Welcome to the May 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Self Love
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about their thoughts concerning self-love. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Babywearing.
Summer is here for our little family. I’m on break from graduate school and our life is coming to an easy slow roll. I’m not distracted by having a paper to write or a book to read within the next 24 hours. We’re staying up a little later, we’re having more family time together, we’re all breathing easier. This, now, is the life I’ve always dreamed of. While we still have our struggles, I’m seeing the beauty that is our life – the laughter, the connection, the peace.
It wasn’t like this just a few months ago, when I was in the throes of the semester, feeling totally disconnected from those I love most and feeling so very, very lonely. I was burned out and overwhelmed and I dreamed of days at the spa, weekly massages and pedicures and getting some more time with my husband, daughter and friends. I had a little bit of a breakdown and quit school for 24 hours (including emails to my academic adviser and department chair). I had the best sleep I’d had in months that night. My original intent was to quit for good, but when I woke up in the morning I knew that I wanted my degree and the career that will follow it, it is my Soul calling. But something had to change.
That something was that I desperately needed some self-love and self-care. I teach about setting our personal boundaries, yet I’d let school and my new business trample all over my boundaries. And as I laid in bed that morning after I’d “quit,” thinking about what I wanted, what I longed for, what I desperately needed, it all became clear.
I missed my husband. I missed our family time together. I missed having some just me time to replenish and refuel. I needed connection to those relationships to feel whole and calm. I was missing my connections, my deep relationships and realized it is through these relationships that I care for and love myself.
Self-care looks different for everyone. My visions of days at the spa and weekly massages were masks for my desperate need to deeply connect with myself, my body, my soul. My visions of time with my husband and our family as a whole were my need for our connections to be re-established, to deepen and strengthen.
Massages are nice and really, who would pass up a day at the spa? But they aren’t what my Soul was actually longing for. Once I dug a little deeper and looked at the feelings behind those visions, I knew.
So during the last weeks of the semester, the busiest time of course, I stepped back. I dialed back on the time I was spending on my business, the time I spent online and the time I spent on school. I took some relaxing Epsom salt and seaweed baths. We re-instated family movie night. And several nights a week, after our daughter was asleep, my husband and I would spend time together talking and reconnecting.
Those last three weeks of the semester, typically the most stressful, where actually peaceful. By prioritizing the important relationships in my life, everything else seemed to fall into place. While I had assumed I’d be turning in at least one of my final papers late, I got all of them in on time (two of them even a couple days early!). The e-course I was running got time allotted to it each day, but I wasn’t “on-call” for it 24/7. I took a hiatus from writing for my blog. I revised my weekly newsletter to a twice a month newsletter. Life continued, the Earth kept orbiting the sun, no one died and more importantly I don’t think many people even noticed how drastically I had scaled back some parts of my life to give space and love to the relationships that matter most to me: my connection to me, to my husband and to our family.
Opening this space also made the one-on-one time I had with my daughter better: our relationship deepened as I kept the laptop turned off and the phone in another room, out of sight and mind. I was able to really focus on her during our days together and it has been amazing.
All of this happening during what should have been a frantic and chaotic time in our lives. And yet, by focusing on some very important self-care, this time was a peaceful turning point for us.
Now that summer is here, more time is being given to my self-care. It now also includes clearing out the clutter in our garage and house., creating space in our home and allowing me to release some emotions I have been holding on to. Giving some much needed and deserved down-time to my husband (because caring for him, IS caring for me too – giving him time to replenish, truly does replenish me and our relationship). Being present with our girl and getting to the beach for some beach healing on a regular basis either on our own or with friends. Opening the space for each moment to quietly roll into the next, without agenda or schedule.
This is the life. Caring for myself, and part of that is caring for and deeply connecting to those I love, is the most important part of this beautiful life I have. Allowing the space for that care is so vital not only to my personal peace and joy, it is also vital to the peace and joy of our family as a whole. So often we forget that we truly do need to put on our own oxygen mask first, before we can aid anyone else, before life can run smoothly and peacefully. It’s not selfish to take care of ourselves first, it is necessary to open the space for joy and peace and love for everyone we are in contact with. Because if we don’t give love to ourselves, don’t refill, replenish and refuel we have nothing to give to the other loves in our life.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 1 with all the carnival links.)
- Mothering Myself- Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses ways to deal with whining when it is getting on your nerves.
- The Habit of Intentional Rest - Jennifer Hoffman, of Every Breath I Take, shares how she “puts her own oxygen mask on first” with her habit of intentional rest.
- Replenishing by Connecting – Gwynn Raimondi found the way to self-care through connection to those who matter most: herself, her husband, her daughter.
- Overcoming Body Image For The Sake Of Our Children – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes a hard look at how her own body image can positively or negatively affect her daughter and why that scares her more than anything!
- I Resented my Pregnant Body – Mercedes at Project Procrastinot blogs about body image and the pettiness she felt when she couldn’t accept the physical changes of pregnancy.
- Staying Sane & Taking Care of Myself – Jana Falls at Jananas discusses how she, as an introvert mama, has made time to take care of herself.
- Depression and Self-Image – At Authentic Parenting, Laura confesses how much her recent depression has distorted her self-image and how she struggles to overcome this.
- mummy loves … – Helen at Zen Mummy shares a post about re-finding the person behind the mummy.
- Can my inner critics stop me from participating in a self-love blog carnival?- Tat from Mum in search almost didn’t get to write for this carnival. Until she stopped to ask herself why she was pulling out.