A very good friend who I have had the pleasure of writing about before is one clever lady. She started a Facebook group for those of us in her circle who seem to struggle with the idea of self-care. She began the group as a place for sharing and a place for each of us to take the time to recognize the things that we do for ourselves each week. I don’t know many of the people in the group, but I have found support from them on some very hard days. It’s a private group and I am lucky to be a part of it.
One of the reasons I like the group so much is because I forget to do things for myself often. I do things that seem to be, on the surface, but are more about the feeling of sadness I know I will have if I don’t do them. They’re more about avoiding a feeling of disgust or of guilt, and those are not really self-care. Since others post in the group it often serves as a reminder to me. When a stranger writes what he or she has done in a day to take care of his soul, I am reminded to take care of mine. Another reason I love the group is because I am allowed to share things that I might otherwise feel bad about. I can share them and feel liberated and know that the feeling of freedom I was given by the care I took with myself was the reason it was ok to do in the first place.
I hadn’t posted to the group in a long time and I realized this week that I needed to be doing something for myself. What I finally recognized is that the reason I am not taking care of myself is because I’m trying too hard to be everything for my family. When I began working from home (and Husband began working out of the home) I took it upon myself to become a sort of Susie Homemaker. I thought, “OK if I’m home all day I’m the one who has to make sure the house is clean. I have to cook a delicious and nutritious meal. I have to make sure that everything is taken care of.” I was making new recipes every week, from roasts to lasagnes, and I was utterly exhausted. No one was making me do this, mind you, but I felt it was necessary. The days when I had to bring Daughter to piano or theater and got home around 6 o’clock in the evening were particularly difficult. Something was going to have to give.
This week when I did my grocery shopping I decided that the frozen food aisle was going to be able to take over dinner for me two nights a week. You see, there’s nothing wrong with getting help when you need it. There’s nothing wrong with saying I can’t do everything every day. My self-care has been understanding that taking care of my family isn’t always something I can do alone. Sometimes being with your family, awake and present, is so much more important than creamy homemade mashed potatoes. Sometimes, the time you are given by your self-care of frozen, processed, artificial food is worth your weight in gold. So tonight, when we get back from piano lessons and feeding the beasts and taking everyone outside and the laundry is folded and the floors are clean, we will have frozen pierogies and a pre-bagged salad. And I will read aloud to Daughter, and cuddle with her and Husband, and everything will be just so.