My energy is not infinite and I am not all powerful. Lying on the floor all week with chronic back pain and my friend Valium, I've had the time and lucidity of mind to think this through a bit. I am just an earth mother. My energy is borrowed and needs constant renewal. I need proper fuel, and a clean tip top vessel with which to channel it.
Sometimes as mothers we think we can do it all because quite often we do. I am constantly in awe of us. But with so much to do we forget, or simply put off, the essential maintenance of ourselves.
Examples: I slave over organic baby recipes while settling my grumbling tummy with crisps, my baby gets lathered with posh bubble bath every night, and I'm lucky if squirt myself with some liquid from poundland every morning. I shlep Boo to multiple sensory adventure groups where she can play and dance and make friends, but when do I ever go out dancing with my friends?
I am not actually complaining about this mode of lifestyle. I like crisps and poundland and staying at home on a Saturday night. It is my choice but it's a lazy choice and in the end it is self destructive.
I am too busy to bend my knees every time I pick up my gargantuan toddler, too lazy to buy proper comfortable shoes, too tired to stretch my muscles every evening. Too cheap to treat myself to a massage. As a result I've crippled myself for at least a week, cbeebies has replaced sensory adventure time while I lie very still on a hard wooden floor, and there will be no more organic since I now need very expensive osteopathic treatment.
It's not just me that suffers if I don't look after myself. Life becomes pretty boring and depressing for a child when their parents are too sick to look after them. And I'm not just talking about back pain. In an ideal world we would all address our physical and mental health issues before they become problems for ourselves and the people around us. Prevention is the cure.
When I'm sick I'm not a very good parent. It's completely illogical that the reason I'm sick is because I've been trying so hard to be a good parent. I have a feeling this conundrum speaks true for the vast majority of women out there, we are the carers of the world.
So now I know that looking after my self is just as important as looking after my child. I have to be strong, healthy and happy, because running myself into the ground is a false economy and just not an option. Who has the time or money to keep lying on the floor and paying for quick fixes? But I think we as mothers can all stretch to this:
- Proper supportive shoes. Look, only the baby and other mums are gonna see them so get over it.
- Proper comfy pillow. Ahhhhh.
- Regular massage. Essential!
- Stretching every morning and evening. Could be combined with telly watching!
- Just don't buy crisps, then there's no reason to eat them. Snack on fruit instead.
- Leave the house, see some friends, have a laugh, realise you are not as crazy as you thought you were, feel better.
- Sometimes the Boo doesn't need to be carried. Sometimes she is fine to play by herself so I can just chillax for 5 minutes. A bit of aggro at the beginning, but in the long run she will respect me a lot more for respecting myself, and will therefore grow up to respect herself, thus breeding a lovely cycle of respectfulness!