The truth is that I've been slightly shell-shocked and distracted by the return to school and the dreaded after-school activities. The Big Boy is slowly settling in to secondary school, but the other two have struggled with the changes to our routine. I'm not sure if I've already mentioned that kids with ASD really hate change, and like life to be predictable. Somehow I forgot to prepare them for a different morning routine, and I've been paying the price. School went back last Tuesday and that night all three kids stumbled into my bed at some point, unable to sleep and looking for comfort. The cat was already there. Yes, we have a cat (furry domestic pet) as well as The Cat (less furry, less domesticated, but about equal in terms of moodiness and propensity for scratching). The Cyclist (husband, but mostly Cyclist) ended up in a child's cabin bed, which at least took the snoring out of the room. Sadly I couldn't take advantage of the lowered decibels in the marital chamber, as I was drowsily hanging off the side of my bed, unable to relax into deep sleep for fear of falling into a gap between the bed and a bookshelf, but unable to get out from under the assortment of limbs and claws that needed their Mummy. On the plus side, one inner thigh got a really good workout. I'm only just walking normally again today.
I have spent today trying to believe that I can move from frustrated perfectionist living in a squalid pit to a life that is 'good enough'. Rachel Hoffman, the author of Unf*ck Your Habitat, has a great system of starting small, and just setting a timer for 15 minute bursts of clearing out. But at that rate I need about a thousand years to get through my house, and that's without the drinking of tea. Today I did the usual washing, cooking and clearing up, but was also in and out of various schools and spent two hours taking one son to a psychologist. Admittedly I had to go out to buy teabags, after an unusually creative attempt to make 'aged' paper for a pirate map yesterday with cold tea and much smelly dabbing of paper. And after all that effort it would have been churlish not to ask the neighbour in for a cuppa and a chat. But other than that, the day was spent in the service of my children, despite the fact that they were mostly at school. Then the monsters were home and all bets were off in terms of tidying, thinking or feeling human.
All this is about 'good enough' in domestic terms. In terms of mental health, it may be even more of a challenge. Here are some activities I have found beneficial in previous attempts at self-care:
- healthy eating (including formal programmes: 30 days of Arbonne, 5 days and 21 days of Herbalife, 8 weeks of I Quit Sugar, all of which I loved)
- mindfulness apps
- yoga (if I ever learn to do it without releasing wind)
- drinking 3 litres of water a day
- spending time with friends
- giving up caffeine, chocolate, and anything else delicious and stimulating
- day-time cinema
- browsing in bookshops or libraries