Rubbish mum student
I fell ill over the weekend. I’m not 100% sure what it was, but from increased sniffles and sneezing, my stomach was unsettled, and I had waves of feeling feverish. This one incident resulted in a parenting lightbulb moment for me – I’m rubbish at following instructions.
I was trying to pass it off as nothing, and carry on as usual with my never ending list of things to do and sort out. My Mr. saw right through me though, and said, “Your face isn’t as bright as usual. Why don’t you go and lie down?” True to form as a perfectionist/”always-doing-when-nobody-sent-me” kind of character, I tried to untangle my invisible Superwoman cape, and fluff it out so the wind would catch it and I take off into the skies. I carried on tidying up in the kitchen. Unfortunately on this occasion no wind was blowing to give me the lift off I needed. Darn it, mind over power was failing woefully on this occasion. I felt so unsettled and uncomfortable, and instead of dishes and soap was imagining soft pillows and a bed. Thankfully I caught some sense, dropped the kitchen gloves, drank some water and went to have a lie down.
Model what you teach
It got me thinking. When it comes to resting, why am I so bad at doing what I would instruct my kids to do? If that had been either of them my instruction to go and lie down would have been given for their good. Because I know from experience that by giving their bodies time to rest, it increases the chance of them getting up stronger and better equipped for whatever task is at hand. It also works better in the long run in terms of their overall health. Why can I believe that for my children, but not for myself?
I know it’s hard to stay on top of, and successfully juggle everything on our plate, believe me I do. However right now I think a lot of us use the “busy mummy” excuse a bit too much. As a result we don’t give ourselves the rest we need, and it’s starting to tell. It’s scary because I have friends who are also mums, who recently have seemingly out of nowhere suddenly been faced with serious health challenges. We always like to think it will never happen to us, but the truth is mums are breaking down everywhere. It doesn’t help families when that happens. I mean, who’s going to remember what time swimming or karate class is? Or that if you’re looking for Michael’s socks it’s 99% likely to be under his pillow next to Mr. T-Rex?
How can we do better?
For one we can be less rubbish at following the instructions we give out. That lie down did me the world of good. I pretty much stayed in bed for the rest of the evening. I still had a fever and headache the next morning, plus am still not back up to 100% now. However my body told me (I hope I’m not the only weird one whose body talks to them sometimes), that it would have been a lot worse had I not stopped and gotten some rest.
Secondly, pour some ice cold water over that “mum guilt” thing. My Mr. and the kids still managed to find something to eat for dinner, everyone remembered to change for bedtime and the kitchen didn’t explode because I wasn’t there to finish cleaning it up. We all survived the night and I got the rest I needed, hooray!
Thirdly, delegate where you can. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but as much as possible we have to get better as helping ourselves as much as we can, by delegating. Delegate to the hubby/partner, the kids, hired help (nanny, cleaner etc.), family or friends. There are things which at the end of the day you have to take responsibility for, I’m in no way ascribing laziness, and true everyone’s access to help differs, but for the things you can delegate please do so.
Fourthly, make time to enjoy things you like. Hanging out with your best friend, watching your favourite movie, reading a book, doing some exercise. Heck enjoying a glass of wine or cup of tea uninterrupted all counts. Whatever it is, schedule time to do it, cos’ you deserve it.
Oops, this was meant to be a short post, so apologies for going on and on. It’s that writer’s thing, once you start……
Have you got other tips on how we can do better? Please share, and let’s all be less rubbish at following the instructions we dish out, particularly on self care.