Now might be a good time for some self-care.

Some lessons are worth learning over and over (and over and over and over) again.

This past weekend I thought, here we go again. It was my semi-annual, perhaps quarterly (at least!) reminder that my essential self-care needs cannot be messed with. To mess with them is to create an imbalance that ripples throughout the whole household. As the saying goes, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. 

I’m talking about sleep, time alone, and writing.  My three essential self-care items that keep me from turning into Cruella Deville.

IT SEEMS SO SIMPLE, RIGHT? And yet, there I was again, yelling like a shrew at my family this past weekend. All sleep-deprived and self-righteous. (I always become the self-righteous martyr when I’m parenting from an empty cup…look at me, sacrificing for ALL OF YOU, NONE of you whom seem to appreciate my greatness! LOL. NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR YOU, SARAH.)

After a long and difficult weekend I finally faced the music that I was spent. Done. Overcooked in fact. I needed to fill my cup, and fast. I collapsed and slept. A LOT. So much that I took a day off of work to keep sleeping. (It turns out I was really sleep-deprived from short nights with a sick kid last week. Huh.) I sat and watched some old Will & Grace episodes. (Season two, amazing 90s sweaters and longish boy hair cuts. But I digress.) I felt better. I created some art, something that I hadn’t done a lot of recently, spending most of my energy on administrative tasks for my Etsy shop.  (Note to self: balance those tasks with the actual creating of art!)

I was finally back to the woman I was always meant to be! Rested and replenished and once again liking the people in my household.  How had I let this get away from me, once again? Well, over-dependence on caffeine was most certainly one culprit. (I started weaning off coffee last week and this weekend I felt the full extent of my tiredness, no longer masked by delicious highly caffeinated Cuban coffees.)

Coffee aside, you know what else I blame? The damn patriarchy. This idea that somehow demanding time for myself on the weekend is indulgent or not becoming of a mother who works all week and only has weekends to really hang out with her kid. What, you are paying a sitter to watch your kid on the weekend TOO? What kind of monster are you?!

It’s all rubbish of course. Once again I’m back to reminding myself that not only can I not pour from an empty cup, but little eyes are watching me. What do I teach my daughter about taking care of herself, putting herself first, when I don’t do the same for me? And when I DO take time for myself pursuing my passions, I can show her what it means to be a nuanced, multi-faceted woman. Powerful stuff.

You may have heard other speak of self-care as a radical act, and that it most certainly is. I’m thinking it might be so radical that it goes beyond the idea of mere replenishment and recharging (though it is those things, too). I’m beginning to view it as a form of embracing the divine feminine. JUICY I KNOW!

I don’t have time to dive into those thoughts today, but I will tomorrow. After a full night’s sleep and with time to myself to write. Win-win-win!


What’s on your essential care list? Extroverts, I’d love to hear what your list looks like! 

Sleep. Writing. Time alone. What’s on your list?

Last night I found this list tucked away in my journal:

  • Sleep.
  • writing.
  • time alone.

It took me a moment to realize what I was looking at. Then I remembered it was from a journaling workshop I participated in before Christmas.

The question that was asked on the call was:

What is essential to your self-care?

Ah, yes. The universe is wise. I wrote that list two months ago not knowing I would need to see it again yesterday. And there it was, tucked away in my journal. An unwrapped fortune written for my future-self, by my past-self.

I needed this self-care reminder today because the last several weeks have been hard. I’ll spare the details right now, but anyone who runs a household that includes a small child plus two parents who work full-time will understand how easily routines can be thrown into disarray by illness and other unexpected events. Why, even my last blog post was about this exact issue.

Which brings me back to the list of essentials.

What is essential to your self-care?

I don’t easily abandon my writing time, and I certainly had good reason for doing it the last few weeks. (Namely, the first item on the list: SLEEP). But as days dragged on to weeks, it became clear to me that sleep alone is not enough for my self-care.

Why is that the case? Writing is not a mere joy (though it often is) but more like the anchor that keeps me grounded.  I’ll defer to Flannery O’Connor who said it best:

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” – Flannery O’Connor

Yes Flannery, exactly! Without my time for writing I don’t have a full grasp on all the thoughts rattling around in my head. I get twitchy. Off balance.

This morning, I woke up before everyone else and I sat down and wrote. It felt so good. And, it doesn’t hurt that writing time is also time alone with myself, the third item on my list.

Just call it the introvert’s guide to self-care: sleep, writing, and time alone.

(I’m a blast at parties! No, really—as long as they are small intimate affairs where I don’t have to talk to strangers.)

What’s on your self-care essential list, friends and fellow bloggers? Something tells me your list might include writing-time, too.