Our second contribution comes from one of my dearest friends, who took a giant leap of faith with me by joining Shaklee. We have been through so much together, and her personal journey over the last year has been nothing short of inspiring. Trust me, get yourself a Suzi. If you don’t have a friend who is genuinely thrilled with your joy, supportive in your sadness, and next to you for a bottle (or two) or wine in your anger, then you are missing out! Check out her amazing blog, where she discusses her journey with depression and anxiety. She is also a postpartum service provider, and mom to two wonderful boys. I am so lucky to consider her a close friend.
Can Self Care Ever Be Selfish? By Suzi Leigh
I’ve started doing something I never thought I would do. I preach about self care on my blog, to my friends, and in life in general. I talk about it so much because it is so unnatural for me, which, as I’ve gotten older and especially after having kids, I realize is a common feeling. So many mothers feel like we cannot take the time to nurture ourselves because our #1 role is to care for our family. If mom is taking time to focus on herself, who will keep the kids alive? Who will clean the house? Who will tend to the partner who needs some lovin’ after a long, hard day at the factory or whatever?
I recently had a twitter conversation with a woman that went something like this:
Woman, after having seen my twitter ad where I promote self care, “So it is about what “we” deserve? I choose to serve OTHERS!”
Me “Yes but a person who is tapped out has nothing to offer anyone else.”
Woman “Serving others is what keeps me going!”
Me “That’s wonderful for you and I’m happy you feel that way. It’s not true for everyone though.”
It continued for a few more tweets in a similar fashion until I gave up. Nobody got time for that. But as I was writing this woman, I did not fault her for her perspective, because it is a perspective that a lot of people hold. That the best way to be a “good” person is to be selfless and only give to others, never taking. While I don’t fully agree that anyone can 100% be selfless, that is not the current point. This woman’s perspective is so common that it can actually be very damaging to people who are at their wit’s end. I’m talking about those mothers who can’t even imagine going through one more day of wiping butts, noses, cleaning the same mess over and over again, making healthy food so as to avoid sideways glances from other moms, and still having time to look presentable and put out for their partner because you are still a woman and you are still in a relationship so you’d better be sexual!
To those moms, the idea of only serving others is not an ideology, it’s a forced reality. Those moms are TRYING to carve out five seconds to eat food in peace or pee without an audience and that is their idea of self care. Peeing with the door closed is considered a luxury.
Telling a mother who is in that position that they are being selfish by not fully dedicating their lives to serving others is a slap in their teary, baggy-eyed faces. Taking time for yourself is not selfish, or in any way stopping you from being generous or caring, it is ESSENTIAL to being a whole person who actually has energy to do all the things that you are expected to do. I am not referring to abandoning your family and escaping to that island that you sometimes dream about running off to and starting a new identity (We all do that right? Not just me?) I am referring to telling your partner that you need to take a bath, or go shopping without kids hanging off of you, or getting a pedicure, lunch alone, etc etc fill in the blanks. Demanding time to yourself is NOT SELFISH. I repeat NOT SELFISH. And if anyone tells you different, tell them that you feel differently and walk away. Nobody got time for that.