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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On Time To Myself

Time is a rare commodity in my life, as it is in the life of most women with children. I always seem to be time poor, rushing from one thing to another, often needlessly. I think that the rythm of my life, or perhaps my personality rhythm is just fast and rushy and I find myself foisting this particular habit onto my wee girl, as I did this morning. The reason for this unreasonable bustling and hassling was because today is my once weekly day off. I look forward to and long for my day off from being a mom, especially recently when we have been having a more challenging time with our beautiful girl. (Let's just say 45 minute screaming tantrums in the middle of the night and an abject refusal to sleep in her own bed (with one of us - never alone) and leave it at that). This combined with the inevitable tiredness and cumbersome physicality that comes with pregnancy, puts a damper on my enthusiasm to do anything and makes me long for some peace. And don't even get me started on the recent and absolutely unbearable heat. Anyway, I digress.

The problem with this much anticipated time to myself is that I can't settle into it in any truly nourishing or satisfying way. When I'm with Beanie, I'm dreaming about all the things I'll do with my bubbit free time. When she's safely in the loving arms of her Nanna, I come home and do buggar all. Mostly I retire to the bedroom, watch movies, read and eat chocolate. I feel the need to achieve more with this short precious time slot and it irks me that I'm too tired and unmotivated to do more with it. I have all of these projects waiting for some attention. I have creative pursuits I want to get into. I have things that I want to at least give some thought to and yet...and yet. I do nothing. Now, one might argue that it's nourishing to do nothing sometimes and I agree. Nothing is good when you are constantly busy and overstretched - which is how mothering often makes me feel - and it's not a bad thing in and of itself. And last week I watched three movies back to back (extravagant I know) while I sewed a friend's daughter a lovely green and white stripey sock monkey (it took me all day to do it - I'm so terribly slow!). It turned out great (I called him 'Minty') and her daughter loves it, but for some reason I feel like I should be achieving more. Today? Nuttin'.

I visit blogs like 'Angry Chicken' and 'Soulemamma' (not to mention a whole host of non professional crafty bloggers) and feel terribly slack. These women have all got children, often more than one, and yet they get stuff done. Stuff that must make them feel productive and creative and useful. And it's not just crafty stuff (because I am somewhat new and therefore handicapped in this area as yet). It's doing things that are good for body and soul like yoga and pilates and meditation. I want to do it. I dream about the benefits and how good I will feel if I do do it and yet, I don't. I slob around in bed getting fatter and more pregnant and feeling more and more tired while a whole host of things I dream about, gather dust on shelves. Why is this? Is this just not the time for doing but for sitting? I know. I know. I shouldn't compare myself to anyone else, but then, where does inspiration come from? I am inspired by these women. I am in awe of their time management skills when I can barely muster up enough energy to eat an icy pole.

And yet, even with the sitting, there is no stillness in it. There is a constant feeling of restlessness in me that makes me irritable and frustrated with everything. I cannot drop into anything even slightly resembling a peaceful state. I would love to go to sleep but can't. At the moment sleep is another rare commodity around here. Our nocturnally wakeful daughter sees to that. Plus bloody pregnancy hormones and the whole PND shennanigans make sleeping difficult. Bah!

And so. I am here. Trying to empty this itchy uncomfortable energy out of my body and onto the page. Seeking answers as always. Seeking, more than anything, comfort. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I want peace. I want to feel comfortable with where I am at. With who I am. With what is yet to come. And I want to feel like I have a purpose in this life. I know raising a healthy, well adjusted child is a purpose but, I'm sorry to say, this does not fulfill the heart and soul of me. It is, on it's own, not enough. It is a good purpose and a heartfelt one and I am doing my very best to mother her well and find the journey in it all, but I need something that is just for me. Something that gives ME a sense of purpose and development. Something that feeds the creative in me and let's me know that I won't die with my music still in me. Because right now, I am stagnating.

Oh happy, happy post.

Sorry about that.

There are things to be grateful for. I know. I am aware of them too. It's not a question of not being grateful. It's a question of knowing that I am fulfilling my innate potential and I have always felt that I had/have great potential, if I only knew what for. I guess that the journey isn't it.

Well, would you look at that. Time for bed already.


Cam said...

This kind of energy is moving through the blogosphere right now, friend.

I've seen so many examples of women that visit other blogs and come away feeling, I don't know, less than.

I remind myself one thing when I start feeling this way: It is impossible to do all those crafty things, be supermom, a stellar wife/partner, and be sane. Just impossible. I don't care who those people are, something gets pushed to the sidelines. If it's time with my family, no thank you. If it's occasional time to myself, no thank you. I just cannot do that. So, I blog when I can. Some days, it's much ado about nothing. But, some days my spirit has something to say, and it resonates with others.

Take time to watch three movies in a row... Value the downtime. You have a lot going on right now...soak up the moments you can.

Griffin said...

If you find that you are creating habits, alter them. Instead of coming straight home, go to a museum/art gallery (they should have air conditioning too!) Go and get a coffee. Read at the library (and people-watch). Just for once, instead of going straight home, go somewhere else. For the day.

You don't have to put on the cape and boots and be Supermum. You do what all mums do - your best. When you can grab a little time to yourself, make it yours. Here's a thought... get a sketchbook and write. Go to a cafe, get a coffee and just sit and write. About stuff, anything.

Then you won't feel that the dust is settling on top of you. Sometimes when we have 'empty' time there's a temptation to eat to fill the time. Write, take up knitting, draw. If you can make that your habit, it might feel more productive for you and on your terms.

Nicki Wilkins said...

Oh, I so know how you feel. Just happened the other day to me. I wanted to write (maybe felt like I should write after reading some blogs) but nothing was coming. I realized that I needed to not write right then and go to bed (my body was telling me it was tired). As much as I hate to admit it, I have to convince myself that there is no need to keep with the other blogs out there. I practiced giving into what my body needed (something I wish I could do with peace and respect) and that felt right.

About creativity and finding time, have you ever read Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way? It is a journey to the creative self...recovering the creative spirit. Amazing.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am enjoying reading yours.

Peace, Nicki

Mon said...

The problem with looking for inspiration in others is that we get sidetracked with THEIR abilities, etc.

We are all wired up differently. I'll never be as results successful as some of the women blogegrs out there. But that's just not me.

I've been slowly settling into my own skin, and had got a good deal through that and then I had a baby. brought up all my Time issues.

I'm working on fully embracing moments of just eating chocolate and watching a film. Despite that my brain wants to work against me, reminding of all the Great Things I want to do. It's when you do nothing with your body but allow your brain to chastise or think of these other things that the time is wasted.
I feel amazing after an hour of such pampering and mind silence. I try to remind myself of that feeling when I feel conflicted.

sol y luna said...

No wonder you want to veg out when you get the chance, m'love. The scale of the pressure and expectation you put on yourself and your time is truly exhausting (I think you have a very noisy 'inner Stage Mom'!)

Yes, your potential is immense, but I agree with Mon: quiet that mind chatter and let yourself rest. This is what's working for me right now: Catch yourself when you're off and running with static and self-recrimination. Breathe in. Slowing down. Breathe out. Letting go. Just sit and be in your body. Repeat. Get to know that quiet place and look forward to being in it. So obvious and simple, and yet so profoundly good. In less than a minute, the world looks different, the veil lifts. There are so many opportunities for these little breaks, every day, not just on one child-free day.

I think bit by bit we need to create a consistently safe and encouraging, playful inner space where inspiration flows unhindered, and music can come out and be played. It's quiet enough to hear, and those notes shouldn't be squished when they're only tiny because they're not grand operas. Yet.

I have a friend who thinks goals should be 'outrageously manageable' - a term I love. Better one small thing achieved than being so overwhelmed by too many projects and visions that nothing gets done. Then, berating one's self for laziness! Spiral, spiral.

So, maybe plan to focus on and achieve one small, fun and nourishing goal for your next Beanie-free day, and when you've done it, chill out in any bloody way you wish, guilt-free. That way, curling up with a movie can be rejuvenating rather than a way to escape. Anything else you get up to in that day will be gravy! From little things big things grow.

love ya, chica xx