By Jillian Lauren
A friend stopped by the other night and as I was busy burning some chicken for us all, I caught her looking at me with a combination of horror and pity. It turned out my bright lipstick (the shade I chose to cheer myself up) had migrated across my face, leaving me looking like some demented David Lynch character. I hadn’t noticed because I hadn’t looked in the mirror in roughly 12 hours.
“What are you doing to take care of yourself?” she asked.
People ask you this a lot when you’re parenting young children. They often follow it up with a suggestion that is either time-consuming or expensive, or both. I agree that self care is essential, but those suggestions can leave me feeling like there’s yet one more thing I should be doing but I’m not.
Are you doing yoga?
Nope. Not currently finding 2.5 hours a day, including transportation time, to stretch.
Are you meditating?
Nope. Never. Hate it. Yup- I said it. I have tried and tried and have now finally given myself a lifetime pass to never do it again. You can smile at me with that odd blend of compassion/smugness all day long and I still won’t Nam Myoho with you. I will, however, watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer and drink wine with you whenever the opportunity arises.
Are you taking enough time for you?
Does bingeing on popcorn while answering emails at midnight count? Then YES I most certainly am!
There have been times in my life that I have written for hours every day, had a regular exercise schedule, and even had extra time to get my nails done and to go out to lunch with a girlfriend once in a while. Before Bright Eyes showed up, life was pretty much like that. Tariku was settled in school, and had become less of a wild destructive pirate and more of a totally delightful pirate. Things were feeling pretty manageable.
But self-care is a moving target. All of us here at Casa Shriner are experiencing growing pains, as our family makes that huge leap from 3 humans to 4. Bright Eyes is a wonder and we’re crazy about him, but the attachment process with a 3.5 year old who has experienced severe neglect is also a real challenge and requires near-constant engagement. Not to mention the fact that our days are jam-packed with social workers, adoption counselors, lawyers, therapists, behaviorists… So the manicures and lunches have gone out the window, and I’m still puzzling through what exactly self-care is going to look like during this transition phase. It’s okay, for a moment, to have gruesome cuticles. But I do still need to find ways to care for myself.
I’m redefining daily what it’s going to take for me to stay sane. It’s often about shifting perspective rather than adding another item to the to-do list. Here are ten things I do to care for myself:
Please feel free to take that prompt and run with it! I’d love to hear your suggestions for self-care when under duress.
If you would like to read more from Jillian Laure, check out her blog.
The post 10 Ways I Take Care Of Myself While Parenting Wild Pirates appeared first on The Next Family.
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