As I said goodbye to my Mum on the phone yesterday she told me, as she often does, to take good care of myself. I love my Mum. After a brief pause I responded, as I always do, that I would. Sometimes in that pause I find myself wondering whether to laugh or cry at the question. It seems so ambiguous. What does it even mean - to take care of yourself? Does it mean - get a good night's sleep? Eat properly? Exercise? Drink enough water? Does it mean to rest more? Eat more chocolate? Get regular massages?
I find myself in the peculiar and unenviable position of asking aloud that seemingly simple question - what does it mean to take care of oneself? I think I used to know. It used to be something to do with sleeping in on the weekend, taking vacations every few months and doing yoga. But somewhere in between growing up and being grown up I managed to lose it.
I still haven't kicked this stupid cold/virus thing - it's been a month now. A month! Maybe that's why I can't get my head around the question. And, now that I'm a hypochondriac, I'm still inventing ailments for myself: earlier today I decided I must have cracked a rib when I was coughing so hard last night - that would explain the pain on my left side when I breathe in. You see? I'm losing my mind, people. Losing it.
And, you know how, when you're not altogether healthy, everything is so much more difficult to deal with?
Like - life?
I keep waiting for motherhood to get easier. (Stop laughing!) I had it on good authority from my next door neighbour that the first two years with two kids were the hardest. Now, as we turn the corner with a preschooler and a two year old, things are, um... not. I keep waiting for the difficult stages to pass and be replaced by easier, calmer stages. But instead of calm, more challenges phases appear as the boys enter new phases of development.
And with my potentially but probably not cracked rib and my hacking cough, my patience is about as thin as a string of floss that's been split a hundred times. Instead of being the composed, even-tempered mother I wish I was, I'm like a raging bear with a sore head.
So I'll wait to feel better and my energy to return, and then I'll figure out this taking care of myself business.
Tell me readers, I really really really (that's three reallys by the way) want to know - what do you do to take care of yourself?