My husband Zach and I found ourselves with unexpected early morning childcare last Friday, and while my first instinct was to cram in some work time, I thankfully shoved that nonsense aside.
We grabbed our bikes and pedaled through an unseasonably warm November day to our favorite brunch spot.
As is so often the way with parents of young children when given solo time, Zach and I spent a while just sighing over our scrambles and celebrating the fact that no small people were arguing in high-pitched voices over the fairness of maple syrup distribution.
Then I scanned the restaurant for cute babies I could drool over to quell that nauseating feeling of delight and heartache over being away from our own sweet little miss.
But after a few minutes, it hit me. What are all these people doing here on a regular Friday morning?
We were there on a lark, cashing in on a childcare jackpot. But these Friday morning brunchers all looked so comfortable, so guilt-free, so self-possessed in their decision to take time out of a plain old weekday to do something for themselves.
I wanted desperately to just enjoy my scramble in an uncomplicated, non-analytical way. Wished I could stop questioning the smiling faces of my fellow dining companions, and just accept this blissful time out of my normal routine. But along came judgement nonetheless, and I was incredulous: “Who do these people think they are, just going to brunch because they feel like it on a Friday morning?”
I snapped out of it pretty quickly, but the judgy unease lingered for the rest of the day like that brunchy smell on my coat.
It’s time to just come out and admit it:
Hi, I’m Kerry. I’m tired, and I struggle to make time for myself. And it’s been that way for a long, long time.
Some of that is my kids’ fault (love you, kiddos!). But mostly it’s my own.
My kids aren’t the ones who decide it’s a great idea to cram five activities into a day that should probably accommodate three, max. They don’t tell me I should prioritize answering emails over yoga, that the overflowing basket of clean laundry trumps the need to book my monthly maintenance massage. Heck, my 8-year old daughter used to come into the living room while I was practicing yoga and insist upon giving me a “masshage” (after which she’d ask for one back!).
To my fellow tired, burned out, overextended friends:
You don’t need anyone’s permission to take good care of yourself.
Your kids, your partner, your parents, your friend, your dog, your boss, your co-worker, etc.
And while we’re at it:
No one – not even the people on the above list who love you dearly, not even those who give you massage gift cards for your birthday or offer to watch your kids so you can go to yoga – can make time for self-care but you.
No one can make time for self-care but you.
You can wait for it to happen, you can even fume over the fact that it still hasn’t (“……and how can he or she or they not know how much I desperately need time for myself??????”). But if I were you, I’d take a completely different approach. A radical step in the much-needed right direction.
Decide you’re worthy, embrace the fact that self-care makes you a happier and more pleasant person to be around, and don’t make any room for excuses. Be as self-possessed as a Friday morning bruncher and just make that business happen.
It doesn’t take much of an investment in the self-care bank to do the trick, but you do need to consistently deposit. After our quick morning escape into the world of child-free dining, I had the most lovely day! I felt carefree, light, and better prepared to tackle whatever our three rascals threw at us over an action-packed weekend.
Self-care only works if you do it, and you’ll only do it if you stop making excuses and accept the fact that this is something no one else can do for you. So seriously. Isn’t it time you got to it?