Friday, April 20, 2012

Motherly Advice...The Importance of Routine....

Let's start at the very beginning. as Maria sings in The Sound of Music, because, as she goes on to tell us, it's a very good place to start.

We Home Managers, have to look after ourselves. We cannot devote our best selves to our plans for guarding the Home and Budget, if we feel like a train wreck. Feeling like a train wreck comes easily to Mums, Dads, significant others, and Home Managers, I reckon. We're on call 24/7, no-one gives us a day off, if we become ill, no-one soothes our fevered brow, we have to do it ourselves.

Now, I'm not talking weight loss here, although many of us (me included!) could probably lose a bit of padding. I'm just saying we should strive to be at our optimum levels of health, fitness and general wellbeing, because that, ultimately, will assist us in achieving all of our other goals.

What do you do for your health each day? Can I tell you what I do?

The 6am routine

I rise at 6am. It's a special time of the day. It means I often get to see the sun rise, and whilst it's not always over the ocean, as seen above, over the back porch can be just as lovely.

 I spend the first half hour setting out breakfast things (if I haven't already done so the night before), and unloading the diswasher. I put the clothes and linen on to wash. I get the coffee pot ready with two cups ready to go next to it. I prepare and pack my daughters lunch box. I make the bed and feed the dog, giving him some love and attention while I'm at it. I look at what we're having for dinner and get the slow cooker going or remove components from the freezer. By then my daughter is usually stirring and my husband has returned from his walk. My daughter makes her own bed as soon as she rises. We all fling ourselves in to showering, eating and talking about the day ahead, breakfast routine running like a well oiled machine. We're out the door between 7am for husband, and 8 for my daughter and me. The house is tidy, the washing is done and on the line, beds are made, dinner is planned.

What's this got to do with my health? Well, it minimises stress. I only have a tiny galley-style kitchen, and it's painful having more than two people in there at a time. We trip over each other in our haste to be out the door in time, and tempers become frazzled. Not a good way to start the day.

 Patting the dog, well, that's good for him and for me :).

The rest is all about 'Knowing what comes next'. 'Knowing what comes next' is important. It prevents leakage of money to takeaway outlets, it fosters confidence and peace within the family, and generates a positive energy in the household as everyone understands their part in the puzzle. If for some reason, any of us now get caught up unexpectedly, or some crisis arises, I know that the house is tidy, beds are made, dinner is planned, the dog is fed and has water, and the washing is done.

 Whatever else happens today, our arrival home will be like walking in to the sanctuary I want 'home' to be.

It's well documented now, that stress is a major contributor to many illnesses and health issues, and also affects the way we look, feel, and interact with our families and the rest of the world. The outside world is stressful enough. The least I can do is send my family out the door with the best possible outlook for the day ahead. Simple things like my 6am routine, achieve this.

Now, don't give me the roll of the eyes and the lecture about being nobodys' slave. If I have chosen to be the Home Manager in my family, the home-based warrior, then I must accept the responsibilities that come with that role. I believe that sending my family out in to their day with a happy disposition, knowing they are loved, is one of the most important things I can do. If they are calm, relaxed, and confident about what lays ahead at work or school, then that benefits not just our family, but the community at large. No road rage, no overdose of caffeine without a decent breakfast, no addled brain from sugar laden cereal.

As for the eating, well, we strive to eat healthy without going overboard. We eat gluten-free as my daughter is gluten intolerant, and find we ALL feel better for it. Gluten free baked goods are a regular on our menu, as I adore cooking them. But I temper this with alternating between something luxurious like Gluten Free Butter Shortbread, and something healthier like GF Apple and Cinnamon muffins with no added sugar. These are the treats that replace all other prepackaged foods, so we allow ourselves a few yummy morsels. Our meals consist of a regular dose of wild caught salmon and other seafood (which are not usually preprepared, but bought and eaten fresh) twice a week, three red meat meals and two vegetarian meals. We enjoy enormous amounts of salad and vegetables, and always have fruit available as a snack. My daughter and I particularly love melon and apples of any kind, whereas my husbnad like his bananas and grapes. So we're pretty easy to please, and those fruits, whilst they vary in price can usually be sourced year round. We try to eat seasonally though and if it means going without our favourite fruits at certain times of the year, then that's okay...there's plenty to choose from.

We all take a multivitamin daily, and two Garlic, C and Horseradish capsules from early Autumn (Fall) onwards. We haven't had a bad flu for years. We seem to get a touch of whatever is going around, but we recover quickly. I also take Vitamin E, Chlorophyll, Calcium and a Skin, Hair and Nails Tonic which I can honestly say makes a huge difference to the way I feel and look.

I'm not a health practitioner though, and we take these things in consultation with our GP and alternative health practitioner, so I suggest you do the same.

Exercise is a part of our routine as well. We don't go overboard, and we don't spend huge sums joining gyms or having a personal trainer. Whilst I love the 'idea' of personal trainers and gyms, there's a part of me that says 'but isn't that just another form of abdicating responsibility for my health to another person?'. What happens when you can no longer afford the time or money for those things? The best discipline comes from within.

We just walk. We walk regularly, without fail, come rain, hail or shine. Okay, maybe not in the 'hail'. But walking here in the rain early in the day or evening is a unique joy. I love strolling along, posh umbrella in hand, listening to the rain drip, dripping all around me. A walk in an early Queensland morning downpour is something I wouldn't miss. No-one else is around, and the drumming of the rain on my huge umbrella is almost hypnotic.

Time for me is important too. I have recently revisited crocheting, sewing, and embroidery. One of my older sons is disabled, and for many long years, my days just bled into one another with the responsibility of his care. He is totally physically dependent so his needs were numerous. I had neither the time nor the inclination for crochet, sewing, or embroidery. After much effort and lobbying of politicians, he now lives independently with a team of wonderful, hand picked personal assistants. To read more of that story see The Cerebral Palsy Grapevine. I now truly relish sitting down for an hour in the afternoon, having planned the evening meal earlier in the day, and knowing that my pre-prep sessions have left me with a well stocked refrigerator, freezer and pantry, just zoning out. The great thing is, that this also generates a pile of handmade goodies to give as gifts. Monogrammed pillowcases in neutral colours, cushions and drawer sachets filled with lavender and embroidered with a scattering of french knots, and rugs, blankets, berets, gloves and embellished face washers are all welcomed enthusiastically by recipients. You only have to hop on to Etsy or MadeIt to see the explosion in interest in handcrafted goods. I have recently started making my own Olive Oil and Goats Milk Soap, as well, thanks to Rhonda and Janines' wonderful instructions. I can't describe the pleasure in creating little creamy slabs, delicately scented, that lather dreamily and wash us literally from head to toe, with no horrible ingredients. Truly luxurious.

Initially, I had Rhonda Hetzel, and her Down to Earth book for making me feel 'ok' about this. Her philosophies greatly mirror my own, and reading her book made me feel a lot less guilty about doing what I do, and talking and blogging about it. I don't follow Rhondas blog religiously, but found her book a bit like a 'hug from Mum'. A great read, and a great ringing endorsement of a simpler life.

Some other friends and bloggers that have influenced me greatly include Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting, Patsy at A Working Pantry, Jes at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth and a few more that you can see on your left. I highly recommend following these ladies and their gorgeous blogs for further inspiration.

So there's my thoughts. Well, really only the tip of the iceberg, and there'll be more to come on this topic, but I've kept you long enough today.

Please look after YOU. If you were to fall ill or worse, who would guard your home and family in your absence? And really, would they do it anywhere near as well as you do?

How do you look after Number One?



  1. My Mum never sat still and cleaned till the cows came home hence I often guilty when I sit to read/craft etc. The little voice that nags shouldn't you be doing more cleaning etc. When in reality I have done more than enough. I now tell that little voice to take a hike. Down time in ones day to chill and zone out is healthy. I only wish that my mum had mastered this as it would have done her the world of good.

  2. Lovely post and all so true. I'm sure that there will be some people reading that will take note and learn from it.



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