I learned a new word last night:
Selfing. The act of taking care of oneself.
You’d think with two therapists in the family, years of counseling myself, watching Dr. Phil religiously, and after all the journal-writing/journal therapy books I’ve read I would have come across this term before. I have the concept down pat: arrange for a babysitter so you can have a girl’s night out, eat the organic, full-grain oatmeal you just made for the kids instead of inhaling a piece of stale birthday cake on the way to work, get a massage, don’t wear booty-sagging sweats, put on some make up, lock yourself in the bathroom so you can drink your coffee while it’s still hot. Oh, believe me, I know what I’m supposed to do – doing it is a completely different load of laundry.
After a bedtime “routine” that has ended with more water on the floor than in the tub and your ear-drums ringing with screams of “NO! That’s mine!,” the ice-cream calls equally loudly. When a babysitter costs $20 you don’t really have to spare, another evening in front of the tube becomes the norm. When there are more dishes in the sink than in the cupboard, sitting quietly to read or write is just irresponsible. Right?
“The act of taking care of oneself”… I had to make up that definition. Merriam-Webster did not recognize “Selfing,” and Google found only this: Self-fertilization of an organism.
Well, OK. I’ll go with that.
Fertilization is a process by which a organism is reproduced, regenerated, created. To fertilize is to nourish and feed.
Self-fertilization would be, therefore, the process of being regenerated without the help of anyone else. Your own pollen. Your own flower. Fertilizing yourself, for your own re-growth. Nourishing yourself.
Of course, as a mother, I am a gardener who lovingly tends to my little seedlings. I must ensure that with well-nourished leaves and sturdy roots they will reach for the sun. My children will be less likely to reach their potential if I am unable to guide and nurture them. This in itself requires a certain amount… who am I kidding? It requires a HUGE amount of selflessness.
But above all, I am a woman and as such I must be my own gardener – providing myself with fresh water and nutritious food, polishing my leaves, and turning my face to the sun. No flower can survive by hiding in the dark. And I myself must be healthy in order to provide for my family to the best of my ability.
Personally, I know I need quiet time, writing time, and coffee time (preferably all at the same time). But I also know I need, but hardly ever (or never) give myself, reading time, hubby time, spa time, girlfriend time, and silly time.
What do you want/need?
In order to practice Selfing, you must think of a child – your inner child:
Love yourself as you love your child (would you deny your child the care you deny yourself?)
Learn to play/dance/laugh/love like a child.
Sleep long and deep.
Do what you love (the money will come).
Eat your veggies before dessert.
Remember you are your own parent (as well as your child’s) and as such you HAVE to keep yourself in the best mental, emotional and physical health possible.
What selfing thing will you do today?
3 thoughts on “That’s so selfing!”
Jo, this is one of my favorites! I could picture you in your jammies with a cup of coffee and a sigh of relief for finally having the quiet time that you are in such need of. And just so you know the girlfriend, spa and silly time is something I am totally willing to help you achieve!
This is a beautiful, reflective piece. So raw and honest. I love it. I would love for you to provide a link to this post in the comments portion of my post today: “Me Time for Moms”. Our thoughts were aligned today!
Shave my legs – that's what I need to do today, but I keep putting it off (it's probably been 3 weeks). Ought to do at least that one small thing for myself, no?
I really appreciated the reminder.