When you're a Mum... selfcare is about how you look after yourself in the context of your family.
When I talk to people about selfcare, one of the common things I hear is "Oh it sounds lovely but I don't have time/ money for a long bat with expensive oils / to go to the spa / to have a massage...I'm too busy / have kids / don't have the money for this stuff"
And what I realised really strongly this week is that my passion and interest and hope is that though defining my own selfcare practice, and sharing it here on the web, is that I can help you shape your own selfcare practice - something that absolutely works for you and your own unique and individual situation. And that this is 100% in my mind about how it is NOT ONLY OK to think about your own selfcare when you're a Mum, but to acknowledge and work from a place where it is also most likely 100% bound up with what stage you and your family is, what support and money you have and your feelings about doing things to put yourself first.
And I want to put out valuable content that helps you think about how you "do selfcare" in the context of having a family - where your selfcare may feel limited because you've got a child not sleeping or because the holidays are coming and you'll have 3 children under 3 for 6 weeks - and who has time for selfcare in all that?
Part of this selfcare practice and focusing on one thing I now realise is to help create a placeholder for me / you / us to create the space we need in our own heads to KNOW that when we take better care of ourselves, and have the time and space to think about what we want and need to look after not only ourselves but our families, then we come from a much stronger, calmer and more effective place.
I don't have all the answers, and I realised this week that that's OK. Learning how to best take care of ourselves, both for ourselves and so we can look after others and have the energy to put what we want to out into the world, is not a one step fix but a process and a journey that we are all on, learning as we go and seeing what tools, ,techniques and strategies work for us along the way. Taking the good, trying on the rest to see what works and letting go of what isn't for us right now.
Week of 9 July practice - preparing for the end of term and the school holidays.
This week my practice comes to you from the knowledge that it is the last two weeks of term - somehow my little tiny people that started school in September, not knowing how school works or how to read or anyone other than each other, have now lots of friends, can read, do maths, have been to clubs and days out and parties and have learnt so much. Isn't school an amazing place? And in the past I have always found the advent of holidays very hard. I like having some time to myself. I like being able to do my work and create new things. With having two the same age who are very active, I find it hard to think about what we will spend time doing. A full day seems like a long day with how will we fill it, and how will it be fun?
I want our time together to be a joy.
I'm sure there are times in the long holiday especially where I will find it hard to have the patience and joy that mothering demands of us, but I feel these last two weeks are crucial to approaching it with hope and grace and the sense of possibility that 6 weeks together will bring us. So this is my selfcare practice this week, (and next week) - letting go of this year and celebrating what it has brought to us all, and anticipating (rather than dreading) the advent of the long holidays and the possibilities that lie within. Sharing some thoughts and tips below - I'd love to hear any feedback from you about how you are handling this transition from your own dedicated time to what can feel like the 24/7 of holidays.
Normally this week I would be panicking about all the things left to do and what I won't get done in the holidays. But with a selfcare practice I realise I can choose to feel and act differently- I have the power to define my own summer. I can choose to remember to say "thank you" for all this school year has brought to me, to the boys and to our family.
Saying thank you to this year.
I want to take some time this next few weeks to ensure that there is time planned in for all the things which come with the end of the year. To anticipate and ask my boys about what they need (for their wellbeing and selfcare). Being 5 is all or nothing - either huge excitement, not really bothered or even thinking about it, or huge anxiety that you may or may not have spelt out implicitly.
Let me be open and present to hearing that. And having made space, to respond to it.
Other practical things I can do this week to prepare to say thank you for this school year...
List with my boys some of the amazing things they have done and learnt this year.
Write thank you notes for the teachers at school who have helped my children become independent
Journal and reflect on how I have found the first year of my children being at school. How has it been compared to what I imagined? What has it meant for me?
What has changed for ME in this year? What am I most thankful for as my boys prepare to enter year one?
Starting to prepare for the holidays - vision boarding what a lovely summer means for me / my boys / our family.
I think I will write a further post on this once I have had time this week to take these first few steps, in the hope that going through them will mean I can add more of value to your own preparations for a summer of joy.
But this week I am starting from a place of defining my own success. Not thinking about what I may see others doing on Pinterest or Facebook that may lead ot me feeling like I'm not being a good Mum. My first step is going to be creating a summer vision board to help me work through what a good summer means to me and to our little family. It's less about where we will go and more what do I need to go through the summer with a sense of ease and joy.
What might summer mean to my boys? I can ask them.
What might summer mean to us as a family? By thinking these things through up front I can hold that space as summer approaches as a marker to say "Is this helping me to have that summer that I hoped for?"
How will I know as I am present in summer that it is bringing us joy?
How can I balance being present and enjoying the holidays whilst making the arrangements and space I need to do what I need for me and my business?
What feelings do I want to evoke when I think about the summer? What memories do I want to create for me/ my boys / our family?