Learning to look after myself

Leo went back to school today, so the Christmas holidays are officially over.

We had a lot of fun. It was nice to have both boys at home together and not be always hurrying to get out the door for school or waking Clem up from his nap to pick Leo up in the afternoon. I am looking forward to having more time to blog and show our book to a few bookshops.

Over the holidays I started to read Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Daily Lives. It gave me a lot to think about and spurred me on to think about habits I’d like to keep, lose and begin in my life. But I felt a hopeless about implementing her suggestions into my life, to be honest. It sounded like a lot of work and I didn’t have the energy. Clem had just been really sick and I was tired and run-down from the frenetic lead-up to Christmas.

Then! In January I went to the dentist and he told me that I have been grinding my teeth in my sleep. I have never ground my teeth before, so I felt really freaked out to have started. What was it all about?!

With Gretchen’s words fresh in my mind, I decided that I needed to assess my life and ask myself some questions. Things needed to change.

I want to share the questions with you, because answering them has been very clarifying for me.

  1. What I need to do to look after myself
  2. Why do I need to look after myself? What’s at stake?
  3. What if? Then… (if I fall off the wagon this is a plan for how to get back on)
  4. Potential excuses and responses to them
  5. Why do I find it hard to look after myself?
  6. What’s not on the self-care plan i.e. not important
  7. Who can I check in with?
  8. Why can’t I get off the hook?
  9. Resources
  10. Treats that are good for me

Answering these questions I learnt that I totally do know how to look after myself, but I just don’t put it into action sometimes. I know all of my excuses and how to counteract them, but I choose not to.

After writing up all my answers with pen and paper, I made a one pager that I can stick up on the fridge and remind me what my mission is. Writing up this plan feels like I have a mission in life and everything else flows from here.

self care plan

It’s all about fitting your oxygen mask before fitting anyone else’s.

Women especially are taught to look after others before themselves, and I definitely struggle with that. If I’m depleted myself I am terrible at looking after others, and yet I’ve done it all the time. Both before and after having children (I used to always be the friend who looked after everyone in high school for example).

When we were writing You’re Doing Great, Baby we had a line in there that we eventually took out, but it’s very relevant here:

I have all these parenting books on the shelf,
But sometimes it’s hard to look after myself.

The things on my list of things I need to do to look after myself are things I already did to varying degrees, but now it feels more binding. It’s powerful to have recommitted to why I want/need to look after myself.

It takes the element of decision making out of when to do yoga, for example, because I’ve written down the potential days and times I have each week and set myself a minimum number of times a week to get on my mat.

I’ve discovered there’s a great strength and self confidence that comes from choosing rules and then sticking to them. It’s not going to be perfect, and it will evolve over time, but I get excited every time I look at my one-pager. It’s all my favourite stuff (that it’s easy not to make time for).

Since committing to this self care plan things have felt like they’re falling into place. I am excited for the year ahead.

Wishing all of you a healthy and happy 2016. Have faith that you are where you need to be right now. You’re doing great.

Grateful for: Stephanie Snyder

Insta Stephanie

Stephanie Snyder

My dear friend Tabitha put me onto Stephanie Snyder’s classes on Yogaglo a few years back.

Although I’ve never met Stephanie, or even been in the same room as her, she is my yoga teacher. It’s amazing how much wisdom she can impart while also giving your body, mind and heart a good workout.

The key to our freedom is through service … To serve love and serve each other.

 

Yoga Stephanie
Washing to put away but do some yoga first

I am filled with gratitude to be able to take a class with her whenever I get the chance. There is always washing to hang out or put away, and a meal that needs to be cooked, but any time I can get on my mat and do some yoga gives back to me ten-fold. Yoga is the perfect practice for pregnancy, postnatal aches and pains, and life in general.

I am inspired by how honest she is about her own struggles and failings, and how generous she is with her love and support. She is all about giving yourself permission to feel overwhelmed in early motherhood. I hope that this same spirit is echoed in our book.

Learn more about Stephanie.

 

Ten questions for Mums and Dads

  1. Favourite children’s song
  2. What does it look/feel like to be “doing great” as a parent?
  3. Best parenting hack you’ve discovered
  4. What do you miss about pre-baby life?
  5. Parenting win of the week
  6. Parenting fail of the week
  7. Winning meal of the moment
  8. Craziest thing you’ve ever done to get your baby/kid to sleep or stay asleep
  9. Three words to describe your child/children
  10. What have you learnt from becoming a parent?

My Dad is a statistician, so I love filling out surveys. :)

My answers:

  1. ‘Hush Little Baby’ gets Clem to sleep
  2. House a bit chaotic but I make time to do yoga
  3. Start making dinner in the morning (or the night before)
  4. Time alone to faff around
  5. Making time to wrestle with Leo before bed
  6. Raising my voice
  7. At home: dahl and rice. Out: sushi train
  8. Drove to Bundeena and back just so Leo would have a sleep in the car. Did a pee in the shower because I was wearing Clem in the baby carrier and I didn’t want to wake him up.
  9. Leo: enthusiastic, kind, chatty. Clem: determined, musical, joyful.
  10. Managing on less and broken sleep, multitasking up the whazoo, less procrastination.

Thanks to Kaley Hawkins from the Longest Shortest Time Mamas Facebook group for the inspiration for this, and to Tabitha who came up with some of the questions.