I googled what self-indulgent means, and got this:
characterized by doing or tending to do exactly what one wants, especially when this involves pleasure or idleness.
On the other hand, Self-Care is defined as:
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.
It can get tricky, right? I decided to replace "working out" (the activity I choose for my me-time) with "reading a book" (the activity others may choose for their free time). Reading a book may be classified as self-care if you've poured yourself out all day to those around you and need a recharge. It may be self-indulgent if you are ignoring your motherly duties in order to get one more chapter finished. So it's not the action of reading a book that is right or wrong, it's how we fit it into our lives. The same would hold true for exercise.
There are plenty of days (like yesterday) that I am literally driving to drop off/pick up kids all afternoon and evening and I can't make time to exercise until late at night when I'm exhausted. So it just didn't happen yesterday. I did take the dog for a walk after the little kids went to bed, but it rained, so even that was short-lived. But on most days, I can look at what needs to be done for the day, and figure out a time I can workout (and Phil too) that doesn't disrupt our day too much. I run while I'm stuck at soccer practice with a kid, I head to the gym during naptime, I wake up early or stay up late to fit it in. That's self-care, pure and simple. Are there times I have decided to go for a run instead of spending an hour playing with my baby? Yup, guilty. And perhaps that run was more self-indulgent.
But perhaps my hour of me-time doesn't always have to get squeezed into somebody else's schedule or made to wait until everybody's needs are met. Every once in a while, a parent's self-care might come before the rest of the family. It's always a good practice to be honest with ourselves and look at where and how we spend our time. I check myself often because people comment on how they can not understand how I get time to exercise. OK, look, we all probably have an hour each day to ourselves, so it's choosing how we spend it. 99% of the time I want to spend that hour working out if it hasn't already happened that day. You might want to cook or clean or watch tv, or scroll social media. It doesn't mean I'm better at taking time to myself, it just means I use my limited free time wisely for my needs.
My friend, Kate, posted on Instagram last week the following gem:
Isn't that great? Redefining treating ourselves as taking care of ourselves in the moment for the future. I hope all moms and dads can figure out a way to take care of their needs that doesn't cause them any guilt or family stress, and I hope maybe we can inspire each other and support each other in that journey.