I have never been good at putting myself first. It’s a problem. I would bend over backwards to accommodate others, but doing something just for me? That’s crazy talk.
Those days have ended… sort of.
I’m a mom now so my time is rarely my own, at least that’s how it feels. I wake up when my kid wakes me up (often ungodly early), and my morning consists of trying to keep her from injury or meltdown while I stumble around trying to get myself at least passably put together. I spend a frustrating amount of time trying to convince my daughter her breakfast is, in fact, edible and delicious, and not something to be smeared on your forehead (she’s in the “I do it” stage and is slowly driving me insane). Somewhere between clapping when she actually gets the food from the spoon to her mouth and frantically wiping dripping yogurt from her face before it gets on the clean shirt I just put on her, I remember I too need to eat.
After breakfast comes the arduous task of getting on boots and coats (a daily experiment in how loud my daughter can scream), and remembering bags and lunches (I forget something every freaking day), before finally making our way to dayhome and work.
At work, I feel like I have another set of children to deal with but these ones are adults. (I love you newsroom but you know you can be a bit much). So I put out fires, teach lessons and listen to concerns, all while tackling my ever-increasing to-do list. It’s my job and I’m good with that, but some days I’d love it if I could just take a lunch break.
Then I rush to dayhome to pick my kid up and am delighted to hear what a good bumpkin she’s been all day. That is until she starts screaming the second I put her in her car seat, and then it feels as if she’s saved all her freak-outs for me. Dinner is the same frustration as breakfast, but with less concern about getting messy. Next up is bath time, which is probably my favourite part of the day as it usually includes some serious baby giggles, and bedtime routine (admittedly less enjoyable as she knows what’s going on and is not for it).
Then I get about an hour to finish chores, spend time with my husband or catch up on my TV shows before I just cannot keep my eyes open and head to bed.
We all have “stuff,” and finding time to put myself first has been a challenge of late, however, it’s something I absolutely have to do for my mental health. For me, prioritizing me can be as simple as taking time for my skin and putting on a detoxifying facemask or going to a yoga class or just leaving my daughter with my husband to get out by myself.
I may not know much, but I do know if I want my daughter to put herself first, as I firmly believe she should, I need to lead by example and carve out time for me. It’s not easy but it’s something we all should learn to do. Life is stressful, especially this time of year, so remember you’re important too. Be kind to yourself.