I first realized my absolute need to ponder over lunch with my two children. We found ourselves outside as usual, the day was sunny and the breeze was -a- blowing. My daughter, 3 at the time, came up to me and with her face in mine asked “Mom why does your face look like that?”. I snap out of it confused by her question but quickly realizing her meaning. I was gazing off in the distance thinking, imagining, and pondering. Over the next few weeks I began to see a pattern. When I didn’t have time to “make my face look like that”, I was more agitated. I had a shorter fuse. I was less patient. At some point I realized the connection. I needed that time to gaze, drift off and think EVERY day to just feel balanced.
I have pondered my whole life. This isn’t any new revelation in that sense. Who is that 6yr old writing poems on the window sill? Me. Who is that grade school gal up in the tree during recess? Me. Who was the high school student who sometimes took her packed lunch outside where the sun and itchy but beckoning grass called to her through the dismal windows inside the school. Again, me. What was new, however, was the absolutely necessity of it each day. Something about that quiet time, that time of reflection was deep inside me even as a very young girl. Though I was aware of it in that I remembered doing such things all my life, I wasn’t aware of it as an input absolutely necessary for me to Be. Once I had that realization; I better understood my needs as a mother, wife and person. It helped me to better at my job as mom. I knew what I needed.
Now, realizing I had this need and actually allowing myself to put it into practice was a entire other journey. I didn’t at first give myself time. I more easily gave myself guilt for thinking I needed time to think. After all, at this point in my life, I was a stay at home mother and guilt with heaping scoops of more and more tasks I added to my job came easy and naturally. I had the, albeit frugal and sacrificing, gift of staying at home with my children. It was something I didn’t want to take for granted. So extras like doing anything for myself seemed wrong when so many women more deserving than myself didn’t have this luxury for one reason or another. The thing is…..the thing just it….you have to be full in order to be what your children need. That fullness may look different for each person. Mine just happens to be time to philosophize about life. I love wondering about the why behind everything. I am the type of person that has to have a belief that makes up the reason for my doing. I can’t just participate in something if I don’t believe in it. And this takes time. The wrestling of understanding ones beliefs about everything from spiritual life to the way we cook grains takes time.
Time is something we often don’t have in this modern society. And time is the thing I most value in my life. I try through every season of life to make conscious choices that allow us as a family, time. Time to waste, time to kill, time to do nothing, time to think, time to play, time to cook healthy foods, time to learn and laugh and every other thing that really matters. In time, as it would be, I have learned to be a better steward of it. I have conquered my obsessive need to do all the dishes before any other task. That alone took years! I have found a balance in food prep and food making that feels good not burdensome but still meets my desire to feed my family the best and most healthful way I can. I have also learned the midnight hour is mine. More on that in another post.
I wanted to share this with you and leave you with an article I recently ran across to say “It’s Ok” . It’s ok if you feel overwhelmed and just want to run. It’s ok if you loose your patience sometimes with the kids. It’s ok if you want more time to just think about nothing. It’s ok. Your normal and you have needs as important as your children’s. When you recognize those unique needs of yours and allow yourself to meet those needs the quicker life will be not just manageable but balanced. It will an in and our breath as your move through your day. An ebb and flow. A rhythm as natural as the beat of our own hearts.
n When you are balanced and your needs are met you can with ease and creatively give yourself to your family fully. As Waldorf inspired parents we are in everything thinking about “head, hands and heart” when approaching teaching our children. We need to realize the same applies to ourselves. We need the same “heart, hands and heart” approach for our own inner lives. Most of us know the Golden rule to treat others as we want to be treated. As mindful parents we sometimes need the reminder to treat ourselves as we treat our children. Too often we give and give out of a genuine place of love but not walking in the wisdom that we can only be as good to our children as we are to ourselves. Recognizing this and walking in it however possible in the season you are in is not selfish but selfless. It’s the act of wisdom. Jesus himself often withdrew for solitude and reflection. He knew he absolutely needed time to pray and reflect, to let his emotions out in order to serve the whole and genuine way he desired to serve. We must learn as mothers and fathers the same is true of us. Daily solitude is vital. I spend time each morning in prayer and with my journal. Here I can get out frustrations, fears, confusion, etc. In addition because the age and schedule (or rather non schedule) of my children I often get to read or reflect after our lunch time together. Not everyday of course but more often than not. This seriously helps me feel like myself. And the best gift you can give your children is your whole, true and healed self.
Take time right now if life allows to sit with a pen and paper and write out what your “ponder” is. Perhaps it is just that; having time to think about whatever you choose. A mind allowed to wander without reprimand or constraints. Or maybe it’s time to yourself doing anything as long as you are alone. Whatever it is, try to honor yourself and find a way maybe small at first to give yourself that need.
Much love and understanding,