One Night in Heaven....:)

Kids rolling over my head and tummy at 5.30 in the morning, yelling get up Mum, get up and play with me.  Kids not going to sleep when I want them to, leaving me with only enough time to clean up the house before going to bed myself.  A week of my husband working late at night meant no time out for me.   So I booked myself into the Hilton for a night and was lucky enough to take another Mum with me.

Ironically, I was sad to leave my family.  My husband had to push me, and the small blue back pack I carried, out the door. I took the train to the hotel and in the ultra modern room with twin beds I lay back against two soft pillows and listened to the hum of the air-conditioner’s white noise.  The only noise I could hear.  The silence enveloped me like a hug.   My friend arrived and my sadness disappeared. 

We dined at Wagamama’s and talked unhurriedly and without interruption.  I flipped through books in Kinokiniya like a kid in a candy store.  We shared, with complete relish, a desert of toffee soufflĂ©, brownie icecream and Spanish churizos.  I had a sense as I went to sleep that night, that home was a good, secure place, a place where my family was, a place where I could be myself and feel completely and utterly loved.  It was good to come away and give myself that perspective.

The real feeling of rest did not come until the next morning.  I woke without being pounced on.  A novelty I could get used to.  I did ten laps and lazed around in the spa. I could get used to that too.  Later, after I read the newspaper (without it being flicked or ripped away from me) over a truly five star buffet breakfast, I felt bliss begin to creep into my body.   But it was after we meditated that I sighed and relaxed.  I wished I had started my stay with meditation for it filled my bones with rest.  Ahhhhh.  To feel rested.  I wished I had another night but it was enough for now to know that a spell away was exactly what I’d needed. 

Rejuvenation is a priority

The words Time Management used to send a chill up my spine.  Too corporate.  Too much about lists, about carving up chunks of time into smaller and smaller pieces.  Serendipitously, this last week I’ve been blessed to read Balanced Living for Busy Baha’is by Catherine Brooker and listen to a webinaire on Time Management for Mother Writers, hosted by SheWrites and presented by Rebecca Rodskog.

What struck me most powerfully was that ‘to do’ lists need to come from ‘to be’ lists.  First I needed to know what was most important for me in my life, what were my priorities.  When it came to mothering, I realised I wanted to be relaxed, stress-free, creative and fun.  I observed that when I put too much into my day, when I was trying to do too much I became stressed and far more likely to get angry with the children. 

Instead of Time Management being about getting more done in my day, it became about what will help me to be as relaxed and creative as possible.  On a practical level it meant packing bags, lunches etc, the night before, not doing laundry in the morning, so that my morning had as few things to do as possible.  It meant being realistic about how long things take to do with children.  It’s a ten minute walk to the preschool – for me.  This included pestering and prodding my daughter to walk faster and stop dawdling, with me getting more and more irritated that we’d be late.  When I realised it was a twenty minute walk for her, allowing for her pace, for walking on fences and picking up leaves, then we all arrived at school feeling relaxed. 

Rejuvenation is also key to keeping relaxed.  Many of us are putting 80%, if not more of our time into our family.  That level of care is not sustainable unless we also make rejuvenation a priority for ourselves.  I suggest a zestful activity twice a week but if this is not going to be possible, once will suffice.

Most importantly, once you’ve planned a time for yourself, let your partner and kids know when it will occur and get their support.  That time is carved out for you.  Commit to it and see how it makes this work that is mothering, not just sustainable but a place of ideas, of meditative moments, of whimsy and a conversation with the world at large.       J  (next week I blog about a banghra dance party)