© 2019 by Dale Allen Berg

My Selfish Form of Self Care



Did you know that only 13% of the photos on MY OWN Instagram account from last year are of (just) me? And of those 23 pictures, 35% of them came from my #5DadsGoWild weekend trip in September. And did you also know that the pictures of JUST ME… on MY OWN Instagram account, are the least liked photos. Just scroll back to December 31st and remind yourself of my #TopNine. Not only did all three of my kids make the top nine (even though all Liam got was a blurred out photobomb in picture number four), but even Elyse (our behavioural interventionist) ranked higher than I did! I barely made it onto MY OWN top nine!


I share this because it was a difficult decision to do an Instagram take over of my OWN ACCOUNT by publishing my #2020Twenty every day for the last three weeks. It felt selfish. It felt wrong. I rarely make selfish decisions, because I know while they may benefit ME in the moment, everything has consequences, and often selfish actions hurt those affected by them. In my case, it’s likely my kids.


For several years now, I have lived an impossible schedule. “Batshit crazy” is the technical term I think. And through it all, a lot of well meaning friends, family and strangers alike kept telling me I needed to get out more, prioritize time for self care and get more sleep. I never disagreed, and still don’t… but it was always a matter of HOW? When three very young special needs kids are relying on me 24/7, going out for drinks with the guys wasn’t just selfish, it was impossible and very few people understand that.


In fact I don’t even have guys to go out for drinks with! I’ve lost all of my friends over the past several years because of the transition I made into being a stay at home parent. The reasons were varied, but at the core it boiled down to the fact that unless you are a special needs parent to three kids under the age of 2, you just won’t understand. Sure, the kids have aged a bit now, but it hasn’t gotten easier like everyone so confidently told me it would. It has evolved. It has changed. The struggles are different now. But it’s not easier.


And then there is the fact that finding other stay-at-home Dads or male primary caregivers is next to impossible. The men who used to be in my life just expected I would be able to leave at a moment's notice because “everyone just leaves their kids with mom”. And making friends with other moms? Well everyone I’ve suggested that to, has made me feel like that is completely inappropriate.


2017 was the year of transition and figuring everything out. 2018 and 2019 were survival years where literally everything revolved around the kids at any cost. I’m hoping 2020 brings more value into MY life. It still might be lonely as I’m entirely unsure of how to go about making new friends at this stage in my life with the circumstances I’m surrounded with, but if you don’t think I have a volleyball named Wilson that I talk to on a daily basis, you don’t know me very well.


And this is why I blog. This is why I use social media as my outlet. And this is why I initiated my #2020Twenty project and selfishly posted 20 consecutive posts about ME and MY goals on MY Instagram page. This is MY selfish version of self care that has minimal consequences, and 2020 already feels like a better year than last year did.


But don’t worry… tomorrow I’ll return you to previously scheduled content and post a picture and story of Madison.