The last time I columned to you, I encouraged you to do what you need to do for you, despite the voices in your head, real or imagined. I spoke of being squished for time. I pushed you to “surrender in motion” — surrendering to the schedule to do what you need to do.

The month was October, one of the busiest, with Halloween creative energy swirling. Once that column appeared, I disappeared. The winter days were coming up, and I knew I’d get emotionally slurpy in the reflective candlelight of the holidays and my own struggles with the meaning of Xmas. 

I’ve emerged wanting to write a children’s book, a story of a female Santa with a fabulous rotation of expressive hairstyles — not the old guy with the beard who only seems to pass judgment, eat cookies and doesn’t make or knit anything.

I snapped out of my storyboarding when I saw a comment thread recently on the Facebook group Beacon Moms. A mom was asking for ideas on what to do for self-love. Her therapist asked her what she did for herself, and she was stumped.

The old me’s reaction was: “What do you mean? I have no time! How can you ask me this?”

Which is precisely why this question must be asked. If the impulse is to get angry at the thought of doing something satisfying for yourself, it’s time for a pause. The thread exploded with suggestions.

Like an oxygen mask on an airplane, your own cup must be filled in order for you to fill the cups of your people. For parents of infants and toddlers, you may forget what you take in your cup. Grant yourself forgiveness and read on. 

Ideas for Self-Love

Some ideas are low-cost, high-cost, low-energy, life-changing. Take your pick, depending on your day.

 use a child as a weight during leg lifts
If you can’t exercise alone, use a child as a weight during leg lifts. (Photo by K. Martin)

Stretch and/or exercise by yourself.
One mom asked if she should do it alone or with her children. Alone is ideal. You need the moments to tap into your brain by listening to music in your rhythm. That doesn’t mean you never exercise with your kids. Take them to the South Avenue playground and do your version of Beastmaster training. Seeing you exercise makes an impression on them as well, when they copy your moves.

Wear perfume or cologne. Find your scent, mix and match, and add this subtle touch to remind you of you.

Paint your nails. Don’t worry that it chips in two days or barely has time to dry between your activities. Paint before bed.

Blow-dry your hair. The warm hum of the hair dryer can be mesmerizing — as can a warm head. Let your mind wander in the methodical action. (Pro tip: Curling your hair with a curling iron could take seven minutes and give you good two- or three-day hair — not sure why on the science.)

Sit for extensions or a natural style. Arrange for child care and sit yourself in that chair for a crochet style or a treatment to nurture your natural look. Color the tips if you want.

Sketch something for no reason once a week. Love the thought of drawing, but never do it? Impress no one — including yourself — by indulging in drawing something from your head or an object in front of you.

Buy yourself a ring. Don’t wait for someone to give you one.

Buy yourself clothes. Any price-point works. If the clothing is good quality, consider dropping the cash. View it as an investment.

Embrace your curves and ignore the voice that tells you: “Wait to buy clothes until you lose weight.” Feeling good is the first step to looking good. 

Sweat in the sauna. You may need to join a gym with a sauna to experience this, but the silence of the thickly hot, dry sauna is teleporting. If you need to bring your toddler in after a swim class, do it. The other ladies won’t mind. We know you got to do you.

Write your kids a love letter. Despite any temporary misplacement of your own identity, tell your children — of any age — what they have meant for you. Maybe they taught you how to physically touch another person more by holding hands or snuggling on the couch. Perhaps they taught you how to recognize (and abide by) your own boundaries. Or maybe they helped you see pieces of this life in ways you hadn’t before.

Filling your cup is important to filling the cups of your people so that you aren’t doing it on empty, which can cause resentment. A regimen of self-love care is key to maintaining your identity and satisfaction.

Behind The Story

Type: Opinion

Opinion: Advocates for ideas and draws conclusions based on the author/producer’s interpretation of facts and data.

Katie Hellmuth is the publisher of A Little Beacon Blog and owner of Tin Shingle and Katie James Inc. She is happy to be raising her family in Beacon. Location: Beacon. Languages: English

One reply on “Kid Friendly: Power of Self-Love”

  1. Very nice on all suggestions. I will print your article as a reminder. Thank you, Katie. I’d like to add one thought: When making decisions throughout the day, I always try to go with good versus bad, right versus wrong. You get my drift? When I do right and good I feel good about myself. When I feel good about myself, my decisions follow suit.

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