Self-care. It’s one of those things that, once you become a mom, you just accept as a thing of your past. Along with using the bathroom in peace and having perfectly flat bellies. The thing, though, is that it doesn’t have to be that way. None of it does, really.
As moms, we seem to labor under the idea that motherhood is strife with all kinds of unavoidable sacrifices. And while many of us will gladly make these sacrifices in exchange for happy, healthy children, the reality is that many of the the things we give up (like our sense of style, our exercise routines, and having time to ourselves) are still within our grasp. We just have to reclaim them
The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938.
We deserve better, and we’re doing something about it.
For some reason, though, we are conditioned (perhaps by society; perhaps by ourselves) that reclaiming those things are either a waste of time OR a sign of selfishness. I’ve seen many conversations in mommy groups that include statements like “I don’t have time to go hang out with my friends. I’m too busy loving on my kids.” Or “I don’t spend money on myself anymore. I’d rather spend that money on my kids”. While these statements are likely meant to explain why parents spend their time and money the way that they do (not that they NEED to- to each his or her own), it also signals that we have a sort of shared idea that spending time and money on yourselves once you become a mother is a bad thing.
This is the idea that I am against.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that once you become a parent, your priorities should shift a bit. Budgeting should be a consideration and you have to take steps to ensure that you have what you need to provide for your children. However, I disagree that this means you should never do anything for yourself. I disagree with it being viewed as self-indulgence at best and selfishness at worst. In reality, it is SELF-CARE.
So, what is self-care? The psychology definition would say that self-care includes “daily activities in looking after one’s self”. Some examples would be showering daily and eating healthy. I would expand this definition to say that self-care is a set of activities that we undertake to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. I also believe that self-care goes beyond just the day-to-day things we do to get by. It also includes things that bring us joy. Things that add to our lives and gives us the emotional fortitude to get through the tough days. It can look different from person to person. For one mom, self-care can be waking up an hour early to have some time to meditate, exercise, take a hot bath, or just be alone. For another mom, it could be sleeping in an extra hour on the weekend to catch up on rest she didn’t get during the week. For another, it could be staying up an hour after the kids go to bed to work on a passion project or catch up on her favorite show.
Self-care can also be about reclaiming your social life. It can be be about having date nights or Ladies Night Out events every month. It can be about treating yourself to that cute outfit you saw while shopping for yet another child’s birthday party. Or pampering yourself at the spa more than just once a year on Mother’s Day.
Self-care also doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be little things. Things like buying your favorite brand of coffee even though you try to be really frugal with all other groceries. It can be picking out new (to you) books at places like Goodwill. Or it can be making specific “splurges” throughout the year that put a smile on your face.
For me, part of my self-care routine is buying and having fun with makeup. And not just any makeup – Beauty Counter Makeup. I know that I could pop down to just about any drug store and buy makeup that costs a couple of bucks, but I prefer to invest in makeup that makes me feel beautiful without compromising my values regarding things like animal testing and using harsh chemicals. I also love that I can create a business centered around one of my favorite self-care habits. I feel like having a passion outside of being a mom is important. It helps us to retain our sense of identity. Because while I LOVE being a mom and feel like it is the biggest blessing God could have given me, I also love being a wife, and a friend, and an entrepreneur, and a blogger, and so many other things that bring me joy and meaning.
Beauty Counter is one part of my self-care routine that makes me feel good about myself. And I genuinely believe that when we feel good about ourselves, we are in a better mental space as parents.