Self-Care Challenge - Day 4: 101 Ways to Cut Yourself Some Slack

I'm going to let you off the hook now. No, that doesn't mean you don't have to complete the personal goal you've set for our self-care challenge. It does mean you should stop trying to be perfect. Because it ain't gonna happen, my friend.

“There's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” 
~Jill Churchill, author

No one can keep up with perfection; you'll just run yourself ragged trying. Why not choose to breathe a little easier, worry a bit less? It's hard, I know. But you have to let some things fall a teensy bit by the wayside, so that other parts of your world can flourish. 

What will you worry about less? It's up to you. You can stop making your bed in the morning, if it's something you couldn't care less about. However, if an unmade bed kind of stresses you out (it makes me feel like the room is much messier than it is)...keep making that bed.

Sometimes I feel like I need to be given permission to do something "wrong." Like, I need my parents to say, "We'll watch the boy...why don't you go in the other room and grab a nap?" Why can't I just give myself permission to take a nap?

So, if you find it difficult to cut yourself any slack, I'll do it for you! I am hereby officially declaring that it is okay to...
  1. have the same dinner a few nights in a row.
  2. tell your partner/spouse that you need alone time even more desperately than you need a date night.
  3. eat leftover dessert for breakfast (just make that your only dessert of the day).
  4. have a sink full of dirty dishes and pots; it means you're feeding your family.
  5. admit to your kids when you've made a mistake - it doesn't make you weak, it makes you a role model.
  6. put off laundry in favor of playing with your kids or just taking a nap.
  7. order dinner in or get take-out sometimes.
  8. leave the house without make-up.
  9. say no.
  10. say yes.
  11. forgive yourself any time you want.
  12. not buy something your kids want, even if you can afford it.
  13. tell your kids you need a few minutes to yourself. Lock yourself in the bathroom, if you have to!
  14. take a candlelit shower, even if that somehow seems "too indulgent." Hey, you're saving energy.
  15. eat last night's leftovers for breakfast. Most people probably have more nutritious dinners than breakfasts, anyway.
  16. wear whatever the hell you want to the gym, just as long as you're going to the gym.
  17. not pass your newborn baby around to all your visitors (even if they're family); you can hold your baby all day long, if you want to. 
  18. not shower every day.
  19. have cereal or eggs or sandwiches for dinner.
  20. let your kids have a PB&J every day, if that's what they want (try to get peanut butter that doesn't contain hydrogenated oils, though!).
  21. not immediately change your kids' clothing if it gets splattered with paint or mud; let them get messy all day and just wash and change them before bed.
  22. let your children eat as much fruit as they damn well please.
  23. spend hours preparing a meal, and then decide you're not in the mood for it, after all; stick it in the freezer for another night.
  24. ask for help when you need it; we all need help sometimes.
  25. not let your children eat things that you believe are harmful (whether that's artificial colors, genetically-modified foods, or hydrogenated oils).
  26. let your kids watch some TV. 
  27. not prepare meat for dinner every night. Rice and beans, pasta with veggies or tomato sauce, soup, and omelettes are all perfectly nutritious, budget-friendly, and yummy meals.
  28. take a shower at night instead of in the morning.
  29. not eat when you aren't hungry, even if you're a guest at someone else's house.
  30. flip through a magazine while your kids are playing in the playground (as long as you keep an eye on them, of course!).
  31. expect your kids to take on age-appropriate chores, like putting dirty clothes in the hamper, making their beds, setting the table.
  32. let your child sleep in bed with you, if it means you both sleep better.
  33. lose an argument.
  34. not love every meal you eat; some meals can just nourish you without knocking your socks off.
  35. buy the big bags of raisins and portion them out into small, reusable containers for your kid's lunchbox; those little red boxes are just a waste of money and paper.
  36. not love yoga.
  37. prefer Eric Carle's books to Dr. Seuss'.
  38. not like some foods that you know are good for you.
  39. make mistakes. How else will you learn?
  40. not make separate meals for your kids. If they don't like what you've prepared they can have some fruit or make themselves a sandwich. They will not starve.
  41. not order for your child from the "kids' menu." It's usually just overpriced junk, anyway. Your child can have real food from your plate, or order a standard portion and have lots of leftovers.
  42. make a big salad for dinner. Any family members that aren't cool with that can fix a bowl of cereal.
  43. be proud of the fact that when you kiss a boo-boo your child immediately feels better.
  44. not keep soda in your house for guests.
  45. feel a little hurt when your child won't hug or kiss you.
  46. be the bad guy.
  47. not force your kids to drink milk. They can get those nutrients from other dairy products (obviously) but also from foods like nuts, greens, and beans.
  48. feel bad if your kid says you're "stinky" or "yucky." Just because he says it doesn't make it true, though.
  49. put a time limit on how long you'll push the swing at the playground.
  50. have dust bunnies under your bed.
  51. get wistful, thinking about the days before marriage/kids/homeownership/massive debts.
  52. not cook for a big crowd of guests. Order in pizza or get some platters of food and everyone will survive.
  53. remember fondly those times you'd sleep in and just stay under the covers, watching Lifetime movies all day.
  54. have days when you'd prefer to hang out with your dog than your kid.
  55. compliment your own cooking
  56. hate Yo Gabba Gabba (we still think you're cool!)
  57. want nothing to do with the PTA.
  58. not listen to kiddie music. Put on some songs for the whole family to enjoy.
  59. ask for advice and then decide not to take it.
  60. taste your own breastmilk.
  61. not want visitors at the hospital after you give birth.
  62. accept a compliment.
  63. want to run away from home.
  64. send email invitations.
  65. covet another woman's body (she probably doesn't think it's half as awesome as you think it is).
  66. change your pediatrician, ob/gyn, midwife, etc. You don't owe them anything.
  67. use disposable plates for big gatherings.
  68. eat real butter.
  69. not have a theme for your child's birthday party.
  70. have a glass of wine.
  71. assemble a Halloween costume from stuff you already own (tutu + cape = Super Ballerina!).
  72. only invite your child's closest friends to birthday parties.
  73. exchange a gift that you don't need or want.
  74. not dress your daughter in pink or your son in blue.
  75. be flexible.
  76. hate - I'm talkin' the fire of 1,000 suns kind of hate - ear infections. 
  77. resent everyone else in the world when you're on your hands and knees, cleaning up vomit.
  78. not make your child hug someone (even if it's a loving relative).
  79. eat olives, pickles, or marinated artichoke hearts right out of the jar.
  80. talk to yourself as kindly as you would to your child. (If your child made a mistake, would you berate him, call him dumb? Nope. So, don't do it to yourself.)
  81. treat yourself to groceries delivered instead of facing the schlep to and from the store with the stroller.
  82. take your kids out for a hike, if only to ensure they'll sleep more soundly later.
  83. like grilled cheese sandwiches as much as your kids do.
  84. feel lonely, even if you're in a houseful of children.
  85. give a compliment to someone you don't particularly like.
  86. crave a soda once in a while. Yes, you know it's the ultimate junk but you also know it tastes good (especially with pizza).
  87. be silly.
  88. break your own rules sometimes.
  89. indulge your child's food idiosyncrasies ("The peanut butter has to go on top of the jelly, Mom!").
  90. think Shrek is overrated.
  91. get back in bed after dropping your kids off at school.
  92. spend some money on new undies to replace those period panties you've kept for far too long.
  93. keep a potty in every room of your house.
  94. scrape your child's plate into the compost bin or garbage bag - don't be so worried about "wasting" that you eat something you don't really want.
  95. use ear plugs when the noise level in your house is just unbearable.
  96. be psyched that - if nothing else was accomplished - at least you brushed your teeth this morning.
  97. not want to defend or explain breast-feeding.
  98. put on makeup or perfume even if you're not going anywhere. 
  99. send the laundry out this week - folding sheets alone is sometimes lonely.
  100. do a little extra today with every intention of doing zero tomorrow.
  101. think you're the only one with all these crazy, conflicted feelings. But you're totally not.

What do you beat yourself up about? Post your additions to the list in the comments below and I will officially let you off the hook!


  1. I'm cutting myself some slack: even though one of my self-care challenge goals is to turn the computer off at 9pm, i was on till 10pm last night. I was very caught up in writing today's post and my husband was working late. Instead of beating myself up about it, i'll just make 8pm tonight's computer cutoff time :-)

  2. Dionna @ Code Name: MamaNovember 4, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Very cute list :) We all need to cut ourselves more slack! (I'll start by not caring whether the microwave gets cleaned today - even if I *am* nesting, the newborn won't care that it happens to still smell like bacon that we cooked last week.)

  3. Huh. Well, I'm Jewish so I don't know if it's possible for me to cut myself some slack. LOL. But I can certainly try! I think I need to forgive myself for preferring to watch TV in bed over trying to finish my latest library book, or some New Yorker article. BTW, I took a shower two nights in a row. I think it's been helping me sleep better, too. 

  4. I've got the Jewish/Catholic double whammy - guilt galore! It's really hard for me to forgive myself for any mistake (real or perceived) or any "laziness." Working on it!

    PS. Great job on the evening shower and on getting a better night's sleep. My 9pm computer shutdown every night has helped me get so many more hours of sleep this week, it's ridiculous!

  5. Congrats on your new baby (who definitely won't give two licks about a microwave)! Thanks for coming by and posting, too :-)

  6. hey if you're so busy, why do you have time to write this list?

  7. I'm not sure if you meant this as snark, but I'll assume you didn't and just take it at face value. This blog is part of my business and my business is my job (in addition to my job as mom); one has to make time for one's job.

  8. Great list - a friend sent me this after i made a comment about life with two young boys meaning that i no longer have time to pair socks - It's odd socks all the way every day here now!!

  9. Kate - Love it! FYI, i only buy my son white socks now, so i don't have to worry about matching them when it's time to fold laundry :-)

  10. Wait? What's wrong with Dr. Seuss?  We love the Star Belly Sneeches! It's a great story! 

  11. Nothing's wrong with him, if you like him! But nothing's wrong with any mom that *doesn't* care for his books, either :-)


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