I actually don’t know how I haven’t broken by bladder by now.

Vintage Chophouse had this dark intimate feel to it. I worked in the Tavern, which is otherwise known as the “bar” side of the fine dining restaurant. It was the only bar I ever worked at where servers were fully dressed in black pants and shirts. It was lined with deep leather covered booths the room was filled with high top tables and stools as well as regular tables in the middle. A long bar ran the length of one side that had 3 bartenders working it on the weekends.

It attracted a mature affluent crowd (mostly men) that regularly bought $200 bottles of wine to go along with their beautiful dinners. I had offers to be “put up in my own condo,” ski vacations, and even a trip to Hawaii. Obviously, I wasn’t interested, I felt it was insulting to both of us. I wasn’t for sale, and they looked like assholes for offering.

It was packed most nights, but the weekends were out of control busy. We’d have live music so some of the tables would be pushed closer together to make room for a stage and a dance floor. All the tables would be full and there’d be groups of people standing watching the band. It felt almost claustrophobic it was so congested and I was constantly running.

I’d start my shift around 5pm and finish anywhere between midnight at 3am. If I was lucky, I’d get one chance in my shift to run down the stairs to use the washroom peeing as fast and as hard as I could before racing back up the stairs sweating to go grab drinks and clear dishes.

This is my experience in service. It didn’t matter if I worked in retail or hospitality, I was taught the customer always came first and my needs didn’t exist.

Hungry? Too bad.

Gotta pee? Hold it.

Feeling run down or sick? Better show up or you’ll be fired.

I learned early and young that everyone else’s needs trumped my own.

Fast forward to motherhood.

Depending on how much support you have, or even what temperament your baby is, you may have even LESS time to pee, eat, or shower.

I remember cursing myself for not peeing before my son fell asleep in my arms. And feeling torn between breathing through the pain of my swollen bladder, or chancing moving him to run to the bathroom. I always breathed through the pain.

Yesterday I taught Rest. Renew. Recharge Mini Retreat, and it was probably the highlight of my year. There is so much wisdom in live gatherings and here is some of what the women there shared as their takeaways:

  • the shit and details I’m caught up in won’t matter in 5 years
  • how I feel matters
  • daily doses of yoga and meditation help tap into my joy and happiness
  • who I want be and how I want to feel is not out of reach, or has to be far off, I can be and feel that now
  • the person I want to be is accessible, I can step into that now
  • I have inner resources that I can use when I need support or advice
  • it’s important for me to come from my heart first
  • it can be as simple as asking myself, “what’s one small thing I can change?”
  • a quote by moi (Tina), “Intention is nothing without action.”
  • noticing how working outside the home had natural “breaks” to fit in self-care. To do that when kids are home with me all day is to breakdown day into chunks that are anchors for self-care
  • take a moment in the morning to decide how I want to show up
  • set intentions, and then take on the attitude that some things will happen, some won’t, and some will be better than I’d hoped for
  • finding those little practices I can implement daily, and doing them

This is how I summarize what they said:

  • I have control over how I feel
  • How I feel is important
  • I have power to change how I feel, if I want to
  • Small daily practices have an impact on how I feel and show up
  • I don’t have to wait to feel better, I can be, and feel how I want to now
  • Taking action is critical for my emotional and mental well-being

This is not small potatoes when most of us have either be shown through our family of origin, our culture, our places of work, and even expectations of motherhood, that our needs don’t matter as much as everyone else’s.

You deserve to pee when you need to. You deserve to do things that bring you joy every day. You deserve to have the time and space to take care of you so that you FEEL good in your heart, mind, and in your body. You deserve to give yourself the same love and care that you give to everyone else.

The first piece of this is to slow down and listen.

This means to take dedicated time to reflect on what makes you happy, calms your nervous system, makes you feel inspired, feels good in your body, and all the things you need to feel filled up and lit up.

The second piece is to start doing it. As I’ve mentioned many times before, intention is nothing without action. Schedule something in for yourself each day. It doesn’t have to be big. You don’t have to overhaul your life. It might be something as simple as taking 5 deep breaths before getting out of bed, driving home the long way listening to an audio book, or colouring with your child because it feels good for you too.

Choose something then do it.

You matter, and you’re worth it.

I’d love to hear from you now, where do you struggle with self-care? What have you been putting off that you’re going to start doing now? And most importantly, are you guilty of holding your pee too?