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Recently Bella shouted, "I love myself to the moon!" It was funny and very representative of who she is as a 3-year-old and also pretty fabulous. We want our kids to love themselves to the moon. Because a kid who loves themself is a confident, happy, and well-adjusted kid who will hopefully turn into a confident, happy and well-adjusted teenager and adult who can love themself enough to (hopefully) make better decisions for themself.
And if I want that for my kid, surely I need to want that for myself. I need to take care of me so that I can take care of them in the best way possible. The old oxygen mask analogy: you put it on yourself before you put it on the kids. Now, I don't think it's always practical or even appropriate for a parent of young children to put themselves first all the time, but sometimes YES. Yes, indeed.
So I took myself on a date night last week. Just me, which was just what I wanted. I took myself out for sushi and a blissful glass of wine and then did some shopping and stayed out until the mall closed at 9 pm. It was rejuvenating and fun and hot diggity, if I didn't feel a bit more reconnected to myself and who I am outside of being a parent.
So parents: sometimes you gotta love yourself to the moon, okay?
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I cannot fathom why I haven't done this sooner. I have done shopping & lunch by myself when a babysitter watched the kids, but this was a full-fledged night time me-date and I didn't feel the stress to accomplish to-do list items. I became inspired to do it after reading this post by Girls Gone Child, where she talks about feeling disconnected and off until she reconnected with her girlfriends in person. I have been doing a pretty good job of connecting with my girlfriends lately, but had not found time to connect with myself. And I am someone who craves - more than that - NEEDS time by myself. Time to not talk or compromise on what to do or share my food (yeah...still working on my sharing skillz) or any of it. Had life gone differently, it's not out of the realm of my imagination to see myself going all Thoreau in the woods. And if I'm missing regular doses of pure me time, I get antsy and crabby and pretty irritating to be around. And that had been coming on recently. So I decided to take myself on a date after my monthly therapy appointment and it did more for me than I would have thought.
You see, during the hardest part of the thrush, which also coincided with my postpartum depression & anxiety ramping up, I had to get rid of all my make-up. All of it. Including stuff I'd just bought with a Macy's gift card at Christmas. It was not the cheap stuff. I'm no longer convinced I had to go to such an extreme, but LLL recommends it for recurrent cases and obviously I was at my wit's end. That sucked. So much. I'm not a huge make-up wearer, but I like having it for when I want to play around. When I want to feel like ME and not like mommy. The thrush also prevented me from buying any new bras because thrush treatment protocol had me washing them in hot water and drying them in the dryer on high after each wearing. I wasn't about to drop $50 on a pretty bra to have it ruined quickly. So for months now I have been making do with a couple crappy drugstore make-up purchases that weren't the right color and all my old nursing bras that no longer fit so hot. It ended up being a subtle daily reminder of thrush hell.
Then on my date night, after my sushi and wine, I headed for the Bare Minerals make-up counter and let the lady go nuts. I spent 45 minutes there. No rush, no children that I was trying to entertain. And I walked out with some make-up that actually matches my skin and will make me feel extra pretty and polished on those days I want to feel extra pretty and polished. After that I decided it was time for a new bra. And I ended up getting two gorgeous ones at Soma Intimates (and my fellow big-boobed KNOW how hard it can be to find something pretty that can still serve as an over-the-shoulder boulder holder) after the one's at Victoria's Secret were duds.
Something about finally getting around to new make-up and bras put to rest some of the sadness and darkness and well, misery, that I experienced last winter with the thrush & PPD. I reclaimed something that I can't fully articulate, though I do know it has a lot to do with honoring who I am as a woman. (Sidenote: I still feel ridiculous calling myself a woman - it makes me want to giggle...maybe it won't feel so weird when I'm 60?) It also set the ball rolling a bit for me wanting to do other things for myself on a daily basis...things that don't have anything to do with who I am as a parent. I'm taking a little more time getting dressed and giving a little more attention to my appearance and therefore experiencing subtle daily reminders of how far I've come and how much happier I am now.