Self-care. It’s a buzzword right now.
Some people love the word; some people hate it.
Me, personally, I’m over it.
Not over self-care, just over the conversation—although, I find myself here, contributing to said conversation.
Particularly now being a mother, I see mother-related pages sharing posts like: “Self-care is not basic hygiene.”
Some days I think, “Ugh! So true!” and other days, I think, “Oh god, what is this garbage I’m reading?”
The reason my thoughts toward these posts are so contrasting is that self-care is a personal and intimate journey and a living document.
Women’s hormones fluctuate over a period of 28-32 days (on average). So do our wants and needs. So self-care that makes sense to us at one point in our cycle, may not make sense to us in another.
Also, our circumstances come into play.
When my daughter was a newborn, I was on my own once my own mother went home to New Zealand, and my husband went back to work. My attachment parenting style meant that I spent very little time away from my daughter.
This meant certain self-care options were not suitable for me, nor did I want to engage in them.
Having said that, early postpartum, I was severely lacking in any type of self-care. It wasn’t until my daughter was 15 months old that I even knew what self-care I needed.
My self-care looked like switching from cloth nappies to disposables.
My self-care looked like washing my face with lavender water and moisturising with frankincense.
It was napping when my daughter napped and going to bed early.
Now that my daughter is two, my self-care has changed and looks a lot different in many ways.
These days I want to take time to write. I want to run, stretch—without my daughter in tow.
I want to drink a chai latte without it going cold.
I want to go out for a drink with a girlfriend, sleep through the night or have the house to myself for a few hours.
Having said all that, I want to wash my face with lavender water and moisturise with frankincense oil, though.
Some days that’s all I need, and other days I need more, or rather, something different.
Binding ourselves to one idea of self-care for everyone, and, in particular, ourselves, is a surefire way to feel uncared for.
Let’s normalise self-care being fluid and changeable. Let’s be okay with needing a lot one day and needing something ever so simple the next.
Let’s be curious. Let’s ask ourselves, “What is it that I need, today?” and honour that, or find a compromise if we’re unable to fully meet our needs for whatever reason.
Self-care is a thing. But what that or those thing(s) look like, is up to us.