I’ve been doing something which I’m sure some of you have noticed. I haven’t blogged. Not only that since returning from the states I haven’t coffeed (except maybe once), and I haven’t been on Facebook. In fact I’ve forgotten my password (which I have written down in my password book, because I’m finding that every little thing these days needs a password, from my credit card to computer updates.) If it wasn’t for the festivals I wouldn’t have seen many people either. WHY?

Well it’s a couple of things really. The biggest factor is that I’m a terrible lander. Last time I came back from visiting family in LA I was sick for three weeks. Literally. Hacking cough, rattly chest, that yellow awful mucous. I’ll spare you the details. Suffice to say my husband was not impressed. He let his wife go on holiday and she came back more useless than when she was away (because when I was away I hired the most fantastic au pair). Admittedly last year I stoically refused antibiotics. (Not smart, although I’d like to believe I have a stronger immune system for it.) I’ve never been sick for that long. This year I crash landed from LA onto my bed. Slept my whole first day and night, woke up and could not bring myself to greet and meet the world. It felt like a primal, biological need as much as psychological.

Of course it was because I find it hard to reintegrate after seeing my family. It’s hard to face the emotions of having to say goodbye to my 97 year old grandfather, and not know when I’ll see him again. It’s hard to be surrounded by my childhood family and know that I’m in Africa and not really part of their lives, but living on strong family connection and memory. Family, my kids will not grow up knowing. So I hide out, hibernate and reread Harry Potter. (All seven of them in two weeks. The Princes were amazed.)

How many women hibernate? How many of us allow ourselves to hibernate? How many of us need to hibernate? I believe last year I got sick because I needed to hibernate but there was no way I was going to allow myself that luxury. So my body unceremoniously forced me into bed through illness. This year I was smart enough to follow my heart and spend time in bed, in the garden and on the couch watching the Spring flowers grow. (I am loving this weather, yes even with the heat waves.) To be honest I’ve never allowed myself to hibernate, do absolutely nothing, and say it’s okay even healthy.

And I do believe hibernating is healthy. As long as the house and children run kind of fine. And when I mean kind of fine, I mean toilet paper in stock as well as sausages and hotdog rolls. (Pick n Pay online shopping works wonders for not having to leave the house. And don’t worry about the dear Princes nutrition they’ve also had macaroni and cheese. Just kidding. We’ve been scarfing artichokes in salad dressing. So there’s some vits.)  Yes, I did forget that Prince No. 2 had civvies privilege the one day, and show and tell. But for once I’ve put myself first. And I can safely say in doing so I am  a better mother.

I’ve found myself reading to the Princes, hanging out with them, being home for them a lot more in my hibernating days. I’m more relaxed, and present. Of course it helped that I chose to hibernate during the festival, holiday period. Lucky timing.

In Women Who Run With the Wolves, it speaks about women not allowing themselves to rest. Even though rest is part of the natural cycle. And we women are all about cycle. Once a month our body goes into a slump with our menstrual cycle, telling us, indeed begging us to take some quiet, inner time. She says that women see themselves as ‘weak’ if they take time out. God forbid we should be weak. Especially in our male dominated world, where we are still proving ourselves to be equal. And let’s face it men don’t have menstrual cycles, so we ignore the fact that we do.

But it’s pretty hard to ignore isn’t it?

It’s also hard to ignore when you’re body goes into spasm, back ache, head ache, stomach ache and all those aches that send you into pill land. All those symptoms that beg us to slow down. But we don’t. We need to prove something to somebody. Often someone imaginary from the past. And as women it’s a code of honour to be tough. At least it was and probably still is mine. (I’m working on it.)

It’s not very nurturing of us is it? Would we tell our kids to keep going like an ever ready bunny? I know some of us do. But most of us don’t. Our children have holidays, weekends, early nights, and eat properly. They need to be nurtured so they can grow. And so do we, even if we’re women and mothers. ESPECIALLY because we are women and mothers.

So here’s my permission to you to spend a day in bed reading with hot chocolate. Even if you’re feeling 100% well. Just to recharge your proverbial batteries. Or lie on the fresh green grass, smell the jasmine and fresh blossoms, and stare at the sky. Or have a long, hot, bubble bath with a magazine. Take off Sunday morning from the family and make it your time. Do it for one reason only, you deserve your own time. Your own quiet space. You are important and don’t need an excuse to recharge your spirit in any way you need.

Of course you can argue and say it’s a ‘luxury’. You can also say it’s ‘spoilt’. But is it? Whose voice is that speaking? It’s not the archetype ‘mother’.

I know most of us can’t take a month off and hibernate. Even myself. (Although I tried.) But we can do a weekend, a day, an hour, even twenty minutes. (I was once told that it’s important to have twenty minutes a day nurturing time.) And when you say you can’t. Well then I suppose you can’t. But I certainly can, and I believe it of every single woman out there.

Caterpillars hibernate to become butterflies. We’re all butterflies.