Thursday, September 13, 2018

A New Year, A New Plan for Self-Care ... Chaviva Style

My #adulting face.

I'm at the magical stage of adulthood where I have three kids under the age of 5 years old, I'm working full-time, I have zero time or energy for my very patient spouse, and I've got side hustles in the form of pro-bono work for discounts on things like childcare. Whew. Being a modern, millennial mom sucks hardcore, hardcore like my daughter trying desperately to get that sucker off the stick (and failings and me having to rip it out of her mouth, because #chokinghazard, and yes, tears follow).

One of the biggest places in my life that I'm feeling like I'm really failing hasn't changed since, well, forever, and that is self-care. Now, I know what you're thinking: Take your avocado toast and craft coffee in a reusable mug and stick your self-care up your yoga-pantsed tuches. Right? The truth is self-care has always been a "thing." It's just manifest itself in many different ways throughout time, and it's most often been the luxury of classes that had the time and money to actually take some time off from the rigors of running a household or rearing children or running a business to actually engage in proper self-care.

The term first popped up in 1841 and this is the definition that offers:

I like that Merriam-Webster had the sense to point out the need for self-care for busy parents, but that health care bit is interesting and unsuspecting, I think. I'm guessing what the definition means here is that a lot of parents will pursue self-care such as massage or acupuncture or chiropractor or medicinal marijuana or CBD or something else that you should consult with a doctor about but you don't necessarily need to consult with your doctor about. After all, so much about being a parent is physically exhausting, from carrying your kids around to carrying their stuff around to carrying yourself around after carrying all their crap around. By the end of each day of Rosh HaShanah, if I stopped and sat for even a few minutes, standing up was the most painful thing since childbirth.

Anyway, back to the point: self-care. I suck at it. 

I'm not the kind of person to get a manicure or a pedicure or go to a spa or sit down on a weekday to read a book or take a bath or just "chill" or "meditate" or anything that resembles the common approach to self-care. I spend most of my day on other peoples' time tables, so the moment my kids are in bed, the house is clean, and lunches are made, I usually just want to take a shower and go to bed.

The closest thing I get to self-care and "me time" is that ... well ... don't tell anyone ... but ... I watch shows on my iPhone in the shower.

I know, I know. Danger! It's going to fall in the water! It'll get wet! It'll get ruined! And I'm probably jinxing myself by even putting this out into the universe, but it's literally the only time of day I have to catch up on TV.

In fact, I'm writing this, right now, at 8:09 p.m. from a Starbucks near my house because I'm supposed to be working on the side hustle and finishing up an e-book for my full-time gig. Instead, here I am, talking about my new plan for self-care.

You'll be happy to know that my plan includes not watching shows in the shower because I really should just be relaxing and being mindful and focusing on shaving and not having to listen to screaming children (although, let's be honest, seven times out of ten halfway through the shower someone is screaming and I have to cut 'er short).

My plan for 5779, this brand new Jewish year, is to blog every. single. day.  Hold me to it. Keep me accountable. Is anyone even out there still reading this? I don't care! I mean, I do care, but that's not the point. 

And yes, I know: I'm writing this post at night and it's going to post tomorrow because I already wrote for today, but my goal is to have a piece of content on this blog every single day for the entirety of 5779 because this blog, this place, this space, was for so long the air in my lungs. I couldn't breathe without putting fingers to keyboard, the virtual pen to paper. And I miss it, I miss it something fierce.

All those months ago when I got my amazing copywriting gig, my dream was that it would bring me back to writing more regularly here. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened. Because I'm an adult with responsibilities to everyone around me.

The side effect of postpartum hormones + parenting + a full-time job + not having the space to be the kind of wife and mother I'd like to be + everything else swimming around my head = a Chaviva that is tired, exhausted, strained, stressed, unhappy, overwhelmed, and full of feelings of failure and the inability to get ahead and get it right.

So, basically, setting a goal and attempting to prioritize self-care in the form of writing is my attempt to find my happy. Over the past year, if there is one thing our family has learned, it's that if I'm happy, then Mr. T is happy, then everyone is happy.

I also started reading Ilana Kurshan's If All the Seas Were Ink, and I'm debating starting Daf Yomi, but I'm thinking that might be too many commitments for one year. I started reading the book last Shabbat, and something really bizarre (amazing? brilliant? unexpected?) happened to me both physically and emotionally while I was reading it. I felt a longing for Israel I haven't felt in years and also felt connected to something big, something vast. But that's for another blog post. Maybe tomorrow.

Stay tuned, and please, if anyone out there is still reading this, keep me accountable, mmkay?