The only constant in life is change. Who said that? Somebody famous, I’m sure. For the life of a mother, this is a mantra. Every day is a mixed bag of “busy, busy, busy” or “ho-hum.” When my oldest two were 3 and 1 and I was a full-fledged stay at home mom, the monotony of poopy diapers, piles of laundry and plans for dinner definitely took their toll. Around the time of my (now) middle child’s first birthday, I was having an existential crisis of “Is this all there is to life?” Alas, the winds of change were set to gale force when we found out we were pregnant with baby number three and moved from an apartment to a house in the suburbs. With the introduction of school into our lives, some days I feel downright knocked over by the speed at which life moves.
It goes without saying that there is always something to do. It takes discipline not to do all the things you could or should be doing. Balance is a quality I treasure. I have worked diligently to experience it, albeit fleetingly. With this in mind, I take stock of each of my days and grab hold of opportunities to sit on my couch in quiet contemplation, to read or to write in my journal. Yesterday was a day like that – a day where I put off the laundry and took leftovers out of the freezer. The trees outside my window are so beautiful they beg to be looked at and appreciated, truly appreciated, every once in awhile.
Today is a different kettle of fish altogether. I am washing the towels for the homeless men staying at our church this month. They had to be picked up, washed and returned. Appointments, phone calls, domestic duties and more fill today. It’s 1:30pm and I haven’t had time to take a shower yet. This is a day where I wake up in the morning and wonder, “How will it all fit together? How will I make it all happen?” I have to stop and breath, reminding myself that it will all pan out somehow and that worrying about it will not solve anything. I press on, accomplishing each task in turn. It will be ok.
Looking at the clock is such an addictive habit, especially on busy days like these. If I learn now how to stay present even when there are so many things to do, I will be all the better prepared to handle life when it becomes really interesting – when I have three school aged boys each in a different activity all overlapping with homework and all the other things that come with school life. I write this as my baby sleeps on the couch beside me. I may be stinky, but I do have this quiet in which to write. I will flow from this to the next thing (shower hopefully before a phone appointment) and keep my eye on the prize. The prize, for me, is balance, which I define as an inner state of equilibrium that makes me feel that I can handle everything on my metaphorical life-plate, that nothing is too overwhelming.
Having enough conscious awareness to know when I am being presented an opportunity to sit on my couch for 10 minutes and acting on that opportunity is the kind of awareness I am going for in the overall scheme of things. It comes when I make the time to wake up each morning and have time to myself before anyone else wakes up. It comes when I go jogging and make exercise a priority in my life. It comes when I stop looking at the clock (or checking my emails) and just finish the task at hand. All of these things take practice and discipline. Luckily, I have the rest of my life to get it right.