Happy International Women’s Day Boxing Day! That might mean you’re suffering a prosecco hangover after attending a rip-roaring celebration of women or it might mean you’re suffering brainache from spending the day explaining IWD to male colleagues or it might mean that you have a vague, nagging sense of emptiness about how you feel like you should have done something yesterday but you didn’t because you’re still in the fog of early motherhood or the busyness of working or just the emotional labour-overload of everyday life.
That was a remarkably long sentence but hopefully it means I’ve covered most of you womenfolk off. Because I’d like to talk to the third category – the ones with the vague, nagging sense of emptiness – but all of you. But we are women and we deserve what I’m about to say.
Do one thing for you today. One thing. Not for your kids, not for your husband but for you. Do something for your own mental wellbeing and it doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming, it just needs to be something for you.
I just did something for me and it was expensive and it was pretty lame-ass but I’m going to tell you about it anyway but it’s been the best wellbeing thing I’ve done in years.
I delegated out my laundry. I know, I know. I told you it was lame-ass and it doesn’t feel very feminist to be talking about laundry for International Women’s Day but self-care is a feminist issue and that laundry backlog was getting me down every time I saw it. It had been there years. Seriously, now it’s all back and clean I can tell how old it is by the size of the kids’ clothes which means I now have a pile of too-small clothes that I need to put on Sell or Swap but who cares? They are no longer in my fricking laundry basket. I used a site called laundryheap.com, which picked up the massive bag of clothes one day and delivered them back clean and dry the next. I didn’t even see the people who picked up and delivered because Nathan dealt with them while I was out at choir stuff both nights. Yes, it cost us but it was an instant answer to a years-long problem. We are finally on top of the laundry and it feels goooood.
Your One Thing doesn’t need to cost as much as mine or align so depressingly with women’s domestic enslavement. It can be leaving the house for a coffee by yourself. It can be telling your partner to book a babysitter for a night out for the two of you. It can be locking the bathroom door for ten minutes while you take a shower. It can be buying yourself a packet of sugar waffles and a jar of nutella in Tesco and thinking of me while you eat them because that’s like my favourite snack at the moment and I’ve given up chocolate for Lent and am totally pathetic with it. Sob.
Listen to an empowering podcast. Listen to an amusing podcast. Listen to anything that isn’t “Baby Shark”. Order yourself some new pants from M&S online. Make a spreadsheet of things you need to do and things you’ve done already and colour in those cells a pleasing and calming green (just me?). Take ten minutes to play the piano or the guitar or just sing to yourself. Draw a picture. Play some PlayStation. Get some fresh air. Go for a run if that’s the kind of thing you like doing. Put a date in the diary to catch up with a friend. Block someone on Facebook that causes you mental anguish. Leave a few Facebook groups that cause you mental anguish.
Do you think you can do one of these? You don’t have to but I think you deserve it. And if you don’t, we have another shot at the end of the month on Mother’s Day so maybe you can do something for yourself then.
And Happy IWD to all the wonderful and inspirational women in my life. May your days be free of mansplaining and may your payslip look as good as a white male’s.