Do you write New Year’s Resolutions? I don’t. I resolved not to. Just kidding. I don’t write them mostly because I don’t need a list to show me how I have failed, yet again, to do things for myself. I am a Texas woman – we get things done and we don’t whine about it. We can do anything we choose to do. Why is it that we rarely, if ever, choose to do things just for ourselves?
Most women are horrible at self-care, especially those of us with kids. When I was single, I was better at taking care of myself, but still not consistent. I used to journal. Year after year, the same three entries appeared in every mid-January-ish date.
1) Take care of my appearance, nice nails, nice hair & makeup.
2) Update my wardrobe.
3) Get fit.
I’m married with two children. My husband and I are going through a rough patch and so I decided to sit down and think about things that would help me take care of myself. Guess what the three things were that came to mind? Yeah. Those three things. I’ve wanted the same three things for almost 20 years. So, now I’m asking myself – What’s keeping me from having/doing these three things and the answer is “Me”.
We women are notorious for putting ourselves dead last and we will let anyone else’s needs come before our own, even to the point of making ourselves physically ill and/or exhausted AND THEN WE APOLOGIZE! How many women have caught themselves apologizing for being sick? We do this. It’s borderline insanity. Deep down, we know that we need time to ourselves, yet we do naught to change it.
How many women have caught themselves apologizing for being sick?
There’s a book written by Andy Stanley called Choosing To Cheat and it’s not what you think. Basically, the idea is that someone always gets cheated when I make a decision where to spend my time. If I choose family, my boss gets cheated. If I choose work, my family gets cheated. If I choose my husband, my kids get cheated. You get the drift. So, first, we women need to acknowledge that yes, we are letting someone down when we make choices of how to spend our time.
Once we can face the idea that we really can’t be everywhere at once, let go of that guilt. Experience says that “cheating” in this fashion actually benefits the cheated party in the long run. If I spend some quality time with my family, my work production tends to be better. If I have quality time at work, my family benefits from my sense of satisfaction. If I hang with the kids, I appreciate my husband as an adult. So – wouldn’t this same experience prove out that if we cheated everyone and did something just for us, everyone would benefit in the long run?
Yeah, Laura – I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Really? Is that really how you want to live your life? If there was one thing that you could take a whole hour out of your day to do just for you, what pops into your mind? Reading. That’s what I’d do. It’s not on my top three list but it’s something I enjoy immensely. I don’t do it near enough. When we were kids, we called it playing. Women, in particular, don’t play enough. Whether it’s shopping or getting our nails done or a massage or a gym class or whatever it is that makes us smile inside – that’s playing. It’s doing something enjoyable just for the sheer sake of enjoyment and we cheat ourselves out of that constantly.
So, here’s our wake up call, ladies. Being true to yourself requires cheating everyone else, for a short period of time. Find something today that you really want to do and then schedule it in your calendar,
in ink with a Sharpie. Your family, your colleagues, and/or your friends may feel cheated. They’ll live, I promise. You (and I) need to take care of ourselves. Let’s choose to cheat!