In Australia, it’s Self Care Week from 12-19 November. The aim of the week is to get people to prioritise self care so that they can lead a happier and healthier life.
Having studied Social Work and Forensic Mental Health at university, the term self care is one that was rammed down my throat on the daily for years on end. The importance of self care and the strategies to achieve it are something I practised and preached while working in the community services sector.
After a few years in the industry, I decided to quit my job, go on an Australian road trip with my husband and then get pregnant. As any mum will know, the second that that baby announcement is made is the same second that the pregnancy and motherhood advice begins…
People tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps…yeah, and unicorns are real!
People tell you that they hated being given advice when they were pregnant…and then they give you all the advice they have.
Some people think it’s a good time to tell you every birth horror story they know of, just in case you weren’t nervous enough already about pushing a watermelon out of the eye of a needle.
Others simply want you to know that if you massage your vagina with Bio Oil that it won’t tear during labour…never mind the fact you can’t see or reach it when that time comes.
The one thing that no one ever tells you is that when you become a mum, you’ll constantly feel this thing called mum-guilt. They don’t tell you that you’re going to end up not looking after yourself and that you’re going to have days where you resent motherhood despite how much you longed to be in it. They don’t tell you that one of your main self care strategies will be doing a poo in private…or that you won’t actually get to do that anytime soon.
For mums, the choice to practise self care tends to fly out the window at the same time the black bags under our eyes and our permanent mum-buns arrive. We don’t choose self care because we think there’s no time; because we struggle to ask for help; because looking after everyone else first is a habit that easy to form and hard to break.
Let this week be a reminder to you that self care is important and that it is in fact a choice. YOUR life is the sum of YOUR choices. And, when you’re making your choices, remember that no one has a bigger stake in your physical and mental health than you do.
Don’t overcomplicate it. Don’t overthink it. Identify your simple joys and devote some time and energy into making them part of your day.
Happy Monday Mamas (may be it be exactly that!)
Pssssst! Let this week also be a reminder that for some mums, there are more barriers to practising self care than some of us can even conceive of. Some women in this category are those that suffer from Perinatal Anxiety and Depression.
Lauren Oliver from Mums Who Wine Australia has launched a campaign this week to raise $10,000 for PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia). She’s selling #selfcaresaves tees and tanks and donating 100% of the profits. Head here to buy one:
And while you’re there, why not buy a Mums Who Wine membership for yourself or someone else for Christmas? Not only can you save HUNDREDS of dollars through Mums Who Wine Affiliates, but $10 from every membership purchased in November will go to PANDA too.
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