My feet crunched on the frozen leaves as I left the house. It was 7:30am and the temperature was -5 degrees. I was off for my first “run” with the women’s running group I recently joined. Equipped with super pram, three layers of wool thermals and running shoes, I was well prepared. My little companion was fully rugged up in multiple layers of wool and fleece, complete with snuggly sleeping bag, beanie and the essential toys (2x cars, 2 x soft-toys plus some lego and a rattle). There was a hot air balloon overhead as I left the house and headed to O’Connor ridge.
The run itself was more of a stroll but it really made me feel alive. That magic combination of social interaction, exercise and fresh air worked wonders and the afterglow continued for the whole day. I finally felt as if I might be coming out of the haze of early motherhood (yes, the haze has been going for 18 months now!) Early morning walks could become a regular part of my days.
At home, I felt energised. My patience was higher than normal. My head seemed clearer. I no longer felt overwhelmed by the mess of my lounge room or the piles of washing that I needed to put away. I spent a few hours pottering in the garden while Bryn worked out how to scoot along with his bike. I realised that I hadn’t done this for 18 months.
All of a sudden, I had found the picture of blissful family life that I’d been craving. And all with 1 hour of early(ish) morning walking.
Did you know that the average Australian mum who works outside of the home has just 2 hours to herself each week? That figure comes from Australia’s biggest longitudinal survey of households and I’m certainly willing to believe it.
We some how find time to clean the toilet, fold the washing, watch TV and use Facebook but we don’t find time for ourselves. I’ve set up software to limit my Facebook usage to 15 minutes per day. Now, I’m going to create a“fun things” list for my fridge and choose one thing each day that’s just for me. Looking after yourself shouldn’t come second. When you’re happy, healthy and calm, you can give more to everyone around you.
What can you do now to look after yourself? How about having a long hot bath or curling up and reading some fiction?