[In our most recent member post Emily shares a realization she had about down time and how she focuses on enjoying it now.]
My kids are noisy. Messy. They want to be touched or to touch me. All. The. Time.
I love them, and all that kid interaction is great (kid snuggles are the best), but sometimes it adds up and becomes too much for me. I want quiet. I want to sit with no one grabbing at my face or kicking me (that’s what my 9 month old likes to do whenever I nurse her). I want to have some time with minimal sensory input. Like in a sensory deprivation chamber maybe.
Even when a peaceful moment comes, the threat of interruption hangs over my head. Does this happen to you? The kids are playing quietly, or napping, and you find yourself sitting there dreading the moment he, or she, or they will wake up. For me, that dread steals the restfulness of those moments.
I’ll offer you something I learned recently. The idea just popped into my head…a parenting gestalt moment, if you will. If I can’t change my situation (that my peaceful moments might be disturbed) then I could change my experience of them. Instead of worrying about when the quiet moment would end, I’ve been practicing enjoying it fully, right now.
When I enjoy a quiet moment without worrying when it will end, or counting how long it’s lasted so far, I find myself more refreshed when it actually does end. I no longer measure the restfulness of a moment by how long it lasts, but instead by its mere presence. That it does come. I enjoy rest itself, instead of confusing “rest” with a length of time. Funnily enough, when I stopped worrying about how long my quiet moment would last, the quiet moments seemed to last longer. One small moment would become the infinite “now.”
Maybe that sounds kind of mystical, but then, maybe parenting requires a little bit of the mystical. Who knows? I just know that since I’ve started practicing enjoying the quiet—right now—without thinking about when or that it will end, I actually have a little store of refreshment and rest building deep within me. I have something to draw on when I’m tired or stressed. And that deep reserve is just tiny moments, experienced deeply.