"I didn't manage to have a shower this morning!" is a phrase I hardly ever use these days in conversations with my child-free friends. All because I cannot handle the look of disbelief (read disguist😅) on their shocked faces. My "mummy" friends, however, get to hear all of that loveliness on a regular basis. Who am I kidding? They get to live it too.
A few days ago, in one of my posts, I shared a bit of my personal story and how especially challenging the first few months (read the first few years😅) of my son's life turned out to be. I got an overwhelming response in comments on Facebook as well as personal messages on my website. Therefore, I feel compelled to say a bit more, because so many of us deal with similar challenges to the point where they can become overbearing.
I remember, when I was still pregnant for the first time, my friend came to visit with her 8 or 9 months old child. She was wearing tights. It was hot. Turns out, she only managed to shave one leg and then had to go and tend to her baby. She never managed to finish what she had started before she had to leave. I remember being horrified. I could not understand how could she not have time to shave both legs?! 😱 It doesn't even take that long... Now I am amazed that she had time to even do ONE!
Self-care goes out of the window a lot of the time when you have small children. It can make you feel like a failure, because let's face it, being clean is one of our human rights. It is also one of the basic human needs in Maslow's Hierarchy (which are quite nicely layed out in a lovely triangle if you want to look it up). So being unable to wash or get your hair and nails done can get you really low. I used to spend a hell of a lot of time on my own with my first-born. I was dreading to leave him to go and have a shower. Even when I knew he was safely sleeping in his cot, I was anxious thinking he might wake up and I won't be able to hear him. The thought of my baby screaming for a long period of time not knowing where I was made me feel uneasy to put it lightly. I ended up to either not having a shower at all unless somebody was able to watch Daniel (neither Ernesto nor I had family in this country so you can guess how often that was😅) or doing it so quick I am not sure how good of a job I did😱 Well I know that I did a crappy job, but I am not going to tell you that am I?
Some mornings, if I had to look presentable, it was just my fringe that got washed so that it appeared like I had clean hair. This is as honest as I'm gonna get. I am not even going to say that I did not go to the hairdresser or any place else where they make you look pretty. I hope that no sensitive souls are reading this.
When my son got a bit older, I could not leave him for safety reasons, because he was exploring whatever was around him. Sometimes I would bring the toys to the bathroom and let him play while I was having a shower. Again, he did not want to stay in one place for very long. Then I had a baby and a toddler on my hands. Literally the DIRTIEST time of my life and not in a sexy way 🤣
Now that I have two toddlers, I have upped my game in terms of self-care, but being at home on annual leave with them on my own have brought back some memories. Between choosing to have a shower and taking them out, I chose the latter. Thank f*** for the era of deodorants and dry shampoos.
The moral of the story? You must carry on enjoying life, even if you have to do it being dirty, tired, angry, sad, mad, frustrated, or inadequate from time to time. You are not the only one. Your children are going to be children for a fraction of a second. If you don't believe me - look at mine. My baby boy is 3 and my baby girl is almost 2. I do not regret any of my bad hair or dirty clothes days. I intend to live life to the full and encourage you to do just that. Find like-minded people and you will have a blast.
Also, if you have an additional mission to the one you already have (which is keeping your children alive), it is most important to prioritise and get cracking with what's important; one step at a time. Be brave, be bold, be you. ❤