So many blogs and websites that I follow at the moment are discussing self-care and why it is so important for Mums to do something that is for them….to take time out, re-centre and rediscover, relax and rejuvenate.
While I agree wholeheartedly there are occasions where it just feels like an extra pressure being placed on Mums – find more time in your day to add in more things that will help make you a better Mum. As a single Mum of two young boys that works and doesn’t have family support nearby it is something I set out to do but don’t always achieve.
With the last weekend having been the four-day Easter weekend I sat back to review what I had done for self care and have come to the realisation that there is no formula for self care. What I think falls into this category will be totally different to what others think and do. To me self care is about doing things that help me stop, breathe and feel like me. They help prevent me from turning into the grumpy Mummy monster that needs it to be bedtime and they help me appreciate the moments of fun and laughter.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, they stop me from being the woman who is obsessively cleaning her rangehood at weird hours because it is something she can control and manage. As you may guess I have actually done this but my issues with control and organisation are a story for another time.
So in reflection what did I do over four days that fall into this category (disclaimer – my boys were with their dad for two of the days so I did have a bit more me time than normal and therefore the list is longer).
- Nails – I go and get my nails done about every three weeks. It is some time out that is not always peaceful but that makes me feel more like me, more together and makes me happy when I am typing on my computer.
- Walking – when I don’t have the boys I go for a walk – early in the morning if I can. I always listen to music so that I don’t spend the time over thinking as I often do. The loop I do only takes me about 20 mins but it makes me feel more awake, gives me more energy and gets me up and moving on days when it can be hard to get started.
- Smiling Minds – I have always been a light sleeper. Adding two children, a separation and my sons health problems have made a decent sleep almost impossible. I have now started a routine where I take homeopathic formula melatonin when getting ready for bed and then listen to Smiling Minds (the sleep mindfulness meditations on the app) once in bed. It is working really well and I am now asleep before the 8.20 mins is up. I don’t think I need to cover the benefits of sleep. Staying asleep is another story!!
- Music – Spotify is my new best friend (in close second is Netflix). Music gets me out of my head, removes the deafening quiet when my boys are gone and allows me to dance and sing my way around the house.
- Easter Egg Hunt – I set up a great Easter Egg Hunt in the backyard for my boys before they came home from their dads. My youngest had been talking non stop about how he hoped the Easter Bunny would do a hunt. The reason I have added this to the list is that for half an hour the three of us were outside, having fun, thinking of nothing else and I got to enjoy the fact that for a little while longer they still believe in the magic of Easter/Christmas etc. And that is good for my heart and soul.
In the end I think it is important to remember that while it is important you take moments for yourself and practice self-care it has to be what is right for you. There is no point committing yourself to self care that is actually adding more stress and pressure. So I will continue to bake, have beautiful nails, exercise, sleep, listen to music, dance and enjoy my boys as much as I can before they hit teenage years and no longer want to talk to me.