The term keeps popping up.
There’s even a radical self-care website.
And I love their quote:
“Radical self-care is about dancing with vulnerability and strength along the continuum between selfless and selfish.”
There has historically been an insinuation in our society that if a woman puts her self-care first she is a “selfish ____.”
How did that paradigm get created?
I’m imagining the fear-mongering and blame placing was primarily created by people that were scared to death that if a woman spent more time in self-care it might mean that the others would have to care for themselves a bit more and do a little more in their world to keep the living-ship afloat.
After all, how many of you wouldn’t like a “wife” type person to manage everything that breathes within a 100 meter radius?
Threatened by self-care.
What a sad statement that really is, “I love you, I want you to take care of the house, the people, everything that goes along with nourishing a clan, but I’m not really fond of you taking care of you.”
As a fifty-something mom who has had little ones (count them: nine of the his/mine/ours variety; four which came from my body) for the past 28 years of my life, which meant mouths to feed (shopping, cooking, cleaning up), laundry to do, cleaning, beds to change, taxiing, activities to plan…the list is endless. I get it. Oh, and add the total of seven years my body was used to house or feed a baby. All the while working, at one level or another, and trying to keep my self-care and identity intact.
It is time you too get factual about the work you put into caring for others and get just as serious about putting as much energy into caring for yourself.
If I had a dime for every time someone said, “I don’t know how you do it.”
Frankly, I sometimes wonder how I did it too. There are periods in your life that you look back and are in awe at how you had the stamina to pull through. You are very likely going through some of those times right now. (I still do.)
And you just do it.
Remember the Rolling Stones song referring to “mommy’s little helper” meaning the valium that they were handing out to moms like candy back in the 60s and 70s?
I sometimes look around and say– where the h is our valium? We are working ourselves to no end. Where’s the pill I can take that will allow me to flow more effortlessly throughout the labour? Where’s this era’s mommy’s little helper?
Are you ready for it?
Radical. Self. Care.
That’s the current mommy’s little helper.
What makes it radical?
Because you do it.
You talk about it.
Without shame you teach the others in your life that of course you take care of yourself first.
You schedule yourself in your day planner and on your phone and set alarms.
You make it happen! Just like you make all those other items on your list of things to do.
You are smart enough to recognise that you must pay yourself first if you are going to be able to have the energy to continue at this pace.
You do it because a prescription of valium written for you due to the fact that being a mommy or carer is stress-full is very difficult to come by these days—and you need your sanity so there is something left on the other side, when you get to the time for “retirement.”
You do it because you deserve it and the alternative of being ill and irritable and exhausted and feeling overwhelmed doesn’t work for any of us.
It’s a sad day when a woman taking care of herself is a “radical” move.
Radical. Self. Care.
Just do it sounds too easy.
Get out a notebook and spend a few days pondering what self-care looks like for you and how you are going to fit it in.
Breathe through any uneasy feelings of selfishness.
We can do this comrades.
I’ll meet you there.
Author: Becky Aud-Jennison
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Hillary Boles