Self Care Report Card #1
Somehow, we are already a quarter of the way into the year! A change in season. An absolute change in weather. As the leaves fall from the trees and my light summer clothes get replaced by warm woolies, I thought it would be a good time to pause and reflect on how I am going with this whole self care thing. For those following along, I have been doing (well at least attempting to do) weekly self care posts to help busy mums like you and me, find do-able things to promote self care. If you want to catch up, you can find the list of posts here (there’s everything from awesome spotify play lists to making cups of tea).
Self care is not an optional activity
It’s taken me falling into a pretty dark and desperate hole (not literally, then I’d need a heck of a lot more than self care) to realise the sheer importance of looking after ones self. We spend every single day looking after other people and having our patience and love tested to it’s absolute limit. But we are only able to give from what we already have. Meaning that if our well is dry, we don’t have anything to offer those we need to care for. As someone at work said to me the other week “You’re like a water lily…” I got really excited when I heard that, but then she continued… “without any water”. Oh. Ouch.
I started these self care posts as a way to help other mums see that in order to do regular self care, you didn’t have to meditate for an hour every day. You don’t have to be on your own (but that is f***ing blissful when it happens). Self care can be done amidst the chaos that is parenting young children. But I think I also started this series just as much for myself as for all you wonderful people out there who read it. A reminder to myself to do the work. Because I am worth it.
So how has self care been happening for me?
I am a working mum to a 1.5 year old who wakes frequently through the night and has given up napping for me at home. I also am mum to a very needy nearly 4 year old who says the phrase “I need a mummy cuddle” about 1000000000000 times everyday. Self care for me, is not weekly massages and blissful morning routines. Here are the real life things that I have been doing as regular self care. These are the things that maintain my sanity and help water that lily.
- Daily morning shower. Non negotiable. Everyone knows that mumma needs a shower before the day begins. Never missed a day.
- Mascara every day. I have very very pale eye lashes and if I don’t wear mascara, then it looks like I’ve had half the sleep I have actually had. And I haven’t been getting anywhere near enough sleep to be able to pull that look off.
- Blogging. Hello online journal. Need I say more?
- Photography. I love taking photos. Whether it’s of my food or of my kids. It helps me to see the beauty in the everyday. And my kids are getting used to me wanting to spend a moment taking happy snaps.
- Counselling. Yup, I go and talk about stuff. But to be really honest with you guys, I feel like every time I see her, there is soooooo much to say that I don’t really move past just the offloading phase. What this tells me more than anything is just how freaking lonely I am and how isolating this motherhood thing is.
- Learning something new. I feel like if I were an animal I would be a meer kat or maybe some kind of monkey. Something that loves to see what is going on and try new things. So I recently learnt how to design mandalas on the computer. I am also learning more about photography. I find I just do what I can, when I can, with no hard and fast rules about following a set time table.
- Meal planning. Total ongoing sanity saver.
- Turning on Netflix. And no, not for me. For the kids! This is the only time my daughter stops talking to me. And I need that silence. Otherwise mumma starts to flip. Some days the guilt starts to kick in before I truly get to unwind though. Thanks mummy guilt! Thanks a lot!
- Going outside. This has been a bit hard since the weather decided to just rain non stop for about a month! Even globs of play dough on the floor were turning to liquid, it’s been that humid! But rain or not, if I am in a funk, heading outside to DO SOMETHING helps a lot. I don’t do well to just go outside for the sake of it. I need a task to do.
- And a final win, I finally booked myself in for a facial to use a voucher a received back in November!! Next is to get a hair cut, it’s been a year since my last one…
So those are the things that seem to be working pretty well. But there is a lot that needs improving…
These are the things I am finding super hard at the moment:
- Loneliness. There I said it. I am lonely. As a mother of one, I had a strong social network and I saw real life people regularly, multiple times each and every week. This kept this extrovert happy, sane and a loving mumma. But since having two, it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in a day to do all the things AND see other people. Plus, everyone else has had their second too which means they are finding it just as hard as me! Plus my little guy isn’t a good sleeper, so heading out in the evenings doesn’t happen much at all.
- Fitness. I used to be fit and strong. I’m a physio by trade but being a mum to two has made me the most unfit I’ve ever been. I was using an app called Zova to do 7-10 minute workouts in the lounge room with the kids. But that seems to have fallen by the wayside. I did have some horrible shoulder pain for a couple of weeks which impacted my motivation to exercise. I feel like my body is weak at the moment though and needs a bit of love.
- Sleep. Little guy wakes a lot plus I’m shit at going to bed at a reasonable hour as this is the only time of day where I get time to myself to do things I like and even get to think and reflect! I have a referral to Tresilian sitting in my inbox, but am reluctant to act on it yet. We co-sleep half the night and the only way he falls asleep is breastfeeding lying down. Not something they will let me do there… a work in progress.
- Food choices. When I am tired and over stressed and over whelmed, I often make terrible food choices. And often in doing this, I end up eating foods which irritate my breast fed toddler, sleep gets worse and the whole cycle continues. Not easy. I am trying to swap to choosing fruit instead of chips or dairy free chocolate. Trying.
- Time with hubby. We had our 5th wedding anniversary the other day, but it ended up taking until 8:30pm to get the kids to bed before we could head out. We live in a little town and the local wine bar closes at 9pm! But thankfully they were very kind and stayed open longer for us. But we were both so tired we were home by 10pm! It was so lovely to spend time just the two of us, away from the piles of laundry and general home chaos.
- Managing my expectations. I am a person of stupidly high expectations. This doesn’t serve us very well most of the time and I am trying hard to be more realistic with my expectations and responses to things. So freaking hard though.
So what ya gonna do about it, Ruth?
I don’t want this to be just a whine and whinge post. So here are some ideas of things I could do better.
- Do a 7 minute Zova workout every single day at 3pm whether it’s just stretching or something more energetic.
- Don’t buy chips. I can’t eat them if they aren’t there!
- Schedule in a date night every week with hubby (I need to revisit my date ideas for sleep deprived parents!).
- Schedule in more time with friends. A weekly catch up at least.
- Remind myself regularly that we are all learning. And we are all trying.
As an added little bonus to myself, I am going to join in with Bettina Rae’s Vive course again this year. It was such a beautiful experience last time and I can’t wait to work through it again with the other gorgeous mummas. My bestie will be joining in again too, hurray! If you’re interested in checking it out, she’s got an early bird special on until April 8th 2017. You can find out more about the course and sign up here (affiliate link which means at no extra cost to you, but I receive an little payment to help keep Pea Fritters up and running).
How have you been going with self care? Want to share any wins? Leave me a comment.
To help you with your self care, I’d love to gift you 3 of my mandala colouring pages. Simply click here to get yours.