As caregivers, we are constantly doing for others. We are making meals, help with homework, running errands, or being a taxi for our kids. Being a single mom and having a child with hemophilia has it own challenges as to when I get “me time.” My ex-husband also lives 500 miles away, which doesn’t make weekend visits consistent. I have lived in a small town in Mississippi for the last two years and have worked from home since moving here, so I don’t have a lot of local friends to help me out. What’s more, my family all lives in Florida. Because of all these circumstances, I have learned to take opportunities whenever I can.
Last year I used some of my income tax money to invest in me. I went to the local massage store and purchased a membership. The problem is, while I had good intentions, life took over and at the end of the year I had banked six or eight massages! However, I have made the effort this year to try and treat myself every four to six weeks (after all, I’ve already paid for them!). Sometimes, I schedule my appointments right after I drop Micah off at school so I can, hopefully, go uninterrupted for at least the first couple of hours he is there. While I have lived on a strict budget for a while, this is the one thing I do invest in. I don’t buy new clothes or splurge on much, so it’s worth it to get that little bit of time to try to relax.
When I don’t have time to schedule a massage appointment, I will often wait until Micah is at school and take time for a long hot shower so I’m not getting questions through the door and can take as long as I want. Hot water on your head does wonders for headaches and tense shoulders. Sadly, I have a jet tub and have lived in this house a few months now, but have never taken the time to use it. I’m sure that could be relaxing too. I think we are all guilty of not allowing ourselves very much personal time because we are so used to constantly being on the go or on a strict schedule.
I have tried to take time to walk more around the neighborhood, now that the temperatures have gotten a little cooler. It amazes me at how much better I feel when I do that and how much I can clear my head if I “walk it off.”
One thing I have never allowed myself much time for that also makes me feel better is taking care of my nails. It’s very rare that I get a pedicure or manicure, but I recently discovered nail wraps. I am horrible at polishing my nails without messing them up and it takes more time than I am willing to give. But the wraps are quick and easy — you can cut them to size, and they look pretty good! So I am trying to do little things that make me feel better or more put together.
One goal I still have is to read a book by the end of the year. I’m pretty good at glancing through magazines, but sometimes it takes me a year to get through a book. I keep telling myself I am going to go to bed about 15-30 minutes earlier than I normally do just so I can read. It hasn’t happened yet.
Working and having a chronically ill child who is in middle school and has extra-curricular activities can be stressful. But one thing I have been reminded of this year is that if I am not mentally and physically healthy, I can’t care for anyone else. As moms, we have to realize how important it is for us to take time to care for ourselves just like we do for others and not feel guilty for taking a break once in a while. It’s not being selfish, it’s a necessity…and you are worth it!
Kelly lives in Mississippi with her son, Micah, 12.
*Note: “Infusing Love: A Mom’s View,” is a blog collection of personal opinions and a representation of individuals experiences. While extensive efforts are made to ensure accuracy of the content, the blog entries do not represent HFA or its Board of Directors. The blog is also not intended to be construed as medical advice or the official opinion/position of HFA, its staff, or its Board of Directors. Readers are strongly encouraged to discuss their own medical treatment with their healthcare providers