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Look After Yourself?

Before I left London lots of the people I love kept saying to me “Look after yourself”. I knew exactly what they meant. I would have said the same thing to them if they were leaving. My interpretation was eat well, don’t try and do too much, get some rest, don’t stress yourself out needlessly, and be a bit selfish if you need to. That sort of thing. It’s simple really. And yet why is it so hard to do?

For me the obstacle is myself.

I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts since Monday. Less playful, less chatty, less fun. As my first wobble occurred at the end of my first full day at home, alone, with my two tots I thought the wobble was to do with them. I lost my patience with them. I couldn’t be the mum I wanted to be. It made me feel as though I couldn’t look after them. Which made me feel rubbish.

My second wobble came after drinking too much wine. When Mark asked me if we were going to plan some activities and events we’d talked about, I felt overwhelmed and didn’t want to start any of the things he suggested. I couldn’t face a single new “to-do”. I wanted everyone to leave me alone and stop needing me. Which made me feel rubbish.

I think the fog has now passed.

I know that I can look after them and there is so much that I can’t wait to get started on, I just can’t do it AND look after myself (very well).

My littlest wildling has been feeling unhappy about the move. I’ve always known the girls wound find it hard at first. But knowing it and facing it are very different. It didn’t worry me in week one. But at the beginning of this week she showed barely any signs of improving and her tricky behaviour has become seriously entrenched. So not only was I worried about her, but she has been a bloody nightmare to care for too.

After several months of extreme stress, deep emotional upheaval and a first week of adrenaline fueled activity I wasn’t as well maintained as I thought I was. I just didn’t have the power to care for anyone, last of all myself. I lost my inner voice. I couldn’t have written a post, even if I’d had the time to before now, because I wouldn’t have known what I wanted to say. Without some kind of a voice I am nothing.

It became obvious to me today when I saw pictures of my thin, haggered body at my sister’s wedding 6 weeks ago. And then again tonight when I tried to do yoga poses that used to be easy and I found myself wobbling. I’ve felt so strong for so long, I haven’t noticed that my body has become weak. When my body is weak my mind is weak. And I have days like Monday.

I can’t care for anyone when I can’t think straight – my children or myself.

Today was turn around day. I woke up and meditated. Mark made the coffee. We all ate breakfast. We went on a fun day out along some beautiful coastline. I had a nap on the beach while the kids played with Mark in the playground. We hung out at home. We only had a few tricky toddler moments. I went to yoga. I pottered around the supermarket looking for new, healthy, tasty things to eat. I’m having fresh veg for my tea. And now it’s time for bed (before 11pm).

The thing is we’ve had several restful days. I thought I was taking care of myself at the time. But the difference is I wasn’t considering what I needed at all. The meditation, the yoga and eating well weren’t happening. Without those supports the cracks started to show up.

I think we’re through the worst of it now. The weather is changing. Next week we start school and work. Nothing stays the same.

The lesson is that when everything is changing I need to put myself higher up my own list of things to take care of, otherwise the whole thing will only last about a week. And we want to stay longer than that.