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How Self-Care Plays a Role In your Marriage with Michelle Purta
Episode 189

December 14, 2021

Self-care is no longer selfish, but essential. Self-care plays a huge role in how you feel in your marriage. Listen in to learn the benefits of practicing self-care and what the cost of not practicing it is having on your marriage.

Diana Ballard

Mom Training

How Self-Care Plays a Role in Your Marriage

with Michelle Purta

Episode Transcript

The Mom Training Podcast with Diana Ballard

 

Diana:  Hey, ladies. Welcome to The Mom Training Podcast. We are so very blessed today to have Michelle Purta with us today. She is a mom of three kids. She teaches moms about communicating easily with their husbands. She’s a marriage and life coach. She helps moms go from feeling frustrated to connected in their marriage.

 

   We’re really excited because we’re going to talk today about self-care and how that really affects our marriage and why it’s so important. But Michelle, before we get started, tell us a little bit about yourself. Let’s have everybody get to know you a little bit.

 

Michelle:   Yeah. So, I am born and raised California native. I live in the Bay Area near San Francisco. And like you shared, I’m a life and marriage coach for moms.

 

   And how I got started with this was, well… First of all, I was like a corporate monkey for the longest time. And after having my first born, which was actually my second child because I had a stepson or I have… And I found myself not really wanting to go back to work. I wanted to do something more fulfilling.

 

   After some exploration, I realized that life coaching was the spot for me. And looking back, it makes so much sense because I have personally struggled with communication in relationships for so, so long. I didn’t know it was me. I just thought like, “Well, it’s the other person. They’re the ones that don’t know how to make me happy.”

 

   And it wasn’t until several relationships later, I started to understand like, “I’m the common denominator here. Why do I keep experiencing the same patterns no matter who I’m with?” And so, looking back, it makes total sense.

 

   My parents didn’t have the healthiest communication style nor did they prioritize each other, nor did my mom take care of herself very much. She was very much like that standard martyr type of mother figure... Do it all. Don’t ask for help and then get mad and all that.

 

   So, I took on a lot of that unhealthy habits in my relationships. And I had to do a lot of unlearning, unpacking, learning healthier styles, practicing, doing the work on myself. Personal development.

 

  Now, I have this beautiful relationship with my husband, where we truly have open, vulnerable communication. Our connection is very deep because we’re able to talk about the real stuff, not just about who’s going to pick up who, who’s going to change this diaper or all that logistical surface level stuff.

 

   And now, I get the pleasure to support moms in doing the same. Because once you become a mom, your marriage very easily ends up being on the back burner. And I did that too, when I had my first son. I was so focused on taking care of him, especially with low milk production.

 

   Low milk production issues in the beginning, it was like, “Husband, you got yourself. I don’t have time to take care of you.” But then, I started realizing, “Well, if I don’t pay attention to our marriage, we fight more because we’re less connected.”

 

   And so, I do a lot self-mastery work with my clients, as well as communication, so that they can actually enjoy their marriage through all the stages of motherhood. Because we step into motherhood thinking like, “Oh, it’s okay. We’ll just put that on pause. It’ll be there when the kids are older. It’s guaranteed.”

 

   No. It’s really not. It’s a constant effort that you have to put in because next thing you know, you’re going to turn around and be like, “Who’s this stranger?” or maybe, worse yet, you won’t be together anymore.

 

   So, that’s a little bit about me.

 

Diana:   That’s awesome. Yeah, I’ll tell you. I feel that you can take care of yourself thing. [chuckle]

 

Michelle: Uh-huh.

 

Diana:   With my fourth baby, I’m like, “Oh man, you got yourself because….” No. but you’re right. It’s so important to keep connected, because one, they have the potential of being your greatest support system.

 

Michelle: Oh, yeah.

 

Diana:   And working as a team and just life is a lot easier when you have a healthy relationship.

 

   So, what I really want to learn from you right here is, you were talking about taking care of the baby, taking care of your needs and everything… I want to talk about self-care and how that really affects our marriage. Please tell me about your thoughts about self-care and what that does in your relationship.

 

Michelle: Yeah. So, we grew up thinking self-care is selfish. Especially, as our moms shown us, there is no room for self-care. There is room to take care of everybody but yourself. And the good thing about our generation, and even future generations, is that self-care has become more “trendy”. And they’re on to something, they truly are.

                  

   When I first had my son, and I thought that self-care was a luxury. But as I’ve grown older, as I’ve added another child, now I have three. I’ve come to find that self-care is actually a necessity. It is the requirement; it is the bare minimum that needs to exist. Because if you don’t have that, all your relationships will be shut.

 

   Why? Because you will not be functioning at your best. You will, instead, be that burnt out, cranky, impatient, uncompassionate person to those people. And what does that do to your relationships? It kind of makes it toxic, nobody wants to be around you.

 

   It’s like walking on eggshells around you. And is that the type of relationship you want to develop with your kids? With your partner? With family? With friends? With work?... My answer is no, that’s not what I want.

 

   And even your relationship with yourself. Like when we’re from that place where were cranky and irritable and just like… We don’t even like ourselves in that moment.

 

   So, the concept of self-care for me, is about not just loving other people, like doing this to love other people, it’s about loving yourself most. So, what do you need to help you be the best version of you, for yourself, and for your loved ones? That’s really where it starts. Because that’s what you have control over.

 

Diana:   Yeah. I totally agree. Well, kind of backtracking to what you were saying about how you said that self-care was seen as a luxury… I think that, the thing is self-care is different for every person. So, if some person likes to go get waxed, and get their nails done, and get massages and stuff… You’re like, “Man, that’s expensive self-care.”

 

   But for me, self-care is making sure I’m journaling… I take myself out to eat by myself, in complete silence, maybe like once a month. Or making sure I get enough sleep at night, or having a good conversation with a friend. Those things don’t cost that much money.

 

   So, I think sometimes we get in this mindset of that self-care is supposed to be so expensive, and complicated and you know, “I have to take care of A, B, and C to be taken care of.” But in reality, what is self-care for you?

 

Michelle: Yeah.

 

Diana:   What actually means something to you and actually fills your bucket. And it doesn’t always have to be what the five people next to you are doing if that fills their bucket or not.

 

Michelle: That’s right. Everybody’s looks different and so you have to consider, “What do I need to feel my best.” Does that mean the kids go to bed at a certain time and then you structure your day around that so that you have enough time to unwind and be in your own energy, connect with your husband, whatever, whatever.

 

   For me, that looks like starting off my morning by myself, so that I can start off the day minding my own energy instead of waking up because the kids woke up, and then now I’m just like in pure reaction mode. Like, “What does everyone else need from me?”

 

   I want to ask myself, what do I need for myself first. For me, that looks like, during the school days, my husband will take all three kids to drop off. My younger one doesn’t go to school yet, but she tags along anyway. She probably isn’t very happy about it, but you know what, I’m happy about it. I’m very happy about it.

 

   I get to decide what I want to do with that time. I have like one whole sweet hour to myself. I can decide to get ready alone, in peace, while listening to a podcast or an audio book and learn. I get to breath work if I want to. I get to meditate. I get to journal.

 

   I literally get to decide what I do when I don’t have anyone arguing with me, pulling at me, telling me to feed them because they’re hungry, and it is marvelous. It is the best way for me to start my day. And like you said, it doesn’t cost a thing. It literally costs nothing.

 

   And so, sometimes, self-care does involve getting your partner involved. Having that support system, but likewise, you got to do the same for them. Because they also need time to themselves. It’s not just like because you need it, they don’t get to have it. No, you guys can work together to support each other to be the best for everyone.

 

   Other ways, could be going on walks. Right? The whole massage thing, don’t get me wrong, I freaking love massages. They’re amazing. I would get one every day, if I could. But like you said, it’s not sustainable. It can get expensive.

 

   And so, you really got to find the joy in the little things in life. Whether that means going on a walk, like I said. Having time to go work out. Having a personal trainer, if you need. Going to a group class or being alone and doing like a YouTube video exercise all on your own.

 

   I mean, there are so many different things that you can do, that really light you up and help you feel your best… Painting your own nails, in peace, like who knows? It really doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it makes a difference in how you feel about yourself, with yourself.

 

Diana:   Right… I want to pull something else here, that is standing out to me. Talking about giving our husband time for self-care. That, I don’t know, that kind of like, “Ooh… That got me a little bit.”

 

Michelle: I know. I know. [chuckle]

 

Diana:   Because there are times where he wants to relax and I’m like, “Bro, what are you doing?”

 

Michelle: Yeah.

 

Diana:  Because I don’t get a lot of time… I mean, I literally have to almost fight for my time. If I don’t specifically plan in, like even if I do plan in… If I plan an evening to myself, “I’m going to do this. I’m going to take a bath or I’m going to do this…” A lot of times, there’s a lot of interruption. Someone needs something, the baby won’t go down for some reason, and I’m the one that handles that.

 

   So, sometimes, it’s challenging for me to see my husband have tons of time to himself to do whatever he wants to. He gets to finish all of his projects and he gets to relax doing whatever he wants to. And it kind of upsets me, sometimes.

 

Michelle: Yeah.

 

Diana:   Have you seen that with other women?

 

Michelle: Yes.

 

Diana:   That is like a normal…

 

Michelle: A lot of resentment. And when you feel resentful, a lot of times, it’s because you’re jealous. And so, really checking in with, “Well, why do I feel jealous?”, and turning that into, “What do I need?”. Right?

 

Diana:   Yeah.

 

Michelle: If you’re jealous of all the freedom that he has, it’s time to sit down and be like, “I love that you get to do that. Is there a way that we can work together to give me that too?”

 

Diana:   Amen, sister. [chuckle] No… And my husband’s very supportive, he really is. He gives lots of time. He watches the kids for me all the time, for me to do things like that. But I think a lot of it comes down to the mindset that we have, that we’re the one that has to give it all, we’re supposed to spend all this time, so…

 

   I think a lot of the time, I’m like, “Oh no, I got this. You relax, you just came from work.” Anyway, it’s a fine line; it’s a balance, you know.

 

Michelle: It definitely is, and you have to challenge what you’ve been conditioned to think, which is that, as the mom, you are responsible for everything.

 

Diana:   Yeah.

 

Michelle: But you are not. You have a partner, who had equal part in making these babies, who has equal part in living in the home that you have. You are not responsible for cleaning it all. You are not responsible…

 

   Like taking care of the kids, if that’s your arrangement and you’re fine with that, that’s a different issue. But if you are not fine with it, it’s time to have a conversation about that. Because if you don’t, and it continues to go that way, you’re only going to grow in resentment, which will only grow the disconnect that you have with your husband. Because it’s going to affect how you interact with him.

 

   You’re going to start having an attitude with him and then he’s going to be like, “What is your problem?” Right? And so, it all boils down to what do you need, because it affects how you show up in the marriage.

 

   I’m sure, he wants you to be like smiles, wanting to be intimate with him all the time, flirting with him, fun, light. If you feel heavy and overwhelmed, that’s not enjoyable. So, you got to figure out, “Well, how do I want to be instead? And what would it take to for me to be that person?

 

   What can I do for myself? Self-care. And what to do I need to ask for support for?

 

Diana:   So, that’s being intentional then…

 

Michelle: Oh, yeah.

 

Diana:   With just who we are…

 

Michelle: Yes.

 

Diana:   How we take care of ourselves? How we use our time? And honestly, to be able to get to that point, to be able to be that intentional, it’s going to take self-care so that you have brain capacity to think about the intention.

 

Michelle: Actually… Yeah.

 

Diana:   So, what would you say to a mom that is struggling to get to that intentional place?

 

Michelle: So, I love that you asked this because the only thing it takes to be intentional is to give yourself time to be intentional. It’s kind of like when you are constantly… I don’t know… This is going to be a terrible metaphor but we’re running with it.

 

   Let’s say you’re like, “Okay, I got to go to the store, or I’m going to go run there.” So, you run there and you get used to running there because that’s the way it’s always been. But if you don’t stop and take a look at, are there better routes…

 

    Is there a better way for me to get there? Can I go buy a car to go drive there faster?... Like you have to really like zoom out, and see, are things the way they should be in order for it to be as efficient, impactful, whatever, that it can be to support my desired lifestyle, my desired life experience. Because you really are the creator of your reality.

 

   If you don’t pause and assess, you’re just going to be continuously operating from this reactionary mode of like how maybe your mom lived, how your friends are living, how “normal” people are living. But if you want to live in a way that’s ideal for you, you have to stop and actually think about that. You have to think about it.

 

Diana:   Are you saying that a mom can take a break for five minutes…?

 

Michelle: [laughs]

 

Diana:   Maybe even while doing the dishes… Okay mom, let’s multitask here. So, if a mom stops and thinks for five minutes a day, let’s just start with that, of being intentional of how to create the life that they want how to take care of themselves, how to communicate better. Even just a five-minute marker…

 

   Wouldn’t you say that that would be potent, right there? Even just starting with the five-minute marker… Even while you’re folding laundry or doing the dishes, or something. Like you have your brain with you all the time.

 

Michelle: Right. That would be a game changer… They might say like, “I don’t have that time.” I bet you, you do. You’re probably scrolling on Instagram. You’re probably binging on Netflix because you want to numb out, because you’re so exhausted.

 

   What if, you took that time… Set a timer for five minutes, just for starters, because it’s so scary to stop doing something productive. And what if, in that five minutes you realize, “Oh my gosh, if I just eliminate this or change this, life would be so much better.

 

   Sometimes, you have to slow down to speed up. And I don’t mean speed up to be more productive. That is not what I’m saying at all. But rather, get to your desired reality, faster.

 

Diana:   And yes, I totally believe that moms are like one of the most inspired things on this world. Really, like as moms, we can receive inspiration on how to make our home better, our family better, our relationship better, our health better, whatever.

 

   So, in that five minutes, that literally can be one of the most powerful thought processes you have, in an entire day, to create so many more possibilities the next day, and the next week, and in the future. And you’d never know what a  five-minute moment of taking just that little bit of time, of intentional thinking could change your entire life.

 

Michelle: Yeah. I mean, I think there’s even a thing called the five-minute journal. I’m pretty sure there is. So, if you need more structure, go find that. I’m pretty sure it’s at Target or Amazon, or both.

 

   That could be a great way for you to say, “Okay, well, I don’t know where I’d fit in self-care, but I know I can carve our five minutes.” Start there. And then let that grow. Because you’re going to get addicted. You’re going to love it. You’re going to see such a difference in how you feel and how you show up for all your loved ones.

 

Diana:   That’s awesome… Okay. Let’s give them one thing, like one area of self-care that you believe would help them the most, with their marriage, I would say.

 

Michelle: Hmmm… Making sure their taking care of themselves. I mean, sleep is a huge one. Making sure you get enough sleep, because if you don’t, you’re probably going to be a Krabby Patty, and that’s just going to set the tone for the rest of the day.

 

   Making sure you stay ahead of how your body feels. Are you eating nourishing foods that make you feel your best? Because I know, when I eat like bad food, I feel heavy and I feel like just like a slug. So, I would just be really intentional about what your body needs.

 

   Is it sleep? Is it better food? Is it movement? Start there.

 

   For me, self-care has different channels that I like to touch. Like I love to do like mind, body and soul, so I try and do one thing that touches each thing. So, it could be one thing that fulfills all of those areas, or each category gets one thing. So, I like to keep it super simple.

 

Diana:   Okay. Awesome! Well, this is my thought with this. What if, the moms took that five minutes and literally focused on what they needed for them. Because I was just thinking about, “Oh, yeah. That’d be great… Thinking of what do I need for my home and this and that.”

 

Michelle: Oh, yeah.

 

Diana:   But really, what it comes down to, is for everything else to be better around them, it’s going to come from them feeling their best.

 

Michelle: Absolutely. And what does that look like? … Right? Does that look like how you’re going to spend your time when your kids are napping? Does that look like, “What am I going to do for myself while I get ready?”

 

   I love to multitask, so when I get ready for work or… Yeah, when I get ready for work, I love to listen to audio books or podcasts. When I’m getting ready for bed, I love to listen to chill music to kind of wind down. It helps me relax.

 

   And I’m still doing stuff, but it helps me get into the mood of, “Okay, I’ve done enough. I’ve done so much… The day is done. I get to close down; I get to go to bed. I get to do whatever I feel like, right now.”

 

   Breaking that intention of like, “What am I going to do?” versus “Oh, this thing popped up, I have to go address that now.” And then, it’s kind of like squirrel brain... You’re just constantly firing on all cylinders.

 

   So, take that time to pause and ask yourself, “How can you support yourself?” If you have a busy day that day, how can you simplify that day? Where do you have room to change something?

 

   I was just talking to a client today. She was like, “Yeah, it’s a busy season. We’ve got soccer. My other son’s learning how to drive, so I have to pick him up from school early, so he can take driver’s ed online. And I got to take my other son to soccer, then come back and cook dinner and go back…”

 

   I was like, “Time out... Why are you cooking such an elaborate meal when you are so stretched thin? How can you make that easier for yourself?” … Right? There’s so many mom hacks out there.

 

   There’s so many resources out there if you only just look for them, on how to make your life simplier. From cooking a larger batch of food and freezing half of it for busier days. So, it’s like super simple. Thaw it out, put it in the pot… You could even have your husband do it if he doesn’t cook, very easy-peasy. Maybe it looks like ordering out, maybe it looks like getting those deliveries where it’s like HelloFresh or whatever. And just keep it simple. Don’t add unnecessary stress to your life.

 

   Where do you have choices?... Where do you not have choices? Okay. Well, look at the areas where you have choices and how can you help yourself in that space.

 

Diana:   Right. Yeah, because when we are our best self, we have better relationships with everyone in our home. And that is what it’s really is about. As it’s really about having a good relationship with our kids, with our husbands, with ourselves. That really is what life is about. All the stuff could go away but it’s the relationships that can be our most solid support and favorite thing in this world.

 

Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. If you’re a stress case, that’s no fun for anyone.

 

Diana:   No. I totally agree. And I always joke that I want to the be the hot girlfriend in my marriage.

 

Michelle: Yeah.

 

Diana:  Which is the flirty, the fun, the light life you were saying, and that really does come from our self-care. When I feel my best, that’s when I’m the hot girlfriend. [chuckle]

 

Michelle: I love that. I do strive for that too but I’ve never heard that phrase before. I love that so much; I’ll have to borrow that.

 

Diana:      Yeah.

 

Michelle: When we’re not feeling our best, and life feels really hard, we’re just like continuously getting kicked down and we have that perspective on life, we don’t have a capacity to joke around. Nothing is funny, everything is serious. And we’re just very easily triggered. That’s not hot girlfriend status… Nope.

 

Diana:  And it really is fun to be the hot girlfriend. It really is. It makes your relationship a lot more fun that way.

 

Michelle: Yeah.

 

Diana:  A lot more care free… And yeah, the times that I feel the best is usually when that side comes out and I love that.

 

   So, tell us where people can find you, on social media, and your website.

 

Michelle: So, my favorite place to hang-out right now is Instagram. You can find me @MichellePurtacoaching. I love making reels and I just share a lot there. I’m in my stories every day. I think you can learn a lot just hanging out with me there. And I love for you to say hi and give me a follow if it resonates with you.

 

   My website is www.MichellePurta.com, super simple. And yeah, come by, check out what I have, if it resonates with you, follow along. Learn something. Connect with me if it sounds good to work together, I would more than welcome a conversation to talk about that.

 

Diana:   Yeah, and you do a clarity call too, don’t you?

 

Michelle: I sure do, yeah. So, clarity calls are absolutely free. It’s a great way for us to kind of see like, do we vibe together? And also, to get clarity around your specific marriage. Like what’s going on here and get my eyes on your marriage to tell you, “Okay, these are the areas that I see. You could use support on, and why that you haven’t been doing or why the thing that you’ve been doing haven’t been working.”

 

   So, that’s just a great way for us to get to know each other and learn about how I can support you.

 

Diana:   I love it. That’s awesome.

 

   Well, thank you so much for sharing your tips today about self-care and about how that affects our relationship. I’ve really enjoyed talking with you and learning from you today, so I hope that you will join us again.

 

   And ladies, make sure you go check out Michelle. Connect with her. She’s awesome. She does a lot of really fun things on her Instagram, where you can learn a lot of things and strengthen your marriage, and your life as a mom.

 

   So, until then, see you later Michelle. And ladies, we’ll see you next Tuesday on The Mom Training Podcast.