“I recommend having a weekly massage for small business owners.” Tonight I listened to a training course for entrepreneurs. When the trainer uttered this sentence I literally guffawed. Friends, self-care here is about basic human needs. Massage? No. It’s about being able to drink water, eat food and use the bathroom.
The first thing I hear in the morning is my six year old son’s voice: “Did you put out the moth trap?” Every dry night he runs a bright light box that attracts moths. The next morning he collects, identifies, then releases them. And although I am a supportive mentor, some mornings I really don’t want to hear anyone’s demands. Sometimes I’ve slept badly. Sometimes I feel ill. Sometimes I’m still recovering from a bad day yesterday. Sometimes I would really like to open my eyes on my own terms, drop my feet to the floor when I want to, and practise my Yoga alone… use the bathroom without being bombarded by a list of demands… yawn and stretch and not think about someone else’s wants and needs.
He’s little. He doesn’t really consider what I need or feel. We are still working on that. In the meantime, my needs are my responsibility. Sometimes I don’t get the space or time to think about those needs. Sometimes mornings are so packed with the imperative to make a lunch for my schooled child, a picnic for my homeschooled children, getting dinner in the slow cooker, thinking what to make for lunch, getting breakfast on the table so the eldest can get to the bus in time… phew! My needs don’t just come last. They simply don’t feature.
Some days I find myself dancing around because I’ve been holding on for such a long time that I am desperate for a pee. Some days I open up the picnic bag and realise that I packed things for the children and forgot to pack food for myself (sandwich crusts, anyone?). Some days I get to the end of the day and realise I haven’t drunk a single glass of water all day (which begs the question why I have to pee so badly).
How does that even happen? It’s too easy to forget what I need when I am awash in other peoples’ needs. I shake my head at my own forgetfulness. In my love of putting my children at the centre, I find that I am falling off of the periphery of my own radar screen.
You can imagine how uncomfortable it is to be thirsty, hungry, needing a pee and at the same time working hard to meet the needs of young children. I am working on changing my habits, building things into my day to help me prioritise what I need. I am pouring myself a glass of water every morning before I sit down to read with the children. I am making extra dinner so I have some food left over to take for our picnic the next day. I am requesting that the children leave me alone while I go to the bathroom (which, owing to the aforementioned water habit, I seem to be needing an awful lot more!).
Goodness, it’s not rocket science. But somewhere along the line I forgot how to look after myself. I forgot that it’s ok to ask for those basic needs to be met. I forgot that it’s my responsibility to prioritise them. And now that I am, I’m finding that the world continues to turn, but I’m enjoying it a whole lot more. Now if you’ll excuse me, I just need to, you know….
How do you make sure your own needs are met? Are there any areas you’re particularly working on to help you meet your needs?
Do you get a weekly massage?
Words and pictures © Lisa Hassan Scott 2015