Self-care is a term that’s been tossed around a lot lately. Sure, we all need alone time and long walks, and a silent soak in the bathtub is nice (if you like that sort of thing), and yeah, I love a sheet mask as much as the next girl, but trying to pretend like those things are actually self-care is a bit of a stretch. Those things are sweet little pleasures life, many of which we, as moms, certainly don’t get much of. Small breaks and little things that lift us up are indeed very important. But, is that self-care? I’d have to disagree.
Actually taking care of yourself looks very different and it’s not always sweet and fun and instantly refreshing. It can be difficult, complicated, uncomfortable, and sometimes, downright soul-shaking.
But, I’m of the mindset that the hard work of bettering one’s self is always worth the effort—to be better each day in both big and small ways is something we should all strive for and work towards. As mothers, particularly, we hold a lot of weight on our shoulders while cradling the future in our hands and if we are not our best selves (let’s be clear—this means the best version of every individual self and not any one particular definition of “best”), it gets much hard to lift and love on others.
I am a flawed person, but what I want my children and loved ones to remember of me is that I constantly tried to take hard looks in the mirror, learned from my errors and missteps, and grew with the knowledge that I took in each day. I want them to remember that I was not perfect, that no one is, but that every person is capable of great and beautiful things—one of which is the evolution of a soul through a lifetime.
Face masks and hot showers are lovely. So are occasional Netflix binges and big stacks of gooey brownies. But the real work of self-care goes beyond those things to actually create a meaningful life and a strong, healthy person in which you can take great pride.
When not chasing her two boys, Arian and Shea, and snuggling her baby daughter, Zadie, Ojus loves to write about the layered complexities of motherhood. She lives on tacos and daydreams, just like her kids.