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I grew up in a Southern family with an incredible mother who worked hard. She cleaned our two-story house herself, taught piano lessons to local kids and, later, opened a toy store. Did I mention she cooked a homemade meal almost every night too?
I share this as a way to illustrate the horrible example of self-care that I had growing up. I don’t remember her exercising, or taking time alone to read. I can’t recall her taking long walks by herself.
She was always moving. Rarely complaining. In later years when she was teaching at a private school (before opening the toy store she went back to college and obtained her Masters degree in education) I’d find her asleep on the couch with lesson plans scattered around her. She never stopped.
She was an incredible mom. Always present with us and excited to hear about what we were reading or doing. She put her all into everything she did.
In comparison to her – I feel lazy, and yet I know I do a lot too. My husband and I have two children, one has sensory and medical issues. This brings a host of stressors: expensive insurance, therapies that aren’t covered, supplements that aren’t covered, supports that we have to buy out of pocket, private school tuition. It also brings isolation, although that is getting better. We can’t eat at just any restaurant. I can’t hire just any babysitter. Friends with neurotypical kids feel uncomfortable or don’t know how to relate or help, so they decide to not bother anymore.
We also both own our own businesses, which is helpful because we set our own work hours (I work A LOT at night), but not helpful because it keeps us away from some mandatory state insurance coverages and other benefits.
My house isn’t dirty, but I always feel it could be cleaner. And since launching the magazine, I’ve gained 14 pounds which I attribute mainly to stress.
So what am I doing? Well, I’m taking that annoying oxygen mask example (you know the one … in a plane emergency you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping your child) to heart.
Here’s what I’m implementing in my life:
- Housekeepers. Every other week two women come into my house and do things like clean my baseboards. The first time I saw this I almost cried I was so grateful.
- Reaching out. I’m active (and becoming even more active) with a local support group for moms who have kids with special needs. We meet once a month to eat, drink and be around people who “get it”.
- Delegating. I’ve hired additional help with the magazine. It turns out a fresh brain is a good thing.
- Food services. Have you ever heard of Green Chef? A friend recommended it so I tried it. After two deliveries I now find myself enjoying it. My kids are helping me cook (because the recipe cards are easy and the ingredients are pre-portioned), and we’ve discovered new foods that we’d never tried. Turns out my kids like curry!
- Exercising. I don’t enjoy exercising. It take up time, it makes you sweaty and stinky and often times you hurt afterwards. But, whatever. I’ll do it if it means I get to live longer.
- Eating healthier. I had a crazy health scare a couple of years ago. I’ve been meaning to nix sugar from my life ever since. I finally am with the help of bulletproof coffee. I realize I’m probably the last person on the planet to try it, but so far it is working.
What are you doing? Have tips? I’ll continue to share cool things that I find.
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