Being with my five year old twins and my two year old 24/7 during school holidays made it difficult for me to be the parent I had always imagined I’d be. In fact quite often during the holidays I felt the urge to just go out into an empty field and scream for an hour.
In “no shit Sherlock” parenting news; this whole motherhood gig ain’t easy.
There were good times, there were bad times. There were worse times. There were times when I hid in my walk in wardrobe hoping they wouldn’t find me. But with my twins on the cusp of starting their first year of school, I find myself wondering how on earth I’m going to bounce back from my first [of many] rounds of real summer school holidays; holidays that taught me that time is an abstract concept and that, despite what the ancient Egyptians would have you believe, days can indeed stretch to being 67 [arduous] hours long.
On thinking about writing a piece on post school holiday burn out self-care for mums [catchy right??] I actually had to google self-care because if I’m doing it at all, I’m pretty sure I’m not doing it right. Not unless self-care is that moment between Netflix episodes where you see your reflection on the black screen and wonder what the fuck you’re doing with your life. But for the first time in five years I feel like I might need to know this stuff! I’ll be home with only one child instead of three for a good portion of the week now. Maybe I can set aside some time to do something for myself! [probably not].
Let me tell you, when you google self-care there’s a lot of herbal tea drinking, self healing, meditating, hot stone massage and skin-eating fish pedicuring going on that sets off my inner eye roll emoji.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be able to do things like that but I have a brain that is more like a kitchen utensil drawer upturned onto a mini-tramp, so to me meditation is just silent inner shrieking with frequent moments of “what was that sound I just heard?”
I know I can’t be the only parent like this, so I’ve come up with a list of down to earth [lazy], accessible [easy], self-care techniques for [broke] mums with busy brains and little time [that like to drink wine].
Seems obvious. Coffee; because jail is a real thing. Coffee; because punching people is wrong. Coffee; because you need to be less 2007 Britney. Coffee is self-care. It’s a way of saying to yourself you know what, I like you. I want you to be happier. Here’s a little something I prepared earlier to make your day better. Please don’t get arrested.
If you don’t like coffee then all I can suggest is eat bacon. If you don’t like bacon either then I’m going to have to question whether or not you’re really committed to this.
When you have a moment to yourself, read the whole internet twice. Go on Pinterest because time isn’t going to kill itself. Watch a Ryan Gosling movie and remind yourself how thankful you are for the gift of sight. Just do something that you enjoy doing whilst being at one with your inner awesome. Preferably while eating something delicious while you’re not having to hide in the pantry to do so.
Embrace your natural self
Everyone needs some time to just embrace looking like something the crap dragged in. Not every day. Just some days. Wear stretchy black pants because jeans are for rodeos and Matthew McConaughey.
Enjoy the sound of no one talking to you
And by cleanse I mean, throw shit out. Get a big black rubbish bag and throw out stuff you don’t need. And by don’t need, I mean, toys.
Toys with one arm, or that make repetitive loud noises, or that hurt when you step on them. Toys that your kids never play with but if they saw you smuggling out, would inevitably be unable to live without.
Go to Kmart
Because, as I have discovered, there is absolutely nothing as cathartic as spending $138 on things you didn’t know you needed before you walked into Kmart.
Go to the beach. Take a jaunty light weight bag. Don’t make a single sandcastle while you’re there.
Bask in the glory of the couch cushions not being on the floor
Be particular with the distribution of your time
In fact, every time you’re asked to go somewhere ask two questions: “will there be food and can I wear my gym clothes?” If either answer is no, maybe it’s not for you.
Watch strongly edited footage of your childrens’ best bits on your phone
Because we all do it when our kids are out or asleep. Go on then. You know you want to.
And if all else fails, never underestimate the healing power of singing really loudly by yourself in the car.
This post was originally commissioned for Kid Magazine