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Radical Self Care for Parents
Today is day 1 of a 2 week marathon. One that requires radical self care.
I don’t mean the type of marathons that you actually run, I mean the marathon of camp Mommy. Camp is over and school has not begun. Our kids are home again without a schedule and a structure.
Some families are naturally more structured than others, but for those that this does not come naturally too (cough, me), this can seem like an impossible feat. I write this letter to whom every needs to hear it but I am also writing this letter to myself.
Self care is important, of course. I think it may also be a bit misleading. What do I mean by this?
Okay – last summer, I was completely overwhelmed and burned out. I decided I needed a HUGE dose of self care. My sister and I (We are one year apart and she is my BFF for life), packed up our bags, loaded up on BOGO pizza, and left our husbands to watch the kids. We traveled not too far and blasted music. Of course, We stayed up late while we laughed and laughed. We went swimming and hiking, too. And of course, we picked up Chinese food on the way home because what is a vacation without some Chinese food? (note – we are from Scranton – a little town in PA that has no take out – so we still get excited about the fact that we can pretty much buy food anywhere). The whole trip was perfect and a must redo.
When I came home, I expected the seat under me to float as if I had gone away and came home to a new house. No I did not. In fact, I paid a high price for leaving. Clingier kids. More mess. ETC(You know what I’m talking about). You see the point is, self care doesn’t fix your problems. Sometimes, it causes different problems.
My goal this week is to minimize my problems, not get rid of them. Although I lament the fact that I had to pay for camp for three children, I finally faced the fact that I needed to pay for more child care this week if I wanted to be sane and I wanted my children to be sane. We hired two teenage girls to help with the kids this week so I can work and also function.
Dinner will have to be crock-pot meals and frozen chicken nuggets.
Last night, I went on with friends to swim.
Another night, I will bike with a friend.
Another night, I will attempt to join a support group I heard about run by someone I admire.
I hired an assistant.
A wise woman listened to the things that I have to do in a day and said, “even if you just had your toddler, you would be overwhelmed, please take some things off your plate.” And although I knew all of this on some level because I happen to be obsessed with the concept of self care – I needed that kick in the pants. When I challenged her back with “I know plenty of women with more kids than me and more work responsibilities she said confidently “they are faking it, or you are not seeing more cleaning help or more parental help.”
And she’s so right.
I tell this to women all the time, but I needed a good reminder of it.
And here is my reminder to you. These next few weeks are HARD! Please ask for help, delegate and ultimately, take care of yourself. Don’t let your needs fall to the weigh side. Let’s be role models to our children that we are important, and our needs matter too. That’s how they will know they are important and there needs matter too.
If you are interested in making peace with food through the principles of Intuitive Eating and the practices of self care, go ahead and schedule a free call via my website. You can work with me one on one, or sign up to be in one of my online support groups.
Check out some other content I have on the topic of self care right here:
Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. As a teenager, she was faced with constant diet talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food. She struggled with disordered eating. This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a non-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.
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