we strive for mornings although it doesn't always happen then) to remind ourselves that we are amazing. Additionally, due to my love for showering as my special time, I ensure that my daughter enjoys her bath time to the fullest. I organize her essential oils, lay out her special outfit (all her outfits are special whether home clothes or outside clothes), we splash around in the tub, make faces at each other, play music, sing, etc. When she's done bathing, I wrap her up like a burrito (which she absolutely loves), lotion her up and put on her special outfit. We have loads of fun every single time. It's our special bonding session as well and I know we both look forward to her bath times.
Ladies (and gents cuz I know you're lurking), it's ok to be selfish for a few moments just to care for yourself mentally, emotionally, physically and however else you need. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person and it definitely doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent for wanting a few moments to yourself. Sometimes you really need it in order to avoid burnout, brain fatigue or "mom brain" as some persons call it. I’m super guilty of feeling horrible for taking some time for myself away from baby girl but I do know it’s best for the both of us. There’s a saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, therefore, self care must be an important part of my life in order for me to be able to sufficiently care for my daughter and thus, be a better mom.