In this moment I feel low and lethargic and I don’t have the energy or the motivation to do anything.
That’s ok… those feelings don’t stress me out like they used to. I know that the wave will pass and something better (or worse) will come in its place but I can get out, I won’t be stuck here.
But then I have to parent. I have two little humans who will allow me to be crappy and crabby for brief periods but then they will demand more.
I will demand more.
So I want to take a little moment to be a sh*t parent in cyberspace.
To start I’m gonna wake up whenever the heck I want, even if someone is screaming out my name… they can just DEAL “Do you hear that?! I’m NOT getting up! JUST DEAL!”
And when I do get up they better have made themselves breakfast… cos I ain’t doing it! In fact, I’m having chocolate for breakfast this morning IN FRONT OF THEM!!
Then when they start melting down over the UNFAIRNESS of it all! I am gonna preach for at least 10 minutes about what I find unfair such as when I make people effing breakfast and they follow me into the darn shower to throw their toast at me cos I made it wrong… yeah, THAT was unfair (you little ingrate)!
THEN I’m gonna rush them out the darn door dressed however they are dressed (natural consequences, baby) as quickly as possible and do a drive-by drop off… 2 minutes for Kiss & Drop?! I need 2 seconds!! I AM OFF!! … to the cinema to watch a movie rated R all by myself!!!
Then I might stop off at the day spa, have a drink in the middle of the day… maybe even finish a cup of tea!!!!!
Then when I am done with all that, I will go shopping for clothes… FOR ME! Maybe even shoes (in this fantasy I don’t actively loathe shopping). Maybe pop into the travel agent and book myself a week overseas? Oh… yasss!!!!
Anyway, the reality is that whilst the above reeks a little of #Badmoms, it could actually make me a better Mum in the end. So rarely do we do the things we deem “indulgent” or take the time to be “selfish” – it’s even interesting what delights and experiences we brand with these terms and therefore deny ourselves. Yet before we can do or be any better as parents, we need to make sure we are not pouring from an empty cup.
We don’t need extremes (although we shouldn’t shy away from whatever is able to be made possible) but Self-Care can come in many forms. At my most basic level one of my self-care routines is having a sweet cup of chai tea. For the duration it takes me to drink my tea, I can do whatever I want without any guilt. This started during naptime when my children were little but it’s still something I look forward to now. It was a small step towards better filling my own cup but it’s now one of my favourite rituals.
A lot of people don’t have the luxury of other hands on deck for relief so the indulgent cuppa is definitely a good start or allowing yourself to scroll on your phone at the park (and not judging others for it), using a screen every now and then to allow yourself some R&R, getting a local tween or teen to come play with the kids for an hour (even whilst you’re there) and teaming up with other parents to swap children thus creating some down-time.
Those with more help and scope might try some of the above fantasy ideas or a night or two with friends, a meditation retreat, a group of some sort or a choir or other activity.
The other prominent feature in my Self-Care routine is getting listened to. I have a few Listening Partners and I also belong to a couple of emergency Listening groups and this fantasy scenario above is a great example of how one could use Listening Time. You can conjure up an alternate life in which all your needs are met. Or you can use it to vent about how hard it is to be an under-supported parent or how hard it is to parent differently to your own parents. You can say the things you never would say or lament the things you did, all with a loving Listener who is actively listening and holding the truth that you are good, you are wise and you can do this.
I would love to hear what others do for self-care. Please comment below or on the Facebook page.
Holding you with warmth and compassion,
Aunty Ask xx