If there is something I’m a big advocate of, it’s “Self-Love!” I’m all about it, and I like to encourage everyone to practice it more often. As parents, daughters/sons, spouses, and employees, we divide so much of ourselves up that we are often spread so thin that we begin to look like a distorted version of ourself. This distorted version often feels more like a shortcoming than an achievement, but if you think about it, how can you be the best mom/daughter/wife/employee/boss when you’re not the best you? You were you long before you wereawarded any of these titles. It’s time to reflect on what makes you YOU, and what you want.
For me, it’s having an identity outside of my children. Of all the roles I play, I love being a mom the most. It’s the most rewarding and fulfilling job I have ever taken on, and it feeds my soul like I never imagined possible. My children make me extremely happy, but they are not the only things that do. They will start their own families one day, and I hope I will always be a part of that, but I must understand that, at that point, I will only be a “part” of it. This means I will no longer be the center of their universe, and I never want them to feel any sort of obligation or guilt when they leave the nest. I know I will have enjoyed them and will forever be there for them (if I’m not vacationing in Greece with Ever or too busy at the spa).
I will be fulfilled outside of them by spending time with my husband and friends, ensuring those bonds are strong. I dedicate time to the other people I love, not just my kids. I do this by going on frequent dates with my husband and enjoying trips without the kids, even if it’s just a day trip to a nearby place. I also try to have lunch dates with my girlfriend’s as frequently as possible. Every Wednesday, we have lunch with a vast group of close friends, and we call it “Friendsdinner.” When my kids do want to see me, they will have to book me in advance and make an appointment, because I will have an agenda full of adventure with my man and homies.
Self-love is also taking care of mind, body, and soul. We make time for the things that we want, and being healthy and fit is important to me. I make time to get 2-3 workouts in a week, and I cook healthy meals to ensure that I’m eating properly. My husband would most definitely prefer other dinner options, but I like eating as clean as possible during the week. I feed the kids this way as well, so he grins, bears it, and puts that spoonful of quinoa in his mouth.
I also make time to get my nails done because I hate chipped polish, and perfectly manicured nails make me happy. I treat myself to a few fancy things occasionally because it makes me feel special when I wear them, and I work too hard not to treat myself. I’m not taking anything with me when I go, and I don’t plan on leaving my kids anything more than a quality education and values (I may or may not have stolen this concept from my own mother). So, if my bills are paid, and I have a nice cushion for retirement, I’ll buy the damn shoes (and matching purse) if I want to.
I could go on and on about what self-love means to me and what I do to achieve it, but I wanted to write this to push the agenda on you! Self-love is different for everyone, but a few concepts that are universal (and a good place to start) are…
1.) First, figure out what makes you happy. You, meaning it has nothing to do with other people; not your kids, not your husband, but you. Once you figure it out, do more of it!
2.) Find time for you. Find time for a movie, or a show you want to watch, or a much-needed massage. Read that book you have been hearing all about.
3.) Take care of yourself. You can’t take care of others if you aren’t functioning optimally. Find time to work out, clean up your eating, get up and start something different if what you’re doing isn’t working (only you can increase your level of happiness).
4.) Spend on yourself! We all put out kids before us, and yes, the babies look so cute in the latest pieces, but what about the lady holding the baby? She’s super important too!