I'm a mum of four little boys. My life is often filled with rough and tumble, penis jokes, farts, and various smells that I never would have considered human. Occasionally we have the help of an au pair, and my first instruction to them is their role is to make sure the house doesn't burn down. They ALWAYS think I'm joking until I show them where the fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and evacuation plans are kept.
We home educate, I run my own business and my husband is a busy software engineer. Life can be a bit chaotic at times.
I'm important. To me and to all of them.
In the early days, a lot was a blur. I flitted from day to day just hanging on to get through one to the next. Everything was about my children, their washing got done, they got bathed, they had new clothes bought for them, they had the bigger serves of food, and I heroically went without. As the boys have grown and I've grown with them I've realised the power of prioritising my own care as well as theirs.
You see, while I'm not the main financial contributor to our family, I'm the centre of it. I'm the middle of the night parent, the iron the shirts wife, the where are my socks mum/darling, the what's for dinner, and have you seen my book, mum and wife. They'd be okay without me no doubt, but it would be a different life, and certainly not one that anyone is wishing for. I'm important. To me and to all of them.
Self care is a term that appears all the time in mummy blogs, and coaching sites and spiritual sites, and all it really means is prioritising your own care as being important. Because, like me; you are important too.
So here are some of my favourite super snuggly things that I like to do to prioritise my own self care (some of these are pretty odd, but once you have four boys, and you haven't pooped on your own in years, you'll get it):
- Enjoy a HOT cup of tea, alone
- Take a bubble bath on my own
- Go to the bathroom with the door closed
- Wear headphones and listen to my favourite podcast or album uninterrupted
- Go for a walk
- Write swear words in said journal
- Write said swear words in calligraphy in said journal
- Lie on the grass and just look at the clouds
- Wander through a garden
- Eat a delicious slice of my favourite cake and not share
- Have a hardcore sweaty session at the gym
- Paint something
- Play with messy, glooopy, clay
- Listen to a mindfulness app
- 10 deep breaths, uninterrupted
- Go for a run
- Pat the dog, and just "be"
- Cuddle up in bed with the kids and watch a movie
- Cuddle up in bed and watch a soppy girly, very chick flicky movie
- Catch a comedy show
- chat on the phone to a dear friend
- Make, then eat soup!
- Take photos (or indulge in whatever hobby is taking my fancy at the time) (sometimes I crochet)
- Sit and listen to the waves at the beach, or listen to the wind in the trees
- Wake up before dawn and watch the sunrise and enjoy the quiet before the house wakes up
- Have a pedicure/manicure
- Speak to my therapist
Being a mum is hard work. Sometimes it's not even rewarding hard work - it's just work. And on those days it's more important than ever to take care of you.