Betsy and I hit the road on Saturday. Dropping ‘the working woman’ to Zest cafe in Clare for her shift before heading to Burra. After a lovely lunch in St Just Cafe in Burra I headed out to Red Banks.
The old growth Mallee forest is beautiful and peaceful. There was only one other camper there. I had a walk, but unfortunately only sited some Roos and an emu. I was rather hoping to catch sight of a wombat or echidna. The moon was huge as it rose in the sky last night and the night was bright. I woke with the sun and went walking again. The silence only broken by the occasional bird call. The trail was crisscrossed with animal tracks. I recognised kangaroo tracks and unfortunately cat tracks too. The years I spent in the NT walking with the woman of Murray Downs taught me a few basic tracks. The Murray Downs women were amazing they could pick out individual kids tracks! Something they put to good use one day when I had a break in at the school. The culprits were quickly identified and dealt with.
After a morning shower (yes, Betsy has a shower) I headed into Burra for a late breakfast. Before I headed north.
The homestead has been beautifully restored and the story of its restoration from ruins is fascinating. Walking around the wind swept building I felt transported to another time. It would of been a very hard life. Even the cool store and water tank have been restored. The pump on the water tank is in working order. No plumping back then! The outhouse too has been rebuilt. There still remainders the outlines of where the garden once was, marked by stone.
The schoolhouse at Mt Bryan East has also been preserved and is used as overnight camping for those travelling the Heysen Trail. Incredible to believe Sir Hurbert did all that he did being raised in what would of been a very isolated (and still is) place. I could almost see him riding his horse to school.
I love my trips away in Betsy. The trips give me a sense of my place within the universe and oh my, is it small! Time to myself to think, listen to podcasts, do nothing and create.
I’m opening the shop tomorrow, the first time in two months. I’m looking forward to it. I’m making it work for me. Less hours and focused on what I love to do, which is make and create.
I’ve been asked a couple of times now, “You look different? What’s changed?” The questioners have looked at me puzzled.
Yes, my hair has grown and is mostly back to it’s natural grey. I think the biggest difference is that I’m more relaxed and happy. I’m finding my place in the world again. Learning what I love to do. I’ve lost 10kgs! But no one apart from Josie, who does my massages, has commented on that. I’ve given up coffee and found my anxiety levels have dropped significantly.
I’ve changed the way I eat, I practice intermittent eating. I now eat from about 9 am to 3pm and fast from 3 pm each day. My heartburn has significantly reduced so I’m sleeping better, my weight is reducing and my mental health has improved.
Taking time out to care for myself has made a huge difference. As a mum it can feel wrong to be away from your kids and family. For me there is that parenting guilt, not helped by comments made about me being away from my family. I was rather chuffed when a comment was made about me leaving my family to Rose (child 3) and she replied with “After 23 years of parenting, I think mum deserves some me time.” Gosh I love that girl. And I rather hope she too can see it is ok for a woman to care for herself first and her family second.
Taking time out to care for me, does not mean I love and care for my kids any less than any other mother. In fact I’m a better mum because I do. I’m calmer and more empathetic and value them even more (if thats possible).
As a mum of many and a mum of 23 years, I want to tell younger mums it’s ok to look after your needs. It’s ok to use childcare and take time for yourself. Don’t listen to the judgement of other women who make comments about how they never left their kids. Listen to your heart. Be a role model to your daughters of a woman who cares for herself, who follows her dreams.