Monday, 12 September 2016

Lessons in self care

I've been bad lately. Very bad. Mad bad and mean. 

We had nearly 9 weeks of holiday (yes lots of inset days and other such nonsense). We've had a lovely lovely holiday, ending with a couple of weeks at home before school started again. Gradually building up to a school/work routine. At long blooming last! These last weeks at home have become increasingly fraught. 

With the 20-20 vision of hindsight I see it was my self regulation that suffered. But why?!? Why can't I look after myself when I am with my son? This is so counter to what I think about parenthood. Or it is modern parenthood? Or adoptive parenthood? Whatever it is, the outcome is the same. 

I was recently told that as adoptive parents we have to be more regulated than most parents. Well... To be honest I can think of non-adoptive who need that too. Point being that non-regulated parents suck. As does self blame.  Admittedly I am more than a little annoyed with myself for letting this slip so spectacularly. So I need to dissect it a bit. Bear with me...

I've lost my temper. Got super annoyed. Really really irritated. Audiably. Last night at 11pm I got serious ticked off for finding the son's bed wet. Again! My son sports the cleanest bed in this kingdom. I'm quick at the changes, have a waterproof system and have lots clean sheets. But I've had enough of ten extra loads a week. Grrrrr. I know it is not his fault. I know slamming the washing machine door with do precisely zero good. Quite possibly it may make things worse. This is a good example of when I should be able to contain my son and his water works. But I couldn't. Fact. Grrrr. 

This grrrr feeling, my dear, is a sure sign that I haven't really been taking enough care of myself. 

Self care. Ah. The self care. Not the paint your toe nails, go to a spa, practice some slow yoga and all that soft woolly prat every one talks about. It's not about money. Or marketing. It's about the self. Listening in. Refuelling. 

You really cannot give what you don't have. 

I'm a great believer in self care - especially for parents. Because how can you weather anything if your cup is empty or quite possibly nearly empty.

I've been telling my friend how important it is. She is getting divorced. Her three kids are constantly on her mind as she ferries them around and otherwise plays Tetris with her, their and her ex's schedules. She forgets herself. I worry about this. So when she stared to loose too much weight and felt very very low I laid it on thickly. 

'Who is the most important person(s) in your life?' I asked her. 

She didn't even draw breath when she answered that her kids are. 

'Wrong. You are.' 

My answer would have been the same as hers. The self care thing is a bit academic for me at times. I force my self to watch reruns of GBB. That's the bake off. Not Great Behaviour Breakdown. Though it could be. And I feel guilty all the way through. Not really as a pleasure. I'll have to work on that. And I can be pursuaded. 

The most important person is ourself.  Because we are the adults. And it is freaking knackering to raise children. In my case: raise a single child. 

Oh well ... so easy to see and say from the outside. I need my friend to tell all this back to me again. Grrrr. How did I forget? And what is the logic again? Isn't it just quite self indulgent?? 

That grrrr feeling is my red flag. And it has been raised a lot lately. It comes with stress. And lack of self care. 

So it's time to live what I preach.

I've gone away for the night on a job. Just one. The first in two years. My men are doing great. And I can wait to see them again. My husband practically ordered the ticket for me. 'Just stay the night!' He said. 

So here I am. Hours from home. First things first. A sun-filled stroll through the city I'm staying in, a good meal, early bedtime with a book, and a long restful night's sleep. All in silence. I shall speak again tomorrow when I do my morning's worth of work and then have lunch with a friend before I head home. It will be marvellous. 

There is more than one lesson in this. 

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