There are lots of little things we can do to take care of ourselves. Some of the things my fellow contributors have written about are things I also enjoy – reading, journaling, craft projects, volunteering, solo Target trips where you wander the aisles as slow as possible with a latte in hand. You get the idea.
But when I was thinking of what to write for Self-Love September, one thing kept coming to mind: work. That might sound odd, but in lots of ways, having a job allows me to be a little selfish, too.
I have been working since I was 13 years old. There was a time, just before grad school, where I was laid off and worked only part time for the summer. My job was such a part of my identity, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Being a working mom is a juggle and there are for sure challenges. But the fact is, I enjoy what I do and there are many rewards that range from having conversations that don’t focus on Disney characters to having an opportunity to use my education and experience in a way that helps sustain me and my family.
This probably seems like an oxymoron, because the time I spend working is time I am not hanging out with my kids. I often sit in traffic thinking I could be cleaning my house or grocery shopping or playing hooky with my toddler. But on the other hand, I can have a kid-free lunch with a girlfriend or my husband. I can take a paid day off to focus on myself – be that errands, writing or a spa day – and know my kids are in good hands. Sometimes during my commute I even manage to catch up on the phone with faraway friends or my sister or my parents – with no interruptions! Like most parents, I tend to work even when I am sniffly, but there have been times I was so sick, I sent the kids to school and I stayed home to try to recover. Heck, I even run into the grocery store by myself on the way to pick up the kids from time to time.
It’s not as easy for me to spend money on myself since having kids. Knowing that I am an equal contributor to the household funds lessens the guilt when I finally spring for getting my hair colored or new bras or a weekend getaway with my girlfriends. And, in different ways and on different levels, all of those things are important. (For the record, it took me until my youngest was 1 to start covering up my grays, and she’d been done nursing 18 months before I finally bought new bras. Why is it so hard to spend money on these things, but so easy to buy the kids the cutest new graphic Tee when their closets are already overflowing?!)
I probably don’t use my benefits to their full potential. I know I am overdue for an eye exam and a skin check. But I do have pretty good coverage, and I’m learning to take advantage of it. Last year, I went weeks with a neck issue before my husband demanded I see someone. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor regularly since then and it’s made a huge difference. But the most beneficial, I think, has been going to therapy. I’ve started going fairly recently because of a life event that prompted me to go, but the truth is that I should have gone years ago. I’ve been carrying things with me for years that are easier to talk about with someone who is completely impartial. I’ve learned things about myself, and seen situations from different perspectives.
Five years into my motherhood journey, I am still learning about what I need and how to express it. I am still discovering new things about myself (goodness knows, watching my oldest daughter is like holding a mirror up to myself every day). But I hope what they see is a mom who set a good example in how to care for herself. My favorite metaphor since having kids: You have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help others.
East Valley Moms Blog “Self-Love September” Series will shed light on various topics of self-love and self-care. Our writing team will include personal stories of how we care for our bodies and spirits, as well as the importance of coming from a place of self-love when doing so. Thank you to Luxe Salon & Spa for sponsoring our series and helping Moms & Women of the East Valley look their best!
ABOUT OUR SPONSOR:
Luxe Salon & Spa is an award winning, full service salon and day spa serving the Valley from the SanTan Village Mall. We offer hair, nail, massage, tanning and esthetics services by professionals who consistently receive ongoing education with the latest products and techniques. Whether it is for a classic service or to indulge a new trend, we believe in helping clients take time out of their busy schedules to relax and be pampered in a luxurious, but comfortable setting. We hope to serve you soon!