This is a story of radical self care
Last May I gave up my job of 18 years. I had totally fallen out of love with teaching – not with the actual act of teaching, that is, but with the increasing nonsense and narrow curriculum that went with it. As I have mentioned several times before, I felt I had no choice but to home educate my son, so there was a swift exit, don’t look back!
That was my first radical act of self care.
Having been part-time since the arrival of Bob three years before, I was already used to filling days, working through jobs and avoiding door to door salesmen, so I didn’t really feel a great deal of impact from my resignation – in fact I loved being a lady who lunched.
Then Bob went to his new school and the days at home felt less productive. Although securing him an appropriate school place was my second act of self care.
I was aware that Hubby was working his derrière to the bone to make ends meet while I swanned around at home. In reality, of course, it wasn’t like that at all. There were appointments, reviews, meetings and training for Bob and work on PASH. But I convinced myself that I couldn’t let the financial burden fall on hubby for ever, so I began to apply for jobs.
What Pip did next! Radical self care!
With a very limited support network and a child with additional needs, I knew I had to work around him. This proved slightly tricky to say the least as jobs that fit within the school day seem to be sparse and poorly paid. I worried about how I would manage, working EVERYTHING around Bob so as not to rock his little safe world.
In early February I found and secured the perfect job and this is my second week. I love it BUT I appear to be suffering from ‘lack of work guilt guilt’!
Waiting for the ‘mummy guilt’
All the other mums I know seem to be in a constant state of guilt at being away from their children. They are stressed about missing events, juggling time and not having ‘quality time’ any more.
I don’t! And I got to thinking… is this peculiar to the ‘trauma parent’. You see, I don’t spend all day waiting for Bob to get home any more. He goes to his wonderful after-school club. I know he’s happy and safe with children to play with, and I pick him up on the way home.
Time in the car to transition from work to home, and less time in the evening with Bob, means that we are ‘busier’ when we get home, avoiding boredom and behaviour flashpoints because the evening is more structured.
How it all worked out for us
The result of this is that being with Bob is less ‘intense’ now, probably because of the lack of time. I realise this sounds flippant but I find I am parenting more ‘normally’ and less intensively – still therapeutically but more instinctively. I think this could be because I have less time to dwell on and look for issues.
Having worried about everything being worked around Bob, my fears about change were unfounded. I prepared him well for a new routine and made sure he didn’t miss out on any of his clubs or time with friends when possible – he understands why I have gone back to work and the benefits extra cash will bring in terms of ice cream and holidays!
I suppose what has happened is that I have rediscovered ‘me’ and stopped being ‘Bob’s mum’ 24/7. My focus has broadened, my world got bigger. I am happy so the house is happy. Being challenged means I’m less frustrated by life. I have faith that Bob will be ok with a new normal.
The point of today’s blog ladies and gentlemen is to say be brave. Take a leap of faith. Change IS ok. Doing something that scares you is ok. Don’t lose sight of yourself – self care comes in many guises.