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the care and keeping of you (and me)

I got my haircut last night.

haircut

My previous haircut was seven months ago. They suggest getting your hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks. You could say I was a bit behind.

Last week I had a colonoscopy.

It was so pleasant.

That is a total lie. None of it was pleasant. Except maybe the glorious sleeping gas they give you that knocks you right out and makes you dream happy dreams (it also makes you a little crazy and you might say random things to the nurses when you wake up and find hospital bed selfies you don’t remember taking when you look through your phone a few hours later. I’m slightly embarrassed about my post-anesthesia behavior.)

For months I knew I needed to get to the doctor. And that I needed a hair cut. And a dentist appointment and better face wash and moisturizer that doesn’t sting and all those little maintenance things you forget about doing for yourself when you are a woman.

This idea of self-care has come up in conversation a lot lately.

My girlfriends and I pushed each other to finally schedule doctor appointments after admitting how long it had been since we were last seen (me: almost 5 years. Not proud about that one). A lady yesterday told me she consciously chooses to buy her son new clothes before she gets something for herself, even though she could really use a few new items. An instagram friend shared that she finally pampered herself with a manicure – and decided not to feel guilty that it took time away from her to-do list.

Sometimes we forget about taking care of ourselves because we’re too busy taking care of others.

Sometimes we don’t have it in the budget.

Sometimes we don’t have the time. Or make the time.

Sometimes we’re waiting for the symptoms to just go away, or the weight to come off or our situation to change.

But ladies, we really need to care for ourselves anyway.

Getting your toes painted makes you feel pretty. Going for a run makes you feel rejuvenated and healthy.  Following through with a medical procedure makes you face the truth and move forward.  It doesn’t matter what your thing is – a haircut, new pair of jeans, updated lipstick color, an eye exam, a workout dvd, mammogram, crest whitestrips, a correct-sized bra – whatever it is, take a first step towards caring for yourself.

Do it for your kids (they need to see you take time for yourself!), your husband (he likes when you feel pretty!), your friends (let’s encourage one another!) – but mostly, do it for YOU.

So that’s my pep talk for the day.

I’d love to hear your thoughts … do you struggle in this area? Do you think it’s important to take time for yourself? What stops you? What one thing do you need to do to take better care of yourself? Let’s chat …

(and also, will you please remind me to go get my haircut in about 6-8 weeks?!)

103 thoughts on “the care and keeping of you (and me)”

  1. I am learning about this area as well. I was just diagnosed with breast cancer 3 weeks ago at age 38 with 4 kids. In addition to some self-care, I realized the importance of doing those “have to” doctor appointments. But now as I fight cancer, I have to make some time for me to feel well so I can fight well. Thanks for the post!

  2. My husband and I were just having this conversation this morning. I never take time for myself or buy myself anything new. I can’t tell you the last time I actually got a manicure probably around 2007 (the year my oldest child was born). I finally was forced to make a doctor appoinment because I was having horrible abdominal pains which actually turn out the be something that was easily taken care of by a change in my diet. I make time for my family to ensure they are their best but if I am not my best. I am not setting a good example of what they should be as adults! Wow I really needed to get that off my chest. Thank you for being so open with your life and inspiring.

  3. I think we have similar hair. I would love for you to show pictures or a video of your layers and how you describe it to your hairdresser to get your cut. I love it.

  4. YES! “…things you forget about doing for yourself when you are a woman” especially when you are a MOTHER! Totally me at the moment! Thanks for reminding me :) (its been 10 Months (!!!) since my last haircut.. ugh!)

  5. I can agree with a lot of points that have been raised! I bought a new day and night cream for my neglected skin and felt guilty spending the money even though it was on sale. Just a few minutes with a face pack on and I felt great. We need to give ourselves these little treats!

  6. great post – I finally got my eyes tested, I haven’t had them tested since I left school…I’m 40! Anyway I got the all clear and still have 20/20 but it took too long to get around to doing it. And I know I always buy clothes for my little one before me, I will get around to buying some new jeans but feel I could always spending the money else where first… new rugby boots or shoes for the little man!

  7. Several months ago I was feeling uncharacteristically angry/depressed/out-of-control. I went to a counselor. He hit-the-nail-on-the-head essentially saying: Your depleted, invest in your well-being.
    This month I have an apt with a Primary Care doctor (haven’t seen one in…oh, 8 years or so), my FIRST mammogram and a chiropractic visit, just for good measure.
    But what has been most life-giving is getting back into a women’s Bible study group, reading and attending book-group once a month and re-discovering my love of sewing…just for fun!
    Thanks Emily. You are right-on with this post!

  8. I love this quote by Patricia Holland, “We are worth the time and effort it takes to achieve the full measure of our creation and believing that it is not selfish, wrong, or evil. It is, in fact, essential to our spiritual development…unless we take care of ourselves it is virtually impossible to take care of others.” I think learning how to balance all the demands on us as women is a process. Thanks for the post-I needed the reminder.

  9. It’s not just a mom thing…I don’t have children and I still can’t seem to make time to take care of myself. Winter is the worst with the shorter daylight hours. After going to work when it’s just turning light and coming home when it’s turning dark or already dark, after my commute I’m exhausted, making dinner, lunches, cleaning, getting things ready for the next day of work. Pampering myself always comes last…or never. I desperately need a cut and a color. This post has inspired me to pick up the phone tomorrow morning and make an appointment! Also past due for an eye exam. Thanks for this great post Emily! And Go Seahawks! Tonight’s the night!

  10. Emily, I think you are a beautiful person both outside and inside. I can. to tell you how timely this posting was for me. I am a stay at home mom with 2 toddlers. Neither my husband nor I have family nearby so I am the last one on the list to take care of. We have never gotten a babysitter and this was just the kick in the bum I needed to finally secure one and get to my medical appts, etc. for awhile I have been putting off going to the doctor to get my physical because for the first time in my life at age 50 I am struggling with my weight. I have been waiting to get down to a healthy weight to got to doc. One of the problems with that is she writes me the referral to get a mammogram. I have a strong family history with breast cancer and have had a few minor concerns myself…in other words I have no business not being timely with the breast screening tests. Regardless of my weight I am going to pick up the phone and make my appt for the physical and eventual mammogram. You may have just saved my life or gotten a medical concern addressed sooner rather than later. After that I will get my teeth cleaned for the first time in years…

    I’m an Eagles fan but because of you I am cheering for the Seahawks!
    Thanks again!

  11. So funny, I read this while getting my hair colored for the first time (professionally- I use a box) in over a year, during my first vacation day in eight years (that I wasn’t actually on a vacation, just a day for me). You are so right on about the importance of taking care of you. My friend Jessica (@jessicaturner) actually just wrote a book about this called The Fringe Hours. It is a topic we need to share about and encourage our friends to make time for themselves. Thanks for this awesome blog and great post!

  12. full disclosure, the last haircut i had was right after my son was born. he’s turning 2 in a few days. ironic that i stumbled on your post today. i’m getting my hair appointment ‘stat’…and i completely agree with everything in this post. you’re on the mark in such a sweet way and we must every now and then put ourselves first. it’s true, our little people are always watching us and notice these things too! take care and awesome hair cut!

  13. I have had to teach myself this, with my husband’s help. For a long time there was no room in the budget, for real. The kids grow- they neeeed not-holey jeans and not-trashed shoes. My husband had a job and needed his clothes to look nice. I stayed at home, it didn’t really matter what I wore. But when I was able, and dared to, and was out right told to, hahaha, by my wonderful husband, I got some really cute clothes and that’s all I want to wear! :) I am always shocked how much happier I feel when I look nice.
    I love this post, and the reminders. And you’re right about needing to encourage each other! Thanks!

  14. Having three kids with one special needs, I think it’s so vital to take care of yourself. Working out and eating right is so important. Along with taking care of my hair, skin and regular dental/medical check-up’s. I think an annual mammo is good after 40. Our kids need us around for a long time!

  15. I started booking my next hair appointment 10 weeks out before I even leave the salon. It does make you feel better to do it. I’ve also found that for me it’s seems easier to take care of myself now that the kids are a little older. When they were all young it was exhausting and I would be happy to just stay in my sweats. Lol

  16. Right. There. With. You! I definitely put my 5 kids first. And I do it gladly, but I have let things I need get shoved to the wayside for sure. I mean, I’m using cheap hand lotion for moisturizer because I ran out and haven’t squeezed in time to go buy more! Thank goodness my makeup has sunscreen in it! I am getting better though. I have actually had two, yes TWO, hair appointments in the last 8 weeks. Woo-hoo!

  17. I’m still not good about hair upkeep (mine is long so I can let it go longer than a short cut), but do want to stress the importance of health care. If you see your doctor for your routine maintenance care, you will be established with a caregiver if your need additional care/tests/referrals etc.

  18. LOL! Before reading this I made a long overdue hair appt. and still felt guilty! And I just started wearing a bar I bought over a month ago. I left it in the bag, in the car so if the guilt was too bad I could take it back. My husband finally convinced me to keep it. I am in of a pedicure, dermatology appt etc. etc…

    I am not sure why I do this to myself. I would rather go buy wood for my business, work on my to do list than I had to care for myself. I sit here needing to shower and dress and I don’t want to take the time to do it. And Lord knows my husband would appreciate it if I would! LOL!

    I think, in my own life, I need to spend more time in God’s word and prayer. I need to remember I am His, loved and cherished. It’s ok to take care of me because He thinks I am worth it. I also know when I feel good, showered, hair done etc…I am better to others. Not to mention I look and smell better! LOL!

    Thanks for this sharing! I think I will go get my toes done…or go buy groceries…

  19. And I constantly ask why I have the “guilt thing” when I take time out for myself – when I do I’m constantly chasing the time rather than just enjoying. We are terribly harsh on ourselves. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s my obsession with “lists” – IM CREATING A “ME” LIST as I have lists for just about everything else. Xx

  20. Good job on the colonoscopy. I’ve had to have a few of those because of family history AND always feel slightly embarrassed afterwards also. I remember thanking all the nurses for doing such a great job after the last one (and she yelled out “we have a drunk one over here”). So, it’s not you. Coming out of anesthesia always makes me feel stupid. And I love how they send the doctor in to discuss everything with you while you are still not in your right mind, forgetting mostly everything before you get home; as you are crazily hashing everything out in those little memory snipets. I am happy I don’t have to have another until 2017. Good job on getting it done.

  21. The prep for the colonoscopy is much worse than the actual test. It is so worth doing. And yes, we do need to take care of ourselves, we spend so much time taking care of the others in our life that we neglect ourselves.

  22. Not having money for extras has been my reason for not doing something for myself. A few months ago, I started asking my husband for my overtime pay ( I get 24 hours of overtime every pay period). I use that money to buy things I want.
    I would love to get my hair shortened and styled, but my husband wants me to keep it long

  23. I took a long hard look at myself a few years ago trying to figure out why I was so unhappy with certain aspects of my life. I discovered a couple of things: 1) I made little to no time for myself 2) I put my family ahead of myself as far as necessary purchases. As a result, I felt frumpy and looked older than I felt inside. I started exercising, getting my regular check ups to stay up on health status, I got my hair cut regularly and I started updating some of my wardrobe. I didn’t do it all at once. I started one thing and felt better and then added another thing. Today, at 52, I feel better. Now, I look forward to having my hair cut. I like giving myself time for exercise and an occasional pedicure. I purchase clothing as I need it, not as a last resort and end up with whatever will make do in the moment. I think the small amount of time it takes overall is good for my mindset and my attitude. I think we need to encourage women to do the things for themselves that make them their best selves.

  24. I hear you ! I put off Dr. visits for a long time. 5 yrs ? That’s nothing. After my last child I think it was 10 years or more. Thank goodness most of us are healthy. Funny thing is after you go, you feel so much better about yourself. Check that off your list :) So easy to put those things off. We would probably be a healthier nation with a little preventative care.

  25. This is exactly what I’ve been doing lately. I’d gotten comfortable and in a bit of a rut. In the past few weeks I’ve paid more attention to myself. I got a haircut and a color. I’m parting my hair to a different side. I bought a curling iron and the comments I’ve received about my hair have been so positive. I’ve purchased some new makeup and I’m painting my nails again. I must say I feel rejuvenated! It feels so good to know I’m taking care of myself and trying to look my best. Plus, it’s so much fun!!! It reminds me that life desn’t have to be so serious and it’s fun to play with my look. I hope you’re having fun, too.

  26. What a great post. We all need to be encouraged and be reminded to take care of ourselves. When I turned 40 I started making my doctors’ appointments for the week my girls went back to school. Every year I would schedule my annual exam, mammogram, and annual dermatology skin exam. I have done this for 6 years. Never any worries and it always felt good to check them off my need to do list. This year I skipped my dermatology appt. a couple of months later I had to go in to have a wart taken off. While I was there I asked if my doctor could squeeze the skin exam. Luckily she had time. I had a biopsy taken. The pathology report confirmed melanoma. Two days later I had surgery. PLEASE make those appointments! Doing so literally saves lives.

  27. After nursing my daughter for 13 months . . . well, lets just say I was in dire need of new bras!!! After wearing only sports bras for the last 3 months I finally got to the mall today and bought new bras. It felt so good to finally do that for myself! :)

  28. I have been going through this a lot lately too. I get my hair done every 6 months. I thought it was pathetic that it takes me so long! I got a gel nail kit and light for Christmas and that had made a huge difference for me. With nails that don’t get smudged and jacked up because you have to pick up a kid before the polish is dry, this has made me feel feminine instead of having dry lumberjack hands. Before I was married and I was earning “my own” money I bought name brand makeup and got a massage once a month to relieve the stress that came with being an inner city school teacher. Once I wasn’t my own breadwinner I couldn’t justify dropping “our” money (I stopped working to be home with our kids) on such things with a child or two to care for and save for college for, so to the drugstore I went. For five years now I have sacrificed (first world probs) this and just a few weeks ago I dropped $75 of my Christmas money to order a foundation and brush I have been dying to try, and splurging $7 on Black Friday for my favorite hair spray. And you know what? I STILL FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT!!! Why do we do that? It was my money, not our money, and I saved a bundle on the other but I STILL FEEL GUILTY and for what?? For being 32 and getting dark circles under my eyes and feeling self conscious about it, but at the same time worry that I’m being shallow for caring so much about my appearance? That my husband likes my hair long but without a quality hairspray I look super duper frumpy? As a mom and wife I feel like I give and give until I’m spent, and sometimes at a loss of myself, my own needs, my own desires and ambitions. Telling myself that it will be better when my kids are a little older and we are a little more secure financially can only hold off the depression that will inevitably come for so long. So it just takes a little bit of gumption and budgeting to bite the bullet and taking care of you, even the way you look. As much as people say looks don’t matter, it is still a part of you and if it affects how you feel about yourself and interact with the world then it does matter. You matter. So go take a nap and let your kids watch Handy Manny for the umpteenth time. They will survive, and in this case, so will you!

  29. I am a big believer in taking care of my body- especially Dr. appts. Since I have thyroid disease and had to do IVF to have both kids, I sort of got use to going to a Dr. Now that I have kids I want to teach them how important it is to care for your health- at some point you are solely responsible for this task and it scares me to think what can happen if it goes neglected. I lost my paternal grandparents, both to cancer that went undetected for years because they just never went to the Doctor. I intentionally simplified my life so I cannot use the “I don’t have time excuse”. Recently I started making bath scrubs at home using essential oils and stuff I have around the house (just look at Pinterest for ideas) so even though I cannot make it to a spa, I can take an extra 2 mins in the shower and feel a little more pampered for pennies ;) Good for you, getting a colonoscopy cannot be fun but then again, cancer is no picnic either!

  30. You look great!
    You have to prioritize:
    Your Faith
    Yourself
    Husband
    Kids
    Family

    I have been in a 10″year battle against terminal disease. I am happily married to the love of my life. Empty nest with 4 grown kids and my first grandchild. During this time, I’ve gained priority wisdom. My priorities as above. I’m not good to anyone if I’m not taking care of myself. For me, it’s much different. For you. A haircut might mean the difference of spending a visit with my child. You’re healthy, I assume. I’m not. So my hair is down my back and turned gray & white, when I used to be blond via salon with a youthful haircut. I look like the little hippie I was in HS. My kids all love it! I have a friend who comes & cleans it up twice a year & cut my bangs so I can keep it up.

  31. Wow. I’ve followed your blog for awhile, but this is the first comment I have left (sorry…your posts are amazing!)

    This one really hit home. Thank you, Emily!!!

  32. Goodness.. this hits home for me! I currently have not one, but two massage gift certificates from my Bday last June and even worse I have a mommy/daughter pedicure certificate from my birthday 2 years ago. So SAD! I try to think of a time to make the appts. and then for some reason or another convince myself that those days won’t or can’t work. I haven’t had my “yearly” exam in 2 years and I need to go for a run like you wouldn’t believe or maybe even take my poor dog for a walk?? But I can never schedule that in. I like the idea of supporting each other and making sure we take time for ourselves. It is so important and so often we push it aside. You are so right – our husbands do like when we feel pretty!! I do get my hair done – it’s a short pixie cut, but let me be very clear.. it’s not as often as I should! I usually go every 8 or 9 weeks and even then I am begging my poor girl to get me in ASAP.. have I mentioned that I color it light blond too?! The grow out is lovely.. All of these things were on my New Year resolution list, mostly though – I would really just like to put me ahead of most of the daily things I do – even if it’s just once a month. Thank you for reminding me to make my dr. appt!

  33. I think we should all have a colonoscopy yearly just so we can have that glorious nap !!! It’s the best and most refreshing I have felt since having children!

  34. Years ago, I remember reading a suggestion to use a fixed date (for example your birthday) to schedule those appointments that need to occur yearly. Although the dates have shifted somewhat due to actual issues being found, it was enough to establish the habit of yearly doctor’s visits, mammograms and such. Hopefully, as my four children have grown, they’ve seen me do the same things I require of them…yearly doctor’s visits, twice a year visits to the dentist for cleanings and generally just taking care of yourself. It’s the whole oxygen thing on an airplane…put the mask on yourself first otherwise you may not be able to take care of those you love.
    I laughed out loud about the colonoscopy thing, just had mine done too and well, the drugs are indeed the better part of that deal…the rest of it’s just flat out rude ;-) but then again, the peace of mind is worth the temporary inconvenience.

  35. This is all so true. But I would add one thing more.

    If anyone out there can’t convince herself that she deserves personal care and that she just needs to take care of others instead, please understand that the best thing you can do for your family is take care of yourself. It really is true. A relative “couldn’t” afford a dr. and didn’t have the time to get a checkup when things seemed not quite right. If only she had gone for regular exams she might not have died. Just a reality check there.

    And I need to go to the eye doctor! ;)

  36. well, Emily…..I am also in that category of women who seem to forget to get their regular haircuts. my problem is when I do go to the hairdresser regularly they (the hairdresser) always seem to want to change my hairstyle or leave or emigrate or something so it spoils things a bit. my last appointment was 10 months ago eeek! my hair is in bad need of something so really should do something about it. so I will yes I will! I am usually good with the medical things so you may let me off for this lapse.

  37. Agreed on all things I/we put off! More importantly, I hope your colonoscopy came out great! You don’t know me but I know I need you and the inspiration you bring to my life! That sounded a lot less stalkery in my head! :) Alas, best wishes! :)

  38. At the moment, I need an eye doctor appt., a dermatologist appt., I am due for my annual exam, and also have to schedule my first colonoscopy. Most of these things are easy breezy so I don’t know why I am not getting them done! And you are right about our kids needing to see us care for ourselves!
    How comforting to know I am not the only mama who has a hard time with this though.

    Ps just how bad is the colonoscopy?!

  39. My face has been stinging, too! I was switching around a couple of products and it’s also been really cold here. What did you use before and what did you switch to?

  40. Hmmm I seem to get my hair cut about every 3 months or 6 months it’s crazy esp since I can get my fur babies toe nails trimmed almost every month. As far as all the medical tests I am good I am an RN so that I do

  41. This is what I constantly need reminding of. My husband and I are newly married with a smaller income, bills, loans, and a tight budget. These things always keep me from doing things for myself. My husband often reminds me to do exactly what you mentioned in this post and even got me a super lovely kitchen aid for my birthday because I would NEVER do anything like that on my own. What a gem.

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder to sometimes put yourself over everything else.

  42. This is such an important reminder for women to take care of themselves, not in a selfish way but in a take-care-of-yourself type of way. I recently went to see my general practitioner for the first time since 2008 – how terrible for me to have waited so long! I was afraid that my cholesterol would be high, sugar level off, and other awful things. Turns out my levels were fine except Vitamin D, and so now I’m on Vit D3 supplements each day to help with that. If I had not have gone, I would not have known and couldn’t help myself get healthier. I’ve learned that I need to take the initiative for my health and well-being – no one else will do it for me. I’m also way overdo for a haircut – now I just need to call and make an appointment!

  43. Ahhhh. You are speaking to me, woman! It’s been a good YEARS since my last real haircut. I say real bc 6-ish month ago I resorted to cutting my own hair. I AM NOT A HAIRDRESSER. I just did a few little snips here and there to get rid of the noticeable split ends. Ridiculous!!!! I have an appointment scheduled for Tuesday tho!
    I blame it on not having time with my almost 2-year old son, being 22 weeks PREG with twins, and we’ll just maintaining the home! Here’s to feeling more refreshed……..

  44. I even have a gift certificate to my salon from my husband for a haircut/etc and I still can’t seem to get there. (Banging head).

  45. Emily, I can definitely help you with the skin care with no stinging as well as other self-care items, like the lipstick color, having more energy and better health in general. Call me: 818-903-0087. I’m a consultant with Arbonne, and I can help you get skin care and makeup that are pure, safe, and really deliver results, guaranteed, as well as help with nutrition/detox/feeling energized and healthy, so the colonoscopies continue to yield only good news. I would love to serve you and make skin care a happily settled part of life, instead of an annoyance, and I love to help people get the best deals, including free product. If you (or others who might read this) would like to take less than 5 minutes to complete my Guest Profile, it will help me serve you even better, but it’s also fine just to call or email me.
    http://zenplify.biz/lisabaarns/GuestProfile

  46. my last blog post was very similar…about taking care of myself…I found a lump in my breast but it was nothing..however it lead to them finding something in my other breast…so glad I went in as soon as I did. time to make me a priority to make my health a top priority.
    hair cuts, heck I cut my own…because I can do it well and how I like it, and becuase I can save a ton of money and usually spend it on my girls…mom issues

  47. Cheryl Holsonbake (@cherylreads)

    YES to everything in this post and all of the comments! I needed all of this. Thank you everyone!

    And, every woman here needs to schedule her annual physical – and then actually GO TO IT. My boss recently “happened” to schedule her appt a bit early and now is recovering from a double mastectomy. By the grace of God she is doing well, but please don’t put off making and keeping that appt another day!

  48. it is so hard to feel okay with taking care of myself, when i feel like my job is to take care of others. i feel oddly strange without the four kids running around me and tripping up my thought process. it’s totally crazy.

    and i have cut my hair with a tiny trim myself (or hubs) for the past 3 years. i am desperate for a REAL haircut. and in those three years my gray hair has gone for four (i used to joke it was for each kid… ha ha) to several more. i’m sure i could brighten up the look a bit. totally crazy

  49. SO MUCH YES to this post. We don’t have anything extra in our budget. We pay our bills, buy a little food, and that is it. I have a sweet friend that cuts my hair for me but we’re moving and I don’t know what I’m going to do without her! And, I try so hard to take time for myself but with a newly 5 year old, an almost 3 year old (with health issues) and a 5 month old, there just seems to be no time. I’ve been meaning to paint my nails for weeks. We are also moving 3 states away this week so yeah… busy. Hopefully once we’re settled, I’ll be able to find some “me time.” I’m wanting to be very intentional when we move in to this new place with creating a space that is just for me to relax, feed the baby, retreat to, etc. Wish me luck!

  50. I have been going through the same issues for quite some time now, and although in my heart I know there are many women who go through the same exact things, it amazes me to hear of it, just because women rarely talk about it. Trim, what’s a trim?, let alone get a mani-pedi. I am going for my first colonoscopy this March, it was enforced by the doctor. Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. Many of us go through the same issues as you mentioned, and I totally appreciate the insight of how we need to pay more attention to ourselves.
    Oh yeah, I need a new bra! LOL
    Thanks again for reminding us of how we need to start the journey in self-care. :-)

  51. Well done for making space for yourself! After all, if we don’t look after ourselves how can we look after our family?

    I need a hair cut and colour, dentist appointment and eye test… Your post has inspired me to get these things done.

    On another positive note, I was feeling overwhelmed with all the DIY jobs I had to tackle on my own, so I sent out an email to all my friends asking for help (something I have never done before!) and now have six friends coming to help me over a week to sand, smooth and paint me out of a hopeless hole. Here’s to looking after ourselves and each other! X

  52. I’m 51 years old. My kids are more or less raised. But I still feel guilty when I put my needs, haircuts, outings etc ahead of my kids, and husband dog.

    New Resolution #699 Treat yourself like your own best friend or Treat yourself like you are the most important person in the room.

    I’m just doing ok with this so far this year. But it is in my conscience mind. I think that’s the first step. If I do one thing good for myself is I do make my doctor appointments. Good luck with this everyone… If I figure it out I’ll share, and if you all figure it out please share.

  53. THIS! YES!! being a stay-at-home mom, I RARELY get 5 minutes to myself. simply asking someone to watch my kids or PAYING someone to watch my kids so I can get my nails or hair done just seems… well… silly. but it really is more than getting your nails done for all the reasons you mentioned – gives you a break, a good reminder that your needs are important too, your kids seeing you take time to take care of yourself, etc. thank you for the reminder!! and you have NO IDEA how much a well fitting bra and a sassy pair of undies can make a woman feel – it makes you feel like you can take on the world ;)

  54. This is a very timely message and so glad you shared! It is funny that you mentioned a correct fitting bra! I finally talked myself into buying a nice bra because a) it will fit and feel better and b) it will last longer. We do need to take care off ourselves so we can take care of our families physically and emotionally. I myself always will make the budget stretch for the kids but not myself. If it endangers our health and well-being we really need to change that! Thank you for a great reminder!

  55. Isn’t it funny when you’re supposed to learn something that the topic keeps coming up in everything you encounter? Well, that’s been me recently with self-care…I’ve fought/struggled with/been overcome by multiple chronic illnesses the past 4 years – barely keeping my head above water with family/work/home demands along with the doctor visits/tests/medicines/lifestyle changes/etc. required for these diseases. All the while just hoping to get a better longterm prognosis and daily quality of life. I love the girly stuff but with the very high financial and physical demands of these diseases I’ve been without…until yesterday – haircut and nails! And wow! Today I have on makeup and perfume and nice clothes and purse (BIG yay! for hand-me-downs!) and I feel PRETTY! Your thoughts today were just affirmation to me that I’m (finally) on the right track – self-care (and not just medical) needs to be a daily part of my life for the good of my entire family of all men except for me (and the dog)!

  56. My girlfriend recently told me that, for my birthday, she was taking me for a mani-pedi.
    I said “Don’t be silly. I can paint my own nails!”
    I told her I was too busy. I thought of ways to get out of it. She wouldn’t listen! So finally I went with her and experienced . . . two and a half hours of BLISS!
    Yes ladies, sometimes we have to stop feeling guilty, get off the merry-go-round, and take a little “Me” time.
    p.s. I can’t stop looking at my toes! lol!

  57. Needed this today after really struggling with baby 3
    Called my doc
    Making hair appointment it’s been 6 months too, need some new glasses and for sure a new bra
    I’m going to say Yes! I’m even motivated to get in some clothes besides yoga pants

  58. Young or old…it is a problem! I am 63, raised 8 children, have 22 grandchildren, took care of my precious husband for years before he passed away almost 5 years ago and I am still struggling with taking good care of me! I wrote myself a letter with a few new rules for the new year…goals was not a strong enough word! So far I am following my rules for me! Developing good patterns of caring for your family’s most important person, impacts all of their lives! It is not self-centered if there is balance and it is not selfish to remember that you matter a great deal. Your husbands and your children love to see you happy and joyful and shining bright. All is right with their world when they see you smiling and laughing! Give them your best self by remembering that it really does take so little for us to take really good care of ourselves! And not as an after-thought…Emily, I love who you are, what you write about, your love for all things spiritual, your faith, your ordinary extraordinary life!

    1. What a sweet comment! It is nice to know we’re all in this together and I appreciate your wisdom! May we all take care of ourselves a little bit better …

  59. I used to think I was being a hero for my family letting my needs slip through the cracks. Putting haircuts for the boys ahead of the girls, because we hide it a little better. Wearing the same clothes from high school and then maternity clothes that don’t fit because we had them and I wouldn’t have to spend money on well fitting clothes. But I was SO WRONG! It’s not doing anyone any favors when I’m unhappy and don’t feel good. Still working on a lot of things, like exercise. That’s such a hard one for me. But thanks for the reminder! You always have a way of putting things just right.

  60. I finally started scheduling my next haircut right after I get my hair cut so I don’t even have to think about it. Otherwise, I put it off for weeks and weeks and then the stylist can’t get me in for another 3 weeks! I should probably do this with our dog groomer too!

    I definitely put off doctor’s appointments because I almost never get sick and as far as buying clothes, etc. for myself… I’d rather buy them for the kids or buy something for the house. I used to love to shop and try things on but something happened to those mirrors in the last 15 years! Aaaack. Now I just grab something off the rack and go, hope it fits and return it if it doesn’t. Bad strategy, but there it is. And frankly, I don’t love a lot of what’s going on in the fashion world anyway and seems like a waste of money to buy trendy stuff.

    That said, I think I do manage to do something for myself every day, even if it’s just reading a book or magazine article, calling a friend on the phone to chat, organize a drawer or room, watch something I’ve DVD’d. Guess I need to apply that to medical care.

  61. I just scheduled my first colonoscopy today – I’m referring to it as my colon party because I’m pretty sure my colon is the ONLY part of me that will be having a good day in the end. (pardon the pun) I love your blog. I only recently started to follow it and could kick myself for not doing it before. But, on the bright side, I’ll have to plenty of down time to reach your archived posts during my colon party prep! :)

  62. I can relate! I always feel the guilt creep in while I’m getting a mani/pedi, haircut, etc. I feel like I should be using my time more wisely, and spending less money. My “to do” list is running through my mind the entire time. Totally there with you Emily!

  63. This is so timely! I just got out of a slump and got a haircut, started putting in more time in picking out my clothes in the morning, and have started researching doctors (it has been 3ish years for me). There must be something in the air!

  64. I haven’t had a haircut in 6 months and I have a scope scheduled for next week. I have almost called to cancel about five times today! I am petrified! Was it as bad as you thought?

    1. The procedure was not bad at all (I was blissfully unaware of what was going on). The prep was not great and I felt kinda bloated and gross after, but it was quick and feels much better knowing what’s going on rather than hoping it just went away on its own. You’ll be fine and thankful you did it!

  65. Thank you for this lovely reminder! I had a hard time remembering (or not avoiding) taking care of myself before I had my daughter, but now that she’s here it’s even harder. I keep reminding myself that if I don’t take care of myself I can’t fully take care of her, but awesome posts like this also help! Thanks Emily!

  66. Well, this is a timely – I haven’t had my hair cut in more than 3 months (I’ve been trimming my bangs myself – my stylist *loves* fixing that – ha ha) & my doctor’s office keeps calling me to schedule a colonoscopy (I turned 50 last summer). They’re on my to-do list, but I keep skipping over them… I guess you & the universe are telling me to schedule these this afternoon…

  67. I am with you on the haircut…I have tons of hair and need to cover the grey so my appts. take 4ever!…..and I just don’t ever schedule it. Occasionally I will pop in for a mani-pedi but never by appt. The one time I do always make for myself is doctor appts…I never skip, never miss and never forget….

  68. Oh, my… it’s like you saw into the darkest parts of my soul when you wrote this. I read this while on hold with the doctor’s office trying to make a (very long overdue) appointment. Because I’m avoiding some pretty scary symptoms by telling myself that I’m “too busy” to get checked out. I haven’t been to the dentist in almost 4 years. I haven’t had haircut in over 18 months (yes, 18 months!) because my kids always come first. I haven’t had a pedicure in over a year. I’m wearing a maternity cardigan that I love dearly… but my twins are almost 3 years old. I let my house cleaner go almost a year ago because I told myself I didn’t deserve it. When I read this, the tears started flowing. I would never treat anyone else this way, so why do I do it to myself? It’s time for a change. Thank you for writing today. I needed it.

    1. Megan! You totally deserve it! You are a strong mama who loves her babies and they need to grow up seeing you take care of yourself in a healthy way, too. There is no shame in needing help or taking a few minutes to yourself. I hope this helps you take a few little steps toward caring for yourself! xoxox.

  69. Thank you for sharing those details! It helps to know there are others who struggle with this. I usually just plod through each day making sure everyone is taken care of, and then am too tired to really think about doing anything else. :)

    Yes, my haircuts come every 6 months – or so… And I really need to to the dentist/doctor thing too… I’m not sure what it is that keeps me from making those calls!

    Thanks again!

  70. I needed this today. I’m struggling with bad news I received yesterday about my pregnancy (27 weeks along with twins). I need to go do something for me and a haircut would be the thing! As a stay at home wife, I didn’t want to spend the money but I need something!

  71. I don’t have children, but I have a (more than) full-time job as an event coordinator and I’m married. I work most of the events after hours and I’m in the office Monday-Friday 8am-5pm. I get comp time, but I have a hard time letting go and staying home for a few hours. In 2012 it got so bad that I started snapping at people at work, complaining non-stop to my husband and just felt overall unhappiness with my life. Now I try to take that comp time if I don’t have an event to work, I ask my coworkers to help work events every once in a while so I can keep my sanity, and I’m still trying not to feel guilty. This is a good reminder for everyone.

  72. You are amazingly beautiful inside and out. Thanks for sharing what we all (well most of us) struggle with. Never ceases to amaze me how moms make time for everyone and everything else, but seem to put ourselves on the back burner. Sometimes it is a good thing, but not to the extent that we ignore those things that need attention (and some days the painted toenails are a mighty important task just to revitalize ourselves!) I have raised four beautiful daughters and hoped they would “do as I say, not as I do” in this arena (I’m a hopeless doer) and give themselves a little grace but alas, they all got the “must do for everyone” gene. My sweet girls (ages 32, 28, 26, 24) have sent me notes as adults sharing with me their gratitude for showing them selflessness, sacrifice and being a Proverbs 31 wife. My prayer is that they would possess these traits, but also remember they count, too. So, I shall be passing your sentiments on to my precious daughters and perhaps your words will strike a chord for them! Praise God for you and the tremendous gifts you share with us. Thank you, sweet Emily.

  73. This is a great reminder that I need to go ahead and reschedule that annual exam I canceled when I was too exhausted to show up (after spending all weekend nursing a sick toddler). I also have *horrendous* roots right now and should probably stop coloring my hair since I only seem to make it to the salon every four months or so. And yes, I should probably make the time to exercise again. *sigh* I used to really enjoy being pampered; facials, massages, nail appointments, hair appointments–I did it all and relished it. But now, with a little one at home, a FT office job, and a part-time fledgling handmade business, it feels like pampering is more an inconvenience, less a pleasure. Your post reminds me that it shouldn’t be. Thank you!

  74. You are spot on! Too often I’ve let other influences confuse “taking care of myself” with “being high maintenance and wasteful”. All of us deserve to be our best self for the people we love. Thank you for the reminder… and your hair looks beautiful!

  75. I really needed to read this today. I have been going through my kids’ clothes this week to get ready for a garage sale, and I realized they outgrew more clothes in the last three months than I have in my entire wardrobe. Also, I need a haircut, new face cream, new glasses, and I haven’t seen the doctor or the dentist in a while. I think it is some weird way of punishing myself for not losing all the baby weight after my last child. I realize after reading this post that I would never treat the people around me the way I am treating myself. Thank you for opening my eyes.

  76. A little background…I am 44 with a 6 month old at home (first time Mom), I have been married for 22 years. I use to ALWAYS take time for myself: haircut and color every 6 weeks, mani & pedi every other week, ate well (never have been an exercise person), but since I found out I was pregnant I have not done any of those things…I miss it and I need it, but being away from her for 10 hours M-F, I don’t want to take the time away on the weekend! I needed this post today more than EVER!! Thank YOU!

  77. Good questions for self-evaluation.

    With 5 kids, ages 11 and under, yes – I do struggle in this area, but I find that at least half of it is a mental struggle, not a time struggle. I don’t buy myself clothes because I had a baby a year ago and am not “back”, so why spend money buying a size I don’t want to wear? :) Things like that keep me from the non-necessary things. As for the doctors, I feel like it’s more of a time/find a sitter issue…but I, personally, feel more of a draw to do that though since it’s hard for me to feel physically ill and try to engage well with my kids.

    While I do think we need to take care of ourselves, I think it’s also important to find a balance between caring for ourselves and spoiling ourselves. For me, a long, hot, uninterrupted shower does more good than going to get a manicure. So I try to pick a few things that refresh and rejuvenate me, and protect my time to do that. The other stuff, I have to remind myself, is extra – and before too long, my kids will be busy and/or gone and I’ll wonder what to do with all my free time. :)

    Thanks for this post – I love reading your blog! And sorry, but even if we were “real life” friends, I wouldn’t remind you to get a hair cut – because I stink at making the time for that too! :) Have a great day!

  78. I just died my hair for the first time in a year! Ha! The greys are hard to cover so I figure why bother. I’ve been in I’m a housewife rut and I’m finally out of my depression.

  79. This is such a struggle. I find myself staying up way to late feeling like this is some paper me time, but it’s actually counterproductive. I tend to be more tired which affects my productivity. My to-do: get to bed earlier, making an eye appointment. Thanks for your honesty and opening up this discussion!

  80. Amen, sister. My girlfriend bought me fabulous shampoo and conditioner for Christmas because I’m so bad at buying nice(r) things for myself and will always go without or buy the best deal as opposed to the highest quality (even thought I can afford it). It was a real “wake up” moment for me. Today, I’m going to a schmancy salon to get a fabulous haircut (6 months overdue) and will enjoy every last minute of it! Thanks for the reminder.

  81. Here here! I love how you seem amazing and all put together, rasing 4 kids, running a business, being beautiful, and yet you are open and honest sharing your imperfections, too! Thank you :)
    My to-do: new bra! And yes, even when it’s just a trim, a hair cut in a couple of months will feel great.

  82. The other day I had a half day scheduled to have lunch with an out-of-town friend and spend the afternoon with her. Then she canceled. I panicked. I didnt know WHAT to do with myself for 4 hours on a Thursday afternoon. Houston, we have a problem :)

  83. I totally feel you. Last year I took so little me-time, that I started being sad without knowing why. That was really scary. But I discovered that I just needed some time for my own needs. Like painting my nails to feel pretty. Or take just ten minutes more in the bathroom just to do something nice with my hair. I had neglected my own needs so much, that my self worth was starting to disappear. But now I know it was because I didn’t listen to myself and that I have to take care.
    Now I am taking the time to do what makes me happy. Listening to music I like or just take a nice walk. It is those little things that make us feel good, and we have to make ourselves happy to make others happy.

  84. I do the very same thing with haircuts. I have to keep a cut that doesn’t need constant upkeep because I know this about myself.

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