In the event of an emergency on a plane you are told that when the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling you MUST put on your own mask first. There is a very simple reason for this. One that us ladies miss all the time. We need to be reminded all.the.time.
You cannot help anyone else until you have helped yourself. No air for you means that you are no good to anyone around you, including you.
As women we carry burdens, yes I said what I said and you can 1950’s housewife me all you like because despite the needle moving in other directions its still only moved an inch or so in the last 100 years and my darlings there are situations where an inch makes all the difference and this isn’t one of them.
Riddle me this, For a lot of us right now we are at home supporting our families and careers (what ever forms they have taken) the same as we did before but now under a microscope. So if your partner used to be the one who cooked on Saturdays, covered the ironing and took the rubbish out then its likely the same now. Only there is more ironing, rubbish and everyone is sick of the same meal on Saturdays because you now can’t substitute it by going to your favourite restaurants. You may not have a partner, your partner may be a key worker or in construction or many of the loop holes to lockdown and still be working as usual.
My dear friend Louise Westra always says “women are living two lifetimes at once” because the domestic burden still lays heavily on our side in general, we have been told we can “have it all” and then we add to our own burden by needing to be the best at it.
Hands up if you wanted to throw a bread roll at Sheila’s head when she exclaimed on Facebook that her children had completed Joe Wicks after having a dairy, gluten free organic breakfast prepared by angels that had blessed it. Or when you see “boy did good” comments over a candle lit dinner for two with the perfectly spotless grey and dusk pink new build home in the background on instagram.
We all have those moments and it is because it is not true. There is a good reason Instagram vs reality became a popular movement.
No matter full your plate is right now, please please please recognise this one thing. You first.
You have identified some grateful spots – which is great, what else do you need. Do you need a standing appointment with a book and a bubble bath every Thursday? Do you need an hour for yourself in the morning so you can come round in peace?
Do you need to keep yourself busy, or do you need to delegate some of those burdens? Please think about you. Now I am not saying that you go seek out your family and tell them you are on strike, or quit your job because now 3pm yoga is your jam. Be realistic but also recognise that there are opportunities to take better care of yourself than you are consciously acknowledging whilst you feed yourself another portion of “I don’t have time” or “I just need to do”.