Like many (most? all?) moms, self-care does not come naturally, but I am learning. There are times when I lay the baby down for his nap and feel very urgently that I need to paint my nails and watch The West Wing. I’m trying to take these impulses a little more seriously. It’s been said time and again, but some of us are knuckleheads and don’t get it until we’re crying in the corner at 4 pm. Put on your own oxygen mask first. I don’t speak from experience or anything.
When Owen was around four months old and the exorcism-style screaming had abated slightly, I began the practice of doing something nice for myself on Fridays. Why Friday? Really not sure, but it was an attempt to reclaim some semblance of self-care. Often in the morning I’d bake something simple, or we’d walk to Starbucks for a treat. A year plus later these things feel super rudimentary (and more a part of our normal day to day), but at the time, baking banana bread felt like a lifeline to my former self. It was a good reminder that I am more than The Milk Cow and Baby Shusher.
I’m not a big proponent of doing housework during naptime, at least at this stage. My experience with Owen has been that naps are fleeting and unpredictable, and as a newsflash, no one is coming to relieve me until very close to bedtime. So I will sit down with something to eat, and let my mind and body rest for a brief time. The dishes can wait.