Listening to: Self Care by Savannah Cristina
Is it just me or are women naturally dispositioned to demand and accept less when it comes to their own needs? We tend to put everyone else’s needs before our own while we insist on silently suffering each day. And in those rare moments when we’re compelled to give our overextended bodies and souls some love, it’s often met with resistance. We’re often left questioning whether we’re being selfish or advocating for ourselves. But the real question should be how much of our current situation are we willing to be accountable for?
The motivation behind writing this stems from my refusal to continue accepting scraps of support and consideration from others due to the reasoning that it’s better than getting nothing at all. When does the behavior I accept from my family stop being okay for right now and start becoming what I deserve? When do I stop accepting the same sub-par treatment from myself? It happens the day I decide that I’m done settling.
I’ve accepted the fact that my husband is not what most would consider “romantic”, but he has always shown me with his everyday actions how much he loves and appreciates me. He’s protective of me, supports my dreams and ambitions, kisses and touches me lovingly every single day, and he never misses an opportunity to say that he loves me. I feel seen, appreciated, and acknowledged by him every single day.
But watching my six-year-old daughter receive the Valentine’s Day flowers and card from Daddy that I’d purchased the night before and receiving nothing really hurt me. Even though his heart was in the right place and time had gotten away from him the day before, I still felt like making me feel good on Valentine’s Day wasn’t a priority for him. Despite the fact that he was overwhelmed at work and often forgetful, I decided that I was done casting my feelings aside to make things easier for him.
After years of making excuses for his lack of awareness when it came to my desire to feel appreciated with gifts, cards, and other thoughtful forms of acknowledgment, I made a rational decision on February 15th. While taking my purse to be repaired, I splurged on a new one that I didn’t even want. The purchase set me back a few thousand dollars of my own cash and I instantly regretted it afterward. I ended up feeling worse than before I went to Saks, all because I didn’t want to tell my husband how hurt I was that he’d overlooked me the day before.
Now tell me, what sense does that make?
Don’t get me wrong, this was the very first Valentine’s Day that my husband of 12 years had forgotten. I can normally count on him to go all out four days out of the year: my birthday, our anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and Sweetest Day (if you live in Ohio, you know). But, when you’re feeling undervalued, what happened last year is a non-factor. Whenever I feel unappreciated, you may as well call me Ms. Jackson because all I’m asking is, what have you done for me lately?
After taking some time to lick my wounds, I finally realized that I was fed up with settling for the following:
– Feeling mommy guilt due to being questioned by my ten-year-old son each time I left the house to get my hair done, meet up with girlfriends, or grab some solo time.
o Uh, excuse me, young sir. Last time I checked, my daddy lived an entire city away.
– Feeling like motherhood wasn’t being done right if it didn’t involve perpetual stress, fatigue, and suffering.
– Feeling guilty for being out too long while running errands for my household because I wasn’t present with my family or doing domestic chores.
– Feeling guilty for asking my children or husband to chip in on said domestic chores – which mostly consisted of picking up after themselves.
– Feeling like I should be getting something done whenever I sit down to watch TV or relax for the evening.
– Cutting back on my hair appointments and clothing purchases because I didn’t want to spend too much.
Side note: I was experiencing extreme guilt over being an entrepreneur and not having the guaranteed salary of a traditional job – even though my husband assured me that wasn’t an issue. In fact, he appreciated my sacrifice to be available for my children’s needs and stated it played a critical part in maintaining a stable home. This grievance belongs to me and only me.
It wasn’t until I:
A. Sat down with my boo and let him know that I was done being an afterthought when it came to external acts of making me feel appreciated and seen
B. Let my son know that mommy is her best self when she has time to focus on her own needs
C. Told myself that I contribute to this home and deserve to relax, receive help with maintaining the house, spend whatever I need to maintain my personal appearance, and expect a card and some damn flowers on Valentine’s Day
…that I realized I was just as responsible, if not more, for feeling undervalued and unappreciated in my own home. When it comes to determining how you’ll be treated by others, it all begins with you, Sis. Establishing those boundaries and parameters helps determine the type of lifestyle you’re going to lead.
Make a list of the things you want and need to manifest in your life right now. Then create a plan for making that happen which includes boundaries, goals, and action items for you and those in your life who are most impacted. Be plain when communicating your expectations and prioritize reaching the outcome you desire. We’ve wasted enough time sitting on the back burner.
The time to experience the life we deserve is right now.
Here’s to a life full of