I've come to loathe the phrase self-care. Not because I think taking care of yourself is a bad idea, but because those two syllables automatically fire up an argument in my head. Mom Guilt starts running her mouth and something as simple as taking a break to mentally relax and maybe enjoy a physical treat becomes this epic battle of my kids' needs over my own.
Last month the kind folks at Gift Baskets Overseas chipped in and sent me some wonderful self-care experiences in the form of gorgeous gift baskets. I was sent a Spa Day in a Basket, a couple of bottles of lovely Cabernet Sauvignon, and a glorious Tea & Crumpets basket.
I gleefully sifted through my self-care treasures, knowing they were sent to me as gifts. (Ya know what with them being gift baskets sent from a company who specializes in GIFT baskets) Yet still, that ever present Mom Guilt was foaming at the mouth.
Did I share some of my English biscuits? Yes. Yes I did. Did I have to? No.
Why do parents find taking care of themselves so damn difficult to do something nice for themselves? We know all the platitudes and regularly recite them to ourselves.
-You can't pour from an empty cup.
-Taking care of yourself is taking care of your kids.
-You put your family first and you are a part of your family.
And yet, we share our crumpets with our kids. In most of us is this voice that putting our own needs before those of our children is selfish. And that's dumb. Our children are not going to benefit from a parent on the edge of burn-out. No one is meant to do something 24-7. Since parenting is a permanent gig, that means we have to take steps to break away, even if only for a little bit.
As for the Mom Guilt that gives no quarter to your need to take a break, well she's a liar. Mom guilt is based of the premise that there is some ultimate parenting standard will be measured against. This is also dumb. Of course there's not a golden standard. There's no such thing as perfect parent. There's no such thing as a parenting expert. All we can do is our best.
Our best requires we rest, reset, and recharge. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got an adorable little teapot that's been steeping and it's time for me to turn on Bluey so I can sit in my closet and enjoy a hot cuppa. Thanks.