Should You Start Parenting Yourself? “We’ll See!”

There’s a theory floating around these days that if you missed out on crucial emotionally satisfying input from your mother and/or your father as a child, you will walk around seeking what you lacked in your past via other people in your present. Particularly in romantic relationships. Uh oh!

There’s another theory wafting about that says (and I’m over-simplifying) that when you become upset in life, you actually have what it takes to soothe and comfort yourself.

Now nobody has come out and combined both of these theories together in a weirdly logical way, but I will boldly integrate them right now by asking the obvious question. “Can we just be our own parent and become happy and content forever??”

Always up for a multiple personality experiment to help my blog content, (Translation=I LIKE talking to myself!) I will give it a try for the next 24-hours.

My name is Stephanie so therefore a Capital “S” IN BOLD will be the version of my parent side and lower-case “s’ will represent me, the woman I actually am today.  Ready?  Here I go….

s: Wow, it’s really colder outside than it looked. I’m freezing right now.

S: That’s what you get when you don’t keep an extra sweater or jacket in your car.

s: Yes that would have been smart. But right now, I’m super hungry and am going to focus on picking up some food at Le Fondue.

S: Le Fondue? Do you think money grows on trees? And stop frowning, do you want your face to freeze that way?

s: The answers to those questions respectively are Maybe and Botox. But seriously, all my friends get salads, soups, and crepes from Le Fondue.

S: Well if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do that too? Now go home and cook something healthy.

s: Why would all my friends do that? Unless of course, they all had a mother like you.

S: Don’t you get smart with me! Did you hear me? Answer my question.

s: No, of course I wouldn’t jump off a bridge. But why do I have to go home?

S: Because I said so.

s: Well then can I eat at Le Fondue tomorrow night?

S: Ask your father.

Alright, alright. I’m not doing 24 hours of this nonsense, I cannot even do five minutes. I guess the point is that our “inner parent” may not be much better than our original childhood role model was. (Oh hi mom! This blog is not about you, it’s supposed to be humorous and fictional.)

Well if theory number one (above) is true, then I guess the man I’m embarking on a new relationship with may get slightly frustrated with me from time to time. I suppose he can always just say, “As long as you’re living under my roof, you’ll behave appropriately.” Wait a sec, that doesn’t seem quite right either. Hmmm.

Well until I figure all this relationship/childhood/happiness/life stuff out, this post can serve another purpose — my covert way of officially welcoming him to the WordPress blogosphere because he’s trying out blogging for the very first time.  If you’d like to read some terrific and eclectic poetry and prose, you can take a shortcut to peruse his stuff right HERE. 

Meanwhile, I’m off to buy a special Time-Out chair so that when I tell myself, “I’ve had just about enough of you and your shenanigans, Young Lady!” I’ll have a designated place to sit in seclusion — because I’m really not disciplined enough to ground myself (without a car or cellphone!) for an entire weekend.

 

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How Dare You Do Self-Care!

 

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The 70’s and 80’s commercial slogan, “Calgon take me away!” has nothing on today’s overused buzzword we know simply as, “Self-Care.” In fact my six children do a fake vomiting impression whenever they hear those two little words, probably because they got so sick of its predecessor — that classic analogy meant to justify my taking a break that went like this, “Mommy has to put her own oxygen mask on first before she can help you put on yours.” So now they officially refuse to travel on an airplane with me. (By the way, these same kids also signed a petition to prevent my talking about myself in the 3rd person, but that’s another blog entirely!)

So how did the pendulum swing so far in the other direction for females? You may recall not too long ago, most mothers put everyone else first, to the point of truly neglecting themselves, making motherhood synonymous with martyrdom. Gradually women learned it was okay to sometimes say, “No!” and that was kind of a nice, happy medium. Because sometimes we still said, “Yes!”

But now it’s gotten to the point where nobody shows up to help in an emergency because we can’t cope with any crisis until we’ve practiced good self-care. Imagine a horrible earthquake occurring, but before the American Red Cross sends assistance, they must slather Neutrogena’s soothing beauty balm onto their skin!

The next time you hang up the phone or part ways with someone while casually saying, “Take care of yourself now!” be aware that you’ve just granted someone permission to go get a mani/pedi, watch a soap-opera, and eat chocolate bonbons. That’s because “Self-Care” is loosely defined to encompass anything from aromatherapy (using essential oils!) to literally running away from life.

Join me now as we listen in on a “Self-Care, Self-Help, Do-It-Yourself Support Group” in progress: (And if you think that has too many “Self” words in it, congratulations you catch on fast!)

Leader: Take out your Self-Care journals and let’s make a list of what we need to have in our Self-Care kits. And then let’s take a Selfie holding them. Selma, please read your list?

Selma: Bath Salts, Bath Bombs, Bath Oils, Bath Bubbles, Bath Gels, Bath Sponges, Bath Scrubs, Bath Soaps…oh and you should put an actual Bathtub in your kit if it can fit.

Leader: Definitely! Sonia, your list please?

Sonia: I went the Mindful route. Is that okay?

Leader: Oh goody! Mindfulness and Self-Care go together like bagel and cream cheese, which you should also have in your kit by the way. Please continue . . .

Sonia: Mindful Yoga mat, Mindful Meditation book, Mindful Crystal, Mindful Meditation CD, Mindful Sunscreen, Mindful Money, Mindful Bra, Mindful Pillow, Mindful Birth Control, Mindful Michael Kors Purse, Mindful Nutella. . .

Leader: Terrific. You’ve discovered the main secret to Self-Care — just put the word “Mindful” in front of anything you desire and it’s automatically gonna be healthy and get our approval.

Sonia: Except “Mindful Children.” Somehow it doesn’t work with kids.

Leader: Whatever. Now let’s all recite the Self-Care first commandment together. Ready? “Caring for myself is not self-indulgent, it IS self-preservation.”

Suzanne: What about, “I think, therefore I am?”

Leader: Definitely not. You’re in the wrong place. The Self-Aware Support Group meets in the room down the hall.

Stacey: How about, “You can’t love someone else until you can love yourself?”

Leader: Sorry, you also don’t belong here. You’ll find the Self-Esteem Support Group meets in this same room but on Thursdays.

Stephanie: I have a question. I keep a diary, light lots of candles, get hand massages, eat avocado toast, go cloud-watching (I once saw one shaped like Gwyneth Paltrow!) unplug my cellphone daily, and breathe deeply while smelling roses, but still I’m completely miserable. Are some people just not good at this Self-Care stuff?

Leader: Security! Come quick! Code 5, I repeat Code 5! A Self-Sabotager has snuck into Self-Care! Calgon, take her away!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Self-Care is completely responsible for society’s narcissistic behavior or that we’re all returning to the “Me” generation, but perhaps “Self-Care” could include things like volunteering at a retirement center, adopting a homeless pet, buying the guy behind you a Starbucks, and leaving a comment on my blog. 😉 Now wouldn’t those things also make YOU feel good??

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And if you’re a guy, what does “Self-Care” even mean for you? Have you been sucked onto its bandwagon too, or is this just a girl thing?