Part of the philosophy of BrocanteHome and indeed The Vintage HouseKeepers Circle, is the creed "Be Kind to Yourself". It is the motto I live by and to varying degrees it has shaped my life and made me the person I am today (Terribly selfish! HaHa!!) .
Perhaps you think I’m terrible. Perhaps you think that being a wife, a Mother, a woman, require selflessness, martyrdom, and exhaustion. Perhaps you tell yourself that you just don’t have the time to be truly, totally, authentically yourself; that you think your children matter more than you do. But you would be wrong. Everytime you do something for somebody else, you should pay yourself back in kind. You should learn not to compromise who you are, or what you represent to your authentic self. You should stand up for who you are twenty four hours a day, because there isn’t another person in the world able to do it for you.
It isn’t easy. God knows it isn’t easy. I am renowned amongst my friends for turning down invitations, and leaving the party early. I am notorious in my family for speaking my mind when others are biting their tongue, and I will never forget the appalled faces of other Mothers in my new Moms group when I told them I never breastfed my son without doing something for myself first and that I was happy to put my son in his own room when he was three weeks old, because I knew I would lose my marbles if I wasn’t able to draw the line between myself and Motherhood each night…
I was thinking about this as I lay in bed last night: trying to work out where this strength to be myself comes from: it isn’t in my Mothers blood to be anything else but selfless, so this is something I taught my self, something that has seeped into my bones and made me who I am. Then this morning while rooting through a box of my teenage memories (funny and heartwrenching!), I came across a scrumpled Nike advert torn from a magazine that I carried around with me when I was fifteen. I think it says it all…
"Why are we so hard upon ourselves and so much easier on others? Did somebody say something once that stuck in our brains and won’t go away? Did we mispronounce something in French, did we trip in front of some guy, did we make some huge mistake that we’ve never gotten over?
What haunts our fine bodies and our fine hearts and makes our heads spin with an image of ourselves we can’t accept? We tell our friends not to be so hard on themselves and we tell our loved ones not to be so hard on themselves and we tell ourselves
we’re just not being hard enough.
We are such funny women sometimes. We blame ourselves when blame does not apply (terrible word that, blame). We feel guilty about what we should have done better (terrible word that, should). We are harder on ourselves, harder than we would be on anybody else, anybody. Complete strangers! Big dogs! People we don’t even like!
And the things we expect are so darn weird, things our Mothers once said we should be able to do or our Fathers wanted us to achieve or ur great Aunt Charlotte wanted us to try and they didn’t know that their words would stick like glue to our hearts with a list of expectations wrapped around it. Look: all these requests and all these demands and all these great expectations get old, real old, and only you know when to yell uncle.
Uncle. Uncle. Uncle.
Because for one moment of your life you feel like feeling…perfect. You feel like dashing into those hills or those open roads or right into the air itself
and thats just what you might do
You feel like that rusty image you carry is slipping away, right over the edge of the mirror and out of view. You feel like moving and if you trip, you trip, if you fall, you will get up. And the air feels like it will carry you and push you and its like nothing you feared it would be and of course everything you expected it would.
Just do it.
So right! Those sentiments are so true, being selfless is something that more people should be, but it doesn't hurt to treat yourself at the same time 🙂
I love BrocanteHome, by the way! Thanks for your wonderfully peaceful, vintage websites.
I never found one of the 'perfect' mommy play goups that comforting or enjoyable…to be honest…PERFECTLY HONEST.
Secretly, I dreamed of a safe mommy haven we could check our children into while us mommies could let it all hang out…drink Margharita's and drop a four letter word or two while doing so…and laughing!
Alison….your mighty words have certianly struck home as I sit here….just sitting…as not MamaWiskas but as Lynette the individual….Not the wife…not the Mommy…not the vintage Guru…not the everything everybody loves.
But to this I must confess…..I have focused on myself hardly enough. I have short-changed myself…a little.
I have deprived myself of the fuel that has empowered me for 35 years….and have only now realised I have been running on empty for far too long.
Somehow I seem to have traded the joy of being a mother and the delight of what I do professionally for the benefits of what I need personally and they are not the same.
Equally as rewarding but not the same at all.
And now comes the tough part…undoing what has been done. Rethinking…relearning…remembering…
Today I sign MY manifesto…
1.To take brain sorting walks regularly.
2.To walk away from the computer for myself..not just my family regularly.
3.To make a point to meet with an old friend regularly. 4.To eat breakfast regularly.
5.To get my eyebrows waxed regularly.
To make sure I am dressed as well as my children.
6.To make my serenity garden just the way I want it and get up early in the morning before all rise….to enjoy it by myself.
7.To Journal every single day no matter how tired..no matter how late.
8.To remember to buy myself candles…even if I am tired of shopping for groceries…children's shoes…or whatever else the LONG list entails.
9.To read this manifesto every day and affirm my commitment.
10.To remember I cannot be what I am without myself..and I cannot be my best for my family without making some changes.
11.To greet each day with new vigor and strength that I did not think I could muster the day before.
Because Mommy is slowly finding her way back to the woman she once knew.
Thank You Alison!