The Momma Clock
In parenting circles, all too often the conversation gets stuck on what we are doing rather than how we are experiencing our feelings about what we are doing.
Let’s set the record straight right now, whether we are working in the home or working outside of the home, most of us are working pretty darn hard to raise up these little people. “To whom much is given much is expected” (paraphrasing from Luke, 12:48) and when we are given a life to hold, then much is expected of us.
I think all parents can relate to feeling like we have limited time for our own personal needs and desires. Raise your hand if you don’t have an overflowing bucket list mixed in with your grocery list lost somewhere inside of the laundry basket! Both of my hands are raised, “Oh, ME! ME!”
I have been reflecting about a conversation I had the other day with an old friend of mine. I am in the process embracing the learning opportunities that are present for me because I believe whole-heartedly in living fully in Rumi’s Field.
I recognize in myself, a tendency to slip into old ego patterns that no longer serve me, it is an old pattern where I really want to be right and prove that someone else is wrong especially when I am feeling hurt.
Some people say, “That’s called being human!” I know another human version of myself and I prefer to hang out with this gal because she can look for the deeper meaning in what someone is sharing and discover how someone else is experiencing his or her own world and then bring home a little life-lesson that catapults me into a deeper level of loving and light.
But that doesn’t always happen and the other day, when my friend and I were chatting about TIME, I found myself heading toward an old ego pattern instead of hanging out in Rumi’s field. I want to share it because I think this experience is all too common in Momma Land and we would do so much better as a village, if we could all agree to let go of competing, comparing and projecting our stories onto each other.
I would love for the whole Momma village to figure out another way of relating with one another that includes having a victor mentality and being a loving and supportive witness rather than a judge and jury. I know it is possible because I have seen it happen more times than I can count and I do believe in miracles, too!
I am a stay-at-home Mom with three kids; ages: 9 ½, 7 and 2, plus 1 puppy. I have always practiced attachment parenting that includes co-sleeping, nursing on demand and baby wearing. Actually, I am still nursing my two year old twice through the night so, it’s safe to say I am a little more than sleep deprived so, forgive me if I come across as rambling.
I never planned on being a stay-at-home Mom, in fact, when I was really young and before I knew better, I never planned on getting married or having children. But then love happened and everything changed. So, here I am a Mom who loves life and could do a million more things than what I am currently doing if only there were more hours in the day.
I have put a lot of projects and career ambitions on the back burner to save for later when my kids sleep through the night and when my little one goes off to school. I greatly admire Mothers who are balancing a career with family life and I have been watching closely from the sidelines for the day when it feels like I am ready to jump back into the game.
But for now, for me, I know that there is nothing in the world, more important to me than spending most of my time caring and nurturing for my wee little folk. It is a choice I have had the privilege to make, and one, I honor deeply.
Lately, I have been envisioning what the future me looks like and considering the time frame in which I can invest in this girl. Being that I am home with my two year old…not really home but I am with him most of the time, there is not a lot of time for writing, submitting children’s books and anything else on my career vision board, that does not involve ensuring my little one doesn’t run into the street or jump off of the roof. For me to enter back into the career world as a personal trainer and yoga teacher (what I did before I became a Mom), I would need to hire someone else to watch my little guy so I could focus on another job. And truth be told, after I factor in the cost of a nanny or day care there is not a very significant financial gain or in other words monetary return on my career investment. I have made a really personal choice to wait until my youngest is in school and yet, my feeling of limited time for my career dreams has been bubbling to the surface.
The other day, I asked my friend whose kids are all school age, “Do you feel like you have more time, now that your kids are all in school?” She thought about it and said, “No. Absolutely not.” Then, she went on to describe to me how she was busier than she ever was before and how she has absolutely no time at all. Not only did she describe how she had no time and why, but she also, described to me how if I decided to work a second job, I will have no time either. Basically, what I thought she was saying was, my life was about to get way harder and busier, not easier and I will certainly not have any extra time on my hands.
It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping to hear. I think I asked the question, more for a need of reassurance than to actually understand what her clock looked like. As she was speaking, I was attempting to compute if there was any accuracy in what she was telling me. I thought about my own schedule.
My Current World View:
12:00 AM Nursing Toddler
1:00 AM – 4:00 AM Sleep
4:00 AM – 4:30 AM Nursing Toddler
4:45 AM Wake Up (Drink Coffee and Write – Happening Now)
6:30 AM – 7:30 AM Run
7:30 AM – 7:31 AM Rinse Off
7:31 AM – 8:10 AM Get Kids Ready For School Departure
8:10 AM – 8:30 AM Drop Off 2 Older Kids at School
8:30 AM – 2:00 PM Watch Toddler, Watch Puppy, House Keeping, continue Momma Duties, Toddler Activities, Groceries, Scheduling Time…etc
2:00 – 3:00 School Pickup
3:15 – 4:30 Snacks, Homework
4:30 – 7:00 Extracurricular Activities for two kids with toddler in tow (Can’t sit to watch the other two because Toddler keeps running on fields, onto mats, etc.) Make Dinner, Serve Dinner, Clean Up After Dinner
7:00 – 8:00 Bathe Toddler make sure he doesn’t drown, get other kids showered, ready for next day
8:00 – 9:00 Read stories, Bedtime….sleep with kids
9:00 PM – 12:00 AM Mom Sleeps
12:00 AM Repeat….
So, the way I see it is given that my 7 year old and my 9 year old both sleep through the night, mostly, and can shower themselves and are safe to venture around the house without me keeping a vigilant watch on them. Neither of my two older kids has tried to feed the puppy toothpaste lately, so, I figure, in a few years, life will be a little more predictable and easier to manage than what it currently is.
Therefore, I will have the illusion of having more time to focus on what I want to do. On top of that, my toddler will one day go to school from 8:30 to 3:00 everyday. That’s 6 ½ extra hours that I can choose to do something other than activities that include preventing my baby from feeding the puppy chocolate and chasing rabid squirrels.
Knowing all of this assists me in appreciating the moment and staying in what Eckert Tolle famously calls, “The Power OF NOW.” And, then there is the bitter- sweet side that I don’t even like to think about; one day in the not so distant future, I will no longer get to spend my days making mud castles and sand angels with this being from Heaven. Nor, will I get to snuggle up this little toddler being of chunky love who, I absolutely adore. So, even with some of the craziness of now, I am savoring this time for the sacred moment that it is.
After thinking about my own Momma Clock and what it looks like, it’s the same 24 hours as hers only filled with different activities. I then heard, in what she was sharing, she would really like to have more time to decide what she does each day rather than be dictated by her kid’s community clock, the extracurricular clock and of course let’s not forget about the school homework clock. She was feeling like she had a limited say on how she and her family spend their time together. And, I think she was even feeling a wave of nostalgia for the time of her life when she could build sand castles and play with play dough, too. Maybe she was missing what I am living, now.
It was then that I silently realized she and I, though we share a lot in common, we have a very different Momma Story. She has always had two jobs; one at home and one outside. I silently started to reflect on all of the ways she and I have had a different motherhood experience and how because of the different choices we have made with everything from nursing, sleeping, schedules to staying at home and careers, etc…I thought, “My story of time will be different than hers.”
We could have engaged in the Career Mom vs. Stay-At-Home Mom Battle that has already been done, way too many times before by other Moms; the debate over who has it harder and who has more time or less time but that conversation would not help us to find the peace and the connection we were both looking for. Somewhere in the back recesses of my mind, I heard Teddy Roosevelt say, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” To compare our life story and use it for a basis of debate as to who has more or less time will only rob us of our own personal narrative and take us further away from what we are experiencing in the present.
Though she and I were not on the same Momma Clock it seems that Einstein was right, “Time is Relative.” Though the hands on the clock, moving 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year, are absolute, how we experience our time here is relative to our own perspective of reality and how we feel about what we are doing with our time.
I was having trouble seeing her because I was projecting myself into her story and not staying present with what was true for me or taking the time to acknowledge and validate how different our stories have unfolded over time.
So, how do we get back to Rumi’s Field when we are living in different worlds?
Your task is not to seek for love,
But merely seek and find all the barriers
Within yourself that you have built against it.
Our barrier was in comparing our schedules rather than seeing that we were both experiencing the same common experience of feeling like we didn’t have enough time. We didn’t have enough time to even finish our conversation in the kitchen that day because our kids were calling out our names, “MOM!” One of us a Stay-At-Home Mom and the other a Career Mom were both experiencing this strange paradigm of motherhood that most good Moms feel.
The truth is, we are all given the most sacred gift of loving, nurturing and guiding our little people and amidst the hectic schedule and intense momentum of life somehow we blink and they grow up way too fast. Everyday, we have to make choices about how we spend our time and those choices are not always easy or understood by ourselves or others. Somewhere inside of us, we always feel this desire to enjoy the moment no matter what we are doing and it is easy to get distracted with all of the things that need to get done. There is always a voice cheering us on from the sidelines; slow down, wait, be here, NOW. “Enjoy this time because they grow up fast!” "Don't sweat the small stuff." "Enjoy this moment."
So, today I have a wish for all Moms, no matter what we are “doing,” May we all experience the time we do have fully because this time in our life is truly, a gift. May we all live and breathe deeply in this moment because this moment is the only real time we have.