It has been said that 99% of parenting is trying unsuccessfully to sit down.
My mum always used to say to me when I was little that she hadn’t sat down all day and I remember thinking, “How is that possible? To not place your bottom onto a soft seat ALL day?”
“Who does that?”
Well now I am a mother myself, I know of course, that my mum was absolutely right! She was trying to sit down all day but life gets in the way and prevents you from resting.
We are currently reading a book called “Sitting Still Like a Frog”, by Eline Snel.
It is primarily a book on mindfulness exercises and practices to help your children deal with anxiety, improve concentration and handle difficult emotions.
One of the examples was of a six-year-old girl who was given a bike for her birthday, having no previous experience of cycling. She immediately hopped on and began to effortlessly ride her new bike. When her parents enquired as to how she knew what to do she said, “I pictured riding in my mind”
This example begs me to question how powerful our mind is and the need for us to not only want to rest but visualise the benefits of such a practice.
As mum’s, we consistently and constantly put ourselves last, the very definition of motherhood it seems is to be selfless, but not at the detriment of our own health. We all know we can’t pour from an empty vessel.
We should equally know that in order for a plant to not just live but flourish, we need to give it love, water, sun and attention. Sadly, mother’s attentions are most always on everyone else and their own needs are at the bottom of the pile, most probably the large and ever-growing washing pile!!
A beautiful quote I read the other day by Laura Ding-Edwards says this. It’s about being kind to your dear heart and giving your mind the space to catch up to your body.
“If the mountain seems too big today then climb a hill instead.
If the morning brings you sadness it’s ok to stay in bed. If the day ahead weighs heavy and your plans feel like a curse, there’s no shame in rearranging, don’t make yourself feel worse.
If a shower stings like needles and a bath feels like you’ll drown. If you haven’t washed your hair for days, don’t throw away your crown. A day is not a lifetime, a rest is not defeat. Don’t think of it as failure, just a quiet, kind retreat.
It’s ok to take a moment from an anxious, fractured mind. The world will not stop turning while you get realigned. The mountain will still be there when you want to try again. You can climb it in your own time, just love yourself till then”.
It has encouraged me to stop pushing myself to exercise so much when every muscle is screaming for a break and my heart sighs at the thought of putting my trainers on for another day. Yes, exercise is so beneficial but not if it depletes me more than build me up.
Maybe you too can take the same advice and remember that some days beg for rest and recuperation. It’s totally ok to gift ourselves that important downtime.
And whilst all the pretty pictures (like above!) promote lovely, soft images of milk baths and sweet smelling roses, quite often simple is key.
A nap in the afternoon, a stroll outside, buying your favourite magazine and curling up in a corner with a warming brew, makes an enormous difference to our bodies and minds.
Just ten minutes sitting quietly and letting your mind drift away can be the difference between feeling anxiety rise like bile in your throat and a complete change of attitude towards your situation.
All because of self-care. And remember self-care isn’t selfish, it’s as important as breath in your lung. So go and water your own garden before you tend to someone else’s.