Seasons of Self-Care
By Rosalia Davi
As a mom, the phrase “self-care” can seem like an oxymoron. And at the same time it feels so painfully cliché – a mom who is too busy to get a manicure or put together a decent outfit. I watched countless episodes of TLC’s What Not to Wear featuring one exhausted, well-meaning mom after the next get made-over into a confident and shiny new woman. They would often exclaim “Is that me?!” after seeing themselves for the first time in the mirror when all was said and done. I was always delighted by the physical transformation, but my emotional reaction to the show is even more telling.
Before I became a mom, I would balk at how these women became so consumed in their roles as caretakers that they simply could not take care of themselves or their appearance. It seemed like they just gave up. Now, of course, I cringe at my naiveté.
Some days it feels nearly impossible to stay on top of all the basic tasks of getting me, my son and even my husband out of the house…
- One of us will be wearing wrinkled clothing
- Someone is probably wearing mismatched socks
- At least one person is ALWAYS in need of a haircut.
And, if I were to look in a magnified mirror at any given moment – I might cry. For women especially, being presentable (at minimum) takes time, money and effort. I’ll admit that it feels good to look nice, but the process of getting to that point as a mom requires a certain alignment of the stars. Because more often than not, the outfit I want to wear hasn’t made it to the dry cleaner yet or I missed my 2 minute window to put on makeup.
The truth is, when I do make the time to get a new haircut or assemble a nice work outfit, I feel so much better about life. It makes me wonder why I don’t do even the smallest “self-care” things more often!
Ultimately, what I’ve decided is that rather than beat myself up for not always being the best dressed or well-manicured, I’m choosing to look at self-care as being on a spectrum. Right now I am prioritizing sleep and my wardrobe, because those two items make me feel my best. This means my fitness goals might take a back seat for a while, and I’m okay with that. As my son gets older and I find more pockets of time, I also hope to be more social – which has always been a central part of my identity.
I know this harried existence of new motherhood won’t last forever, so I’m giving myself a pass on not looking exactly how I did before having my son; but that doesn’t mean I have to be a self-care martyr either. The only advice I can offer to others who ask is:
“Whatever it is that makes you feel better about yourself,
do it as much as you can and to any degree that you can.”
Speaking of which, it’s past my bedtime.
Leave a Comment: Do you struggle with making time for your own self-care? What are your individual self-care needs and what strategies do you use to help prioritize your own care?
Rosalia Davi is a first time mom who also works at a state university in New York. She is learning how to maximize peace of mind and productivity, and can be seen pondering the elusive work/life balance while exploring her home base of Long Island, NY. Rosalia has a dual Masters degree in Gender and Cultural Studies and Communications Management, and incorporates her passion for gender and all diversity throughout her career and personal life. She loves spending time with her family, reading, and building community both inside and outside of the workplace.