#4 - “A little bit of self care is needed I think.”

I think we all know we ought to find time for ourselves to rejuvenate in whatever way works for us. That might be exercise, meeting a friend for a coffee (or a gallon of wine.) Whatever we do, some time away from the needs of everyone else is definitely a good thing. As mothers, we sometimes feel our job is to look after everyone else and keep them happy. I have recently discovered, however, that you can’t please everyone all of the time, particularly your children! 

I have read and heard a lot about the concept of ‘emotional load,’ or ‘emotional labour.’ I have interpreted this to mean the pressure mothers tend to put themselves under to try to keep everyone happy and make everything perfect. The truth is though, that we all have an emotional load, male or female, with or without children. We all have that internal to do list that seems to grow each time we tick something off it. I do believe, however, that some of us are better than others at ignoring the list for a couple of hours and taking some time to ourselves. Personally I find that my list of things to do is running through my head even when I am out walking, or meeting friends. But at least it gives me space to prioritise and relax a little. 

I get told all the time by family and friends to rest. Sometimes I can and do but sometimes I just can’t help myself from thinking about the list! I have to take myself somewhere where I can’t do any of it! I don’t think that it’s unfair I should do these things as I am at home a lot more than my husband and he works very hard. I do however, struggle with the wider societal idea that women should do these things in their leisure time. We all need a balance. The constant emotional load can be surprisingly tiring.

I am more aware of these types of issues by the day.  When I recently found myself complaining with real passion about Daddy Pig’s man-splaining, I started to think about how motherhood and feminism have come hand in hand for me. Feminism is an important part of my life and my feminist outlook has grown alongside my learning how to become a mother and my learning how to live as a disabled woman. I think all women have a daily struggle against prejudice and discrimination. There is then a specific struggle for mothers to deal with. For disabled mothers there is then this extra layer of discrimination and prejudice. Standing up to this, changing attitudes, being generally badass, whilst trying to please people all the time, often being very successful in a career and bringing up strong happy kids... no wonder we all need the occasional break! 

We have two possible meet ups coming up for Mums Like Us. This just might be your chance for a bit of respite and time for you! The first is the Mums Like Us discussion group at the Women of the World festival at London’s Southbank. This is on Saturday 10th March. The second is at the NAIDEX disability living show at Birmingham NEC where we’ll be in the networking area. Details of these two events can be found on the MLU events page.

I’d like to say that I have written this whilst drinking a coffee by myself in a cafe. It has been excellent time to myself. And now I have the energy I need to go and tick a load of stuff off my to do list! 

Sally x