Self-care. It sounds so lovely and nourishing. The first time I heard those two words strung together was in graduate school for social work – practice self-care. Now I am almost seven years out of grad school and a few years into my thirties and I have realized something. Self-care is tedious and frequently expensive.
There are the little things, like applying sunscreen, flossing twice a day, or making sure to wash my face. The daily tasks of exercise and eating right, which each require its own expense and time. I try to reframe it into a luxurious ritual, but I really wish personal self-care were more akin to car maintenance. Then there are bigger things, like scheduling dental appointments and physicals that require months of planning and oftentimes a complete willingness to forgo Western values of time. And sleep. Sigh. Sleep. I just cannot even. It is too anxiety provoking to think about how one is to consistently etch out eight glorious hours for sleep amongst the other monotony. I too willingly dip into that precious reserve to make room for the self-care I actually crave – quality time with family and friends and yes, a little bit of Netflix and maybe a few minutes perusing Pinterest or typing out a blog post.
Unfortunately, my body lacks the wherewithal to survive my negligence. A couple months ago my back got all wonky, again. And by wonky I mean, I was doubled over in pain and had to ask my husband to dress me. It has happened before. The direct result of a dozen poor decisions multiplied over time, compounded by a lack of vital exercise (as my chiropractor has told me, some people have to watch their sugar or their cholesterol – I have to exercise). This time though, this time I was doing yoga. Yes, I was carrying a thirty-pound toddler all the way back from the park almost every single day. Yes, I continued to hunch over the computer and carry myself around with poor posture. Yes, I stood for the better part of two days cooking for a certain lady’s birthday celebration. But. But. But, I was doing yoga.
I was not doing strength training. I was not doing the foam roller. I was not going to the chiropractor. Apparently I was not doing enough glorious self-care, and my back revolted. Almost $500, four chiropractor visits, two massage appointments, one-and-a-half personal training sessions, a bottle of homeopathic medicine and two weeks later, my back was strong enough to endure a 10-day-intensive yoga teacher training.
Oh self-care. Let me know when you turn into a hammock on a beach.
In the meantime I suppose I have no other choice than to put up with your drudgery.
Overheard in the car, “Now this is the last story, do you understand? Once upon a time there was a little girl named Leila and she wanted to play dolls with her Mommy and so she and the Mommy played dolls together. Then Leila wanted to play tennis with her Daddy and the Daddy said that it was too dark to play tennis and that Leila could watch a little television while the Daddy made dinner.”
In reference to putting her pajamas on by herself, “I can do it by myself. First you put your pants on correctly.”
“Wrigley you want dinner? I know, I know. I get you dinner.”
Mommy: “It’s time for bedtime. See how it’s dark in here?” Leila: “It’s not dark outside.”
Mommy: “Do you want to do a special surprise dinner for Daddy’s birthday?” Leila: “Yes! I don’t know what it be. Maybe macaroni and cheese…maybe hot dogs…”
Referencing the television, “That’s basketball. Daddy likes that show.”
Mommy: “What do bunnies eat? Do they eat carrots?” Leila: “No. They eat dand-de-lions. They turn to gum.” (The teacher told the kids that baby bunnies look like chewed up bubblegum.)
After asking Daddy to pretend to cry, “Daddy, you feel sad? What can I do to make you feel better? Do you need a hug? What about a kiss? Do you feel better?”
“Water makes the ‘picey go away.”
Leila to Daddy, “Don’t put it (soccer ball) in your mouth. It’s gross.”
Leila: “Sometimes it’s better to go inside the house.” Mommy: “Why is it better to go inside the house?” Leila: “Because they LOVE me! They hug me and kiss me.”
Discussing breastfeeding her doll, “I don’t really have some breasts. But I pretend. I pretending.”
Earlier, in response to Mommy saying that her friends will say hi to her, “I think they’ll say, ‘I love your shoes!’” After a post-lunch wardrobe change later that day, “Is anybody going to come here today? They’re going to say, ‘I like your outfit!’”
Leila: “Mommy.” Mommy: “Yes Leila.” Leila: “I’m going to turn four.” Mommy: “Next year.” Leila: “…I’m going to turn four next Thursday.”
Leila’s reassurance to me after I was unable to master replicating her choreography, “It’s difficult.”
Leila: “What are you doing Mommy?” Mommy: “I’m opening a bubble water.” Leila: “Don’t spill on yourself or on your shorts. Just take a little sip.”