Last night I couldn’t get myself writing, so instead I did a recap/update as a stopgap, and I promised you that I’d write a “real post” tonight.
Then, as usual, things in the Bey home got a little screwy. It’s just what we do.
So you’re still getting a real post, it just might be a little… disjointed. I know where I’m going with this, but the road is probably going to be windy. And there will probably be tangents (I prefer to think of them as Side Quests) and rambling.
I’m going to go ahead and apologize for that up front. Heck, I even changed topics on myself just to avoid trainwrecking (shut up, autocorrect… we’re calling that a real word) the original topic.
Allow me to back up a bit and start from the beginning of the screwiness…
Picture it: Sicily, 1922.
Wait… Too far.
Picture it: our bathroom floor, 6:35 pm. Nolan decided he was ready to get in the tub, so he stripped down and jumped right on in. Typically he showers, but tonight he was already sitting in the tub like, “Get in here for bath time, Mom…” So I followed to help with soap, rinsing and scrubbing just like I always do. The only difference was that since he was sitting in the tub, I sat down on the floor.
Enter Walter the 20-pound cat, stage left.
Since Donny has joined the family and is a more aggressive attention seeker than Walter, the big guy doesn’t get as much attention as he used to. Since I’m on the floor and Donny’s nowhere in sight, Walter sidles on up and plops down for some lovin’. Before I knew it, Walter had shed enough to almost build a whole extra cat.
So I realized it was time to get out the brush. And the brush we have isn’t really a brush—it works more like a dethatcher that you’d use on your lawn in that it pulls out the unwanted underbits. (Side Quest: both of our cats are neutered, so I’m definitely not referring to THOSE underbits…)
In the process of dethatching the cat, Walter decided that I was playing. So began the swatting and grabbing for the cat dethatcher (dethatchacatter?). In the process, Walter poked me with a lone claw. It wasn’t really a big deal…
About an hour later, I noticed that the finger he scratched was getting super swollen and felt goofy. I knew he’d gotten me good and deep, but I hadn't been very worried. Heck, it hadn’t even bled.
Then it occurred to me: I’m allergic to cats. Maybe the fact that this is so swollen and weird is because Walter took his cat allergens and injected them deep into my finger when he scratched me. For some reason, this made sense in my mind at the time—probably because I’ve never been to medical school.
So I did what I’ve done every time I’ve had a strange new allergic event in my life: I took a full dose of diphenhydramine. You know diphenhydramine, right? It goes by the brand name Benadryl. It’s also the active ingredient in most over-the-counter sleep aids on the market. Yes, really.
I guess that was my super-long-road method of telling you that I’m full of antihistamines. And honestly, my brain isn’t handling it too well (in case you hadn’t already figured that out). [Side Quest: My brain has never handled antihistamines well now that I think about it… Like that time in college where I had a nasty cold/flu/demonic possession of some sort and took a multi-symptom medication with an antihistamine in it then promptly forgot my mother’s phone number (Disclaimer: This was in the days before cell phones when people still had to know phone numbers… Disclaimer #2: Also, this was the phone number my family had for my entire life.)]
So as I sit here wondering how long it will be until I lose the fight against gravity, it occurred to me that I’ll probably get more rest tonight because of this swollen finger. Essentially, the antihistamine is going to force me into a little bit of self-care tonight.
In general, I’m pretty not good at self-care (and maybe words at this point). But I tend to think a lot of us are in the same boat.
It’s easy to start thinking about self-care and getting ideas of soaking in the bathtub for 3 hours with a good book, a glass of wine and a nice cheese plate or having a spa day to pamper yourself.
If you ask me, those ideas are overwhelming. The amount of money a spa day would cost could feed my family for a month or more. (Wait, no—Nolan is a teenager, so it’s more like a week or more. Still.) And even if the money wasn’t an issue, the time away isn’t a luxury we could afford.
I would definitely be more comfortable with a ska day than a spa day...
It’s important to remember that your self-care doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. If you love the idea of hiding in the bathroom with a book and warm tub full of bubbles, that’s great! But if that’s not your thing or it’s out of reach, do what works for you.
Someone I know once lamented that she has a hard time carving out time to do things like go get a massage or have her hair done, so she feels like she really isn’t doing enough to take care of herself. I stared straight into her soul with my tired, baggy eyes and tried my best to explain to her that self-care can mean a lot of things.
What came out of my mouth as I tried my hardest not to let my tired, frustrated ass flip out at her (and what I perceived to be her sense of entitlement) went something like this:
“I understand that completely… But we do what we have to do. I’m not saying force your husband to stay with the kids for the better part of a Saturday afternoon so that you can go do those things. I’m saying find it where you can. It can be reading an extra chapter in the novel you’re working through. It can be driving the long way home so that you can listen to your favorite music or podcast for an extra 3 blocks sometimes. For me, it can be as simple as walking past my favorite clearance end caps when I go pick up a prescription at Target or playing a pointless puzzle game on the tablet for 20 minutes before bed. I may not get the 4 hour break that I would really like, but I can eek out a few minutes here and there to get me by and help rebuild what we work so hard to wear down all day every day. My self-care doesn’t have to look anything like what anyone else expects it to. It just has to recharge my own batteries—even just a little.”
And dads who are reading—you need this too. Obviously you’re not as likely to go in for a pedicure to recharge your batteries as a mom might be, but take some time to do what makes you feel better. For Kirk, he goes treasure hunting at flea markets and antique shops. I like to drool over cookware at Home Goods, treat myself to a fancy coffee or crack out the craft paint.
Whatever it looks like, take care of yourself—it’s not likely that anyone will do it for you (sorry—that’s just how adulthood works).
Now if you’ll excuse me, the antihistamines are telling me it’s time to play a little Lily’s Garden. Plus, I think gravity is starting to win the battle against staying upright…