My New Favorite Term For An Old Habit

I’ve been hearing people talk lately about “self-care.” I don’t really know where it originated but it’s a thing now that people talk about quite a lot. Self-care. I guess it falls along with the idea that you can’t fill anyone’s glass if yours is empty, which is something I try to remind myself of often. I am a much better Mother if I have the proper amount of sleep, if I’ve been exercising, if I’ve been eating well, etc. So the idea of “self-care” is something I think I already try to consider, I’ve just never called it that.

Recently I’ve seen a few people “defend” it by justifying the cost of things like Spa Days or Manicures or New Shoes and I’m all like…I consider a nap self-care. I’m obviously doing it wrong.

But seriously, I’m not one to judge what anyone does to recharge. BUT – I have always been in full support of doing it. Of having something you do outside of domestic or professional obligations, that is just for you. I say mine is running with friends, because that fills A) My need to exercise and B) My need to socialize because my running friends are some of my only social contacts I make throughout a week. I like choosing “self-care” things that kill a couple of birds with one stone because it helps me feel more efficient with my time.

I have always liked the idea of self-care. Well, not always, but since that chunk of time I was a stay-at-home Mom after Wesley was born and I felt bitter and resentful at Donnie who was doing all of his Tri stuff AND working outside the home so he got all of these breaks from domestic life and I was at home all day being angry and bitter. I started that boot camp and it didn’t take long before I was like Oh…this hour and money spent on JUST ME is giving me what I need to let go of the bitterness and be a better wife and a better Mother.

And I haven’t stopped since. (I did give up the SAHM thing though because I WAS TERRIBLE AT IT.)

Sometimes I read something – like articles about parenting – and I think Well, shit. I’ve been doing that wrong for 21 years. But this self-care trend? I WAS ALL OVER THAT BEFORE IT WAS A THING. Although, it is funny to see how different my version of “self-care” is compared to some of the articles I’ve been reading about. One lady talked about manicures and shoe shopping and I thought, “Ugh. That would feel like SUCH A waste of time.”

Man…I would like to find someplace where I could go and they’d just play with my hair for an hour. Or do Criss-Cross-Applesauce on my back. DUDE. I would TOTALLY pay massage prices for that. Why is there no “Middle School Best Friend” spa where you just go and they do all of the things you used to do a slumber parties? Play with hair…criss-cross-applesauce…THAT would be the ULTIMATE in self-care for me.

BUT I DIGRESS. Self-care. Totally a hip thing to talk about but something I’ve been swearing by for years without a nice term to classify it. Find something you do FOR YOU and allow yourself to do it without feeling guilty. I do sometimes struggle when I talk to other Moms who are 100% Moms whenever they’re not at work. Moms who never do anything for themselves, I do find myself feeling kinda guilty around them. Like, oh man, their kids are so much better off than mine…

I just try to remind myself. I’m a much better Mom when I’m caring for myself. And lately? That means taking time and losing pay when I’m looking for a therapist. But it also means running groups and book clubs and women’s groups who study self-help books together. It means sometimes going to lunch with a friend for no reason other than they asked and you miss their face. It just means doing things for YOURSELF and not for your job or your family. I need those things to recharge to make me a better Mom and a better Wife and a better Employee. And some days I’m terrible at all 3 even with regular self-care, imagine how bad I’d be without it!

Do you have anything you would put under the “self-care” label? Have you found someone you can pay to play with your hair for an hour?

8 Comments

  • wendalette

    I’d love to find a place where someone would play with my hair for an hour, WITHOUT destroying my curls in the process. Failing that, I let my three-year-old play in my hair for about half an hour while I read or close my eyes. It’s a beautiful bird’s nest when she’s done, but, it’s precious time with my girl that I get little enough of as it is, working full-time, and it feels like a self-care moment to me, so that is what really matters, eh?

    • zoot

      I do that too and YES, it is TERRIBLE when she’s done. Like…DREADLOCKS but it’s kinda worth it šŸ™‚

  • junkie

    i am a GIANT idiot b/c about 17 yrs ago (!?!) i moved away from the ONE GIRL i found that would play with my hair for hours…just braiding and rebraiding it over and over again.

    it was HEAVEN! and silly me left it…and has now spent the last 8-9 yrs trying to convince her BF that she won’t abuse her power if he’ll just learn how to french-braid her hair from youtube or ANYWHERE! (HINT: he doesn’t believe her!) (p.s. he shouldn’t! šŸ™‚

  • Heather

    I managed to give myself a heart irregularity from internalizing stress. After an EKG my doctor told me to get my butt into a yoga class. It took a doctor’s admonition to get me to prioritize self care. But it worked! I’m much better at handling stress now and the heart irregularity is gone. The one ‘self care’ thing I’ve done a good job at being consistent with is my dinner club. There are 7 of us and we’ve been meeting for dinner every 2-3 weeks for 15+ years now. These women (now all good friends) have become a critical part of my self care.

  • Brenda

    I belong to a women’s club in my small town. We do have a monthly meeting and do service projects/fundraising but we also have Girls Night Out, BBQs, camp outs, and other fun things. This is my “tribe.” I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t met these ladies 4-5 years ago. They keep me sane šŸ™‚

  • Fraulein N

    My cousin used to play in my hair all the time … for free! I got to relax for a bit and she got to practice her braiding skills. Alas, she lives quite some distance away now, and my husband is far too heavy-handed for me to let him try.

    Have you looked into ASMR? Loads of videos on YouTube, and a lot of them involve someone role-playing braiding your hair or other kinds of relaxing “sleepover” pampering. It’s not as good as the real thing, of course, because you don’t get the additional tactile sensation, but just putting aside the time to have someone focus on you and talk to you softly (even if it’s pretend!) can be verrrrry relaxing. It probably sounds a little silly if you’re not used to it, but even if you’re not someone who gets those ASMR-induced “tingles” it still might be worth a try. I use them to go to sleep all the time, but I know a lot of people use them to unwind or de-stress.

  • Meg

    I think the hair-playing thing is an ASMR response! You should check out some ASMR videos on youtube and see if that helps you relax. I do some of them when I’m having trouble shutting off my thoughts enough to sleep.

  • Beth

    My Mom used to Let us comb or brush her hair for 1 TV show. 1/2 hour. She paid in chocolate chips. It was her break. With your hair I would suspect that a wash and cut would take an hour. Go to a small salon and ask them to do an upsweep or straighten(no chemicals) and curl> I watched them do this on one of my granddaughters friends for a dance and it took 2 hours