After traveling the globe as a solo Mum, with three active kids in tow, Lisa gets a profound reminder from her daughter that shakes her up. It seems no matter where in the world you go, you can’t outrun Mum guilt.
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Hey. So it’s 10:00 at night and I am in Norway and we have had a day inside on our trip and I wanted to share with you oh gosh, the words my daughter said to me this morning. Just because I guess I don’t want to forget this. And I think it’s just so crazy the amount that I have helped other women with this over the years and here I am getting taught by my daughter. So we arrived here yesterday and I woke up that morning, yesterday morning, on a travel day, we had to get ourselves from an apartment in Sweden to the airport to Oslo and then to the airbnb here. And that is four trains and a plane and all the things that happen at airports and got to have bags and stuff. And I woke up and I wasn’t feeling great and I knew it was just going to be a bit of a physical struggle for the day.
Had to make sure I had to do big clear out of that apartment. We were staying in a friend’s guest apartment. So in their block of flats, in their block of apartments there’s one that people can hire out for guests when they come to visit. So we got that. But it meant that it had to be put back absolutely perfectly rubbish taken out of the bathroom, cleaned floors, mopped, all that sort of thing. So the beds were stripped, the beds were remade and I’d done a bit and the kids helped out the night before. But the morning of, you know, when it’s a go time and we had to be out of there by was just it was on and I was not feeling great. But you got to find it, right? You find something and you get there and you do it.
And we arrived in Oslo and we’re just in the most gorgeous place. So we spent the afternoon just wandering all the little back streets and the main streets and just seeing the gorgeousness of this place. But everyone was a bit tired by the end. We went to the supermarket, got some stuff for dinner. I’ve been told by everyone how expensive Norway is. So we are doing the food cheaply and the experiences cheaply just so we can make the most of it. And then last night I just thought, I’m so exhausted, I can’t wait for bed. You’re thinking now.
I couldn’t get asleep. Could not get to sleep. It took me till maybe close to midnight to get to sleep. And I woke this morning at about 5:30 or 6 o’clock maybe don’t know, I just kind of lay there and I just wasn’t feeling very well last night. It took me ages to get to sleep. I had a bit of a scratchy throat and yeah, for whatever reason, I definitely didn’t get enough sleep last night. And I woke up just you know when you can sort of feel it in your body that was me. So I said to my daughter, she came in, you know, how you feeling, Mum? Because I said I wasn’t feeling great yesterday.
And I said, I’m good, but I said, I’m not feeling great, but we’re in Oslo and so I’m thinking about the day. And she said, Mum, why would you push yourself? And I said, Well, I mean, we’re only here for a few days. She said, yeah, but I had a day where I wasn’t feeling very good. And you told me the best thing that we could do to feel better fast was for me to rest. And so we had a chill out day and I said, you are right. Yeah, you’re exactly right. And I’m glad you remember that and I’m glad you’ve called me out on this because I’m not giving myself the same permission that I would give to you to rest and give your body what it needs. It’s so important to pay attention, but we’re all excited to be here and I just wanted to get out and about.
Well, Mum, I just think it’s important if we have a bit of a rest day. So we did. And here’s what’s interesting, is I know this. I knew today, if we went for it, I’d be pushing myself when my body did just need a relaxing day. But all that old stuff pops up. The kids need to feel like this is a really exciting trip. One of them in particular is a bit homesick and isn’t, you know, when we’re doing fun stuff, it’s kind of distracting and wonderful. I don’t want them. I knew that it would mean probably a lot of time on their screens, which that’s not what we’re away for, that’s not what I want for them.
All this stuff just comes up. It’s fine for me and for us, as mums, if you are one to give the people like to give our kids the chance to rest and recover. And I know how important it is for me, and yet I still battle that guilt. I still battle the idea that this is going to let someone down. When I’m not operating on all cylinders, I can get very sort of down on myself about it just crazy, right? It’s crazy. I’m not a robot. I’m away with my kids full time for five months, working, schooling, traveling, and of course I’m going to get tired. And I knew that that would happen and before it happened, I was like, you know what? I am not interested in pushing myself.
And even so far, I’m like, this is the most brilliant thing to just be on our very own timeline. I mean, I must say, it’s super freeing as a single person to not be on anyone else’s agenda. Traveling with people is so interesting and I think it’s so great when partners have the same kind of rhythm on travel. I remember with Nick, he just wanted to be out, he just wanted to be doing stuff all the time and I was, oh, isn’t the point of a holiday to kind of chill out? Why do we have to be doing stuff all the time? But he was wanting to see things, wanting to make the most of every single moment. And in my recent relationship, we went away a lot with our children and I found his rhythm a lot more manageable. But he absolutely wanted to be out and about doing stuff. I mean, he had two active boys, there were five kids, so we were always sort of thinking we had to get out and do stuff. But there was also the opportunity for Downtime.
There was also the opportunity for Downtime, for me and him just doing stuff with them that didn’t involve me. And that’s what I sort of I mean, I do miss that. It’s hard when there’s literally no one else and it’s all on me. So today there’s no one else to kind of go, you stay in, you just need a rest. Let me take them out. And I can get sad about that, not being in a partnership. But at the end of the day, it ended up being a gift for all of us. My son has an English assessment tomorrow, so we just did a whole heap of preparation.
He woke up freaked out about it and just slow and steady, just worked through stuff. I got on top of a few work things. I actually did a great interview for the podcast and I rested. We ended up going out and getting some stuff from a supermarket for dinner, which ended up in the wasp disaster of Oslo, which was basically just we had the door open and just a whole heap of wasps came in as we were trying to eat this dinner that we’d prepared. And it was so random. It was so random. I mean, this is what you do on rainy days and when it’s sort of an inside day, which, I mean, it kills me. I’m in a brand new city.
I have been wanting to discover Norway and see Norway, and I just had to stop all the internal resistance. Anyway, we went to the supermarket. We decided to make pokeballs, which is really just an excuse for everyone to choose their own favorite thing. Add some rice and veggies and off we go. So we bought some smoked salmon and some prawns and halumi. It was a really OD concoction of stuff. Just some I mean, some nori sheets that we chopped up. Did some rice and it was some carrot and cucumber, cherry tomatoes.
I think that was it. Anyway, random wasps were into something because in they came and I’m thinking, shit, how am I going to get these wasps out of the house? I mean, I don’t like them myself, so the kids are squealing. I’m trying to kind of use my jacket to ferry them out. There was two and we had the door open to try and get them out and more just came. I’m pretty sure there was six inside. It was a total disaster until I just thought, you know what, they want the food. So we just put the food out on the balcony and that got a few of them out. And the others, we kind of got them out.
Ended up doing the putting a glass against the window and then using the piece of paper, which I saw Nick do many times because he never liked to kill anything. And I did it myself. I was actually very proud, felt hugely accomplished that we got them all out there. But then we just looked through the window at our beautiful random pokeballs, just getting assaulted by wasps. They were coming from everywhere and I mean, what I just ended up making them some garlic bread we polished, which was literally just the bread that I had. And I just cooked some garlic and butter in a pan and then just fried the bread in it. And to the leftover, veggies. I mean, we’d stacked those pokeballs and I couldn’t eat them afterwards, the kids like, I think we need to go to McDonald’s, Mum.
No, we absolutely do not. We are going to make this work. Here, have a musli bar. What else was there? There was some avocado and we made it work. There was some leftover plain rice, like, Eat that, dudes. This is what we’re having for dinner. Anyway, it took them ages to get to sleep tonight because they used no energy today. They caught up on their journals and did all that sort of stuff.
But it’s just ridiculous that even now I’m thinking, did I make the most of an inside day? What’s with this? I am someone. I talk about rest all the time. I think about rest. I claim rest. I love it. I love it. I know when my body’s starting to feel off kilter and I do what I have to do. I guess I’ve built a life at home that allows for that.
If I go down, the whole ship kind of is wonky. And so I do protect my energy. I protect it a lot. I actually think that that is something that has come out of parenting solo. I mean, I remember when Nick first, when he was in the sober house for six months, the kids all got influenza B. They went down, they were really sick for a good week of sickness, of just lethargic, fevery, sick kids. And I was going between their rooms and it was hardcore and it was a moment where I had to myself, surprisingly, I didn’t get it. And I just thought, what happens if I do? And it was at that moment that I realized that in order to make this all work, I really need to take care of myself.
And I don’t think I thought about that as much when I was in my marriage, because there was always someone to pick up the slack. There was someone else in it. So I wasn’t on my own. And these past sort of four years gosh, four and a half. Wow. It is really one of the things that I have gained the most, I think, is the ability to take care of myself, to pay attention. But suddenly we’re on this big trip and the days are big. I mean, the days are big, we are walking a lot, we’ve been moving around a lot, and those travel days are tiring.
And so suddenly all that just falls off the window and I’m like, no, we’ve got it, we’re here, we’ve got to do it. And we find those reasons, don’t we? I’ve just got to push through. I’ve just got to get to the other side of this. Hang on, what are we doing? Because for the majority of women, that’s like, every day feels like a bit of a battle. And I mean, I say the majority based on the absolute majority of women I surveyed last year in the survey on women. And a lot of the stuff I’m reading, I mean, we know that levels of burnout are sky high and we just keep doing it. And I know that when I had the travel day yesterday, when I had to get up, when I had to make sure that house was clean, when I had to get those kids out the door on the first train on the airport train, onto the plane, onto another airport train, onto a metro line, into the airbnb. I just had to do it.
And we can, we can pull it together and we can get it done, but when are we pushing ourselves unnecessarily? And my daughter was the one who reminded me that’s what I was about to do today, I was just going to try and keep going just because I’m here and I should, but it’s ridiculous. When we treat our bodies like they’re some sort of robots, things start to break down. And I wanted to share this because I talk about this stuff all the time and it’s still hard for me. I know the value of it and the stories run deep. The conditioning is real around this stuff. Even just the desire to be productive on a rest day. I caught myself and I was like, really, Lisa? Really? You haven’t really even had a weekend for a month. And before that, the month before, I mean, when I bought the tickets, four weeks out from leaving, that was it.
It was on. And I still slept and I still maintain my rest. But it was intense. Without a doubt, it was full on and yeah, then it’s been off we go. So anyway, I really am conscious to us going at a rhythm that works for us. I’m figuring out what that is, and it’s interesting, and everyone’s really, really different. I mean, the fact that it took them so long to fall to sleep and my son’s just sort of popping up and letting me know it’s taking him a while thought, man, he honestly needs to be run like a dog, bless him. Anyway, that’s the story.
Wanted you to know it because I just think it’s important for all of us. It just is. And I will talk about it forever because it’s a lesson I continue to learn for myself. It’s a checking in and acknowledgment of what bodies need because we’re human, not robots. Neither are you. So just a little shout out to anyone who might need permission to just go a bit slower, to take a day to not feel apologetic for it. I felt like, I’m so sorry, you guys. You don’t care.
Oh, yeah, of course you don’t. It’s only the story that we should be doing something all the time. That is the reason why I feel this way. So I got to ditch those stories. See you soon.
Hey! I'm Lisa
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