As a stay-at-home mum I find myself busier and more exhausted than I ever did as a single person, even when at one point I had three jobs at and a busy social life. Now I have no (paid) job and no social life, and I’m busier than I’ve ever known. Self care has become a distant, forgotten dream.
I think I know the culprits. Exhibit A: Girl, aged 4, busy and boisterous and vibrant and playful. Exhibit B: Boy, aged 10 months, also busy, also playful, VERY demanding both day and night.
Every day is a whirlwind of feeding, dressing, dishes, laundry, schlepping here and schlepping there, playtime, nap time, bath time, bedtime. By the time 7pm rolls around and the children are (hopefully) asleep, it’s time to tidy up, fold the laundry, pack lunches mop the floor, and spend time with my husband. Sometimes I go to bed at midnight, even though I know the baby will wake me up at least twice, just to get an hour to myself.
But. But! Today is the boy’s first day at nursery. The girl, CC, already goes to kindy three days a week. This morning I have the first solid three hours to myself since the boy Little T, was born.
I am not having a spa morning. I am not having my hair or nails done. I am not even exercising (though my guilty brain says I ought to). I am at the library. Writing.
Unencumbered. Uninterrupted. Unfettered.
This is my happy place. This is what I like to do, when I’m by myself.
And self care means just that – taking care of YOUR self. A friend told me the analogy of the aeroplane oxygen masks. The cabin crew always remind you to put your own mask on first before helping your child. An act of self care is just the same. When you are taken care of you can take better care of your children (or whoever you may be caring for). And why have a spa day or punish yourself jogging if that’s just not you? Me, I write.
Now it’s on the schedule: Time for Fiona every Wednesday and Friday morning. I never found I had time for me before. I’d think “I’d like to do this or that if I have time”. Now I realise – I have to MAKE time. Self care means a happier, calmer, healthier me.
So here is me, setting aside the chores and the children for just a little while, writing my way to happiness.