30 Days of Blogging, Day 15

I’m sitting at a coffee shop drinking a double shot mocha and I’m about to read a book. It’s my first self care act in months and months and months. I also just came from getting my legs waxed. I may be alone on this, but the feeling of having individual unwanted hairs ripped from their roots is really freeing and satisfying, and it gives me a bit of an adrenalin boost to boot. 

The reason I can do this today is that I submitted my final proposal draft to my advisor at 10pm last night and now it’s on its way to my committee – the committee of “deciders” who will fingers crossed approve my proposal so I can start this bloody experiment already and finish my PhD one day. 

In case anyone’s wondering, the book I’m now settling into is The Soul of Discipline, by Kim John Payne. He also wrote Simplicity Parenting, which I reviewed in a post a while back. I’ll let you know how this one turns out. 

Advertisements

Weekend Update

For Valentine’s Day my wife surprised me with a spa day, which I redeemed this weekend while visiting my mom in tourist country, where all the good spas are. 

Talk about #selfcareformama. I left Avery with my mom and wife, and had full confidence that she’d be content with her two trusted caregivers. When I arrived at my appointment I somehow managed to bring up the fact that I have a baby, and the masseuse, a fellow mother, was concerned with how I was feeling being away from my baby. I loved the understanding and empathy, and also felt really good about myself that I was doing just fine away from her. I always trust that she’s OK with her other mother now. 

My treatment involved an exfoliating scrub, a deep sea clay body wrap, a moroccan oil head massage, and a full body massage. I barely even thought about my baby. I thought a lot about how my wife and I should do this together and then stay at a hotel some night. Pampering myself, really taking care of my body, made me feel like I had something to give to my marriage again. If I know an expecting mother in the future when I have a disposable income, I’d totally give a post partum spa treatment as a shower gift. 

When I got back from the spa, we hung out at my mom’s place and, because my mom was working late, we totally messed with Avery‚Äôs bedtime. We did her normal routine at the normal time, but then I wore her in the Moby wrap while we ate dinner and hung out for a while. Luckily she slept, but she kept opening her eyes and squinting, as if to say “shut up and turn off the lights, I’m trying to sleep here.” By 10pm we took her to bed where she slept between us. She didn’t fuss at all, all weekend. 

On Sunday we went to my cousin’s baby shower, where Avery met most of my cousins for the first time (I have 12 cousins). Some family members tried to hold her right away and that didn’t go terribly well, but other family members acknowledged that they didn’t want to get up in her personal space before she got to know them. Again, I really felt validated and understood as a parent. It was really refreshing. 

We spent 4 hours in the car this weekend and Avery slept for 3 and played quietly for 1. It was a huge success for a baby who used to have complete meltdowns on any trip further than the grocery store. She’s really changing fast into more than just a scared, frail little blob. She’s my little person. 

Once we got home Sunday night we sat in our back yard and had a beer. It’s the first day this year that it’s been warm enough to sit outside with her. My wife cleaned up our patio furniture, and we played nosey neighbours to our recently deceased neighbour’s open house / estate sale. My wife snuck in for a snoop. 

It was a good weekend. Relaxing, full but not overwhelming, and most importantly, spent together as a family. 

Self-Care Campaign

meditate-1851165_960_720

Inspired by International Women’s Day (and the #daywithoutawoman campaign that has my friends all taking the day off of work) I’m starting a self-care campaign for myself and anyone else who wants in on this challenge. I’m using the hashtag #selfcareformama on twitter (@momwithawife).

I was a pro at self-care when I was pregnant. I meditated, ate well (but indulged my sweet tooth when it felt right), got fresh air, naps, relaxation, took baths just to soak, drank herbal tea… I prioritized myself because I was a vessel for my unborn baby. When that baby left my body, my body became like the forgotten, shed skin of a cicada (this thing:

you’re welcome for the nightmares).
I started showering twice a week when the baby would “allow.” I started shoveling boxed food into my mouth, wearing the same clothes for two days and a night, never brushing my hair – just putting the elastic back in every morning over the new knots and frizz that formed each night. My makeup sat in the bathroom cupboard untouched, along with my razor. Perhaps the most dangerous neglect I showed myself was forgetting to drink water (although somehow there was always time to make coffee) and forgetting to go to the bathroom.

My body has had enough of the neglect, and now it’s also starting to ware on my emotional wellbeing. So I’m working on bringing back self-care, one tiny, baby step at a time.

Quick caveat: making time for self-care is harder for some than for others. Some may read this and think it’s absurd that I couldn’t make time to go to the bathroom. Others, in the thick of a stressful and challenging stage of parenting, might feel there’s no way they could follow me on this self-care journey right now. For me, this is actually possible now that my baby is 6 months old, happier, and more independent, and my wife works closer to home and can help me out on evenings and weekends.

The first act of self-care I prioritized was actually for the benefit of the baby, but I found it really helped my emotional wellbeing: I started my daily outside time goal. Easier said than done here in the winter months in Canada, but I’ve managed to do it – at least 5 days a week, for the past month. I get the baby and myself outside for a good stroller walk (or sleigh ride), rain, shine, or sleet.

Next on my list:

  • drink more water. I don’t really know how much I’m aiming for, but I figure I’ll know when my pee is no longer orange.
  • take baths for pleasure again, even one a month. I hate bathing when I’m dirty though, so that means showering AND bathing in one day. It’ll have to be a weekend.
  • Start doing my hair (run a flat iron through it) and wearing makeup (maybe just some mascara) a couple of times a week.

If anything else pops into my head (maybe painting my nails, taking a nap, dressing up nice…) and I can make time to do it, I’ll document it on twitter (#selfcareformama). I hope you’ll take on this challenge for yourselves, if you are in a place to do so right now!