Please note. Today’s post is a partnership between myself and the wonderful people at Raise.com. Raise is an awesome new marketplace to buy and sell gift cards on the web! With the extra money you can save on discount gift cards to your favorite brands, you can spend more on the things you love. Thank you to Jessica, for waiting patiently and for nudging me to return to writing.
Wonder Woman was one of my first childhood heroes. She was amazing – tall, strong, beautiful, and intelligent. She could do everything from piloting an invisible plane to filing important military documents. The television series cemented her in my mind as the perfect woman. She vanquished the bad guys and rescued the “hero*” while looking beautiful and stylish. Most importantly she could change her clothes BY SPINNING IN A CIRCLE**. How cool is THAT?
This belief that I could do it all, and do it all perfectly and effortlessly, was reinforced by Cosmo magazine. I poured through the magazine throughout my twenties in an attempt to learn how I could do/be/have it all, while looking fabulous and never working up a sweat.
In talking to other women (mothers as well as those who are childfree by choice), I’ve discovered that no matter our differences, this is the one thing we have in common. Blame genetics, blame the environment, blame space aliens, blame Cosmo and Wonder Woman. We believe that we can do it all, and do it all perfectly – and we promise that we will take care of ourselves “when we find time.”
This month my body tried to demand “me” time by shutting down. I found myself hit by nasty bugs, both stomach and respiratory. My body begged me to rest and recover, but I decided that I was smarter than my body and stronger than any virus, and “muscled up” instead, living on Dayquil, coffee with extra shots of caffeine and Imodium. I didn’t have time to rest, I had People Who Needed Me and Things that Needed Doing. Not the smartest choice, but it’s what we do. WPOF (Women Putting Others First) is a tradition that’s been handed down through the ages.
I am trying to break the cycle. I have made a conscious effort to limit my daughter’s activities and schedule “down time”, but she already shows a tendency to spend her free time helping others and has difficulty saying “The N word”. I am proud of her giving heart and her helpful hands. Or I was, until last week, when the little volunteer crashed and burned. Too many hours filled with too many “need to dos” led to a drop in blood sugar and an ambulance ride to the emergency room.
On the long drive to the hospital, I had plenty of time to reflect on what I was teaching my daughter. I was constantly telling my daughter that taking care of others takes its toll, and that, in order to do our best work, we need to take care of ourselves FIRST. My words stressed the importance of “filling the well”, but my actions showed her something else. I came to the realization that, even though I know better, I still aspire to be Wonder Woman – trying to balance work and love, play and others without a hair out of place (even after spinning out of my clothes).
I know that five months in to 2014 it is a little late for New Year’s Resolutions, but I am making one anyway. I resolve to follow my own advice. To spend time every day once a week on a regular basis doing something for me. My first date is a shopping trip. I’m not a huge shopper, but there’s nothing I like more than a book. Not an e-book, a book. There is nothing that excites me more than that new book smell and the sound it makes when you crack the cover. My passion is pricey, which is why I borrow most of my books from the library. But every once in a while, I NEED to have a book of my very own. Something I can read and re-read and (gasp!) fold at my favorite spot.
I was very excited when I found out about Raise. At last I have found a website where I can indulge in two of my favorite things – reading and SAVING MONEY. I was able to sell my husband’s my unused Basspro gift card at a discount (win for the woman who bought it) and bought a discounted gift card to Barnes & Noble (win for me). I considered shopping online, but that would defeat the purpose. The purpose of me time is to stop and smell the roses. Or, in this case, the books.
I’ve been married for centuries, and am completely out of practice when it comes to dating, so I need to know – how do YOU reward yourself? Spa Day? Bubblebath? Wine Wednesdays? I’m open to ideas!
*Played by the oh-so-handsome Lyle Waggoner. My first fantasy boyfriend
** I tried. My clothes stayed on, and I fell down.