I love/need to mull things over, weigh thoughts and ideas thoroughly (sometimes that means ad nauseum, I admit it!), check ’em out in different lights, size ‘er up. I don’t have a lot of time for that these days, but I grab my moments, my in-betweens — in bed as I fade out, nursing on the couch, walking to the park, making soup, riding up the stretch of highway between us and Nana&Papa’s house for weekend visits.
Which brings me to:
As mentioned in last Wednesday’s post, I’ve been meditating on simplicity. For me, right now, I think simplifying means not planning too much in a day, a week, a month, something I was practicing when Gene was under 3 months, but since then I’ve shifted into planning/hoping to do too much and often end the day frazzled, thinking I didn’t do enough, frustrated by the unstarted or unfinished projects staring at me with longing eyes. I set myself up for failure every time I plan too much in a day because my natural response to having too many things going is to panic and run for cover, figurative and literal. I stop thinking clearly or being able to prioritize and I just sit on the couch hoping the things I wanted to accomplish will get some of that Disney-princess-story-magic where they do themselves and have a catchy soundtrack and a subliminal message to boot!
So last week I started consciously planning to not plan a whole lot. I do the basics of my stay-at-home-mom day (which is a full-time job, I know I know, I grant that to others in my position but have a hard time feeling legitimate in it myself) and then I choose one thing beyond that that might, just might, get done. And funnily enough, I’ve actually been more effective since it seems this approach has alleviated the flight response. We’ll see if I can keep it up.
I’m consciously working at, reminding myself, to be present in the moment I’m in. It feels a little cringy and trite to write that down. And I am fully aware it’s not original. But it’s exactly what I need to know and practice right now. Actually Being Where I Am — in heart, head, body.
All my life I’ve been a planner, an anticipator. I think and yes, definitely worry, about the mythic “down-the-road” days … the big one for me right now is what happens when the mat leave is up in August? I just don’t know. And the lack of security in the not knowing freaks me out. But then I sabotage the lovely, suspended, necessary time that I am so privileged and deeply glad to have courtesy of this mat leave, particularly because I know so many women that don’t even have the option to have this year of partially-paid mothering. And when I am fully present, I experience such deep satisfaction, in everything really.
Someone wise recently reminded me that as a trained dancer, I’m practiced at being acutely present in the physical moment I’m in as a mover. I am working on translating some of that knowledge from studio to living room.
My 3-year-old is in a creative dance class on Saturday mornings. He loves it, skips down the street, has a buzzing, jumping energy in anticipation. He’s in class with two little friends of his whose moms and I have grown into wonderful friends through our kids. The class is only 45 minutes but we go for coffee during that time and honestly, Saturday coffee with these ladies has been a fantastic anchor point in my quiet maternity-leave life. In a period without a lot of adult-only interaction, I revel in those minutes of catch-up, giggling and gossiping and trading stories. We’ve decided to keep it up once classes are out, because somehow knowing that that visit is set gives the week a marker, a turning point of shared-experience. I must say, I like having a regular ladies-visit in my calendar. I highly recommend.
Last week I got a joyful email on a sunny morning from a lovely friend with the following link she was inspired by. And I think it’s worth sharing. Thanks to the writer Amelia Olson,
Click for the whole thing.
This bit feel particularly relevant, not directly but something that I often sense, and subsequently temper myself because of:
“As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things.”
I’m going to keep feeling deeply. Cheers.
What a beautiful perfect quote! and Susan you are SO wise to keep returning to the moment,,,,,,,the more we practise this the sooner we are able to just be there, and that bodes well for everyone in our lives. I, too, have this struggle and must constantly remind myself that i am a human being, NOT a human doing.
LOVE your blog!
Thank you Cindy! I hold the image of you as a joyful, earthy, real, fun, hip mom with me. I was always charmed by you as a wee Waldorf compatriot of Nathaniel’s and am inspired still. Love the human being not human doing, will chew on that — clever!