Monday, October 20, 2008

Not enough time....

Now that the sun is showing less of itself I find that I am wearing myself out by trying to do way too much in it's presence. And I try to tell myself that this is because winter is coming and that during those long, cold months that I will be able to rest, but deep down, I know better than that. I cannot sit still, it is impossible. This is not too big of a surprise for those of you who know me well. To just sit for relaxation purposes well, I am not familiar with that concept. I feel as though the world is resting on my shoulders and that if I am not productive with every damn minute of every day then our household might actually fall apart.

I must admit that I was like this way before becoming a mother. In college at one point I was President of a woman's organization, primary organizer of a campus performance of The Vagina Monologues, a full-time student, working part-time and planning a wedding. I am not sharing this to brag about my ability to multi-task, but to show that I have always had a problem with feeling the need to do too much and gauging my happiness on my accomplishments.

So on the agenda for the weekend was: Eastern Market, finish tearing out the garden, clean out the garage and take stuff to Salvation Army, empty the compost pile into the garden, also add Llama manure to the garden, plant the garlic, top garden beds with straw and leaves, insulate the fig tree, move Khalila's kitchen from the garage to the basement, cook down the tomatillos, puree and freeze all of my basil, dill and cilantro, hang the cayenne peppers to dry, shell the dried garbanzo and cannelloni beans, laundry and maybe a little reading in the book that I just started The Mommy Myth by Susan J. Douglas and Merdedith W. Michaels (which I will be posting about very soon) and if really lucky and not pressed for time take a nice bike ride through the neighborhood. Not a lot right?!

Well...I got about half of that done and I am okay with that because I actually took the time to bike ride (thanks Greg) and that evening found pleasure and peace in just sitting. Yes, doing absolutely nothing, not reading, or looking at a magazine, or painting my nails or watching T.V., but just sitting in our wonderful living room by a beautiful fire with Gregory (my husband) and relaxing. The kids were in bed and it was so nice to listen to some comforting music, Catie Curtis, and drink some tea and let myself enjoy that moment. And that moment, along with a post by Naomi has prompted me to remember the importance of feeling and connecting and to really reflect on this concept. And I came to this: why it is so hard for me and the rest of our society to slow down? It seems these days America can't keep up with it's own pace. Working 40 hour weeks just won't do it anymore. And so individuals, couples and families struggle to pay the bills, keep the house up, keep the family healthy and happy and still try to find time to do nothing, for the sake of doing nothing.

This is something Greg tells me often, "Take some time for yourself today, just do nothing." But what does that mean? I am afraid to say that I really don't know. I try to "do nothing" and I can't sit still, it is like I have ants in my pants-seriously! I know this is partially due to who I am and how I have always been. But there is also an outside element, a pressure that I constantly feel as a mother, especially a mother who has chosen to stay home. Because after all, all I do is watch my shows and eat bon-bons, right?

As a womyn, a feminist and a mother I feel an overwhelming pressure that I have to prove myself. And right now part of that is by what I accomplish during my day at home. Whether it be in the garden, chores around the house, writing, or small projects, I feel as though I have to be productive. Now, with that being said, I enjoy most of what I spend my time on, but I am coming to the realization that this pressure is taking a lot out of me emotionally, mentally and physically. I need to get to a place where I can let those outside pressures roll off of my back and then start challenging the system around me. And maybe this book on the idea of the new "momism" and intensive mothering will help me start to dismantle this belief system I have in place and create a new one to aspire to. I hope so because I am beginning to feel that no matter where I am at in my life this pressure will be like a monkey on my back.

1 comment:

Elias Khalil said...

It's so much easier to share insight when you're not the one living in the situation. It's also easier to share advice when you have stepped out of that reality and start to view things from a different perspective. With that said, and knowing that blogs are wonderful for expression and not necessarily solicitations for opinions, here comes mine!
I've learned here that the rat race on an individual level and a societal level, and the drive to "do" that both you and Naomi mention, are in fact not universal. We largely create our own worries and pressure by allowing ourselves to fall into the vicious cycle of our surroundings. What we all have to do, and I hope you do, is remind ourselves that we are the beautiful persons who we are precisely because we refuse to fall in line with the majority. Let us celebrate that minority thinking and being, and not fall prey to others' labels, perceptions, and expectations. In the end, it's us and our loved ones. How others perceive us and how we think we need to function to play the game are wasteful distractions. Live, love living, love yourself (slow down, breathe, drink tea, do nothing), and many troubles will fade away...