Mindfulness, self-care, self-love, looking after yourself etc are a hot topic of conversation right now and not just in the world of fostering. Never before has it been so acceptable to say, “No, I am not going to do that,” under the protection of it not being right for YOU and your mental/physical health.
My question is – what does self-love look like to you? Is it a hot bath with glitter bath bombs, a glass of something fizzy and a good book? Is it a long ramble with the dogs away from the chaos of work/home life? Or maybe you are living your best self-love life and manage to escape for a night of luxury in a hotel somewhere?
Prior to fostering, despite working, I thought I had self-love down to a fine art. I loved having my eyelashes done or spending too much money in a book store to be able to then binge read for a whole day. I used to actually make time away from my children and husband and my work to remember who I was and to basically recharge my batteries. Some people might think that makes me selfish or self-involved, but those are probably the people who haven’t experienced that time themselves and don’t realise how much of a better mother / father / husband / wife / colleague / friend it makes you. But now? Now the balance of life is completely off. I recognise that the current state of the world has a huge part to play in that, but all that seems to do is highlight the desire inside me to take an hour or two for myself. Currently, I am the person who forgets to brush their teeth, has worn nothing with buttons/straps/clasps for months (if it doesn’t stretch, I ain’t wearing it!) and who is overfeeding the dogs because I can’t remember if I have done it and labradors always seem hungry! Basically, self-love is non-existent. And, strangely, I have come to accept that.
Trying to explain to people what receiving their first foster placement will be like is a little like to trying to explain to expectant parents how utterly exhausted they will be with a newborn – until you have lived it you just can’t imagine it. Once they have arrived you are literally like new parents. And it’s exhausting. Emotionally, physically and mentally. So no wonder I have no time to relax in a bubble bath or laze about reading all day. I am hoping that at some point in the not too distant future I will have some time to feel a little more like myself, but until then I will accept that these three little humans come first and foremost and my self-care regime will have to consist of teeth brushing and clean knickers!