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It is a rare day that my washing machine is not whirling away. Mount Washington becomes Mount Foldmore becomes Mount Washington...
My vacuum cleaner is never put away.
Meals must be planned, shopped for and prepared.
Then washing up must be done.
And let's not forget: the toilet and bathroom must be kept clean.
These are basic, everyday tasks that can not be ignored.
They usually fall onto the shoulders of Mothers. She is the goal keeper. The ball has to get through every team member before it gets to her. She is a critical member of the team. The Team (we'll come back to this).
These tasks can be outsourced for the right price. Hire a cleaner, or a housekeeper. Buy pre-prepared meals...or employ a cook! Take your washing to the 'ironing lady' or the dry cleaners... These jobs need to be done. They are clearly valuable, for those with the means to outsource. It does not end there. You can even outsource the child care...babysitters will work for a fee, or there is family day care and childcare centres.
These jobs are some of the most important jobs that need to be done.
You will have seen the calculations, the ones that tell you what a home based adult (usually a 'stay at home mum') is worth. Most families can not afford the luxury of a stay at home adult...but the jobs still need to be done.
And on top of it all...the Self Care Chant is calling...
What is 'self care' anyway!
When you struggle to get a shower to yourself, your coffee goes cold and you can't even go to the toilet without an audience, the prospect of 'self care' seems a luxury for those who can outsource.
It can be overwhelming just thinking about it...oh yeah, thinking is a luxury too.
Why are the Goal Keepers, being crushed under mountains of washing?
It is time for a reset. To change the perspective. To rethink this modern life. And to define Self Care. 'Self Care' is such a buzz word right now. Pintrest and Instagram edit out the housework and make self care look like a better storage unit and bath of rose petals. It has been corrupted and confused, disempowered and appropriated by people who seem afraid to look deep into themselves. We are being sold the idea that a piece of chocolate, a new shiny thing and a bath are self care. Self Care = Pampering (if you believe the hype).
But self care, is about self acknowledgement. It is about identity and expression, being heard and respected. Self care is about being confident enough to demand it. To value yourself, because you are awesome, and to stop apologising for taking up space.
Self care is about honouring yourself; nourishing yourself with healthy food, sunshine and movement. Taking time to rest and follow your rhythms.
As a woman, you have monthly rhythms you can tune into, seasonal rhythms and daily rhythms. Working with these will energise you and strengthen your instinct. (see the Hollie B link below for more on how to reclaim this power). The housework still needs to be done. This can be drudgery or it can become part of your rhythm. This isn't about becoming a 'domestic goddess', this is about acknowledging the daily tasks and creating time and space to honour yourself and your talents. Self care can not be achieved through pampering and 'retail therapy'.
HERE ARE TWO KEY POINTS:
1. All capable members of the family - the Team - should be contributing to these everyday tasks. If you have a partner, they need to pull their weight. As a stay-at-home-parent your primary role is PARENTING, the housekeeping still remains as a team effort. Why should the breadwinner get out of housework? Even in households where two adults are working full time, women are still shouldering the majority of housework. HOUSEWORK IS EVERYONE'S RESPONSIBILITY! All adults should be taking on these tasks. If there is work to be done - all adults should be contributing EQUALLY. As soon as your kids are able, get them involved. These are life skills. If you don't want to do these tasks, you need to be able to pay someone else to do it! It's the difference between an amateur team and professional team. And REMEMBER: NO ADULT SHOULD BE IDLE! Many hands make light work.
2. GET MINIMAL!
Live simply, rid yourself of the excess. Get back to Basics. You know the drill. There is wisdom in this, but it is not always as simple as it seems. Owning less, means less to manage. Eat simply and don't offer alternatives.
Create the Life you want.
A list of blog posts on the subject:
"The more empathetic we are as parents, the stronger the physiological destruction is." From BellyBelly: 6 small acts to avoid self destruction
The Power of NO! My thoughts on teaching respecting and the power of saying "no" and the Thoughts of Wendy Wisner
My Gripe with Self Care by Julia Jones of Newborn Mothers
Grubby Mummy writes of Self Care being "Another thing you have to do" and "Happy Baby, Happy Mummy"
My thoughts on Fitting your Own Mask First based on THIS POST by Evolutionary Parenting about the Perils of Listening to Idiots.
Is Motherhood Doing you Head in? We all have 'vogon days'...a list of support services.
Hollie B of the Institute for Self Crafting has created a Wellness Journal to help you on your way to a simpler, healthier lifestyle.
I also recommend Katy Bowman Nutritious Movement.