Luckily, my husband is wonderful about forcing me to stop and take breaks. If I don't get a great night's sleep and it's showing, he sends me to bed after work to nap, or to read, or to watch a movie. He takes care of the boy and makes dinner. If it wasn't for his insistence, I doubt I would stop to rest much at all. I'm one of those rare women fortunate enough to have a man who sees how hard I work to take care of everyone else, and insists I bestow the same kindness to myself.
I don't know if it's specific to mothers, or if it applies to all women, but it seems that taking care of ourselves is usually not our number one priority. We're there for friends, for partners, for children, for co-workers, but to place our own needs on that list of things that are important is seen as a selfish act. Whether others see us that way is irrelevant; it's often how we see ourselves. It's not a conscious act; it's something ingrained in so many of us.
The problem is, if we don't take care of ourselves, we can't take very good care of those around us. We have to give ourselves a break now and then to relax. Remind ourselves that we're people, too, just as worthy of tender care as those we love. As a matter of fact, we should remind ourselves that we are someone we love. The Most Important Relationship There Is
So I'm going to push aside the instinct to put all of these things aside until everyone else is taken care of. I'm going to attempt to fight it once in a while and try to pay more attention to myself. Tonight, I'm going to do the works: I'll paint my nails... blow dry my hair... maybe even get all crazy and shave my legs with a brand new razor blade. I'm going to feel like a girl again. And when I'm all revived, I'll pay attention to my husband and have a lovelier time than I would have had otherwise.
I'm giving myself permission to take care of me. I think you should, too.