The number one mantra we must learn as recovering women is: the best way to care for everyone else is to care for you first. Sounds easy, right? From experience, I can say that as mamas, self care is singlehandedly the hardest thing for most of us to learn. What’s even harder is putting it into practice. There’s always someone that needs us — friends, other adults, random children, your children, your partner, the dog, the judgey cat — all there, waiting to distract us from ourselves. Self care comes in all forms: painting, writing, running, helping others, and even seeking quiet.
If you’re still feeling bruised and broken, it’s okay to still feel that way. It will get better. I cannot say how or when, but it will. Find what makes the weight on your shoulders feel lighter, even if it’s just for a few minutes, and do it. Be proud of yourself for doing it, too.
If you’re finally feeling okay, I need you to know that it’s okay to be okay. No guilt if you’ve recovered and your friend has not. Neither of you has done something wrong by recovering or still struggling. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in the why me’s, even the surprising ones. Why am I okay and she isn’t? She’s worked just as hard as I have, maybe more. Do I even deserve to be okay? Yes, you do deserve to be okay. No one deserves to be not okay.
It’s also okay to step away in order to take care of yourself. The laundry will be there in ten minutes. The baby’s crying, but her needs are met and she’s safe in her crib? Go to the bathroom alone for two minutes. A friend’s drama is making you anxious? Put the phone down and breathe. Self care will always be a gift to you and your child because it means you will be able to be your best self.
All of this may sound simple and obvious. However, I’ve learned that it’s easy to get so caught up in the complexity of life that we overlook the simplest acts of self care that may lead to healing. Take care of you, mama. You’ve earned it.
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