When I was a teacher I was almost always counting down the days - to the weekend, to the next vacation, to the summer - you get the idea. Mike would comment what a horrible way it was to live. But to me it seemed normal. It was what all the teachers I knew did! Besides, it wasn't that I didn't like teaching (or at least that's what I told myself). Teaching had it's moments; I loved all my teacher friends; and, it was definitely gratifying connecting with students and knowing that some really loved me too. But still, that was my normal state - an almost permanent state of waiting and expectation for the next great, fun thing - and it definitely wasn't the present moment!
When my daughter was born I just felt so free. I just stared at her and thought, "All I have to do for at least the next year (or more) is take care of her" (Little did I know what this really would mean!) But it was an amazing, wonderful feeling for me and I really embraced it. I liked to joke with people that instead of dealing with other people's "screwed up kids" I would screw up my own. haha.
It's officially been 5 1/2 years since Marisol was born and we have since added a little brother too, Gerry. We have all been through various developmental phases in that time (yes we, the parents too!) And one thing that I have worked on a lot and continue to get better at is really, truly living in the present moment. Right now. It's not a continuous improvement - there are set backs and periods of time when I don't do it so well, then there are the days and times that really flow and it is amazing! But I definitely know that I am living the life that I want to live, and that is huge (and I know how lucky I am to be doing this too!)
So when one of my best friends posted this link on Facebook I felt the need to examine my reaction further and share. The post is well written and I totally see why it would resonate with so many moms - she is being honest, she has specific examples from her every day life that we can all relate to, and I love the idea of the Kairos moments. But for me the overall message did not resonate and I'm going to try and explain here why.
I'm not saying that I always embrace every moment of parenthood - for example when both kids are screaming and crying - but I am slowly getting to a place where I can embrace it all. And I think that by breaking time into the Kairos and Chronos and labeling them as such you will often get stuck more often in the Chronos (as I was when I was a teacher! - why do weekends and vacations always go by so much faster?) What was interesting to me about this mom's Kairos moments, is that the Chronos time was suspended for a brief time, and transformed into a Kairos moment, by the power of her thoughts. That is the underlying theme in the Hypnobabies classes that I teach - our minds are powerful, what we dwell on is what we will create in our life, and of course - we are the ones in control of our thoughts. Once you accept these ideas it becomes clear that we are the ones who must choose - choose our thoughts and actions and what we focus on. It's up to us to make the Kairos moments more common. I really think that is possible. It is about being mindful, being present, being aware of our own thought processes and beliefs. And slowly I'm getting there. Like I said, getting to a place where this becomes the norm is not a fast or easy process. (I was tempted to say it was hard work, but it's not really work as much as it is effort or being aware - which isn't easy when it's not a habit). Of course I have days where I can't wait for my husband to get home from work, or when I have to breathe deeply while my kids fight over a toy, or weeks when I feel so ready for another "vacation" (for me - a visit with family) but if I shift my focus and my thoughts I am getting better at getting back to a place that feels good not only for me, but my whole family.
When those little old ladies tell us to soak up every moment it does sound like rather hackneyed and trite advice - and of course they are looking back through rose-colored glasses. But stereotypes and cliches exist because they are often true. We *do* need to soak it up as much as we can because it *does* go by very quickly. That is why we feel nostalgic when we look back at pictures of our babies that feel like they were taken yesterday, and that it feels bitter-sweet when our children do something new for the first time.
Of course this is all my point of view based on my experiences. One idea that I am totally embracing as we keep our kids home instead of sending them to school, is that each person creates meaning for themselves. So I know that for many the perspective given on Momastery's blog will ring truer to them than the ideas I've presented. She said herself that people have commented to her that she is being "negative" and then there are other people that just think she is being "real" or "honest". We assign our own meaning and feeling to words and experience, that is part of the beauty and diversity of humans and life.
I saw this quote on Facebook today too:
I see the space around my thought and the circumstances of my life - and choose an empowering meaning.
I am not defined by the events of my life, but by the meaning I choose to give them.
I give the events of my life an empowering and loving meaning.
- The Daily Love
This is what I'm trying to say rather clumsily. I would rather choose to love each moment for what it is, even when it's not picture perfect or makes me uncomfortable. I no longer am looking forward to tomorrow or next week. I'm sitting here, a little bit sick, with a tired, naked two year old, and a strong, self aware five year old, and I'm loving it. I guess I'm not Seizing the Day, I'm Seizing the Moment, one at a time.
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Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.