Posts Tagged 'stay at home mother'

Hurry Up and Relax

How about… just try and live your life in joy.

There’s this coffee shop I’ve been to a few times in Key West, since we arrived here a month ago.  It’s the place Mummy-gets-to-go-when-she’s-being-given-time-to-herself.  I go there every two days or so for approximately 20-60 minutes.  It’s my relaxing time – my time to get my writing done – it’s my time to myself – it’s my I-gotta-enjoy-this-time-cuz-it’s-all-I’m-gonna-get time.  If I’m not inspired to work on my script during my time at the coffee shop, then no writing will happen that day.  If I’m not able to relax during my time at the coffee shop, then no breathing will happen that day (for the most part).

There’s nothing quite like scheduling your peaceful time to take the peace right out of it.  It’s like “I gotta hurry up and get to my relaxing time or it’s never gonna happen, g*ddamnit!”

So what’s the secret?  In doing a lot of extra reading on self-help type books and meditative work lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of suggestions to take time in the morning to connect with the universe in the morning before you hurry about your day.  But how do you do that when every day starts with your lovely (however needy) 15 month old climbing up into bed with you, only to whine endlessly until you bring her downstairs to play?  Or they say that people (in America, especially) just hurry hurry all day long, and never get the chance to just be joyful… but how do you stop the hurry hurry when you’re chasing a 15 month old around all day, while trying to make money and further your dream career simultaneously?  Sometimes it’s all I can do to just put the TV on and zone out while the little Monkey dances to the Curious George theme song.

They say that the more you slow down, the more time will be created for you.  In other words, if you’re so stressed for lack of time, take time to rest, and your schedule will actually open up for you more.

Why did I include a photo above of the totally awesome “Try Jesus” bumper sticker I saw in a Target parking lot in West Palm Beach? First of all, it’s so totally awesome (insert snarky sarcasm) that some twenty-something woman I’ve never met would be telling me I’m living my life in accordance with the devil (so to speak).  But I guess it applies to this blog post (vaguely) because it’s about trying a new belief to try and better your state of mind.  And if it doesn’t work, you can always go back to your old way.

So I’m sitting here at the coffee shop, doing some writing while I wait until it’s time to head off to shoot a wedding.  It doesn’t matter what happens at the wedding – maybe I’ll be awesome, maybe I’ll screw up, maybe I’ll fall off the pier into the water – it doesn’t matter if I get to the babysitter’s at the time I said, or whether or not the Monkey will be sleeping.  Right now I’m eating a chocolate chip cookie, drinking Irish Breakfast tea, typing on my lap, listening to a bad Luther Vandross song on the radio, and taking a breath.

Oh wait- as I’m getting ready to publish this post, Endless Love just came on the radio.  Now everything is perfect.  Thank you, Lionel and Diana.

Quantity Time vs Quality Time (aka I’m busy – is it time for your nap?)

I thought that being a work-at-home mother would be ideal for everyone: I would get to continue pursuing my career and my little Monkey would get me home all day long… every day.

Did you see Coraline (i.e. the 2009 stop-motion 3D fantasy children’s film)?  In the movie, the main character was an only child stuck with a mother and father who were so busy working from home that every noise she made was a nuisance to them.  She goes into this other (fantasy) world where she has a mother who speaks to her adoringly and bakes her cakes, and a father who writes songs for her on the piano.

I don’t bake.  Well, I’ll do it if I have to.  And my hubby don’t write songs.  But we work from home, and are constantly struggling to keep up with our work deadlines.  The Monkey gets swapped back and forth between us (he in the basement, and me in the living room), depending on the type of work each of us is doing.  Toys adorn both rooms, so no matter where our little 14 month old is, she has tons of stuff to play with.  But it’s when the music is turned on and it’s “baby’s dance party” time, or when we run up and down the two flights of stairs with her, over and over and over and over again, that she is truly in a state of bliss.

She’s got all the quantity time in the world with her mummy and daddy.  But it’s the quality time that’s not always easy to come by.  When I finish my redraft of my script, I can check it off my to do list.  But I can’t check off “play with baby” on my to do list.  When hubby finishes editing photos for an event he shot, he can say, “I’m done” and go have a snack.  But he can’t take Monkey to the park and say “I’m done”, like it’s a task he’ll never have to return to.

So we take breaks.  We put the computers down when she comes to us with a book and we read together.  When she’s got that bored look, we take her up and down the stairs.  When she’s been cooped up inside all day, she gets a trip to the playground.

But sometimes she just has to play on her own.  Sometimes the work has to get done.  And in the end, it’s probably good for her that she does.

If not, well, there’s always therapy.


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