Mommy is Tired
When I was little, the phrase, “mommy is tired” was one that my mom would occasionally use to signal that she needed some space. Although not a mom, I have embraced the phrase when I need space from this work. With all of the recent hullabaloo about the existence (or not, depending on who you talk to) of rape culture, awareness and risk reduction vs. prevention debates, and debating whether men can be involved in this work without taking over the work…well, mommy is tired. And when mommy is tired, she needs to just step away for a bit.
All of this leads me to contemplate the need for self-care. I know, I know. I’ve already blogged about this several times. But I was recently asked to present on the topic of self-care for preventionists at an upcoming conference, so I‘ve really been diving into what this looks like. Eons ago, when I was working in a local program, we had regular discussions about the need for self-care strategies to prevent burn-out of our counseling staff. Preventionists were always invited to attend these discussions, but there was an assumption made that prevention staff had the “fun” job – they were out and about in schools and in the community, engaging people in conversation and playing fun games with the kids…prevention was the fun job, right? So, why would they need to talk about self-care?
Now that prevention is 100% of my job, I see that it is fun, positive, rewarding work. But it’s also challenging, frustrating, and sometimes it is simply exhausting work. We are working to change the culture by increasing knowledge, changing attitudes, and ultimately changing behaviors. That is no easy task! I’ve been feeling a lot of tension in prevention-land lately as we are challenged with the discussions I mentioned in the first paragraph. Frankly, at times I really want to just check out of the conversations all together. And I’ve decided that it’s okay for me to do that. It doesn’t mean that I won’t jump back into the conversations again…I most certainly will. Like any good preventionist, I am passionate about social change work and challenging norms that impede our work to end sexual violence. But some days, I just want to nerd out on evaluation research articles and color-code my calendar. Is that so bad?
What about you? How do you practice self-care as a preventionist? Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear your ideas!