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That I am publishing this post on Mother’s Day (just – time rather slipped away from me today!) could not be more apt. This month’s top tip for self-care is something that many, if not most women (and to-do-listed-out mums in particular) need a frequent reminder of. So, ladies, this one is especially for you.
Happy Mother’s Day!
If you do one thing for yourself this month, do this.
Fancy bagging yourself a bit more time?
This tip is such a good one because it isn’t only achievable in under 5 minutes and FREE, but it will also give you more of that most precious thing – a bit MORE time.
In the name of full disclosure here, this is not something that I am very good at. That’s not to say that I haven’t tried it out, but I could definitely do to set this one in motion more often.
When the in-laws pay a visit
Before I give you the good stuff, let me tell you about something that happened last week.
My in-laws came to stay for the night.
This doesn’t happen very often because they only live half an hour away. I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to having visitors – I usually panic clean and tidy when given notice of anyone’s imminent arrival – in-laws or not.
Four things make my approach to preparing for house guests ridiculous:
1. Other than the ironing pile (which plays a starring role in this story), my untidy isn’t really that untidy at all. We have two young boys, so keeping everything totally ship shape is an unrealistic daydream, but we don’t do at all badly taking their play habits into account. Actually, we do pretty well; and
2. I spent my teenage years watching my Mum doing the same panic micro-spring-clean and reminding her that her visitors were coming to see her and not her house. I’m pretty sure that I was on to something there -don’t you think?
3. Panic cleaning is the best way to whip me up into a frenzy, send stress levels soaring and reduce the standard of the welcome that friends and family receive. If guests aren’t coming to forensically analyse the quality of my cleaning, they certainly aren’t imagining a slightly sticky stress-head opening the door when they arrive.
4. I nearly always forget something considerably more important than polishing the kitchen taps. In my in-laws’ case, it’s usually towels for a morning shower and more than one friend has arrived for a cup of tea – absent the milk!
…not quite a top tip, but definitely something to think about
Our house guests – our friends and family come to visit our homes not take a magnifying glass to our kitchen counters, or to judge us for our over-flowing ironing piles but to see their friends and family. They come with love, to visit people that they love and who love them.
I think it’s time to re-phrase my intro about the inlaws to this:
The in-laws came to see our family last week
…back to the story…
The following morning (a school day), between bowls of cereal, filling school bags and the usual cacophony of the pre-school run hour, my mother-in-law wandered into the utility room, where I was filling the dishwasher, looked at the ironing pile and asked:
“is that all of your ironing?”.
I heard that question as criticism and, swiftly, gave an explanation of how both my husband and I had spent hours ironing over the previous week, but that the washing just keeps on coming.
My mother-in-law had three sons. Three sporty sons. She knows all there is to know about volume laundry. There is nothing I can teach her about it.
A mother-in-law’s gift
I headed off to work and thought nothing more of our conversation until three hours later when I received a text message from my husband saying that, before she left that morning, his mum had done all of our ironing. I hadn’t expected it. The thought hadn’t crossed my mind that an offer of help was behind that morning’s enquiry but that help was given nonetheless was a fantastic gift of kindness. A gift that was very much appreciated. It lifted a weight from my shoulders and gave me a precious hour or two of time that I wouldn’t, otherwise, have had. That same time that I am using to write this post, and I made sure that she knows how grateful I was for it.
So, here is March’s Tip of the Month:
You don’t have to do it all, it’s totally OK to ask for help. Ironing is my nemesis, it really is, yet I’m currently wed to this idea that I must be able to keep on top of it all and don’t even like the fact that my husband helps out with it. That’s because I have a need to present the impression that I have it all sorted and I’m on top of everything.
I am not infallible. I am human and all humans need help sometimes.
Giving help to others comes easily, but we often struggle to let our pride allow us to acknowledge when we need it ourselves.
Whether it’s the ironing, the school run or an errand. If somewhat who cares about you is ready and willing to lighten the load for you, don’t be too proud to let them.
What’s even better than dosing yourself up on self-care?
If you’re struggling with the feeling guilty when you ask for help, there really is no need and here’s why. Helping someone out, whether a friend, relative or stranger gives our sense of well-being a boost. So, by asking for, and accepting help yourself you end up topping up the self-care bucket of two people for the price of one.
Thank you for reading and don’t forget to head on over to my social media channels to share in the self-care conversation.