Taking Time For You

I’m aware that I’m in danger of this sounding something like a self-help column this week but I want to write about self-care and about taking time to nurture yourself. With Mother’s Day just gone, it seems like a timely reminder that Mum’s (and indeed everyone) need a bit of a break regularly, not just once a year in an avalanche of flowers, homemade cards and breakfast in bed. But we are not passive in this, we need to claim space and time for ourselves.

It’s easy in life, especially as a parent (but not exclusively to those with small folk), to get so bogged down in the day-to-day tasks that need doing and meeting the needs of everyone around us that we forget about our own needs. Self-care is the buzz term for this but really, it just means remembering that you are a human with your own needs and wants and recognising that it’s not selfish to take some time to meet them. Mother’s especially can be prone to playing (unintentionally) the role of martyr, running themselves ragged looking after those in their lives and getting all their work done, constantly juggling tasks and appointments in order to keep their families ticking over. But the problem with this is that more often than not, we end up feeling burnt out, tired and resentful.

Luckily, the solution is not a hard one. Self-care doesn’t mean jetting off for an all inclusive spa-weekend once a month (although once in a while wouldn’t go amiss!) Rather, it means adopting a practice of remembering every day, to honour yourself by doing something that’s just for you. That might be taking the time to go for a run or to an exercise class, to sit down with a tea and a book or trashy Netflix show for an hour, it might be choosing to take some extra time to prepare a nutritious meal to better fuel your body, it might be simply going to bed early rather than spending an extra two hours tidying and tying up the loose ends of the day.

And the thing is, if we regularly make time to honour ourselves, we’ll find tension dissipating in other areas of our lives. We’ll have more patience and energy to deal with the demands that life throws at us. It’s not selfish to take time for ourselves. It’s not selfish to say no to a request to play by the kids or to turn down extra hours at work. It’s OK to put ourselves first once in a while. I remember reading something Dr Sears had written when Sophia was just a toddler, he wrote that the sun does not rise and set on one member of the family but rather that everyone in the family were of equal importance. He wrote that sometimes one person’s needs will be more pressing than others but that in the grand scheme of things, a family should equally look after each other.

I’ve come a long way in the way of self-care and now make sure I take time daily to do something for me (usually go to the gym or eat separately from the kids so I can eat something yummy I know they won’t touch!) and the difference is noticeable. I find that I shout less and that as a general rule, our house is calmer. I’m not going to lie, we still have stressful, grouchy days but there are less of them. So if you had a lovely Mother’s Day but wished you were given the opportunity to focus on yourself a little more, don’t wait another year. Adopt an attitude of daily self-care and take some time (even if it’s just 10 minutes) for yourself, you won’t regret it!

Growing Plans

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mum’s out there reading this. I hope you’ve all had a most lovely day. You definitely deserve a day to have your relentless hard work and unstoppable flow of unconditional love acknowledged, I really hope it has been.

I’ve had what can only be described as an idyllic day. After being brought breakfast in bed, a lovely handmade card and a most thoughtful present we proceeded to church before spending the afternoon pottering in the garden enjoying the gorgeous sunny spring day.

This was particularly well timed as I’ve been meaning to write about our new garden for a while. I still can’t quite get over how blessed I feel to have such an amazing outside space and to have a knowledgeable, friendly and thoroughly lovely landlady happy to share advice and seedlings alike.

We are waiting on a delivery of 7 tonnes(!) of manure this coming weekend so haven’t been able to do lots but have been getting things ready in preparation. We planted our onions and garlic in one of the raised beds last week, have taken advantage of Aldi’s cheap fruit bushes and planted three blackcurrant bushes, tidied up our flower bed, got copious amounts of potatoes chitting and are cultivating an indoor greenhouse with the amount of seeds planted and seedlings growing.

If you look carefully in the last picture you’ll spot the owl nesting box on the side of the house which has caused Sophia huge amounts of joy and excitement. Just before we moved we had a book out of the library on barn owls which had a section on nesting boxes. Sophia was enamoured and I promised to ask our landlady about putting one up so I was very pleased to discover there was already one here. Unfortunately, no owls have used it yet (though alarmingly hornets have a few times and had to be destroyed) but here’s hoping one will soon.

In fact we’re surrounded by a veritable abundance of animals here which the kids are loving. There are bats that visit the roof that we’ve yet to see, pheasants that regularly strut in the fields, goldfish and koi in the ponds, our landlady’s cats that often nose round and of course, the beloved chickens that we end up visiting several times a day and are the reason both of my children have stopped eating their crusts! We’re planning on rescuing some of our own soon at which point I think Isaac will either explode with happiness or just move in with them.

Anyway, I digress. Growing things is where I was slowly going. A friend of mine has dedicated her growing this year to that which is expensive to buy or hard to source. I however had no real plan but now wish I had! We’re growing tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, blackcurrants, squash (hopefully!), cucumbers and sweetcorn which I guess fall into the pricey category usually so I’m happy with that. We’ve got potatoes going in soon which is great because I do love growing potatoes but we dedicated a whole bed to onions and garlic which I’m slightly regretting. They’re both so cheap to buy, even in farm shops, that I suspect I should have put the bed to better use. But this is only my fourth year of growing and I’ve still lots to learn so I’ll know to be more considered in my growing plans next year.

Nonetheless, I’m loving spending so much time outdoors and the kids are very enthusiastic budding gardeners which is lovely to watch. What are you growing in your garden or at the plot? I’d love to hear!