Radical Acts of Self Care

It’s not that I disagree with the concept in theory. It’s just that whenever someone tells me to “make time for myself” I wonder where I’m going to find a Magical Time Maker Machine. Right? I mean, I’ve looked online and I’ve asked around and I’m even open to a refurbished one, but Target’s been sold out for years and Goodwill never gets any in, which leaves me at a loss for how to proceed.

If you’ve ever wondered about mysterious Me Time, too, please join me over at Families in the Loop today where I’m talking about a new idea — the Radical Act of Self Care. And also about Betty Lou from Sesame Street and children who slam their heads into my lady parts. So, you know, the usual seamless writing you’ve come to expect from me.

When you get there, would you do me a favor? Would you share your own ideas for Radical Acts of Self Care? I would love to hear what you do because I’ll bet your ideas are even better than a Magical Time Maker. Or at least a little less mythical.

Thanks, friends.

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Radical Acts of Self Care
a guest post for Families in the Loop

Anne Lamott talks from time to time about radical acts of self care.

Or maybe it’s Oprah.

Or Betty Lou from Sesame Street who’s one of the spiritual gurus of our time with her calm focus on kindness and sharing and befriending our fellow monsters.

A wise woman said it, anyway, except I feel they should be called RADICAL ACTS of SELF CARE, like that, in bold and all caps…

… come read the rest here, reposted from Families in the Loop.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
13 comments
  1. I have a few luxuries that I use when I can. I am a mommy of one happy, energetic little boy (translation…he can run circles around me most days). And, the challenge in addition to motherhood, is that I am starting a business.

    My biggest self-care act is getting a pedicure. Enjoyable, yet it has a function, and during that hour I read the magazines I want to catch up on. I also splurged and bought face stuff — scrub and a rehydration mask — which actually take time to put on and must stay on for a while. So, every once in a while, I let the hubby know that I am taking a long shower and I take extra care of my skin. It’s not a facial, but it sure feels like a little splurge. When I need to have a mommy moment, really even just 10 minutes, I read a book (but not a book on parenting or children’s activities). And the final one is taking a nap on the weekend. I don’t get to do it often, but even just a cat-nap makes the weekend just a little more luxurious.

    For me the little splurges — just a few minutes — really help. I am thankful I have a husband who tries to make sure I get those moments from time to time.

  2. Call a fire drill, lock the doors, then check facebook for a while. Works every time. 😉

  3. I love this – Radical Acts of Self Care! Far better than Me Time. Me Time *can* sound a little selfish – and Heaven knows us Moms could benefit sometimes by being selfish about getting what we need. But RASC sounds more critical, more necessary. Its not a selfish act only for ourselves. Its taking care of ourselves to prevent further emergency. I think it would be easier for our babes and significant others to accept us making the time to take care of ourselves if we too made it an urgent priority.

    Thank you for Beth for sharing and congrats on being a featured writer again!

  4. Here is what you do. Get in a car wreck that totals your van but no one gets hurt, thankfully, other than whiplash. Then you get massages every week for several months. It’s great. Hubby can’t argue with that one and you don’t feel selfish because it is mandated by your doctor. Double score!

    Lol. It was an accident, really…

    I have no room to complain. I only have one, and although that is ALOT, I still get him down for naps most days, which I must say, is the best time for those radical acts of self care. There are days I just have to choose to do something that brings me joy instead of, you know, cleaning the house, planning dinner, balancing checkbooks. There’s always time for that later right? My rule of thumb is if I can do it while my son is awake, I’m not doing it while he’s asleep. So while he sleeps I read, email, write notes, etc. Things I choose not to do when he’s up.

    Beth – your site is such a great source of laughter and encouragement. Thank you for having the courage to be transparent with all of us. I’m so glad you mentioned this to me when I saw you a few weeks ago. 🙂

  5. Whenever I am in desperate need of ME time, I evaluate the state of my house and find some chore that needs to be done, like organizing a closet or shampooing some carpets or something. Then I grossly overestimate the amount of time necessary to do said task by a few hours, and insist that there is no possible way I can accomplish it with the kids at home and make DH take them out. Then I spend that time either napping or reading or even taking a hot bath! I got my nails done once too. Once I’m recharged I can do the task really quickly and easily (or not at all…) and hubby never has to know.

  6. Oh my goodness, Beth. I have been struggling with this so much. As I am helping my mom go through terminal cancer, try to work, try to take care of my kids, my husband, dogs and home…then someone tells me I need to take care of myself? It is actually really frustrating b/c that isn’t an option at this time in my life.
    So I have no ideas to suggest. Except maybe as we as moms see other moms struggling or feeling overwhelmed and we have a few minutes, make an extra casserole or bake some extra muffins and try to give them a break then hope someone does the same for you when you really need it.

    1. Oh, man. Kristin, I haven’t dealt with the dying family member, but when the littles were littler, I’ve SO wanted to scream “What part of infant twins and two other kids with special needs and yet another who expects some attention sometimes DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?” But I never did do the yelling because I knew they meant well. It’s just… HOW am I supposed to take time for myself, right? There are seasons of life when we simply can’t.

      Sending you extra love as you walk this journey with your mom, Kristin. I’ve thought of you over and over.

  7. My little secret to staying sane: fancy soap and shampoo bars. I have to shower anyway, so I can banish the guilt, and there’s something about citrus rhassoul clay soap and henna spice shampoo that make me feel like a million bucks. I keep four or five fancy soaps on hand at all times, so I can go with whatever the mood calls for. Because sometimes I want chocolate soap, and sometimes I want oatmeal soap, and… 😉

    1. Oh, I LOVE this! Such a simple thing to choose just one indulgence like fancy soap and to remind ourselves we’re worth it.

  8. Sometimes I engage in a ritual of summoning midday sleep for the toddler (who doesn’t like to sleep, daytime, nighttime, ever). I take her out to something exhausting and run her ’til she drops. Then I feed her carbs right there on site. Then I drive her home, the looooong way, with the heat cranked and the music on low. And sometimes she passes out. Then I sit in the car with a travel magazine and look at photos of Botswana or New Zealand, and plan our travels, for “when we’ve got the money”. I work hard not to dwell on the fact that “when” might never happen and a campground 4 hours away might have to stand in for Botswana for the next few years.

    1. This phrase? “Engage in a ritual of summoning midday sleep for the toddler” = yes, yes, yes. If trying to get a sleep-defyer to conk out isn’t spell-casting, I’m not sure what is.

      I think you should just rename your campground Botswana for now, and I’ll cross my fingers with you in the hope that “when” will arrive.

  9. I finally had a minor breakdown, threw up my hands and did something drastic. I made a reservation at the Hilton in the closest big city (through priceline. 4 stars, $50 SCORE). Then I went to Groupon and bought a couple of spa Groupons for a massage and facial. Then, I looked at my husband and said he was going to have to handle it for 24 hours. Either that, or I was headed for the insane asylum. Like it or not, my dog and I were going away for a day.

    1. Send me the address. I’ll be there in 15 minutes. 🙂

      Seriously, this is a GREAT idea. Whenever I need to justify something like this I always tell myself it’s cheaper than the Psych Ward. Which sound like I might be kidding, but I’m not.

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