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Some advice from an old bird

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

I had what might be best described as an "old fashioned" upbringing. Men are the lord and masters and it's your purpose, as a woman, to make their lives as easy as possible. Clean house, clean kids, gourmet meals, waitress service, the lot.

Working full time? No excuse. Women's work is women's work.

Raising kids? You're not doing a good enough job. That was in the days before Instagram et al so I dread to think how great the pressure is now.

You are expected to work yourself to the bone. No complaining now, you're a woman, it's just the way it is.

Don't get me wrong, of course I want to see my family happy and well fed. I enjoy having a reasonably clean house (type A personality, remember) and I'm not, for a second, suggesting you neglect you and yours.

The problem is, martyrdom is not an accomplishment. It's not something you should be working this hard to achieve.

If something happened to you (God forbid) how would your family cope? I know it's an uncomfortable thought but it's something many of us completely ignore. In order to be able to care for our family and homes we HAVE to take care of ourselves.

I raised two kids, single handed for a long time, and worked, while being in a wheelchair. I understand completely where some of you are but you MUST find a way to care for yourself too.

Maybe you had an upbringing that taught you that you're not worth caring for.

Maybe you're just so caught up in the daily grind you think you don't have time.


In the same way you can't drive a car at 80mph all day every day and then act surprised when it blows up, you can't expect to keep going flat out all day every day. Cars are replaceable if abused. You are not.

What will it take for you to have 30 mins a day to yourself? OK, that was a bit ambitious, how about 15mins? That's less than 1% of your day!

Do other family members need to step up and do more (my hubby still thinks he deserves a medal for washing up three times a week lol). I resisted giving my kids chores because I spent so much of my "childhood" cleaning I wanted the opposite for them. End result is a pair of lazy slobs. Oh, to have a do-over! In the beginning, it might seem like it takes longer to supervise than to do yourself but take the long view - eventually that's two mins you will be able to claim back. Three kids is six mins - oh the freedom!

Of course we want our kids to do as much as possible but do they really need all those after school activities? Heresy, I know. But something to think about. Perhaps dropping one thing will also mean you can work an hour less to earn the money to do the thing and run the car to sit in traffic then wait around.

What about your diet? I'm the last one to berate you for the odd take-away meal but if it's happening regularly then that's a red flag. Healthy doesn't have to take long. I love my Instant Pot - chuck it in in the morning, dish it up that night, job done. Salads are quick. Pre-prepped salads are more expensive but still cheaper than a drive though. Eating out is expensive. That means more time at work just to pay for food that's not that great for you because you're too tired to cook because of the hours you work....

Again, no blame, no guilt, just something to think about.

What about your household budget?

I scrimped and saved and still fell short the whole time. I skipped more meals than I ate so the kids never went hungry. Every time I tried to write out a budget I gave up because there was no way the books were ever going to balance. I didn't have a car, we never have had a holiday, clothes (other than school uniforms) came from charity shops. A tad stressful, I'm sure you'd agree.

Maybe (hopefully) your budget isn't quite as tight. Do you need subscriptions to all those TV channels? Will your car last another year? Do you really need to upgrade your phone to the latest model every time? Entirely up to you, but consider the real cost in terms of hours worked and the toll on you. Write all your spending down or use an app (I like YNAB - loads of videos on Youtube to show you how it works).

It's easy to think "I'll just get to xyz, then I'll take it easier". The trouble is, life doesn't always accommodate us.

The most important person in your family is YOU. Take time to care for YOU. Check in regularly on how YOU are doing.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Loved you post....I laughed about the part your husband thinks he deserves a medal for washing the dishes. My husband is the same way. He cooks for me since he is retired and I still work. I am glad he does do that but it is amazing that he expects me to tell him how the meal is delicious and he is a wonderful cook. I told him when I cooked for him he never said that to me!!!

    Loved reading your post. I do think you are correct...as a woman I do tend to sacrifice for others more than taking time out for myself. Then I get angry at them because I felt like I needed to do all the cleaning and then angry with myself for not asking for help. I have lots of room for improvement.
    104 days ago
    Love this blog! I was lucky, my parents kind of went against the tide and told me I could do anything I wanted. When I was a stay at home mom I did do everything but when I started working I insisted that everyone pitch in. I told my kids we all belong to this household, we all help to maintain it. My hubby was raised very traditionally, he has gotten over that. He still crows when he does dishes but if I feel he is not doing enough I just stop. Yes, I let the dishes sit in the sink, I let the vacuum cleaner sit silent, I stop cooking. Now, he gets the hint and steps up to help out. He does have to let me know what he did for me (they are all my dishes) but at least he does it.
    105 days ago
    Very well written. Thank you! My parents showed by example--if you can't pay for it don't buy. Drive your cars to the end. Nothing on credit. Now i use a credit card so i don't have to carry cash but it gets paid off every month. My kids see it too thankfully.
    The me time is so important--why do we forget or say tomorrow...
    105 days ago
  • BLUESKY104
    A great reminder to take the time to take care of oneself . Something that for some is far easier said than done.
    105 days ago
  • SUNSHINE20113
    My husband posted a picture last week that said "adulthood is constantly saying that next week it will get easier". It does seem that way. We keep thinking that next week we'll have the time to relax and take it a bit easier.
    I feel right in the middle of it all, and, even with the most well meaning partner, it is very hard to ask for help when I feel the expectation to "do it all". Whoever was it that taught us that?
    Thanks for your blog. It is an important reminder.
    105 days ago
    So well said and so true!! We need this reminder OFTEN. Thank you 🙏
    106 days ago
    Thankfully my Mom was WAY far beyond her times. I'm the only girl with 4 brothers. Oh their wives LOVE it that she taught these very young(at the time) how to cook and clean, budget(well 3 out of 5 of us got that part) and to be MEN and show love by taking care of the kids too. Yes, Mom was WAY ahead of her game.

    At 17 she thought I was pregnant. She told me "Just SIT THERE AND DOBT SAY A THING!! I know your pregnant(lol I wasn't, but clearly she had my attention) You are NOT to make the same mistake I made!!(she married my Dad, 5 kids later she divorced him. At 17 she was pregnant) you are NOT going to marry the father!! You will stay here until you finish school(had a year and a half left) than you WILL find a job and move out!!" I finally asked her why she thought I was. I had gained a little weight( I was a gymnast and weighed 110 lbs. I was the Captain of the team. Had another team challenged my weight of of been disqualified. So I was eating anything and everything I could. Plus I was working and hated the pads Mom bought. Lol so I bought my own. If she hadn't of been so upset, if of been laughing. But, I'm alive still. I didn't.

    My Mom broke the mode for me. To have a good life didn't mean I had to marry etc.

    Out if 4 of my brothers 3 of them ,, their wives LOVE that my Mom trained them well.

    I'm so sorry that you didn't have the same type of Mom. As far as your kids go,,, can fix that fast. Sure they'll have a cow, but oh well!! Jacquie, you know I mostly raised my GD from 11 up. She didn't do anything around her mothers house, in she DID mine!! Not a whole lot, but she did age appropriate stuff. Trash, dishes at 11, at 13 add in helping with the laundry, by 14 some cooking(stuff she liked, had to make it fun), by 17 she knew how to do it all.....and I also taught her how to budget. If she refused to do what was asked off went the TV,, still refused,, off laptop(or tablet) finally and rarely this lol she loved the TV,,,off went the phone.

    Of course I loved her(lol yeah still do. She just turned 24) but to not of set her up properly for life would of been cruel in the end. Sure she'd get angry(lol beyond mad) when is shut off the TV just as the program was very good. She quickly learned. Oh she'd test me gal,, but I stuck to my guns with maybe a tiny bit of compromising,, but not much. She's a hard worker now. I'm so proud if her.

    Mom put that do it down.

    Indeed we need to live our self and 15 mins a day isn't barely anything. But sanity rules hon. Nice blog
    106 days ago
    Love your post. I was raised that way too, but my Mom never taught me how to maintain a household, so I've just been winging it, then when chronic illness came into my life, I've had the hardest time balancing taking care of all the things and me. I'm still working on it, but I know if I don't take care of me, nothing else is going to get done.

    Have a great Wednesday! emoticon
    106 days ago
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