The problem with self-care? My planner is on the table with my weeks spread out in front of me. Every Wednesday and Sunday, in pen, I’ve written “face mask.” A simple, 10-minute face mask. How often have I done this simple 10-minute facemask? Maybe once in the past month.
Maybe that’s why a post by a fellow mom on Instagram spoke to me. In it, she voices her frustration with posts about self-care telling her to do more yoga, sleep more, and take more time for herself. She asks when she’s supposed to find the time.
I understand how she feels. Yes, the point of self-care is to make time for yourself so you can destress. But therein lies the problem with self-care.
The Problem with Self-Care: Finding Time
Before I continue, I want to make it clear: I’m not complaining or looking for pity, and I certainly don’t think I’m the only one with this problem. That’s why I’m writing this blog in the first place. Everyone talks about how self-care is vital, but knowing it’s important and being able to fit it into your schedule are two different things. And I want other moms out there struggling to fit self-care into their schedule, or stressing out about fitting it into your schedule, to know that you’re not alone.
Like everyone, I’m busy. I have an active toddler, I own my own business, and I help my husband run his business. A lot of what keeps this home and family running falls to me because, at the moment, building his business takes up the majority of my husband’s time. (Please don’t get the idea that he doesn’t help out. He absolutely does, and he will help out more again when the business is where it needs to be.) And I help my mother, my mother-in-law, and my sister with her two children.
I honestly don’t know how to fit in self-care. Yes, self-care like a face mask is supposed to take priority over something like laundry. But that means laundry (or an article, or an edit session, or a bill, or grocery shopping, or straightening the house, etc.) gets pushed off to another time. Which, in the end, only makes my to-do- list longer and harder to get through another day. And I’ve found that this is true for so many other parents. When my friends and I get together, self-care (0r lack thereof) and having too much to do is a subject that always comes up.
Sure, it’s about priorities. But what happens when everything is a priority?
The Problem with Self-Care: Finding Happiness Instead
So, what to do?
I don’t have the perfect answer to the problem with self-care. I tend to work and work until I get sick and I’m forced to take time off. But now I’m trying to find something between full self-care mode and driving myself into the ground. I’m doing what I can when I can, even if it’s something as small as buying myself a new hand cream.
What else? I:
- Bought a new nail polish
- Took one minute to do some deep breathing while my daughter ran around dumping water out onto the carpet
- Try to remember to be gentle with myself when my harsh inner critic is, well, harsh
- Decided to stay up an hour late one night just to talk with my husband because we’d barely seen each other all week and we both desperately needed the connection.
- Think of at least three things I’m grateful for as I’m going to sleep
- Exercise almost every morning
In short, I’m trying to find small moments of happiness.
Doing what I Can to Solve the Problem with Self-Care
Someday, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, I’ll be able to make time for real self-care. I also know I will always have things to do. But there are many seasons in life, and this is the season I’m in right now.
I may not have half an hour, or an hour, or even ten minutes some days. But I can put a hand cream on that I love, I can paint my nails while I’m thinking of new content for the business, and I can be okay with losing an hour of sleep to connect with one of my favorite humans on the planet. For now, I will continue to find the small moments that bring me happiness.
Originally published March 2019.