I walked a mile today. I hit the pavement, child free. I know, it’s only a mile. And it was a walk, not a run. And I didn’t get my heart rate up as much as I intended to. But I walked. And that’s a big deal.
If you are a mom like me, your needs 9 out of 1o times get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. It’s not really anyones fault. Except our own. Every time I have a spare 20 minutes, I automatically think, “I am going to use this time to fold a load of laundry, or research summer camps, or make a grocery list, or unload the dishwasher.” It never ends. I know you do the same thing. Unlike most men, us women don’t think, “I have some free time, I will just sit down and watch the Masters.” No! A woman never thinks that. Instead we will think of the 87 things we have to accomplish before bedtime, so the thought of sitting down and “wasting time” ….well, the thought alone gives most of us anxiety. But that’s a problem. We put this burden on ourselves. We make ourselves feel guilty if we spend an afternoon “doing nothing.” We don’t reserve time to take a walk, enjoy the fresh air, and listen to the birds, because somewhere in the back of our minds, we have conditioned our brain to think that is not productive. Women, now more than ever, have lost perspective on self-care. We do for everyone else all day and all night, then fall into bed exhausted, only to repeat the pattern the next day.
Well today, just like that, I broke the mold. I left the dirty dished in the sink. I looked at my phone with 3 voicemails, then put it back on the table. I walked by a pile of clothes in the laundry room that needed folding, on my way out the door. And you know what, to make this happen- I only changed one thing this morning when I woke up. My mindset. I literally got out of bed today and said, “No more.” I am not going to keep putting myself at the bottom of the priority list. I am not going to push off self-care, waiting for a “better time.”
Ladies, THERE IS NO BETTER TIME! This is your time. And it is so limited. I am not saying skip all of your responsibilities and let your children fend for themselves at dinnertime. I am saying, take 20-30 minutes a day to do something that makes you feel better. Makes you feel whole. For me, that is working out. I have paid for a gym membership for years and don’t go. And although I didn’t make it to the actual gym today, I did forget about the plants that needed watered and deck that needed sprayed off … and instead I walked. And beyond the actual activity you choose, the key to self care is not feeling guilty for setting aside a window of time for you. You are a better mom, wife, even employee, if you take time for you!
You can make the change too. You deserve to make the change. If you don’t care about your own health and wellness, no one else will either. If you keep putting yourself at the bottom of the list, over time, you will forget your name even matters on the list.
Throw the list away. Now. Write a new to-do list and put yourself at the top. That may require you waking earlier or hiring your neighbors teenage son to wash your car, but you will be so glad you took that half hour for you. And speaking of perspective. It’s only 30 minutes in 24 hours. Men waste more time than that shaving. (sorry hubs. not sorry)