When was the last time you did something just for you? She asked, grey eyes burning right through me.
Busted. Try as I might, I couldn’t remember the last time I had done something for me.
A hot bath? She queried.
Nope, can’t leave husband alone that long with all of the babes.
Your favorite meal?, she continued.
Well, they are all a derivative of my favorite, I thought. I mean, I eat way more fish than I would like so that we have something to share. And husband eats way more veg than he would if I weren’t around. We compromise. Isn’t that the gig? Otherwise, we’d eat completely separate plates… But I guess that’s not really the question. The question is when was the last time I made something for me…. Hmmmm….
What about a Sunday afternoon nap?, she ventured.
I practically burst out laughing in her face. Seriously? Who would take care of the toddler, dog and on-the-cusp-of-teenage boy while I napped?! Certainly not my husband. He’s usually tending to the yard, taking care of the cars, organizing the garage or dealing with some other responsibility, which needs to be dealt with and usually he is the only one inclined to manage, so thank God he does… Who has time to indulge themselves in these niceties?
But I knew what she was saying. It was spot on. I knew she was saying, point blank, that I needed some tender loving care. And while I am a yoga teacher, a healer and a mother, and a wife, and while I am so proud of the way I can lavish love upon others, steer them, inspire them, grow them, I, too, need some nutrients.
Yes, I do go to bed earlier than my husband most nights. But I also rise far earlier and if the baby cries in the night, you can be sure it’s not him who will rise to soothe her. Maybe she had a point, my friend, my mentor, my spiritual teacher. Maybe she was onto something. After all, if there is anyone who has my best interest at heart in terms of tending to my own needs, it’s this woman, isn’t it? Shouldn’t it also be me? How does that happen, allowing our own needs and desires to get so de-prioritized when we are even seemingly aware of such things?
And yet, I suppose it does happen. We are taught, conditioned, brainwashed into believing that what we want, need, desire — it shouldn’t/doesn’t matter. Especially in this part of the country, we are raised to de-prioritize, sacrifice ourselves while we place our families needs on a pedestal. But it turns out, we, the caregivers, we need loving too…
I believe, I subscribe to the conviction that, we can and should simultaneously take care of ourselves. What’s more, I believe that it’s ok, yet, rather, it’s absolutely critical to allow ourselves to ask for and accept help when we need it. Yesssss! There are people out there who would love to support us, aide us, nurture us.
Let’s do this together. Let’s support one another. With thoughts, with words, with that which we can give — our energy. Nurturing. Loving. Goodness.