Saturday, 21 March 2015

Self care

There's been quite a silence from me recently.  You may have noticed I regularly have spurts of blogging and spurts of nothingness.  If I've not been writing, one of three things have likely happened.....
  1. I've been so busy with projects and fun stuff that I haven't had time to write.
  2. I've decided I'm finally going to get life 'right' and I'm putting all my time and energy into organising the house and kids.  Always a nuisance when I get into this mode because I waste precious time sweeping and wiping surfaces!!
  3. I'm overwhelmed, exhausted and feeling like a failure.
This time around it was number three.  One of the down sides with trying to live thoughtfully and with respect for the planet with which we are blessed is that often we are time poor.  Since I began teaching the children at home I have really struggled with time issues.
I still want to find time to cook most of our food from scratch to avoid shortcuts that mean creating waste.  I want to garden to avoid feeding my children food with residual pesticides.  I want to make cleaners, again to avoid packaging waste.  I'd like to sew rather than buy products that have wasted resources in the transport process.  The list goes on and on........
Not only do I want to do all of this; I want to do it all perfectly!!  Of course.  For the last few months I have been feeling very tired.  Near on exhausted.  But I couldn't see a solution.  Especially because, even in this state, I keep jumping at opportunities to learn new skills.  A new recipe here, how to dispatch a goose there, how to pickle.....  So I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and trying not to think about it.
Now, this is not a once off exhaustion.  This is a pattern I follow.  I think it's probably something many of you who are greening your lives can identify with.  A lifestyle danger if you will.  On other occasions I have reached crisis point by exploding with the kids or by falling into a sobbing heap.  Last time, I decided to really take notice of the warning signs and be proactive in fending off an inevitable collapse.  But how............?
I thought long and hard about what I felt I needed.  I decided I just. needed. to. STOP!!!! I didn't want to feed another chook, milk another goat, teach another child, book another appointment, clean another mess - all the things that make up our day.  I didn't even feel like talking to Hubby once the kids went to bed because I was so worn out from doing and thinking.

So there it was identified, I needed a break.

I am very lucky.  I rang and asked my mother, feeling very guilty, if she could take the children and she didn't hesitate.  She and Dad looked after the kids for two days even overseeing their lessons for me.  Hubby took on a load as he worked all day and then cared for the animals and milked.  Belle and I did heaps of preparation to cut down the work and I think it helped him.

I booked a room near Rosie so I could squeeze in a visit with her and my lovely granddaughter.  I spent two days listening to relaxation cds, crafting, planning a new daily routine for when I went home and generally just sitting quietly (just being) !
It worked!  I came home refreshed, implemented my new routine and threw myself back into our busy lives.  I kinda felt validated when the kids arrived home.  They were all talking to me at a million miles an hour and it was mayhem and busyness right from the word go.  No easing back into it.  The contrast of my peaceful time made me realise that my life really is very busy and tiring.  The difference is that I have got through my week with it's usual up's, down's and minor crisis's with a sense of humour rather than doom.   I have had energy as I've tackled my work and I've found enjoyment in my everyday tasks.  Cooking and creating a nice environment for my family has been a particular pleasure.  Taking care of myself was really successful in enabling me to care properly again for the others in my life.
Pre-rest photo.  I didn't even get around to icing the cake for poor Belle!
As I stated earlier, I am very lucky to have such caring parents.  I know not everybody has a backup but I hope you have a way to refresh yourself when you need to.  Or more importantly perhaps, the ability to know when you've had enough and it's time to care for YOU!  Maybe you have your own secret weapon to use against burn out.


Kathy said...

What a good move and may I suggest you go one step in a sleep over for the kids at your Mum's once a fortnight (one a week would be good) but 1 night a fortnight you know you can have a little down time without having to "attend to everyone's needs" this way you go gently week to week rather than getting to the point of exhaustion and as mothers we all know that can be every night let alone running a farm as well. Have a good week. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

Linda said...

I love the idea Kathy but I'm an old-er parent, therefore my parents are old-er grandparents! My children run us all ragged. I think I'd wear them out. Actually they're pretty good with having the children but I'm usually spending my free time going somewhere or doing something rather than relaxing. I need to learn!

Bekka Joy said...

This is brilliant. Thanks for sharing openly and good on you for knowing what you needed and taking steps to get it! It's wonderful having supportive parents/partners too isn't it! Keep taking care of you! x

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

I worry about those bringing up children nowadays. So much is expected of you and you expect so much of yourselves. If I were to offer advice it would be that it's okay to be "Good enough" it really is!

Cheryl said...

I love the line "I waste precious time sweeping and wiping surfaces"!

I find my yard/garden work so overwhelming, it's such a big block, and it causes me to melt down frequently. Just recently I'm trying a new tactic, I'm trying to do something in the yard every day, hopefully for one hour a day, but even 10 mins if that's all I can do...I think it's working, I'll have to get back to you on it, because an hour a day is almost a full days work a week, so in theory I have to be better off. I'm trying to leave some of the small wiping down surfaces... to create time for the job that stresses me out the most.

Maybe if there are some overwhelming aspects of your days you could try something similar?

Kathy said...

I don't know if it helps, but don't let yourself get so busy with all the things you want to do perfectly that you don't enjoy the 'now'. You already know how fast they grow up, they will learn much from you, but what they need most is you, not the frosting on the cake, not the spic and span house, not the nutritious organic meal on time! They are your most important project and you can't take care of it if you don't take care of yourself. Relax a little, ease up on yourself a little, you are doing fine and being smart!! Good for you! All this from a woman watching her own children try to cope now! :)

Chris said...

It's good to know when you need some help, because it's hard to recognise sometimes. Days start to blur together and it literally takes a meltdown to see that a different tactic is required.

We all have these moments! So you're not entirely alone. ;)

sustainablemum said...

How lovely that you realised what you needed to do and that you reached out for help to attain it. Perhaps a rest every now and again is what you need to keep up with the busyness of life?

Linda said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments. Yes, more time for regular self care required methinks! And less projects. Must learn to curb my enthusiasm and enjoy what we already do.