That Day I Got A Break

Last week Monday night I was feeling sorry for myself.

I was already stressed about getting my grades done, having parent/teacher conferences later in the week, and having absolutely no time. At all.

Cort is gone three nights a week:  Tuesday for league bowling and Wednesday & Thursday nights for class.

Monday night, he had also made plans to get a drink with his brother.  The plans had been made weeks ahead of time, I knew they were there, and I totally approved.  Cort’s brother is about to become a dad and since their own dad passed over seven years ago, he doesn’t have a father figure to chew the fat with.  Cort is painfully aware of this since he was in the same position three and a half years ago.  He wants to be there for his brother.

I totally get and support that.

But Monday was horrid. And busy. And stressful.

Cort left around 7pm and I was left with a cranky three year old and a teething baby.  Once I finally got Charlie down, Eddie was impossible.  He got up about a million times, was difficult, and there were many MANY tears {from both of us}.

When Cort finally got home just before 10pm, I was a wreck.

I knew in my head that everything was just what it was: busy.  Necessary, but busy.

But my irrational, anxiety-ridden voice up there kept piling on the self-pity.

I couldn’t focus and I was trying to get grades done.

A wonderfully wise friend {whom I had been texting my vents to for about an hour} encouraged me to talk with Cort that night, in person–not over email the next day when we were both busy with work–and get it all out.

So I did.

I told him that even though it made no sense and wasn’t rational, I was feeling trapped and burned out and just…blah.  That all my stress and all my worries were being made to feel even more massive because he was never around.  It was me and the boys three nights…and this week four.  And…and…Tuesdays he was out having FUN bowling. It wasn’t even class.  He got to drink beers with his brother while I played GO TO BED OR I WILL LOSE MY LAST MARBLE!

I told him sometimes I resented him.

I told him sometimes I get “needed” out and “touched” out.

I told him most days I want nothing more than to fall into bed after work because I am so tired and overwhelmed and that I am both glad for and horrified by having to keep plugging along for the two boys who do not care in the least that I am overworked.

And then I got quiet.

And he sat and didn’t say anything.

I looked at my hands.  My computer screen.  My phone.

He started doing homework.

So my Wonderful Friend and I had this convo via text:

Me: i said my piece to him and he isn’t responding. um.

WF: Huh. Is he sleeping?

WF: Like you said it in person or via text?

Me: Nopee. Just sitting here working on homework. Things now feel…awkward.

We went to bed with that awkward feeling.

I don’t ever remember doing that before.  It was…awkward.  And I did NOT love it.

The next day I got an email from Cort telling me that Saturday after he got our cars serviced bright and early, the rest of the day was mine.  He would stay home with the boys if I wanted to leave.  I could nap if I wanted to.

And he held true to this promise.

On Saturday morning I took a nap when he got home from car stuff, and later found that he left me a $20 on my dashboard for coffee treats at Starbucks.  I was able to set up shop for 2 hours with a venti pumpkin spice latte, my phone, and my laptop with my entire itunes catalog (which is unnecessarily extensive at over 40 days of music…and that is me handpicking stuff so that I don’t have our DAYS AND DAYS of Pearl Jam shows or the oddities that my wonderful husband collects from his equally wonderful best friend. I have 14,251 songs on my computer. Sheesh).

I got four posts written and and uncountable number of emails responded to.

When I got home, Eddie was just up from his nap and Cort took him to get groceries.  Charlie stayed sleeping so I got some laundry done and another post revised and submitted.

When the boys got home, I was able to take a leisurely shower and then put on real clothes and go see some girl friends for a couple hours.

And to end the night, I got some couch cuddles with my main squeeze.

I can’t even begin to tell you what a difference that day meant to my mental well-being.

Sunday I was happier and less anxiety-ridden about the weekend ending.

I started this week with a positive, rested mind and soul.

And more importantly, that one day to myself gave me more of a need to hug my little boys and to let myself be wrapped in my husband’s arms.

I KNOW that self-care is important.  I KNOW I need to set aside time to be alone and reboot.  I KNOW that Cort is not a mind-reader and needs me to ask.

Just ask.

And yet…I don’t.  I don’t want to look lazy or needy or annoying or as a burden.

So, as my psychiatrist said last week, I keep running this marathon at a sprint.

And I when I can’t keep up the pace, and I cramp up and collapse, then and only then do I ask for a break.

I can’t wait until disaster.  I can’t wait until I break.

I need to do this more often.

Thank you, Wonderful Friend (you know who you are), Cortney, and my healthcare professionals for pushing me to remember that out of all the people I take care of in my life, I can’t forget about myself.

Because without a healthy me, I can’t help anyone else.

my pretty new earrings that I got Saturday night at my friend’s house via R&L Design (click on pics to see her cutie shop)

the daily shower

Let’s talk about showering.

Oh my word, before children, I took so much advantage of this simple part of my day.  There were weekend days that I would skip a shower just because I didn’tfeel like it.

What?  I know.

When I started this blog post about four hours ago, I was on Day 3 hair (you know…the third day without washing it), Day 2 without a shower, had been sweating all morning trying to do laundry/keep a clingy potty training 3 year old busyhappyfedalive/hold the 4 month old baby who for whatever reason screamed whenever set down, AND had spit up stains from who knows when on my jammies.

Was that as confusing to read as it was to type?  Meh…that is how the morning was too.  Just a jumble of ick.

During all that I was also cursing pre-child me for ever taking advantage of the ease and comfort of showering whenever I wanted.

I’m not afraid to admit that when nap time finally rolls around circa 1:30pm in Sluiter Nation, I sometimes choose to veg out in front of the TV or work in lieu of taking a shower because I never know when someone is going to randomly be screaming and/or standing in the bathroom without pants on and in need of a butt wipe.

I want to enjoy my shower, damnit.

So I wait until Cort is home.  Sometimes that means I get up at the butt crack of dawn and shower before he leaves for work, or I do it on his lunch (like today), or I jump in after he gets home from work.  However it happens, I shower EVERY DAY.

Because if nothing else…if the morning is horrible (like today) or the boys won’t nap at the same time (like today)…I need some QUIET alone time just for me.

And that is what the shower is for me.

I lock the bathroom door and turn on the overhead fan in order to assure the rest of the world is completely outta sight, outta mind.

I crank the water to HOT and stand there for a good minute (truth: today it was more like 3 minutes).  I have to let the stress and the that feeling of my entire body needing to be in motion…to GET ALL THE THINGS DONE…wash off of me.

Once I feel calm, I can start my routine: wash hair, condition hair (confession #1: I don’t wash/condition my hair every day), wash face, rinse hair, shave (confession #2: this is not in my routine as much as it should be), wash/exfoliate.

Then comes more standing while I will myself to shut off the water and face the rest of my day with grace and calm.

Because my shower time is so important to me, I no longer scrimp on the products I use.  (also?  Truth: I am getting older and I need to actually use products that will work on all my old lady issues).

I buy my shampoo and conditioner from a salon (ok, it’s salon stuff that I get at a department store).

I use stupid expensive face wash because I have wrinkles and sun damage.

I use body wash the moisturizes while cleaning.

So many people underestimate the importance of a good body wash.   You can’t just scrub yourself with any old yummy smelling stuff in a bottle and get the same effect.

And this is where I sound like a commercial to you…but I LOVE the New Dove® VisibleCare™ Renewing Creme Body Wash.

First of all, it smells good.  Let’s be honest.  You know when you are choosing a new body wash, you flip it open and give it a sniff.  That sniff?  Could make or break whether you buy the product.

According to Dove, The Renewing Creme Body Wash smells like “a modern combination of pink mimosa and pomegranate”.  I think it smells like clean.   I don’t like too much perfumey stuff in my body wash, but I do like to feel like I smell fresh since, you know, I did just shower.

So the smell sold me.

The word “renewing” also hooked me.

I have mentioned that I am aging.  Yes friends, I am 34.  I have dry sensitive skin, stretch marks, and spider veins.

My skin is tired and is starting to protest the lack of love I have given it in the past.

Most body washes that claim to help any of these issues are big fat liars.

I won’t tell you that Dove is a miracle worker, but I did notice that after using the VisibleCare™ Renewing Creme Body Wash, my skin is so much less dry that I only need lotion on my legs after my shower and my new stretch marks (post-Charlie) are fading after just a week of using the product.

This makes me happy.

I don’t expect them to fully go away, but it’s nice that they are so much lighter.

Plus?  My skin gets oily when I use lotion, so I LOVE that I only need it on my dry as sand legs now.

The Renewing Body Wash really DOES nourish and replenish skin!  you really DO get visibly more beautiful skin from a body wash.

Dove has two other new products in its Visible Care line: A Toning wash and a Softening wash.  Check out Dove’s website for more info.

The one thing Dove Renewing Body Wash can’t do?  Scrub better attitudes onto my family while I am in the shower.

So like I said, once I am all fresh and clean, I have to stand there awhile and remind myself that someday I will be able to shower whenever I want again…and I will miss these days when a shower was the most relaxing part of my day.

 Are your showers your “me time” or hit and miss?  What little things do you treasure as “me time”?

Visit Dove® VisibleCare® to get a coupon for $1 off!

Enter to win one of two $500 Spafinder gift certificates!

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age

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This sweepstakes runs from 7/18/2012 – 8/22/2012

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self-care is not self-ish

The last time I was eight weeks postpartum I was crying.

Constantly.

Because Eddie was crying constantly.

My first day home alone with him after Cort went back to work he cried from the moment he woke up until about 15 minutes before Cort walked in the door that afternoon.

I remember sitting in my bed with him trying everything that people had suggested to me to try and soothe my precious newborn.

By the time Cort came home, I had not showered, eaten, or peed all day.

I was in my chair with an infant who had exhausted himself and passed out.  And I was afraid to move for fear he would wake up and it would happen all over again.

Turns out this fear was legit because for the first 3ish months of his life, Eddie screamed.

He had colic.

Something FIERCE.

As a new mom who everyone predicted would rock the mom thing because “you are SO organized!” and “you are so good with tackling issues!” and “it comes so naturally!  DON’T WORRY!”, I was flailing about like a cat in water.

In order to keep the facade of the mom who does it all, I put every single one of my own needs not just on the back burner, but out of the dang kitchen.

Doing anything for myself seemed selfish when I had a husband who was working a full-time job and a baby who couldn’t be soothed.

Shouldn’t it be me who is up every night, all night?

Shouldn’t it be me who gives up showering and leaving the house?

Shouldn’t it be me who gives up time with her friends?

Shouldn’t it be me who gives up cute clothes for frumpy “mom” sweaters?

I was his mother, damnit, I was supposed to make sacrifices.

This was my life now…an endless sacrifice.

And then I got sick.

Giving up who and what I am completely to ONLY be “Eddie’s Mom” contributed to invasive thoughts, anger bursts, and sob fests.

I became mean to everyone other than Eddie.

The Baby Blues turned into the Baby Rages FAST.

After nine months of this I was finally diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety.  And now, almost three years later, it has been suggested that I may have even had a bit of post-traumatic stress syndrome from the emergency c-section and the lack of bonding I had with Eddie in the hospital.

You can imagine I was nervous that all of this would come back when I had Charlie.

But here I am at eight weeks postpartum, and aside from a bad four days of Baby Blues when my milk was coming in (and drying up), I have been amazingly great.

This time I decided to call bullshit on all that “selfless” crap of turning myself into a raving lunatic for the sake of appearing to be a perfect mom.

Right from Charlie’s birth I demanded more self care.

I needed quiet time in the hospital.

I announced I didn’t want at home visits until at LEAST three weeks postpartum.

I allowed my friends to help me even if I felt like I didn’t need them.  They made me laugh and feel like myself.

I asked for help and requested time out of the house alone.

I allowed myself to just take naps and stare at the baby during the day…instead of thinking I had to clean and do a million things while he slept.

If there were days when he needed a buddy, I was that buddy, with no guilty feelings of what didn’t get done.

And I took a long weekend away from “being connected” just so I could get through the Baby Blues and rest my post-op body.

Eight weeks after Charlie’s arrival, I haven’t given up on the self-care.

In fact, the photography class I am taking is a form of self-care.  It gets me out of the house to do my own thing.

May is mental health awareness month, and Sunday is Mother’s Day.

The greatest gift you can give yourself this month is the gift of taking care of yourself.

Every mother deserves daily nourishment and nurturing.

YOU are worth it!

I am happy to share two opportunities you won’t want to miss.

All you have to do to enter is tell me your favorite self-care activity (make sure you click “enter” in the rafflecopter widget to be entered!) and you will be entered for a chance to win a Yummy Mummy Self-Care Package from me and Renee Trudeau.

I’ll draw a name randomly on Mother’s Day and the winner will receive:

That is so not even all…you ALSO have a chance to win the Yummy Mummy Year-of-Self-Care Package (winner also will be announced on Mother’s Day) by following the details here.  (Um, you KNOW I entered this!)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Legal Beagle Stuff: I received no compensation for this giveaway.  I was contacted by Renee Trudeau & Associates to do this, and because I believe so much in making time for yourself, I agreed.
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