Extreme Self Care.

By Alison September 29, 2007 25 Comments 3 Min Read


How the heck are you all? Goodness knows where I’ve been all week, it’s not as though I haven’t got an abundance of free mornings and nights in front of the TV on my hands now is it…?

It’s just been one of those weeks where extreme self care takes priority and nothing much else matters other than shaving my legs and stockpiling DVD’s for Winter hibernation… and I think that’s ok isn’t it? To close down a little bit, to take stock and eat things that quite frankly shouldn’t be allowed, like the egg and sausage mcmuffin  I devoured sitting in the car all by myself on Thursday morning, safe in the knowledge that there is no pleasure that quite compares  to a guilty one at nine o’clock on a weekday morning, while the rest of the world works and I sit twiddling my thumbs and wondering what is going to become of me…

(What in the name of all that is scrumptious is going to become of me??)

Anyway back to the issue in hand. Extreme self care. A few weeks ago a BrocanteHome reader asked me whether this line from The HouseKeepers Creed was a typo…

*Give into exhaustion and put yourself before everything and everybody else*

Did I mean, she seemed to be saying, put yourself after everything and everybody else?  Well no my Darlings, I didn’t: I meant make you your priority.  I meant look after yourself stupidly well so you are willing and able to cope with the demands the rest of the world will always lay on your shoulders.  I meant somedays it is more than acceptable to say b****r the lot of them and take yourself out on a creative excursion in search of ribbon trimmed knickers and some matching boobie covers (as Finley likes to call them), a jar of german hot dogs and some pickled onions if thats what is tickling your fancy…

What exactly am I advocating here? Time out occasionally, that’s all. Nothing scandalous. Nothing that will make you the talk of the neighbourhood or have you hauled off to the divorce courts, just a little time out from work and kids and tattered wonderful relationships and making enough casseroles to last you into the next millenium just in case theres an award for a well stocked freezer in heaven. I ‘m advocating saying no to coffee with the yummy mummie at the school gates and taking a bath in a blissfully empty house instead. I’m saying no-one will know if you switch your phone off for half an hour and take a nap, or if, like me you buy a macmuffin and eat it sitting in a supermarket car park as though you haven’t got a care in the world. I’m saying don’t fill your head with conversations you don’t want to be having, or arguments you want no part of. I’m saying if you are exhausted you need to stop, rest, if only to prevent the kind of behavior usually associated with a raving banshee…

Thats all. I’m saying look after you, cos goddamn it no-one  else will, so step outside of yourself occassionally.  Be kinder to you than you have ever ever been to anyone else. Stop ignoring tiredness, do away with the waste of time that is guilt and  do what you have to do to feel like you matter if only to yourself. Shout you are tired or lonely or frustrated right from the rooftops if thats what it takes to be heard…

It is Saturday night again. Little Children is waiting next to the DVD. A new novel, and the remnants of lasts night shared supper, blacksticks blue cheese, onion and carrot chutney, salt beef and champagne, good champagne waiting for me. Champagne. All by myself. Because I can and I must. I really must.

Extreme self-care. Lets make it our mantra…    


  1. kali says:

    thanks for reminding me…because I get a little forgetful sometimes.
    enjoy your champers!
    xo Kali

  2. Jenny says:

    Right on! I have totally been there the last week or so, and it just has to be done! To the curb with all of the other people in our lives "WANTING" "NEEDING" "DEMANDING" they are and need to be capable of fending for themselves (mothers, mothers-in-law, husbands included)… because afterall and as you said Alison, if we don't take care of ourselves, no one else will. And like that old saying goes, "Who were you before you put yourself last?"
    Sail on Silver Girl!!!

  3. Gena says:

    I so needed to hear this! I am screaming inside and i need time out! thank you for reminding me to take it.xxx

  4. Just a quick note to say I love your weblog especially with the old posters you have around the site, fantastic!

  5. Lisa says:

    …boobie covers…loveitloveitloveit!!!! Is it just me that loves that the evenings have become darker earlier? Does anyone else revel in the sorting through of scarves and gloves – the essential pampering you describe feels so much better when it's cold outside…

  6. I was doing a google search and ended up at one of your pages from quite a while back. I wondered if you might remember this:
    86. I'm not scared of anything. Not any more.
    I think I've gone through phases of feeling stronger than I ever have but, I've also gone through phases of needing some time to gather my strength. Both are necessary parts of making who we are. Blessings… Polly

  7. jen says:

    Thanks for this post. It was just what I needed to hear today!

  8. Lazy Cow says:

    What you call extreme self-care, I try to make part of my regular life: guilt-free time away from the children a few hours a week, an occasional movie or trip to Borders alone,saying No to some things and YES to others, occasional girls' weekends away. I really think it does make us all better mothers and people. Good luck with making it part of your life too!

  9. Melissa says:

    You are so right!!!

  10. Margo says:

    YESS!!! I like also how Anne Lamott said it: treat yourself like an elderly aunt – take yourself by the hand as you would that aunt and be gentle to yourself.
    This is not being selfish. Selfish is different (not sure how to explain, but I think, from the comments, you all know already!).

  11. Tess says:

    I love, love, love, your blog and I'm using your housekeeping journal and I think you write in a way that inspires women.
    But…I do wish you would not ruin it all by using the Lord's name in vain. To me, and to other christian women, this is not necessary, and we hear enough cursing on the street.
    Otherwise, keep up the lovely job you are doing uplifting women.

  12. sophie says:

    Just felt that l needed to comment on what Tess had said about aking the Lord's name in vain etc. I think that it is important that we just enjoy this blog and no try and turn it into something that it is not and has never claimed to be !! So here is to all of us taking Alison's advice and taking part in some extreme self care x

  13. Anita says:

    I have had to learn this lesson the hard way… I have fought pneumonia for 3 weeks now, and am still not doing well… If I'd have taken better care of myself, maybe I wouldn't have gotten so sick…

  14. Rebecca says:

    Myself, I had to have a bit of a rueful laugh that 'bugger' was disguised with astericks but 'goddamn' wasn't. I love Alison's blog and visit almost daily, but I gotta back Tess up on this one… that particular word did ruin the momentum of a post that was, until that moment, very enjoyable to read.
    And I do realize, as a previous poster noted, that religion is not part of this site's identity (and that's quite alright), but isn't the comments section a spot for readers to respectfully comment on the things that strike a chord (for better or worse) in us all? I shouldn't think Tess and I are the only faithful readers who happen to be Christian, and we should be allowed to give input, too. What Alison decides to do with that input is, of course, up to her, and that's the way it should be.
    Best wishes to everyone for a lovely Sunday!

  15. Gena says:

    Alison writes perfectly, her style is her own and I am certain she does not ever mean to offend, I cannot believe that anyone can get so uptight about a word like Godamn! I mean am I totally stupid,how does this offend? I can think of a lot worse.

  16. anna marie says:

    Don't I remember something about throwing stones in glass houses, or perhaps something else about "Christian tolerance" and turning the other cheek? Hang in there Alison, you will find your path, and for the record, I find your post funny, poignant, and wonderful as hell, goddess-dammit!
    Anna Marie

  17. Lee-Ann says:

    Here Here!!
    I've had a cold all weekend and took your advice and have called in sick (Which I am…though almost recovered) so I can indulge myself with
    1) walking the dog (done and thoroughly enjoyed
    2) coffee and croisants
    3) getting hair done
    4) watching a movie that my hubbie would hate, probably Amelie, Splash or Breakfast at Tiffany's.
    Thank you for the inspiration today and all days! x LA x

  18. Nonnie says:

    Another post well written. I definitely need to be taking time for myself at the moment. It's good to be reminded about that. Thanks Alison. Just love the idea of eating the McDonalds in the carpark. I did something similar on Saturday night. I went to Ikea then treated myself to one of their lovely large(and cheap) hotdogs on the way out which I enjoyed in my car in the carpark. Please ignore the Goddam comments Alison. Those people are entitled to their views but if they don't like what you write they don't have to read it. I love the way you write, including those words that make it more real. x

  19. mimi says:

    Oh gosh, what a lovely post, and how true! I just posted on Saturday about how I went back to work too soon, and put myself out of action for the best part of a week…and am still recovering! If only I had taken the time out to put myself first. Me, I loved that part of the creed, and have printed it out for my fridge. I like to think of it in the same way as when you are in an aeroplane- you put your own oxygen mask on first, then you are able to help everyone else!

  20. mimi says:

    ps gotta say, mmmmmmmmmmfor mcmuffins! Perhaps they are so lovely because they are so wrong?! And Alison, what will become of you? Your authentic self is what will become of you 😉

  21. La Chouette says:

    Your blog is very charming – elegant and classy. I do enjoy seing a 'bad' word every now and again. It make you seem more human. I am suprised some readers are offended by the G word since this is not a Christian blog. Plus, a true offense to the Lord is any form of violence in His name! Alison May does not strike me as violent. 🙂
    Although my first langage is French, I can appreciate your talent – will keep on leaving comments on your blog over and over again to encourage you to write a book. I have this gut-feeling it would be a success. (or is it spelled sucess ?).
    Thank's for this fantastic post. You are right: you can't love other people unless you love yourself.
    Take extreme care! La Chouette.

  22. Ali says:

    If don't look after you, who will g.d. it!
    Ali x

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