This Christmas I decided to do something I never thought (especially with my post-baby body) I would be comfortable doing. I took a risk and randomly messaged a makeup artist I’ve been following on Instagram (@obsidian_artistry) asking if she could help me. She introduced me to George (@georgedimitrovphotography) and a magical thing happened. I met two people who didn’t know me from a hole in the wall but they were both so encouraging of my bravery and completely invested in seeing me through this “photography project”. To be fair, I was paying them… but what they did for me was priceless. I had fun, like REAL FUN for the first time since before I became a mother. It’s funny, during this project, I was reminded of these photo shoots I did with my sister when I was younger. She would do our hair and makeup and we would take these pictures for our mom to put on the wall (mainly to detract from the hideous annual school photos). It’s one of my favorite memories growing up… and it reminded me that I used to love getting my picture taken. When I became a mother (and gained 60+ lbs during both pregnancies) I was miserable having my picture taken. Sound familiar? I think a lot of us are stuck with this imperfect picture of ourselves post-partum. Now I’m not saying that modeling is my calling, but it was fun goofing around and focusing on me without the guilt. The purpose of the photo shoot was to give my husband a bit of a personal gift from me versus the clothes I buy him that never seem to fit. It turned out it was a really a gift to both of us. The night I gave my husband that photobook, he said words that hit me like bricks… “this photographer captured you perfectly, he photographed you exactly as I see you everyday.” *cue swoon* For the first time in almost 5 years I saw myself as beautiful and sexy… not just someones mom. BAM! Worth every penny invested.
Now I’m not saying that you need to do something quite this elaborate in terms of self care. This particular activity was what I needed to shake the cobwebs and start seeing myself as a person again. It also pushed me outside my box of boredom. I suddenly started wearing cute lace underwear again, silly and impractical, but who cares! It’s just for me and that fact alone makes me feel sexy and more confident. My mother in law recently told me a story about how her mother used to do her nails every Sunday, without fail. I LOVE having my nails done, but lack the time to make an appointment to get it done. So, as much as I suck at painting my nails… I’m doing it, and you know what, I LOVE IT (almost as much as someone else doing it for me). The key to all of this is that I’m finding very small ways to create me time and and focus on the things I need to give myself my identity back. As mentioned in Part I, the Fort Garry Fact Sheet gives so many easy and inexpensive ways to care for yourself.
Some of my favorite things that I’m trying to work into my life:
-reading or listening to an audiobook (this one is highly under-rated… naughty books are tons of fun)
-taking myself for coffee in the morning (sometimes that is just to my kitchen, but I make sure I have some fancy latte’s for my Tassimo and add my favorite flavoured cream)
-taking classes/education on topics that interest me
-taking a walk outside after my kids are in bed
-taking a bath (some scented Epsom salts can make all the difference)
-creating a theme/pick me up playlist and jamming out
-go for a drive (take the above playlist with you and singing as loud as I want)
-a glass of wine can fix almost anything
The point to all of this… is we need to stop “treating” ourselves and start “taking care of” ourselves. This mentality that you have to earn this type of treatment is ridiculous. Take sometime to evaluate who you are and what you need. That is honestly the hardest part of this whole process. Identifying and accepting that you lack self care is the first step to making change. And learn to accept help when it’s needed. You will only be a better version of you if you are well rested, have a clear head and an open heart.
For any of you interested in how some of my photos turned out… here are some of the “G-Rated” ones I’m able to share. HA!