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6 Points

02/10/2016

Belle

 

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Adding a point during a fun excursion to the Queens Zoo with friends.

 

I have been working on taking better care of my self physically and emotionally.

As a mother, I spend my days tending to the many needs of a tiny human. Often, those needs are completely ridiculous and extremely draining.

I am a wife, career counselor, editor, lover, friend and adventurer to my husband.

I take care of our dying cat, dispensing medication twice a day, subcutaneous fluids once a week, and playing with her every evening for at least 30 minutes, if not more.

I take care of our other healthy, yet high maintenance, cats.

I take care of the house, keeping it reasonably clean and functioning.

I keep everyone fed with home cooked meals.

I manage our calendars, plan menus and parties, go to doctors appointments, run errands, host play dates and more.

I do a lot for other people and too often very little for myself. On the days I do nothing for myself I am short tempered and have no energy left for my husband. After several days of this, I start to feel the panic welling up in my chest and begin questioning everything I am and do. My house and family do not run like a well-oiled machine when I fail to take care of myself. Instead, things grind to a halt.

A few weeks ago I developed a system for keeping tabs on self-care. Every morning I wake up with 6 points. Every time I do something for someone else or a chore, I deduct a point. Every time I do something for myself, I add a point. The things I “do” for myself are anything that supports me physically or emotionally. For example, going to the gym is +1. Taking Sabine on an adventure at our favorite park is a +1. Doing laundry, cooking dinner, etc. is a -1. Here is how today’s points will shake out:

6 POINTS
+ 1 gym
– 1 get Sabine ready for and dropped at school
– 1 go to therapy (that is a -1 because it is EXHAUSTING)
– 1 pay bills
– 1 clean kitchen
+ 1 read on the couch for 20 minutes
+ 1 take time to blog
-1 pick Sabine up from school
– 1 run errands
+ 1 take Sabine to the playground (this is fun for us both)
– 1 cook dinner
– 1 get Sabine to bed

I don’t always break even with my points. Sometimes I am in the negative and sometimes the positive. What keeping track of the points does, though, is keep me aware on how I might be neglecting my needs. I have a little mental list of things I can do to replenish my points throughout the day if I realize I am in the red. Sometimes I’ll set Sabine up with an episode of Curious George and escape to the bathroom for a facial and 10 minutes of time with a book. Sometimes I’ll take her on an unplanned walk to the lake to feed the ducks. Little things that make my day happy and resonate with a something more – a clean face or a happy memory.

How do you manage self-care while parenting? What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself on a regular basis?

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8 Comments

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  1. February 10, 2016

    This is such a great idea!!

  2. jak #
    February 10, 2016

    self-care, what is that? 🙂 if self-care means taking care of my career, then that’s how i manage self-care. and reading the news and your blog when i can. i do like your list and points system. i don’t want to look at where it comes out for me respecting self care though. but i think i will apply it to gratitude about life in general… there is good and bad, and hopefully we all come out around +6 points or so. a useful tool from a clever mama.

  3. sangela71 #
    February 10, 2016

    I think this is a great system you’ve devised. Self-care IS really important, and I must confess, I am not always good about taking care of myself. Between my job, my sons and the usual responsibilities of life, it can be hard to find the time.

    A couple of things I do on a fairly consistent basis are getting a massage and having lunch (or meeting for another activity) with my best friend at least once a month. I need to be better about doing something more on a daily basis.

  4. February 10, 2016

    That’s a pretty nice system! See, just like I told you. Inspiring. 😁

  5. February 10, 2016

    You look so great in this pic! +1 because I took five minutes to read this blog! Been in crazy town over here lately (selling two houses, taking care of a sick toddler, and being 8 months pregnant), so even these five minutes was a nice reprieve.

  6. Jos #
    February 11, 2016

    Love this pic of you! What a great system to keep yourself cognizant of how you’re doing on self care. Great idea.

  7. February 12, 2016

    What a great idea, Belle! I’m so glad you are working on taking care of yourself, you are so, so worth it.

  8. Karaleen #
    February 17, 2016

    What a great idea. I had a hard time with this when my kids were Sabine’s age. I always kind of felt like I was burned out and over touched by the end of each day. My poor husband…such a great guy to quietly understand and ride out those years with me. Luckily we are a really good team and very much understand we each need our own form of “me” time. We both work full time and manage our home and raise our two kids. For him….he loves the outdoors and projects…so ensuring he got time on the weekends in the yard or planning lots of camping trips in the summer refueled him. He also loves to hunt, so I happily make sure that there are times for him to head out to go hunting. In turn, I plan girls nights with my mommy friends and he takes the kids to sleep out in our 5th wheel so we can all just have kid free/’hubby free time to drink wine, play silly games and …well…talk about our kids and husbands. I love to crochet. So even with my house bustling, if I can just sit in the background and work on a project, it soothes me and I automatically relax as I settle in and count stitches and enjoy watching a project take shape. Once a month I get a massage, about every 6 weeks I get a pedicure and every weekend he gets up with the kids (he is a morning person…I am not) and I get to stay in bed. Really….you got it right when you realized it was just the little things and being mindful about feeding yourself even 20 minutes of time. They really help smooth out the day and keep the tension bubble from reaching the breaking point. Keep it up.
    kd

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