My friend’s teenage daughter and her friends have a weekend routine.
While Saturday night is friend night, Friday night is self-care night. When possible, they stay home to rest and decompress after a stressful week.
These girls are high school juniors, and given the demands of junior year, I like this habit they’ve adopted. I think it’s a good example of how the next generation values self-care.
The mothers raising them, on the other hand, are still playing catch-up. Unlike our children, we didn’t grow up hearing buzzwords like self-care, self-love, and self-compassion. To no surprise, it’s left us a little confused. While some moms eagerly embrace self-care, others roll their eyes and see it as vanity or self-indulgence.
Maybe it’s because we associate self-care with two opposing extremes. We feel like we must choose one:
- The spa day mentality (a constant mindset of “I’ll treat myself because I deserve it”), or
- The mommy martyrdom mentality (a mindset of “my kids are my world, and I can’t do anything for myself”)
Neither extreme is healthy because real health means moderation. Overdoing it in either direction can lead to self-worship or self-neglect, both of which hurt a mother and her family.
Am I saying it is wrong to visit a spa, and that motherhood does not require a lot of sacrifice? Absolutely not. Most of us enjoy a good massage and would sacrifice anything for the good of our family.
But after parenting for two decades, I’ve learned there must be a middle ground. There must be self-care that strengthens us – and expands our bandwidth – so we can thrive and handle life trials.