To be honest, I have tried to type this post about 100 times. I thought about not writing it at all. Why? Well, where do I start? Self care is hard. Sometimes impossible. We have single dad's in our group that need community care, not self care. I'm a walking contradiction of this post, but I'm in recovery. But here we are.
Self care is important. It's important because you need it. Of course you want it, but you absolutely, positively need it. It may not come when you initially get your placement, but it needs to be on the agenda as soon as possible.
What does self care look like for dudes like us?
Self care looks like...
Some time in another room without kids.
Enlisting childcare so you and your wife can enjoy a date night.
Going on a drive.
Grabbing a drink with a friend.
Taking a hike. Literally.
Chop some wood.
Pop in some ear buds and listen to your favorite music/podcasts.
Work on your hobby.
These are just a few ideas. There are many more and this is not an exhaustive list.
One of the things my wife and I do is once a week we give ourselves an hour to ourselves to do whatever we want. Sometimes I put in my earbuds, listen to music, and just "get away" from everything. Sometimes I go to Lowe's because that's what some dude's do. Sometimes I go on a walk. You get the point.
You have a personal tank. Think of it as a gas tank. Like a gas tank, you need to be refilled. That's what self-care does. It fills your tank. Your emotional, mental, and sometimes physical tank.
Now for my single dad's out there. YOU are the REAL MVP's. I cannot say that I understand what you are experiencing, because I don't. But you, too, need self care. My prayer is that you have a community around you that can help give you a break.
I know that down here in North Carolina, we have a church ministry that once a quarter gives a "Parent's Night Out". They will watch your kids for up to 5 hours. I've heard of other areas around the country doing this. See if a church or organization around you has this opportunity.
If you belong to a church or a service organization and have multiple contacts, you can ask them to watch your child(ren) for a couple hours (or even just 1) to catch your breath. If you are fostering, you could try respite care to give yourself a break.
If you don't have any support at all, I ask that you reach out to me and I'll see what I can do for you because you need your tank filled up too. I absolutely, 100% mean this and will do everything in my power to help you.
All this being said, self care is important. You need it. We need it. It's vital.
Seek it. Find it. Enjoy it.