In the past few weeks of Code Name: Mama’s March of Kindness challenge, I’ve had a blast doing things like buying hubby a gift card for one of his favorite video game stores, helping a fellow mom at swim class figure out how to give her little one a shower (she had only ever had baths) and leaving an extra $20 on top of the tip at a restaurant.
There were a few times where I even did acts of kindness for (gasp) myself!
I know…really not that big of a deal – but I want to share my first gut reaction when I first saw those suggestions on Code Name: Mama’s site of acts of kindness to do for yourself:
“Well that’s just dumb.”
Yes, I’m being honest – that was my first thought.
Followed by: “Doing acts of kindness for yourself doesn’t count! Moving on to acts for others now…man, some people…!”
And then came that day…
You know, that day where everything annoys you and everything gets on your last nerve. That day where everything seems to go wrong. I knew I was getting close to flipping out on the Bean and that I really, really needed a break.
Now, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been away from the Bean in the 7 months she’s been here with us – I do not like giving her away! Her grandparents are always asking to take her (I know…don’t hate me!) and I usually say no.
But that day, I made the decision – I was going to do an act of kindness for myself and give the Bean to her grandparents for the afternoon so I could have a break.
At first I kind of papered it over…oh, it’s really an act of kindness for her grandparents because they always want to take her. Or it could even be an act of kindness for her because she gets to go have more people play with her and give her attention.
It was all about me. And I didn’t want to admit it…I didn’t start admitting it until after she got home and I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated – ready to give her my all again. I started admitting it more when I read this beautiful blog post from Fine and Fair.
And I totally gave in when I realized something:
I want the Bean to be able to be kind to herself.
I am her example – if she sees me calling acts for others kindness, and acts for myself selfishness – that is how she may end up seeing it as well. And why should it be that way?
Deliberately being kind to myself brings me to a state of being even more ready and willing to give kindness to others…but if I feel like I am just being selfish I get locked inside that and don’t end up feeling good about doing anything. The outward acts become just another chore rather than being genuine.
It’s one of those things, for me, that I didn’t even realize I felt. I would always agree that it’s good for people to be kind to themselves – except when it came to the idea of me being kind to myself.
Don’t get the wrong idea…I’m not a total martyr and I do plenty of things for myself – but if I were to define it, I would probably define it as selfishness…and I’ve come to realize during this March of Kindness month that that is just not true, and it’s not OK.
If ALL you ever do is for yourself then sure, you might have a case for being selfish.
But as a wife…as a mom…I’m betting that’s more of a rare occurrence. And I think most or many wives and moms get true joy out of doing for others – it kind of goes along with the definition. But I know now that I need to be OK with being kind to myself, deliberately, unashamedly.
If I begin to resent what I’m doing for others, mainly my family…that’s not good or kind to them.
If I give my daughter an example that it is not OK for her to be kind to herself, that’s not good or kind to her.
And as with all things in life, it’s about finding that balance…and I’m truly grateful that I’m learning it now.
Do you think it’s OK to be kind to yourself? Have you always felt that way? If not, what changed your mind?