Poor Polly needs to look after herself
As a parent it’s easy to run yourself into the ground. If you’ve given up a high flying career you might find yourself re-directing your overachiever angst at the ‘job’ of parenting. And there’s so much to work at – impeccably polite children with good grades, a whole range of extra-curricular activities and after school clubs to succeed at, nutritious meals to plan and cook, perfect play dates and seriously good birthday parties to arrange. Just typing that wears me out.
I’m just as guilty. I’m currently trying to plan the month of June. I have a kiddo birthday, a school reunion and a barn dance I want to cram in. I need to sort out babysitters, relatives coming and going and exactly where I am going to be when. Planning June? It’s only February – have I gone completely mad?
This week alone I’m trying not to forget about any of the following: French club, a Fair-trade coffee morning, Pancake Day, Chinese New Year celebrations, non-uniform day, a sleepover after a party, swimming, Valentine’s Day, ballet (including the return of the teacher’s hair clip) and a toy sale. Meanwhile our home looks like a tornado has blown through it, the dishwasher needs a colonic irrigation and I still can’t decide whether to keep my new ASICS.
It’s times like this when I realise if I don’t look after myself as much as I look after other people I’m going to end up in a straightjacket. I’m aware that I need an eye test, a scale and polish at the dentist and –whisper it – an intimate visit with the nurse so I don’t go the way of Jade Goody. My shoulders are screaming out for a massage too – I’m only a step away from asking total strangers to give me a bit of a rub.
Take a break Polly
But it’s such a taboo, to say out loud, you need to take some ‘me time’ (and probably asking strangers to massage you is also a bit beyond normal). I always think it makes me sound like a spoiled housewife who worries more about her manicure than her offspring. What is it about us mums that makes us think we should be last on the ‘things to do’ list? I blame, oh, myself…
Feeling a bit downtrodden as I am, my creative writing task this week was a response to a request for ‘gritty’ writing. I tapped into this need to perpetuate the myth of a perfect family life and added some unsavoury details. Within the story a mother of twins has to face the inconvenient truth that she’s will have to give up one child, because of what has happened to the other. But she doesn’t want to admit that, just yet. And sometimes, like the mother in my story, we all need to shut the rest of the world out (who cares if the house is a mess, and that there is so much dirty washing the basket won’t close).
So I’m recommending that instead of just reserving one day in March to celebrate Mothers, we make it a whole month of the Mum. Put the kettle on and your feet up; attend a yoga class like the one my lovely cousin Ali Masterman is running at Triyoga (23rd Feb, 2.30pm). It’s designed to relax, restore and rejuvenate worn out mums. Or get a date in the diary for the tempting G and Tea at the Hotel Du Vin (they put your alcohol in china cups – why didn’t I think of that?), which is exactly what my nearest and dearest mummies are currently working on sorting out a date for. In short, cut yourself some slack, and prioritise a few of your needs.
And let me know how you plan to treat yourself in the comment box below – if you have the time that is...