The wine witch has her own own tool box, the most deadly tool being ‘Everyone Else’s Needs’. Coming to the beginning of another summer ‘holiday’ I am keenly aware of this one. It’s ALL about everyone else. It is one of the main factors in my relationship with alcohol taking a sharp turn for the first when my kids were little. This time when we can become so depleted, so frazzled, and often don’t have enough support. It’s not the whole picture of course but it was my crunch time and I see it in a lot of other mums too. Although I planned for this summer holiday , I was aware of potential triggers and bleeds between my work and home as a home-worker , I have still come a cropper and found it difficult. Of course we want to do the best for our kids but often we don’t get enough support as women to have the balance right and really suffer as a result. I don’t think it’s coincidence as at the time women are supposed to have it all and be it all , women’s drinking peaked.
When my daughter was one and my son four I had to have my gall bladder removed. As I came round from the anaesthetic into the bright lights of the recovery room , I heard myself yell ‘WHO NEEDS WHAT??!!!’ in a panic and had to be calmed by the nurses. My friend called it ‘Mother’s cris de coeur’. But it’s wider than that . So many of of who have turned to alcohol and developed a problematic relationship/ addiction with it as DY so rightly said have tendency to look after everyone else, have poor boundaries and not look after themselves.
Self-care is a moving target.and for me it is about having or beginning that dialogue with yourself. I could not have that dialogue with myself when I was a drinker because as soon as a need came up I drank to push it away.
My way in to this essential dialogue was a bit of journaling and sober treats , it led onto to discovering Tara Brach , the Science of Happiness, my yoga practice took off . It was the possibility of sitting and hearing what I need at any given time, not crashing through red flags , taking rest, staying hydrated. Saying NO. You will start to know what you need if you start journaling and doing this shit.
Having said that , sometimes the practicalities get in the way . I cant get to yoga, I have no childcare. What can I do to dial down the stress? Not sure.. I’m still a novice at this. 5 minutes out in my bedroom helps. This week I have set the intention as suggested in the yoga class I did get to yesterday . To have a seed wish , an intention for the week. To listen for it. Mine came ‘ Self care , time out and presence ‘ said my wiser self. So this is my inventory of how I am to look after MY NEEDS this week.
‘1) Yoga : As I said I went to yoga yesterday. I got a guilt trip from OH which is rare and shows how exhausted and peopled out he was from all the hospital drama last week. But I stood my ground and said ‘I really appreciate this, I know it’s really hard when we both really need time out but I seem to need to get to yoga for my mental health in a way you don’t and I really need it right now. ‘ That worked bless him, and he made the roast while I was there. More of that this week.
2) I have asked for further help this week. I have asked my son’s friends mum to have my son today instead of my having her son. ( Had a 4 child play date planned arrrgghhh) so now I only have a friend of my little girls over and we will make cakes or do something quiet.
3) Boundaries: I have let go of some of this work stuff that has been driving me mad. I think I just reached saturation point with it. I will blog it out at some point. It’s very stressful. I cannot know or solve all the issues yet and so I have decided to park it . In other words I am compartmentalising ( thanks Kop) or exercising boundaries. I will not check work emails till tomorrow when I have some childcare.
4) I have identified who is in charge. Underneath all this is the inner critic who has panicked and is running the ‘You cant make a mistake with this, it has to be perfect’ show. It’s all going to go wrong!!! Each time that inner catastrophist/ perfectionist takes over I’m in hot water… I now know I need to do lock-down. Back to basics and as littler as possible. I need some Tara and to write and process so it doesn’t take over the show. I am getting better at getting back from planet Zog but it’s been horrible. This too shall pass!
5) I have practiced awe/nature watch. In the throes of the anxiety on Saturday my DD and I took an hour and a half and went blackberry and sloe picking. I love fruit picking in the woods – it soothes me, this slow, methodical harvesting and comparable silence with my girl punctuated with random child-speak . This is a bit woo.. but I feel ancient and soothed like I am remembering. Much much more of this.
6) Connection: I have reached out to a couple of school mums who I haven’t seen since the end of term and I am hopefully seeing them on Weds. Need a laugh x
7) Chop wood/ carry water. I am starting to bore myself with that now but it is so true. I need to keep my head down as my good friend Blue Angel said to me ‘Just get through the next two weekks’micro tasks and baby steps.
8) Acknowledgment : Taking the inventory about that I have done and what quality that displays so I dont sell myself short and let the inner meanie take over. I have fed the kids today ( I am responsible LOL) . I have sorted a payday ( thats practical and is attending to self care) , I have walked the dog ( I am not not an awful owner , NO .. I am a good owner ) etc etc.
Ill let you know how it goes!!!!