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365 days of clean bums

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I went for my first mammogram today. Hoorah for me for being proactive about my health and all that. And also how sad that it really was the most relaxing hour that I’ve had in almost 4 weeks. At one point the lady who works there looked perplexed and told me to lie still as she needed a second opinion. Even then the rational part of my brain said “shit, this could be something to worry about” and almost immediately the animal part of my brain went: “what? Just lie here? In silence? And wait? For you to care for me? Hell yes, take as long as you want sister lady!” The outcome, gratefully, was good and please believe me that I’m not making light of very serious health check-ups here. But as I drove home all light and happy with wind blowing through my carefree hair like a spaniel going for a ride, it dawned on me exactly how depressing the situation had become. Last year I went to the dentist and found it equally relaxing. The dentist. Reflect for a second how pathetic it is that a sore jaw muscle and a considerable amount of physical discomfort is termed to be relaxing! And I’m not the only mom who finds health checks and grocery shopping and going to Home Affairs to be relaxing recreational activities. I actually once said to my husband that I think I should get a boob job as that would mean a week off. A whole week!!

If we psycho-analyse this situation it really comes down to being cared for vs being the carer. Constantly having to be the nurturing one is an exhausting task. A while ago I had the bum wiping discussion with my kids. A discussion I never even fathomed could exist before I became a parent. It was basically breaking the news that, sadly, I had come to the end of my bum wiping career. They are old enough now and we all need to care for our own bottoms. I followed the advice of my mom’s group and bought some of those soft wipes for extra cleanliness. It kind of back-fired. They now run from the bathroom to the lounge with pants around their ankles (sometimes while we have guests) and bend down and shout-ask if it’s clean. “But is it really clean? Are you sure?? Are you sure-sure my bum is clean?” It’s so flippen cute and so much better than having to actually wipe that bum, but it’s also exhausting; having to be responsible for several bums.

There’s a lesson here for all of us. Don’t let the bum wiping get out of hand. That’s code for: maintain a balance between being the nurturer and being nurtured yourself. We know this and somehow we still don’t prioritise me-time. You know you will be a better mom, wife, friend and wiper of bums if you look after yourself. Perhaps we just think it might be too hard, or that it would require too much planning, or that it would put someone out. But it is essential and it can be really simple – all it requires is steady dedication to the cause of me-time. Whether it’s gardening or smelling the books in your local library, or having a glass of wine with a good mate, or stalking people on Facebook while you hide in your garage, or going for a run. Do it. Make time for it.

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