the nest

the nest

Monday, January 12, 2015

self care

Since Katy left, life has been typically crazy busy with houseguests, work, shows, classes, and on and on, but my perspective seems to have changed dramatically.  For the first time in a long time, I made a point of slowing down and looking at myself and the choices I was making.  I remembered that (much like I tell my 15 year old) I am in control of my own drama.  I can choose to stress over things I have no control over.  I can also choose not to.  Stressing over finances just makes me stressed and tired.  Taking a breath, adjusting what I can and managing what I have generally means that I finish faster and feel better.  There is still the same amount of money available, but my heart is calm and I can breathe.

I can choose to be in turmoil over the fact that my weight is bothering me, or I can find jeans that fit and slowly and steadily take baby steps to add more exercise and be more mindful of my eating.  Hating my butt just makes me crabby.  Recognizing that it is what it is, and that in the grand scheme of things no one cares, allows me to be calm and happy.

In October I spent sometime with an online group called Design Your Day, facilitated by the lovely Jeanine.  The simple step of spending an hour in conversation once a week with a diverse group of women, followed by an amazing one hour Skype session with Jeanine leading me in a program called JourneyDance, was more useful to my personal wellbeing than any amount of therapy, journaling, processing, that I've ever done.  I began making decisions that showed care for myself in simple ways.  Finding jeans that fit, buying a HappyLight to help address my SAD, putting on my favorite music and dancing while I got stuff done.  I've been back in the group for December and now January and am finding it to be an incredible source of support and laughter!

This time of year I generally struggle to keep up my energy and mood.  This year I've chosen to do things that show care for myself and in doing so I feel better have more energy, am more confident and happy.  This is rippling into caring for others better.  Instead of beating myself up for not doing this or that, I'm either doing it, finding someone else to do it, or letting it go.
I know none of this is rocket science.  But when you are stuck in your own figurative "mud" it's hard to pull yourself out.  Sometimes acknowledging it is enough.  Sometimes reaching out to someone who can give you a hug is what you need.  Sometimes you just need to say "it's my turn."  When we constantly put our needs and wants second to our children's, what message does that send them?

They really are not the center of the universe, but our current culture suggests that they are.  That we should at all costs protect, nurture, guide, teach, shelter.  If we want to teach them to be self-centered, narcissistic, selfish and helpless, then that's how to do it.  If we allow them to make mistakes, to get hurt, to mess up they might think we don't love them!  More likely we will be judged by the world.  Isn't this how we learn best though?  Through our own trial and error?
Perhaps it's deeper than that.  If we always put our child's needs first, they learn to rely on us.  They need us.  Our role is validated.  If we allow them to learn and grow and develop, stepping in when necessary, but letting them figure things out, eventually they might not "need" us anymore.  They might leave us.  If children learn that they are capable and competent, they will leave and that is as it should be.  If the nest has been comfortable, but eventually feels a little "tight" and "confining" they will fly.  As long as they feel respected and loved, they will come back to visit, and that is as it should be.

The house is definitely quieter these days...  Aside from the drama that comes with an almost 16 year old, I spend more time alone, less time cleaning up after others, less time coordinating calendars.  I LOVE those rare times when they are all home.  Both of the college students were home at Thanksgiving and while it was a short visit, I relished every moment and felt nostalgic when they headed back to their lives.  THEIR LIVES.  While they are creating their lives, I get to begin exploring my own.  Exciting and scary (as it is for them)!  


  1. These are wonderful and inspiring and true words! I feel the same as I have not yet launced my 4 girls ( 17 15 13 9) yet and I totally get it! Its good to be reminded to do "self care" and not be apologetic...I am so getting that "happy light" -- Jeannie ( from WHS - I just couldn't figure out how to post as "not anonymous"! XXOO Keep the great posts coming!

  2. Thanks for posting Jeannie! Keep loving those girls Mama, but don't forget to care for yourself! (The light is totally worth it- going to sit with mine now!)