Your body is like a house. Our house needs to be looked after or things will start to break down. The paint starts to flake. The carpet becomes threadbare. Eventually the roof may start to leak and we’ll get wet and cold. If we don’t tend to our homes they can become damp and musty. Instead of nurturing us and keeping us safe and snug they can begin to make us sick.
I am by no means a domestic goddess but I do what I must to keep my home healthy and inviting for me and my family. I do a little bit each day to ensure that things don’t get out of hand. I air out the whole house by cracking a window upstairs and down and letting Mother Nature send a breath throughout.
These things take time. But it’s time we somehow manage to find. As women (and women with families) we always seem to make time for housework. We fold the washing for our family so that they are kept warm. We cook for them then clean the dishes. We wipe the benches and retrieve old bits of food from the kitchen floor and the beneath couch cushions. Even those of us that are not housework superheroes (raising my hand!) still take time to do simple things to make us feel happy in our surroundings. Perhaps we fluff our couch cushions, recharge our crystals or smudge our house with sage. We may not enjoy doing these things but we do them. House work is a necessary evil and an inevitability of life.
Much like our home, our body needs work too. We may spend over an hour doing simple house hold chores each day, but struggle to spend even an hour doing something that nurtures our body, mind or soul. We may spend a fortune on cleaning supplies, bed linen, or new curtains, but struggle to spare the cash to go to the doctor for a pap smear, go to a yoga class or buy a new (much needed) bra.
The thing is our body is a house. Our very own house. But unlike a house, we only get one body to live in for the rest of our lives. We don’t have the choice to up sticks and move when it gets run down. All we can hope to do is fix it with medications that may do more harm than good. Doesn’t make sense to put in the hard work before we get to that stage?
Society has a big part to play. As soon as I became a mother it was as if I served my children and my house. I had to keep my kids alive and also attempt to conquer the ever expanding mountain of washing. It was as if I had officially signed up for the housework Olympics and a gold medal was to be awarded to whomever could manage to have children and a clean house.
Even my closest friends were not exempt from these beliefs. Even My BFF (who means only goodness) told me that my dirty windows were probably what was stressing me out. I’d wager it had more to do with the fact I had two children under three who neither slept, ate, nor let me leave their side. I share this not shame anyone, but just to show how deeply ingrained in us it is that women (and mothers) should keep an immaculate house and not doing so means we are failing in some way. Why is there this ancient belief that to win at womaning we must cook and clean and raise perfect children?
Why doesn’t society care whether women and mothers are looking after themselves? Their bodies? Their minds? What if instead of telling mothers they need to scrub the floor we told them they needed to meditate, do some yoga or go for a walk. But you can’t do that with a young child about. I hear you say. Well, guess what. It’s damn near impossible to clean with a young child about too.
Do me a favour. Right now. Calculate how many hours you spend cleaning each week. I want you to aim to spend the same amount of hours per week looking after you. Go for a walk. Meditate. Paint your toe nails. Can’t afford that may hours on just yourself? Why not? Aren’t you worth it? Isn’t your mental, spiritual, physical health worth that time? If so, consider cutting your cleaning time in half. Donate half your cleaning time to self-care time.
But cleaning is important! Yes. Cleaning is important. It’s one of those jobs we don’t want to do but because of that it almost makes it even more rewarding when we tackle it. When we get into the spare room and clean out the closet. When we scrub out the oven or clean out the fridge. Well guess what; exercise is not often something we want to do either. But it is something we must do. Why is that any different from house work? Because it’s just for you? Because doing things just for you is selfish? I beg to differ. If you don’t put yourself first you won’t have the strength to be really present for anyone else.
Go on. Take time for you. You’re worth it baby!