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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Duprey

Are you man-hauling it to the pole? | The Importance of Self Care | from one mother to another

Fun fact: My husband is an Antarctic exploration nerd. So much so, that he petitioned the name "Roald Amundsen Duprey" for our first son-- Roald Amundsen being the first explorer to reach the south pole. My husband's argument for this name sake? "Roald Amundsen was a strong leader, it would make a strong name-- you know, just like George Washington Carver". Maybe we will keep it in reserve if there is ever a male baby No. 5.... maybe if I can ever learn to say the name Roald correctly!

Now, I have been party to many a car ride and dinner table lecture on the Antarctic over my nearly fourteen years of marriage, and I have listened so attentively that I have become well versed in the subject myself.

So, here is a wife's brief history of Antarctic Exploration, specifically that of the competing Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott expeditions. (I promise that we will get to the topic of self-care soon):

On that fated 1911 race to the south pole, there were two competing teams: one led by the Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, and the other by the British, Scott.

Feel like going down a rabbit hole? You can do so, HERE.

While both parties wished to be first to reach the South Pole, the Scott Expedition was there not only for glory, but for scientific research as well. They carried with them heavy scientific instruments, spent time and energy collecting samples (i.e. rocks) and taking measurements. It was this higher purpose that slowed them down and was one of the reasons their expedition ended in the loss of life for every member involved. Other reasons that they didn't survive included their choice of clothing-- the Brits choose to wear woolen under garments that trapped moisture and literally froze when they rested for the night (Amundsen's team wore fur which was breathable and kept them warm and dry), they had unlucky weather that was unseasonably cold and inclement, and there was the fact that Scott's men man-hauled their equipment the entire way, while Amundsen's men flew by on dog sleds. Each of Scott's men dragged 200 lbs behind them every step of the way to the pole and most of the way back before they all froze to death.

This is a very long-winded and somewhat morbid metaphor for the way I sometimes feel: trudging through the snow, my sweat freezing as I drag heavy and arguably necessary mineral specimens along with me-- no end to the icy Antarctic tundra in sight. I am a little over a year in business now and I am still man-hauling it to the pole. What I have come to realize is that I should be asking for more help-- from my kids and partner with the housework, with carving out time for my business and taking time to nurture myself, and for help with the things that I am simply not suited for (ahem, numbers).

The Amundsen expedition at the South Pole.

This is a friendly reminder to asses the baggage you are carrying around-- is it even yours? Is it worth the haul? Is there someone who can help you carry it? And to assess your self care practice-- where is it lacking? Or, if you are anything like me-- does it exist at all?

Whether your self care looks like a salt bath, reading some fairy smut (anyone an ACOTAR fan?), or a walk around the block with your dog, a mindless drive, a hot yoga practice or evening ceramics class (I endorse all of the above)-- I hope you find some time for yourself today!

The following is a "recipe" that I follow as regularly as I can. Feel free to admit or add anything you like.

  1. Steaming cup of herbal tea.

  2. Bathtub, filled to the brim. I like to season my bathwater with few drops of chamomile essential oil and Epson salt.

  3. A lit candle.

  4. My tattered and warped bathroom copy of Mary Oliver, Dream Work.

  5. The Jeff Buckley album, "Grace", blasting.

  6. Pumice stone for my feet.

  7. Face Mask.

  8. Almond Oil for an afterbath self-massage.

  9. Locked Door.

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