Tuesday, March 19, 2013

tick tock

"Mothers of schoolchildren can have a tense relationship with time and, in some cases, an obsessive attachment to using it efficiently. One of the greatest injuries one can commit against  a mother is to waste her time. Any form of time-wasting feels painful and sees our stress levels soar: traffic, red lights, a stalled computer, even a minute of idle conversation."
- Sarah Napthali, Buddhism for Mothers of Schoolchildren

I spend a lot of time mulling over the fact that I don't have any time. I also have a terrible habit of declaring, out loud: "There's so much to do!"

It's in my nature to wander - from one task to the next, around and then back again - a lovely way to be but not all that efficient. When I wrote about rhythms and routines a few weeks ago I started to really think about how I was using my time and, more importantly, where I was wasting it. I recently stumbled upon this article; I read the first few paragraphs and realised, rather shamefully, that the author was describing me. I am the chicken with its head cut off, flighty and, on some days, desperately chasing the clock and getting absolutely nothing done. 

There are 168 hours in a week and 56 of those should be spent sleeping (8 hours a night). That leaves 112 hours to do and be. How should I spend them? Ronnie recently wrote about her organised days where she follows the general rule of ..have a place for everything and put everything in its place. With one simple sentence she may have changed the way I see and go about my days. Because, if I've learnt one thing about working from home it's this - doing the dishes, making dinner, answering Che's questions and replying to emails cannot happen within the same twenty minute period. 

For the next week I'm going to give my days a little more structure by putting every task in its place. The very first change? I'm going to give myself a bedtime because it's been years since I've done so. More importantly I'm going to create a bedtime ritual where I spend the hour before 10pm preparing for sleep - a lavender bath, chamomile tea, and a good book is my intention this evening. Perhaps it's something you might consider too? 

update: for a mother with a newborn or a young baby the opportunity to create a bedtime ritual is probably difficult, perhaps impossible. However, there is one thing you can do before you crash into bed and fall asleep in your clothes to ensure you make some time for 'you'. 

When you lie down make a conscious effort to become aware of your breath. And then start to mentally travel around your body; starting at the crown of your head. Become aware of any tension and then contract that body part and release. Most women hold tension in their shoulders, neck, face and hands. But for good measure it might be a good idea to contract and then release your feet and buttocks too. Once your body is soft and relaxed come back to your breath and mentally repeat 'let' as you inhale and 'go' as you exhale. You might like to focus solely on your exhalation - the breath that softens, calms and grounds you. 

This ritual will take about five minutes (not long!) and it ensures that you fall asleep relaxed as opposed to frantic and tense. Ultimately it will help you sleep better and deeper. Sweet dreams...

photos by luisa from our day in surry hills.

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