I guess if you want a short answer, then the word I’d use is ‘paro’. I’ve discussed this helpful word before. It refers to the feeling we all get that somehow whatever choices we make will be wrong. The beautiful visual explanation for it again is here
Daily life as a mum can feel like self-care is really just spinning the roulette wheel and seeing what need you might meet that day. Whatever you choose it might still somehow feel wrong.
As always, if you prefer to listen, I’ve shared this week’s download on the mum as you are podcast.
I know time to yourself is golden. For some, getting up earlier so you can exercise, drink a hot beverage, journal and be alone might be perfect. You know who it’s perfect for? Well rested people.
I suspect it’s also well-rested people sharing this advice to get up earlier to seize the day and smash your goals.
Sometimes this advice comes from other mums who are health practitioners. Often it’s from mum influencers. . Behind the scenes I wonder if some of these successful looking mums are struggling with anxiety and control. Pushing from a sense of fear of not being enough. I don’t say that from a place of judgment but from a place of compassion. When things feel out of control we look to manage and control what we can – what time we get up, routines, goals achievement stuff.
Sleep is the most boring self-care recommendation ever. It doesn’t make for good vlog content. Maybe if you’re Andy Warhol. His 1964 film Sleep, which features his friend and lover John Giorno sleeping. The film premiered to an audience of nine people, although 2 of them walked out.
My heart doesn’t feel right with the idea that anyone is telling a sleep-deprived mother to get less sleep. That if she just tried a bit harder, life might be better.
Do what works for you, but a mum who is well-rested in the perinatal period is not a common occurrence. Lack of sleep can continue well beyond the 0-4 years though. It’s not unusual to have school aged kids who wake in the night. My eye bags are living proof. Ha!
In the author space it’s also common advice to get up earlier. I’ve mentioned before how I’m researching important mothers from history as part my book on parental burnout. Apparently author Toni Morrison got up every morning at dawn to write. Maybe her kids were great sleepers? What works for one person won’t work for someone else and that’s ok.
If getting up earlier is feeling like punishment or you’re using other self-care in place of sleep, get into a practice of pausing. Taking a deep breath through your nose, letting it out fully through your mouth, placing your hand on your heart and asking “what do you need?”
Listen for the answer. Lack of sleep impacts judgement.
Be kind to yourself.
Oh, and yes, you can write a book without getting up at dawn! You’ll likely have to find something to sacrifice (for me it’s socializing).