Selfcare? My a**

I hate self carers. Those well-rested, yoga doing self lovers with luminous skin complexion and a thankfulness journal. You know the type.
I guess there was once a time in my life when I was kinda being one (minus the yoga, for some reason working out is one of the greatest challenges I face). I was always an early bird, somewhat untypical for a musician you might think. But yeah, I’m a morning person and if I don’t have an extra portion of adrenaline pumping through my system due to giving a concert I’m ready for bed at about nine o’clock in the evenings 🙂
I used to love my mornings, I used to celebrate them. I would make myself a nice breakfast, enjoy coffee, listen to music, journal a little bit and read. READ. Reading is one of my very favorite things to do. I recently rediscovered reading fiction, something I loved a lot when I was a teenager and early twen. But on my me time mornings, I mainly read non-fiction books, self help stuff or spiritual stuff. I would ponder on whatever I had read for a while and then maybe sit down on my piano and jam or work on a song. I loved painting my nails, I guess I did that every other day, my hands used to look impeccable. As an introvert, I marveled in the quiet, the absence of company, even though I wasn’t aware of my introversion then, I just naturally went for what felt right for me.
If you had asked me then, I would have strongly advocated for a few hours of selfcare / intention setting / self reflecting each day as something everybody should do for themselves.
I continued my beloved habit though my first pregnancy and didn’t cross the question of whether I could uphold my routine as a new mom. I guess I expected that things would mainly stay the same plus a few diapers and a few baby bottles. (Feel free to laugh now if you are a parent 😉 )
At first I didn’t even realize it. I was so up on my toes trying to adapt to caring for a baby that I didn’t really know what was happening. My first born slept a lot. On my lap or on my arm. I would watch a movie sometimes during his naps, scared to move or else he’d wake up. When he was a few months old I settled into a routine of parenting, getting him ready in the mornings, trying not to stay in my pajamas all day. Yes, that best describes my style as a new mom. I took care of wearing something other than my pjs before leaving the condo. I guess it’s different for everyone, but I never had the nerve to deal with a crying baby while showering or putting on make up. My stress level would go through the roof and I would settle for unshowered and no make up. (Don’t worry, I still showered… when my husband was home.)
I would spend the mornings going to baby groups (baby yoga, baby massage, these things) and shopping for groceries. I would return home, feed my baby and myself and attend to my baby’s needs. If he didn’t sleep in the baby carrier or his carriage but at home for a change, I would sometimes take the opportunity to grab a book, but I always felt I couldn’t really get into it before he woke up again. Or I was simply too sleep deprived to really concentrate on reading.
When baby number two arrived two years later I often felt as in survival mode. Having just moved into a new house that brought along many chores that didn’t play a role in our former two bedroom apartment, and handling a baby and a toddler, I quickly absorbed myself in day-to-day mom chores and emergencies. Emergencies? you might ask. Yeah, when the kids are that young, many a time it does feel as though you’re going from emergency to emergency, like baby has out-crapped diaper capacity while two year old is throwing a tantrum. Or I’m cooking because my toddler and I are starving, he’s falling down, I attend to him and lunch burns on the stove. These things really happen… a lot more than I would have assumed. Or it’s me, maybe I’m too chaotic, erratic and unorganized, and generally not keeping my cool in the daily grind of family caretaking, so much so that I simply respond to occurrences like the afore mentioned stressed and without aplomb.
Whatever the deal, without even noticing it and because the demand for it was so high and nonstop, I drifted off into the mom thing and evidently forgot about all the me time I once had and valued so much.
Then one day I had the capacity to open Instagram again, and all those militant well be-ers and self carers connected to their emotions and feelings, with a mug of yogi tea and a tarot card of the day in their hand jumped into my face, full of themselves in regards to inner peace and positive thinking. And I instantly hated them. What do they know about life I thought, these twenty-somethings, thinking they’ve got it all figured out for the mere reason of not being a teenager anymore. We’ll talk in ten years I thought. And if you must meditate, why throw it in our faces, the faces of pople who took on the task to deal with real life.
Because, I thought, of how big a problem are we really talking when some relax-fluencer complains about only having had 90 minutes to themselves that day!? I was glad when I could use the bathroom for a few minutes by myself without a child banging on the door.
So I went for „can’t take selfcarers serious“. Unfollow.

 This was four, five, six years ago. My children are almost eight and six years old now. I well up when I realize how big they’ve gotten, I’m proud of the milestones they have already achieved. I marvel in the fact that I can have conversations with them now. I’m bummed out that they start to stay up a little longer at night and I don’t always have the nights to myself or as couple time with my husband.
I still have an abundance of chores to do. I don’t have to change diapers anymore; now I have to pack lunchboxes, support my kids doing homework, fix meals (will that ever stop!?) or drive them to their playdates or dance class on time. Our week is organized according to a tight schedule around school, kindergarden, job, housework. 
 I stopped thinking about selfcare at some point. It seemed like too much of a luxury. But then, sometime in the last two years, I realized that I occasionally started feeling burned out. In my humble opinion, burning out doesn’t have that much to do with how many tasks you have to do, with how much is on your list. I think it has to do with how fulfilled you are by what you do, how meaningful it is to you. You can work for fifteen hours straight on a beloved project and feel fantastic. Vice versa, some seven to-do’s can leave you feeling drained and overworked.
I realized that I missed diving off into my inner world on a regular basis. And I came to know that the reason why selfcare influencers where such a thorn in my side was that they claimed for themselves something I wouldn’t allow myself.
Ergo: Reinstate time for myself. But how!? While trying to answer this question, it quickly felt like this: every time I want to do something for myself, the children hurt themselves or get hungry or I have to vacuum or do laundry. So yes, there were days when I caught myself thinking: If it weren’t for the children, I’d have time for myself to make music, write or read. And I hurt thinking that. Because by becoming a mother, one of my many dreams became reality. So what’s the way out? Assuming I would have to cut back on my own needs for the next fifteen years made me edgy around the kids. Parking them in front of the TV so I could write a song made me feel like a bad mother. Witnessing that it felt a lot simpler to me to write a song or prep a concert than to parent two children made me feel like a really bad mother.
So what was my way out?
I will tell you on my next blog post titled
Children are not the distraction from more important work. They are the most important work. (quote by John Trainer)

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