Mothering Myself

This morning I woke up in my hotel room, feeling rested and calm. I stretched one foot out to the right, one arm out to the left, sliding them along the crisp white hotel sheets that I would never have to heave out of the washing machine.  The smile spread from the corners of my mouth all the way to my ears while my eyes stayed shut. It was beautiful. I’d gone to bed at 9pm and my watch informed me that eleven hours had passed between. Eleven. Deep sleeping hours!

For the good of our souls, sometimes just need a break from all the relational roles we carry.(2)

I woke, packed up my things and prepared for the day. I’m down in the hotel bar now having a coffee before I meet the beautiful Sarah, in person, at last. She’s an all-time favourite blogger of mine. The coffee was made for me by a barista who spoke about the complexity of the bean with an earnestness. I smiled at him, but thought about how I will not have to stack that cup in the dishwasher, or refill a kettle, or check the expiry date on that milk.  Just drink it.

I am such a fan of Sarah, as a writer and a person. Meeting her is very important to me.  I can’t wait to wrap her up in a big hug of thanks. To enjoy food and conversation with her and Annette from I Give You the Verbs! Dear Kate had to go and do some very exciting new work stuff, but you can check out her blog here (next time, Kate!) After our bloggy brunch, Miss Annette and I are lighting off for the Yarra Valley for a girls weekend. We’ll take the meandering way, and she promises that I can stop and take pictures to my heart’s content along the way.

Sarah, Annette and Rach
Sarah, Annette and Rach

This trip to Melbourne is something I’ve been longing to do for years. A chance to revisit my past, reconnect with people I haven’t seen for years and finally meet some I’ve been talking to online for a long time. But even more than the gorgeousness of all that, this trip, for me, is all about respite. I just needed to take some time out from all of the ‘adulting’ and be me, on my own, for a bit. The Rach who isn’t looking after anyone but herself, just for a few days.  I need to mother myself.

I need to stretch out, on a big big bed, all alone. To stand next to my soul sisters and spread my arms wide to the sky. To sleep and wake when I feel like it. To please myself doing anything I feel like doing; compromise free. I’ve explored, I’ve shopped, I’ve chatted and I’ve been blissfully quiet. I’ve drunk wine, I’ve taken a trip down memory lane at my old boarding school, I’ve eaten anything and everything I feel like eating without a single bite being cooked by me.

13423725_10154373945830815_6628180717532856581_n

13427956_10154373946625815_27677651972801694_n

13435553_10154373948535815_4085384062838255891_n

13466419_10154373950745815_1914420783551071616_n

It’s been gloriously selfish and deeply important for me to do all that.

When you become a mum, you don’t know that you are becoming something other than an ‘individual’. It’s something you have to learn. And once you have learned that by heart, there won’t be respite for a long, long time. My kids are now 8 and 11. The teenagers are now 17 and 18. The family has grown to a point that I’ve been able to set them up to manage their lives without me for a few days. The hubster is doing a stellar job with them. Their schedules are all being met.

I could probably have done this earlier, but I wasn’t internally strong enough to push for it. Sometimes, even with great families, it does take pushing for it. You have to fight for yourself the way you’d fight for your brood.

Respite is something we need to fight for as women, as givers, as mothers and wives. For the good of our souls, sometimes women just need a break from all the relational roles we carry. Freedom to just be ourselves, to turn the nurturing inward. To have a rest from all of that responsibility.  That’s what I’m doing.

I highly recommend it.

It might not be a trip to Melbourne. Maybe, if you have one, it’s a visit to your Mum’s place. Or camping in the spring, all alone. Or a solo movie. It might be a journey to see your cousin, or a drive down winding country roads. Find your respite, sisters of mine. I promise it will feed your soul and bring you joy.

It might be easier than you imagine to make it happen.

Go on.  Tell yourself to have and break and then, for goodness’ sake: go do what you’ve been told!

Pipe Dreams

Last night I had a strange dream.  You know those dreams that are so vivid you can smell them?  And when you wake up you are sure you’ve really been there?
I dreamt that I had found an abandoned animal.  It wasn’t the prettiest of creatures but my love for it was instant and fierce.  The coat and markings were all mussied up and it’s frame was uneven and lopey.  It was hungry, so I made it some food.  Hot porridge.  I was worried about how small our yard was, because I already knew without question that I was going to give that animal a home.  Our postage stamp lawn is too small for a gangly, moth-eaten creature that needs lots of room to move.  But I rationalised it would take a while to feed it enough food for it to have energy for moving, so it would be okay, for now.  And I made it a nesty place to rest.  I made a mental note to talk to the hubster about building a shelter. And kept offering the porridge.  That beautiful creature rested its heavy head in my arms and looked at me with its big liquid caramel eyes.  I knew that it would be okay.  I knew I had enough love, I was going to protect him, rescue him.

And then I woke up.
My daughter came into my room and I said,
“Guess what I dreamt about last night?”  Her eyebrows lifted.  “I dreamt I found a horse and brought it home”.  Her smile stretched across her morning face.  She hugged herself tight.  
“Ohhhh, Mum.  I wish you would”
“He was piebald” I said.
“I would still love him” she said.
“He was very skinny” I said.
“I would feed him” she said.  Girl after my own heart.

Do you have dreams that you know can’t come true? I do.  I’ve long since said goodbye to my career dreams.  My dreams about how I want to look and how I want my home to look. I’ve given up on dancing. Being an artist. Accepted that I won’t be who I envisaged I’d be. I’m okay with all of that. But I still really wish we could move to the country.  It’s a painful dream because I know it can’t come true.  I have visions of a warm house, all on one level.  With views out to the countryside from the kitchen.  Fruit trees and veggie gardens and a paddock or two.  A stable.  A kennel.  And all that green, as far as the eye can see.

source: www.flash-screen.com

I am stuck here; I need to stay in the catchment for our main hospital.  I don’t have private health insurance, so I need to be near where the public system can help me best.  I have lots of appointments to go to and travelling distance is hard for me, so the closer, the better.  Then there’s schools, and the commute. No, I’m lucky to live so central.  But when I look out my window, the only grass I can see is on the Mountain over the way.  Our own grass ends so close to the house I can’t even see it.  I yearn for fields of green.  I want a view that steps out all the way to the horizon.  I want to see my hubster, deep in concentration in his workshop, building something. Happy. I want to see Zed running around  and laughing with his dog, the dog we don’t have. And Bee, galloping across the paddock on the horse she sees every night when she closes her eyes for sleep.

Instead, I feed my impoverished dreams with intentionless online property searches. I nurture my need for country with weekly treks out to Bee’s riding class.  Drinking in the views, the space, the smell of that air. Feeling bad that it is me and this stupid illness stopping us from having that life.  Wishing I didn’t have to be asleep and pipe-dreaming to nurture the hopes of my heart.

Where would you live if there were no limits? No barriers?  Nothing stopping you?