I have a confession to make. A confession of non guilt. I no longer feel guilty about putting myself first. Yes, you read that correctly. I am a woman, a wife, a mother and a daughter who no longer feels guilty about putting myself first and making my mental, emotional and physical health a priority. Before those who know me well call me out about “health”, yes, I still smoke, I’m working on it. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Last night I had the gift of free time. No dinner to make – thank you left overs. An early out of my shift – thank you Covid. My daughter busy mastering her craft. My hubby driving out of town for his weekly check in on his Momma. As I sat down to Netflix and VegOut, I found myself thinking about caretakers. How as women, we are designated this position without any consultation. We are told that’s how we are wired, that it’s in our DNA. That it’s selfish to want, it’s selfish to fill our plate first. That a good wife puts her man first. That a good mother makes sure the needs of her children come before her own. I call bullshit.
I’m here to tell you, from personal and agonizing experience, putting others first and yourself last helps no one, least of all yourself. Sooner or later resentment sets in and BAM! Unnecessary arguments with your spouse, temper tantrum competitions with your children, tears and hurt feelings to all and from all who surround you. All you’ll be left with is puffy eyes, a headache, a sore stomach, feeling like you’re the worst person in the world and your loved ones walking on eggshells in fear of waking the beast and you all wondering “What the hell was that?”. You know what it was, because you know you didn’t make yourself a priority. Your loved ones have no clue, because they don’t know that to put them first you chose to put yourself last. Yep. I said it. You chose to put yourself last. Hey, I did it for 3 1/2 decades, no judgment. I’m here to tell you, don’t waste anymore time and emotional turmoil. I’m here to tell you it’s okay to put yourself first. The world will not open up and swallow you whole. Those who love you will not leave you. Mouths will still be fed and beds will be made.
Now before you declare to your family that they are “on your own bitches!” that is not the moral of this post. Take a breath. Again. Better? Okay. Those familiar with my blog know all to well how I adore lists. So being me, I’ve compiled some guilt free self care, put yourself first tips. PYFT’s if you will.
- before you get out of bed, make yourself think of one thing you are grateful for. Just one. Let yourself begin your day with a grateful heart.
- once the coffee is brewed or the tea is steeped, pour yourself the first cup every so often.
- eat the last donut
- have your shower first
- light a candle or turn on your Scentsy warmer as you’re packing lunches. Surround yourself with your favorite scent, even if just for 5 minutes
- put on your favorite tunes, past and present while washing the ever present dishes. For full effect – put your ear buds in and shake your booty.
- get outside. Even it’s for 5 minutes. Every morning I make myself go outside and just stand in my backyard. Sometimes I take pictures with my phone. Sometimes I just stand there. I feel better and it gives my neighbours a hobby.
- watch your favorite shows or movies. I don’t care if you’ve already watched it twice in a month. If it makes you happy, watch it.
- start reading. Asks your friends if they want to do a book swap. Educate yourself. Enlighten yourself. Escape your reality for a moment. Even a page a day makes a difference. It does.
- start using your fancy creams and soaps.
- treat yourself to professional shampoo, conditioner and treatment. Trust me on this one. A good hair day goes a long way. If your hubby can spend $30 on his “phone game” and your kids can make you remortgage your house for Minecraft, you can have great hair.
- create a vision board. Physically or virtually – gotta love Pinterest. Make yourself something that when you look at it, you feel joy.
- make a Jello. When you open the fridge, you’ll see something you did, something you accomplished. My gramma Leah knew what’s what. … or a cake, or cookies or whatever your favorite treat is.
It’s time to become your own caretaker. No guilt. No shame. Putting yourself first and practicing self care makes you a better caretaker of others.
Merriam-Webster defines caretaker as “one that gives physical or emotional care and support.”. I looked up many other definitions from various dictionaries and not one definition reads “one that gives physical or emotional care and support only to others and not themselves.”.