Life is a balancing act. Whether you are single or in a relationship, we all need to balance our own personal needs with the needs of others. Maybe your partner, your parents, your children, or even your work. No one is an island, and so, we all need to perform this delicate balancing act each and every day.
I find this balancing act extremely difficult. I’m a mum of two boys (one teenager, one almost-teenager). I work full-time at a demanding job and I write novels and short stories (the latter for payment). I also maintain this blog and try to have a bit of a social life. And I do volunteer work for charities as well. I have written before about how difficult I find being mum. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the needs of my partner and children that I forget my own needs.
I’m really bad at doing things for myself. I always feel that if I take time for myself, I am robbing my family of me. As it is, I’m at work all day, so in the evenings, and especially on weekends, I feel I need to be home and be with my husband and kids. I feel guilty if I go away for an evening, and especially if I take a weekend trip with a friend or a sister. Guilty seems to be my default setting anyway. I feel guilty for working full-time and guilty for taking time for myself.
So how do I manage this balancing act? To be honest, up until a few years ago, I simply didn’t. I put everyone’s needs before mine, all the time. And this led to a bit of a burn-out. Not the full-blown kind, but I reached a moment in my life at which I didn’t really know who I was anymore. I was always exhausted and nothing seemed like fun anymore. I decided at that time to focus on my own needs. Not solely, of course, but I realised I needed to schedule time in for myself, the same way I scheduled time in for everyone else.
I should add that my husband has always been very encouraging of me doing things for myself. He isn’t clingy or reluctant to hold down the fort at home when I’m gone. He’s very capable of looking after the kids, so it’s not like I don’t have any support. It’s just my own inabilities to prioritise my needs. But without that balancing act, I would truly be burnt out by now. No one can just give, give, give. Eventually, you have to refill the well.
My kids are a bit older and more self-sufficient now, which makes this easier too. They don’t need as much coddling and can even take themselves to bed if need be. So last year, I joined a writers’ group which meets once every two weeks and this year, I am going to join a choir. I attended a writers’ conference last year and was going to attend Eroticon this year but I need to go to my sister’s graduation instead.
Also in smaller ways, I am tending to my own needs. I carve out an hour a day for writing and sometimes, that means I am writing more than an hour. I now take my shower in the evening instead of in the morning, so I don’t have to rush so much (and I have more time to masturbate in the shower if I want to!). My family doesn’t suffer from these me-moments I take. In fact, they benefit from them because I am more energised and happier.
Balancing your needs with those of others is important. Self-care is more than just taking a nice bath or cuddling with a movie. It also means making sure your needs are met.
It’s the roaring twenties.
Desperate to escape the stifling confines of her life with her aunt and uncle in New York, Jane Travers arrives at her friend Rachel’s country home determined to enjoy a summer full of fun and excitement. Rachel has promised her risqué parties, but what awaits Jane is beyond her wildest dreams. Guided by her old flame, Sidney Fitzroy, and the sensual singer Lillian Smith, Jane enthusiastically embarks on a journey of sexual self-discovery.
With Sidney and Lillian both satisfying her deepest desires, Jane sheds her restrictive upbringing and embraces her newfound freedom. As her feelings for both Lillian and Sidney intensify, Jane faces an impossible choice: a stable future with Sidney or a lifetime of excitement with Lillian.
But how can she choose when her heart belongs to both of them?