It seems counterintuitive to start a blog about connection with a post about self-care. For a lot of us, self-care feels selfish — the opposite of connection! We don’t have time, we don’t deserve it, there’s no way to get it.
My most cherished value is that unconditional love is the most powerful force in the universe. We all get it. We all need it. We are all worthy.
It’s easy to believe that about our kids, but not ourselves.
But the truth is, if we teach our children that we’re worth less than they are, we are teaching them that some people are less deserving, less worthy, less loved. That lesson harms their compassion for others as well as themselves. It’s so easy to spend our lives trying hard to achieve worthiness, and expecting others to do the same — I don’t want to set my kids up for that!
I’m not gonna lie — this stuff is hard. Especially if we’ve been trying to achieve worthiness forever! It’s so easy for junk to mess up my own sense of belovedness. Junk from when I was a kid, junk from relationships that aren’t healthy, junk from my own expectations. I can get to where I’m just swimming in junk.
But when I make myself a cup of tea, or go to a movie by myself, or take a bath, or read a novel, or go for a run, or speak my truth in a hard place, I communicate to
myself that I’m worthy. Sometimes self-care means a “jammie day” and sometimes it means firing up the ol’ flat iron, but it always means basking in my own belovedness. And that’s just as important for my kids as it is for me!
Homeschool parents, hear me: You will not survive as a homeschooler if you don’t care for yourself! Okay, you may survive (I’ve seen things….) but you will not thrive. You will not be a person you would want to be around.
Self-care means a few critical things:
- Listening to your body and your feelings. For a lot of us who are “people pleasers,” this is the critical first step. Some of us haven’t stopped to think about how we’re doing in years. Literally. Now is the time. You can’t take care of yourself if you don’t know what you need!
- Talking back to your brain if you need to. I had a bad day today. It was rough. But, in a minor victory that I will celebrate for ages, I decided to talk back to my brain today! When that judgy part of my brain called me lazy and inadequate as a mom, I told it that I am feeling overwhelmed and it’s okay to take a step back. I told it that I can give my kids an example of how to deal with a bad day — give yourself grace, reach out for extra snuggles, and make room for do-overs. It was the best bad day we’ve had in a while!
- Asking for what you need. At least 12 times a week I tell my kids, “It’s important to ask for what you need.” I wait to help until asked. I offer suggested phrasing for requests for help. (It’s possible that I overdo this.) But it is still so very hard for me to ask for help! Whether it’s my husband or a friend, it is a huge challenge for me to reach out and ask. But I am teaching myself the same way I’m teaching the kids — with lots of repetition!
As we go on, self-care will be a big topic on the blog. I hope this is an ongoing conversation! What kinds of things help you with self-care?