A few days ago I decided to take a shower.
I know this might not seem like a big deal to you, but taking a shower is a huge production for me.
First I have to make sure that my son is occupied. Usually I turn on a Paw Patrol DVD and make sure the front door is locked.
Not that it would stop him from leaving the house if he wanted to. He knows how to unlock the door. I have found him outside on the porch more than once when I get out of the shower.
But at least it’s one more barrier.
Then I have to make the floor of my bathroom padded and safe enough for my baby, who can crawl everywhere and fast at 6 months old.
I lay down a few blankets and towels to cushion the tile floor. Then pick up the long vines of my golden pathos plant so she can’t eat the leaves (she has tried this more than once, too). Lastly, I place a few toys to distract her for 10 minutes.
On this particular day, I wanted to finish shaving my legs.
I had tried to shave a few days earlier, the last time I took a shower. And she managed to pile all of the blankets underneath her, bonk her head on the tile, and erupt into screams so awful, I stopped after only shaving my right leg below the knee.
I had high hopes for today.
Sadly, smooth legs were not in the cards for me this time, either.
Nettie didn’t want to be on the ground.
She rolled from her back to her belly and started crawling away from her toys toward the shower, crying the whole way.
You know what’s not fun?
Trying to take a shower while your baby is on the floor, surrounded by toys, but screaming and crying for you.
I’m pretty sure this is why so many moms are so resistant to any type of self-care.
It’s hard to feel good about taking care of yourself when your baby is crying uncontrollably while you’re doing it.
And you still need to do it.
Not just for the showers or for brushing your teeth or for eating.
You need to do it sometimes when you do a sun salutation because you just need 1 minute to move your body.
You need to do it sometimes when you choose to sit in meditation for 10 breaths because you need a few moments to pause and sift through your thoughts.
You need to do it sometimes when you give yourself a minute to write down your intention for the day.
Honestly, you just sometimes need to do it because your health and wellness is JUST AS IMPORTANT as your babies.
In fact, your kids rely on your health and wellness to keep them healthy.
So next time you are feeling guilty because you’re taking time for yourself, pause and remember that your needs matter.
Your health is also a priority.
And not just because it benefits your kids.
Self-care, even for just a minute or 2, benefits you.
Choosing yourself, can benefit you.
Now I am not a mom who has ever been able to do the “Cry-it-out” thing to get my kids to sleep through the night. Hearing my babies cry, even as they have gotten older, is physically painful to me.
I have also learned that if I don’t take care of myself, I feel like shit. It also dramatically impacts my ability to take care of my kids and be nice at the same time.
And sometimes, no matter what you do, your kid will cry.
So this time when my 6 month old was crying during my shower, I took a breath and washed my hair.
I opened the shower door so she could see me and told her I loved her, while I let the hot water flow over my body.
I didn’t finish shaving my legs. But I did allow myself the time to take care of me without feeling like a bad mom.
Sometimes it’s ok to tend to your needs before you tend to theirs.
It won’t permanently screw them up.
The biggest lessons I’ve learned 3 kids in is this:
It’s ok to choose myself, sometimes. This doesn’t mean I love my baby or my big kids less. It actually means I finally love myself enough to listen to my own needs. And that I am willing to give myself what I need instead of ignoring myself like I have in the past.
And yes, there are times I’ll pick up the baby instead of finishing my yoga practice. Or in this case, instead of shaving my legs.
Self-care always benefits you, no matter how long you shower or how quick your yoga practice is.
It’s ok to choose you.