Some people are cup half full, some are cup half empty, I am feeling like my cup is broken and if there is any liquid in it then it had better be coffee because I am tired. (Jokes, obviously it’s a very full wine glass). Why am I thinking about cups? I read a very well meaning Facebook post earlier about Mums not putting themselves first with the true (but irking) “How do you expect to be able to take care of everything else if you don’t take care of yourself? You can’t fill everyone up from an empty cup.” It shouldn’t have annoyed me but it did. Obviously I should take care of myself, of course I should make time for it, but when exactly?!?!
I don’t work a nine to five job, I work most evenings so that I get to spend as much time as I can with the kids before they go off to school and Lovely Fiance and I both work weekends so the time that most parents get to use for the coveted “me time” tends to be very elusive in our house.
Mum Life can be tough, today I am full of cold and have a hacking cough that has made me throw up a few times over the past week. There are no sick days for Mums, you have to get everything done regardless. I wanted a calm day off work so planned to do the usual household chores and think of fun things for the children that were low energy expending for me so that I can try and feel a bit better before a weekend of work. The kids have had a great day, we did drawing and cutting up pictures to make new pictures with glue and glitter, we watched a movie and then we played building bricks. My daughter tripped and fell while running and I asked her if she needed a kiss, she said yes, headbutted me in the mouth and split my lip open.
I had to try and not bleed on her/be annoyed/check my front teeth were still in one piece (her head feels as if it must be made of granite!) and make her (invisible) trip injury better. That was the first glass of wine I promised myself post bedtime me was going to have.
So as the day went on I began to question myself as to why it bothered me being reminded of the fact that I take/have very little for myself and the things that I like since the arrival of my two precious little humans. As a parent you accept that your life is going to change massively and happily make sacrifices, so being made to feel bad that I am not exercising/writing/socialising/bothering to actually pluck my eyebrows (see above picture for evidence) enough was annoying.
But then I realised that nobody was trying to make me feel bad, I was making myself feel bad because that it what I expect of me, not anyone else, that is where my mind went to when reading that friendly little message.
So why do I think those things are self care? When in reality the things that I need to take care of me and destress are obviously different now to what they used to be. I used to practice yoga, swim, write, read and go out to visit friends and to bars/restaurants every week. Maybe if myself and Lovely Fiance had chosen a different career paths then some of those options would still be in the realms of possibility, but we didn’t and only having one evening a week where we are both at home at the same time means that we can choose to either see each other, or alternate having a social life, oh and it’s a Monday night, so LOADS of choices of stuff to do too……
I am NOT complaining about my life, it is brilliant, but I do feel the weight of life on me a lot, and I do miss being able to do some of the things that I used to, maybe that’s why a lovely positive post on Facebook was interpreted by my tired, snot filled brain as a dig on all of the things that I don’t do to take care of me anymore. Maybe changing mini beds and folding mini clothes isn’t great self care, but I couldn’t not provide those things for my children (and we certainly don’t earn enough money for me to pay someone else to do it so that I can go and do something more fun for me). I chose this for me, I yearned for children and count my lucky stars that I was blessed with them, I knew that it wouldn’t always be sunshine and lollipops.
Bedtime rolls around this evening and tonight I had to console my eldest child yet again over the fact that we do not have Wallmart in the U.K. so we cannot go and buy the latest range of toys that have been released by his You Tube hero Ryan (from Ryan’s toy review, if you are a parent of child of a certain age then you will know who I am talking about, I shall insert a picture of him for those of you who don’t know). He is even more upset when he realises that his two favourite shops, Smyths toy superstore and Tesco do not sell Ryan’s toys either. (If you are stateside and go to Wallmart and want to mail my son a Christmas present he will love you forever!) There is nothing more heart wrenching than your child being super upset about something (quite disappointing that it was over a range of toys instead of something meaningful, but hey ho, he is four) Second glass of wine to future self promise made.
After the Wallmart tears we played a hilarious game of peekaboo with youngest daughter still in the bath and me and the toy obsessed one ducking down and popping up to surprise her. Her hilarious evil cackle is enough to erase the hardest of parenting days and fill your heart with joy (if not fix a busted lip). Watching my children happy and content putting their heads on pillows and drifting off to sleep is definitely rewarding (maybe not as good as a fun night out with the girls, or going to a yoga class, but pretty good.).
I decided after coming back downstairs from putting the kids to bed that I would write this blog with my wine, because I like writing, so that is good self care to do that and must be better than watching old episodes of Outlander to see Jamie take his clothes off (a Google MUST if you don’t know what I am talking about) whilst waiting for Lovely Fiance to finish work and come home. I also know that if I tried to do exercise whilst feeling this poorly that one of my lungs may actually get coughed out of my body (or at least that is what it feels like) so a sitting activity is a good one.
Most of all I think that one of my best forms of self care is being kind to myself, to stop trying to hold myself up against other people’s Instagram perfect lives (mostly filters/angles/half truth anyway) and do things that make me feel good regardless.
I am nearly halfway through my second glass as I finish typing this, it’s not half full or half empty, it’s refillable and there is more wine in the fridge. The same as I may be in a period of my life where I might not get to do as many things for myself as I would like, but the children will become more independent and I will have plenty of time in the future to fill up my metaphorical life cup, so I am going to try not to beat myself up too much in the mean time.