Because you matter 24/7
It is a rare day that my washing machine is not whirling away. Mount Washington becomes Mount Foldmore becomes Mount Washington…
My vacuum cleaner is never put away.
Meals must be planned, shopped for and prepared.
Then washing up must be done.
And let’s not forget: the toilet and bathroom must be kept clean.
These are basic, everyday tasks that cannot be ignored.
They usually fall onto the shoulders of Mothers. She is the goal keeper. The ball has to get through every team member before it gets to her. She is a critical member of the team. The Team (we’ll come back to this).
These tasks can be outsourced for the right price. Hire a cleaner, or a housekeeper. Buy pre-prepared meals…or employ a cook! Take your washing to the ‘ironing lady’ or the dry cleaners… These jobs need to be done. They are clearly valuable, for those with the means to outsource. It does not end there. You can even outsource the child care…babysitters will work for a fee, or there is family day care and childcare centres.
These jobs are some of the most important jobs that need to be done.
You will have seen the calculations, the ones that tell you what a home based adult (usually a ‘stay at home mum’) is worth. Most families cannot afford the luxury of outsourcing the work of a stay at home adult, even with two incomes…but the jobs still need to be done. This still fails mostly to women.
And on top of it all…the Self Care Chant is calling…
What is ‘self-care’ anyway!
When you struggle to get a shower to yourself, your coffee goes cold and you can’t even go to the toilet without an audience, the prospect of ‘self-care’ seems a luxury for those who can outsource.
It can be overwhelming just thinking about it…oh yeah, thinking is a luxury too.
Why are the Goal Keepers, being crushed under mountains of washing?
“Self-Care’ is such a buzz word. Social media edit out the housework and make self-care look like a better storage unit and bath of rose petals. It has been corrupted and confused, disempowered and appropriated by people who seem afraid to look deep into themselves. We are being sold the idea that a piece of chocolate, a new shiny thing and a bath are self-care. That Self-Care = Pampering.
It is time for a reset. And to define Self Care. According to WHO:
“Self-care is the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health worker.”
This definition limits self-care to basic hygiene, nutrition and taking your pills. It also suggested that everybody needs self-care. But usually, these basic tasks fall to women, carers, and not just in the care of themselves but for those they have assumed responsibility for. Do you think housework falls into ‘basic hygiene’? Why is it that women are still doing more than their fair share?
Self-care is also about self-acknowledgement. It is about identity and expression, being heard and respected. Self-care is about being confident enough to demand it; To value yourself and to stop apologising for taking up space.
Self-care is about honouring yourself; nourishing yourself with healthy food, sunshine and movement, and finding your purpose or passion in life. This way you can attend to your physical, emotional and spiritual health. Taking time to rest and follow your rhythms.
As a woman, if you have monthly rhythms you can tune into, or seasonal rhythms and daily rhythms. Working with these will energise you and strengthen your instinct. The housework still needs to be done. This can be drudgery or it can become part of your rhythm. This isn’t about becoming a ‘domestic goddess’, and certainly not about doing more than our fair share, this is about acknowledging the daily tasks and creating time and space to honour yourself and your talents. Self-care cannot be achieved through pampering and ‘retail therapy’.
HERE ARE TWO KEY POINTS:
All capable members of the family – the Team – should be contributing to these everyday tasks. If you have a partner, they need to pull their weight. As a stay-at-home-parent your primary role is PARENTING, the housekeeping still remains as a team effort. Why should the breadwinner get out of housework? Even in households where two adults are working full time, women are still shouldering the majority of housework. HOUSEWORK IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY! All adults should be taking on these tasks and children taught to do tasks within their ability. If there is work to be done – all capable household members should be contributing EQUITABLY. As soon as your kids are able, get them involved. These are life skills. If you don’t want to do these tasks, you need to be able to pay someone else to do it! It’s the difference between an amateur team and professional team.
REMEMBER: NO ADULT SHOULD BE IDLE! Many hands make light work.